Let me give you some tips so you can decide what kind of camera is right for you.
These days digital cameras are grouped based on the size:
So ask yourself if camera size really matters for you. If yes, what size of camera you would like to carry around.
Real factor in deciding which camera to buy in my opinion is how much you want to learn and help your camera so you have better photos most of the time. You can use a camera only in AUTO mode and your camera will take nice photos 60-70% of the time but other times, the photos may frustrate you. This is a reality if you don't want to use your brain and rely solely on camera. Now if you want to take better photos most of the time, there will be times when you will have to help your camera a little bit. You don't need to take photography classes or read thick books. You just need to learn basic stuff to help your camera take better photos. So in my opinion, it comes down to how much you want to control on your camera and help it out when it struggles to take a nice photo. Keeping this in mind, I like to divide cameras in to different groups based on flexibility in shooting or access to change settings.
This type of cameras, like all other cameras, have their own mind but they don’t let you mess with them. You have to take what they capture. You can’t do much if you don’t like a photo it took.
Recommendation: Avoid these cameras if you want to be able to take better photos. If you don’t like this advice, please stop reading this book and use your time somewhere else.
With these cameras, you do benefit from Camera’s brain and capabilities but you can also help Camera by telling it about the photo that it is going to capture. You can use the Scene Modes to set it to Landscape, Portrait, Beach-Snow, Macro mode etc. You can set the mode to Sports/or Fast Moving Object, and tell camera that we are shooting a soccer game in which kids are moving faster. This helps camera’s brain to set shutter fast enough to avoid blur. Or, by setting camera to Portrait mode, you are telling many things to the Camera that you need the subject to stand out vs background, that nice skin tones are important, that the person is not moving as fast as a kid playing some sport. This helps a big way to camera to use its capabilities for the specific situation it is taking photo in. So in this collaboration mode, between human and machine, the picture quality improves significantly.
Recommendation: If possible, try to buy a camera in this category. If the camera didn’t take a good photo, at least, there is something you can try to take a better photo in the next shot.
Now with FC cameras, you can do anything but now it is a sort of war between man and machine. The machine has brain of several engineers and photographers behind it. It has lot of logic and expertize programmed into it. Man, I mean you, on the other hand, is probably still learning. One day, you can sure do better than the machine but in the beginning, aperture values and shutter speed adjustments can ruin many of your photos. You have to pay your price before you get better than the camera.
Summary: If you are just the AUTO button loving person, buy any camera that has minimum buttons. Pick something that is rated well by other users. If you like to take over camera function sometimes, buy an SFC or FC camera. If you want the full control but don't want to go for a bulky camera, go for an FC camera. Now if you are serious about photography, you should go for FFCs. Many times, what some lenses can do can never be done just aby and AOC, SFC or FC camera.
To get the most out of your camera, I would recommend you to buy one that has at least all of the following options. This will improve odds for better photos significantly.