Here's a budget camera suggestion
I recently found a print of this picture, taken in 2006 with a 2005-era 4MP point-and-shoot camera. It's a good example of the just take lots of pictures with any camera you like philosophy that you see on this forum.
Unfortunately, the zoom jammed on it 2 years ago, but I really loved that camera, used it a lot, and would still be using it because it took nice pictures, handled well, was light, and had a great feature set (including full manual controls).
The original color version of the picture is in my gallery.