(Let's hope I word this properly) I'm creating a stop motion type of animation in AE, so I have essentially created all the characters into one image with their various layers. I'm trying to figure out how to use cameras, so that I can zoom in and pan across the image at will, not just from the standard centre point. I can't parent layers to others because each layer has to be edited and moved independently (like eyes, eyebrows, mouths etc.) and I'm stuck and need help ASAP! It was suggested that I tried creating sequences and using the x and y axis, but I'm very new to this!.
It's a little hard to figure out exactly what you are going for here, but one thing you might look into is parenting all your layers to a null object (assuming your character doesn't have a natural central "root" object to parent to, like a body layer). This will allow you to position your entire character using one set of transforms, but still animate individual parts separately within the coordinate space of the null object.
If you are new to AE and don't particularly need 3D transforms, I'd recommend against using the 3D camera to solve this problem. Learn how to animate in 2D, including concepts like parenting and working in layer space vs. composition space, and when it is useful to precompose layers, then move to 3D once you are more comfortable with how this stuff works. Once you add the concept of 3D "world space", camera transforms, point of interest, and field of view, things can become a lot more confusing.