During my recent trip to Goa, I took along a Powershot S2 as a gift for my brother. I have always recommended this camera for beginners and I thought it would be an ideal gift for him as he loves photography.
I was truly impressed with the performance of this camera and ended up using it on many occasions instead of my D70. It's 12x optical zoom with image stabilization actually works and the shutter lag is hardly noticeable.
It's a great camera for general use. I would'nt use it for night time photography (too much noise) - but for daytime, it is truly amazing.