I've been a semi-serious photographer for many years and, in the heyday of film, owned virtually every kind of camera on the market--from Sinar, Deardorf, and Toyo 8x10s to Linhof, Sinar, and Toyo 4x5s to Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Rollei 2-1/4s to Nikon, Leica, Canon, Minolta, and Contax 35s. Though my experience with digital cameras is relatively limited, I have to say that--compared to film cameras--Canon's latest "advanced" point-and-shooter, the 15Mp G10, is a model of excellence and convenience. Yes, it is noisier and a touch softer and less dynamic than bigger-sensor cameras, particularly at ISOs above 400. But it is so so easy to use and carry and, with a little bit of Lightroom touch up (or Noiseware'ing above ISO 400), the quality of its images is so astonishingly high that I hardly ever trot out my full-frame 15Mp SLR and all those expensive "prime" lenses anymore. I'm truly sold on this little automated workhorse, which, thanks to its built-in rangefinder and excellent lens (which zooms from 28mm to 140mm), feels and functions to me like a tiny, lightweight Leica. Currently priced at about $429, it is a superb deal.
For examples of how it shoots in bright sunlight and drizzly overcast, in color and black and white, see: http://jlvalin.zenfolio.com/p344622584, http://jlvalin.zenfolio.com/p948865592, http://jlvalin.zenfolio.com/p940913383