There are many things you should take into factor when looking for a camera.
If you don't know anything about photography, get schooled in it. a few lessons go a long way. Especially if you want to fool around with the apature to make more dramatic photos. The other thing is your budget.
Here are my pics and why
DSLR - Cannon D30 - Cost you about 1500+ US I doubt you'll be able to find a used one since it just came out a few months ago. the D20 is pretty comparable. Just make sure you have a good flash and invest into a battery grip. It makes life easier when you don't have to worry about not having any juice.
Film Camera - Contax 645 - Uses Zeiss lenses and an all around easy to use camera. Able to switch from 120mm film to 35mm. film. Also there's an uber expensive digital back to it, but that cost around 2Gs.. so yeah... but a great camera none the less. Upi cam get a used one for about 1,000 US, but then the lenses are about 1.2Gs each.
35mm SLR - Cannon EOS series (anyone is good and if you decided to go digital, the lenses are compatable unlike nikons) I think they run for like 300 odd dollars
Now if you don't know jack about photography
Canon Coolpix - it's easy to use and just fun, not to mention it takes better pictures than the sony cybershot in my opinion. Draw back is that there's a delay when you want to take a picture, so sometimes action is tough.
Take some photo classes, understand what a light meter is and what it's used for, and know how to push your F stops to make things more dramatic.
If you're going super uber, then you'll have to talk about strobes and that's just pricy and unwieldy.
Good luck, and remember. It's the ability to read light well that makes a good photographer. ^_^ or at least my opinion. ^_^