An expensive brand name does make us think of good reliability and quality. But sometimes inexpensive one will give you higher satisfaction as the expensive one. Yes sometimes good brand name does ensure high quality but satisfaction can also come from an inexpensive item. So , what we should look for from a camera is it's reliability and quality in which we can get from inexpensive camera
Then, decide on choosing either point and shoot or digital SLR. This is more on technicality, you can ask the seller to advice you on which one is better, but be carefull seller operates on profit basis, so make sure your preferences is prioritised.
Choosing a camera with a good grip is a good decision. Cramping hand does not take good pictures. To large camera make the picture taking moment difficult, unless you have a big hand than it is more suitable, for smaller hand you should go with smaller camera.
Don't think of megapixels too much. Quality of pixels is much more important rather than the number. sometimes small number of megapixes take a better quality pictures.
If you are thinking about fast all the time, you should choose the higher quality camera because it have no time lag in taking pictures. Camera that takes long time to take another pictures is not so good, but those who have patience can try them.
Choice of battery should not be AA or AAA sized battery cause it is not chargeable. A lite camera is easy to bring anywhere.
These tips can help in choosing the right camera but tips are tips. The main thing that should be considered in choosing a digital camera the outcome of your purchase whether you like it or not and whether it takes good pictures or not. Hope this is useful for amateur or even professional photographers.
P/S: In 2009 10 Best Digital Cameras, the second good camera is less expensive than the other top ten cameras.