DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras start at about $600.
What you need is a camera with manual controls in addition to the auto controls.
That will give you better control of the camera.
And will let you learn more about photography.
Here is a list of such cameras in your price bracket:
I want an inexpensive but high-quality SLR digital camera for Christmas, preferably something in $200-300 range. I'm a beginner, and I usually take pictures of landscapes and nature, and the occasional family snapshot. I've had a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50 for almost two years now, and I'm tired of how little I can do with it. Some cameras I've admired are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28, the Nikon D40, and the Olympus E-510. Please give advice. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!!
(P.S. Since I'm not a camera expert, I don't know if it's that important for it to be SLR...?)