It depends on whether it is referring to the viewfinder/LCD or the zoom. Digital zoom sacrifices clarity for more zoom. Optical zoom is true zoom and there is no sacrifice in image quality. Never go with digital zoom.
As far as the viewfinder, and optical viewfinder is the small glass square you look through to compose a shot. Most digital point and shoot cameras no longer have an optical viewfinder instead using the lcd with live view to frame the shot.
Send me a pm with the names of the cameras you are looking at. I will check them out for you. Also send me a list of what you plan to use the camera for, how much you want to spend and any preferences you know that you have and I will help you pick out the perfect camera for you. I don't mind at all. I do it all the time.
at 1:52 PM on Mar. 3, 2009