I plan on buying a digital camera in the next three months or so, but I know very little about them. I'm hoping for some advice on what I should be looking for and some info on what digital cameras are capable of. Most have their megapixels in big, shiny letters, but is that a reliable mark of quality? What other specs should I be looking for when choosing a camera ?
I've also been wondering how digital cameras behave compared to old-fashioned film cameras. Is it possible to adjust depth of field with a digital camera? Do they have the equivalent of f-numbers for fine-tuning exposures? Do they have the option to take pictures in grey scale or high-contrast black-and-white?
If anyone feels like recommending specific cameras, I'm looking for something that mimics my mom's old Cannon SLR camera. Something more than a point-and-shoot, but nothing over-elaborate or expensive. I'd like to have the ability to fine-tune my pictures like in the previous paragraph. I'm not interested in video. I'd hope to get something under $300 if possible.