When buying a camera, keep one thing very firmly in your mind. Cameras are like a girlfriend; they're replaceable. You'll spend some money on them for awhile, but eventually a better one's going to come along. It's your lenses that you commit to. Your lenses are your wife. They're where you spend a lot of money, and they're the things you don't want to replace.
When buying a camera, make sure that you're buying a camera that you can grow into. So when you're spending money on your lenses, the lenses are interchangeable with the camera that you buy. Some people are Canon fans. Some people are Nikon fans. I'm a Canon fan. To me the brand isn't as important as how you feel you interact with it.
At the end of the day, buy a camera not for the brand or not for all the features; buy the camera for your budget. Buy the camera that has the features you want to use. For example, you might not need to use an SLR. If all you want to do is take the occasional photo of a child at a soccer game or your family at Christmas, then what you can get away with with a point-and-click these days or a hybrid is just as good. But for the serious photographer that wants to take amazing photos all the time--that really wants to get involved with not just the art of photography, but the science--an SLR is the way to go. Remember, your lenses are more important. Pick your camera based on the lenses that you want to buy.