I hate when sales people tout a compact camera's "digital zoom." This term has misled almost as many new buyers to a mediocre camera as the "more megapixels are always better" mantra. The plain truth? Digital zoom is really just in-camera cropping, providing no added resolution or image-quality benefit.
But if your goal is to make the highest-quality enlargements at the extreme telephoto end of your camera (common among wildlife and sports photographers), are you better off buying an 8MP camera with a 6X optical zoom (35-210mm equivalent) and 2X digital zoom, or a 6MP camera with an 8X optical zoom (35-280mm equivalent)? If you chose the 8MP/6X, you're wrong.