For the price of a nice point and shoot you can get a nice crop sensor DSLR and put real glass on that lens. The MOST import is glass and light capability for most of the photography you are talking about.
For a few hundred you could pick up a lower end used Canon EOS or Nikon DXXXX series. They are phenomenal cameras for what they are, and most of the newer ones will shoot 1080p video too if needed.
Hands down, the DSLR's will serve you better, and on most auto-modes they can make an average photographer look like he knows what he's doing.
The things I used to do with an old Canon Rebel EOS setup for $400 was HANDS DOWN better than anything I used to do with a point and shoot. And I didn't know anything then.
Last edited by poppasmurf15 : 02-17-2014 at 05:04 PM.