I've got two Nikon digital cameras, a compact point and shoot that the wife uses and a high end SLR with a couple of lens. Both have hard to understand and navigate menus. Both have automatic settings that take decent pictures most of the time. It takes a lot effort to understand how to use all the non automatic settings. In my opinion unless you have a serious interest in photography or have a special need, you should first buy a point and shoot. Learn how to use it and more importantly how to edit and store the images on your computer and get them printed both at home and as conventional photo prints. Once you master all these feats and you have a compelling need, get a digital SLR. Without question my Nikon SLR will take superior photos over the point and shoot but that superiority is not needed most of the time.
Helpful web sites are:
For computer photo editing I use Irfanview, a free download that rivals the big dollar name brand software products. Especially useful is the batch processing mode. Highly recommended. Learning curve is substantial. See:http://www.irfanview.com/
For the digital SLR crowd, Thom Hogan sells user manuals and CD's that cover all the high end cameras. These are much better than the manufacture's owners manuals. Again expect to invest considerable time in learning. My D7000 guide is really only guide and index to the real manual which is on a CD. Thom has many reviews of cameras and camera products on his web site. See:http://www.bythom.com/
I thought I knew my camera fairly well until I took a two semester course at my local community college on photography. Now I feel I know nothing about photography. To put things in proper perspective I'm the official photographer for my Lions Club and I'm constantly getting, "great photo" type comments.