But you don’t have a great deal of related education, then I strongly recommend the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS.
The reason I want to talk about it today is because I think it is finally time to retire mine. I’ve had it for about three years, I’d say, and it has been fantastic for me. However, I have noticed that it’s battery-life has degraded significantly, and I’ve dropped it so many times (shame on me for not getting it a case at the very beginning- I’m pretty rough on my toys…) that it no longer turns on or off smoothly, and the lens gets stuck open some times.
The photos and video it takes are really very good, it is exceptionally easy to use, and it is very light to carry. There are a few downsides, however, in addition to the things I’ve already mentioned. Its zoom capabilities are laughable, it definitely can’t zoom mid-video capture, and it has huge difficulty with its face-recognition software. I’ve had it tell me that lampshades, hands, the backs of chairs and sometimes people’s knees are all faces, to such an extent that I usually have to laugh at it and just keep re-focusing for ten minutes before it gets the idea (and sometimes I’ve had to give up). Also, there is a rubber flap covering some of the cable connections that is a bit of a pain to use.
But despite all that, I have carried this camera around the world, to walk in the park, and cheerfully to my rat-kids cages, and I will miss it terribly. Its technology is a few years dated, admittedly, but it can still take a fantastic photograph (so long as all the settings are already ready when I turn it on, since I have about 5 seconds of battery even when they’re fully charged)!
If you’re looking for something easy to use that can still hold its own against more modern cameras, then this is a great camera for you (though I wouldn’t suggest buying a used one).
Canon Powershot A1100 IS: http://www.canon.ca/inetCA/arcproducts?m=gp&pid=833
The TechJournal (A review of the Canon Powershot A1100 IS): http://thetechjournal.com/electronics/canon-powershot-a1100.xhtml