|Focus: You will want auto focus as a minimum. Fixed focus does not adjust, so if you like to do custom focus, you will need a manual focus option.
Picture Storage: Some digital cameras only have internal storage. That means once you fill up the camera you have to download the photos to a computer. Most new cameras have removable storage chips. My camera can use 2 different chips at one time. Make sure your camera can use chips, and pick up a couple of extras.
Compression and File Formats: I use the highest JPEG setting for the file format because this helps save space on the chips and still gives a great picture.
Batteries: Digital cameras go through batteries at an alarming rate when the LCD and flash are used. My camera uses (4) AA batteries and I use rechargeable. Some cameras require special batteries so always check the replacement costs.
Video-Output: Most cameras can save a short video clip. Be careful because the cheaper cameras do not record sound.
Zoom: Optical zoom is the best. Digital zoom is the same as cropping a photo in a photo program.
Manual Controls: You will need manual controls if you like to do custom photography and panoramics.
I use the Olympus C-5050 camera. It is a 5mp with manual and auto controls. Good luck and happy shopping. I want to wish you a happy holiday season.