The sensors on most digital cameras are smaller than the sensors on 35mm film cameras the effect of this is difference is that a picture with a digital SLR will is magnified. The amount of the magnification varies by camera based on the sensor used. As an example the 75 - 300mm zoom lens you have been using on your film camera for years will have act as a 120 - 480 mm zoom on a digital SLR with a 1.6x lens magnification.
|Lens magnifications for 2 popular digital SLRs|
|Focal Length||Canon D300||Nikon D70|
The above table is used for reference purposes and to provide you with some important information. You can conclude from the table above that the size of your sensor allows you to get very powerful zoom effects. The cost that you have to pay for this power is in wide-angle shots. The major difference caused by the focal length multiplier is that it is very difficult for you to find a lense that will not distort your image at extremely wide angles. If you want the ability to take ultra-wide angle shots (like 18mm or 20mm), you may need to stick with film for now, or wait for larger sensors to hit the market.