I have steered cleared of doing camera reviews, mainly because I think any digital camera these days are good enough to take decent pictures. However there is a such a range of camera available deciding where to begin is quiet a challenge. I notice on the flickr blog, they are tackling this very question, and they are in the wonderful position of seeing millions of photos loaded with a wide range of camera. They have a neat summary table of the main classes of camera versus the type of photo you wish to take. I have added colour to highlight the great, versus good versus ok. This is the first in a series of articles planned for the flickr blog so make sure you visit them again and follow the series.
I have to admit I own cameras from 3 of these 4 classes (I don’t own a mirrorless/micro 4/3rds. camera;yet!) Smartphones can be expensive, but the camera will seldom be the key purchasing criteria, the other cameras get more expensive as you move to the right. The interesting observation here is that the micro 4/3 cameras are satisfying the more common photography generas, their reasonable pricing probably make them a better choice these days than the compact style cameras, and if you haven’t already invested in the larger and heavier DSLRs they are probably an obvious choice of a new photographer (in training/aspirations).
If your getting down to the purchase decision it might also be worth checking out the Flickr Camera Finder, you get to see not only the cameras popularity and technical specs but importantly you can get to see a range of photos taken with that camera.