Simple. Keep in mind that I work for hp while I tell you this:
I shopped for 2 years before I settled on one. As far as electronics and optics (I work with lasers) are concerned, nobody can beat Sony. Period. Bang for the buck, quality, and features for the price. Nytro will tell you the same. 3 of my friends have the same Cybershot I do, because they were so impressed.
Don't settle for a camera that has only a digitial zoom. You want one with at LEAST 2x optical and some digital. My Cybershot (sony) has a 3x optical and 2x digital for a total of 6x......and has a standard threaded mount for filters/lenses. Does Mpeg video, too.