Do you need a dSLR or will a Point and Shoot do?
|Point & Shoot sample straight out
of the camera.
There is no doubt in my mind that a dSLR camera system is better, but to most people's eyes their expectations are generally well met by most point and shoot cameras.
Knowing what I know about photography helps, but also my understanding of processing also makes another difference. There was sensor blooming issues with this subject I shot, so I had to be very careful how I did my lighting. Still it produced over exposed images and noise, even at ISO 100. Once I started to do some post processing it started to match the dSLR version quite well.
|Shot with a Nikon s600 at ISO 100 F/5.8 @1/20 of a second - retouched in Adobe Lightroom
|Shot with the Canon 5DmkII with the 100mm F/2.8L @ 100 ISO, F/8.0 @ 1/6 second
Simple answer is yes, but the more complicated answer is, it depends. The subject isolation isn't great on the point and shoot, and frankly, the over exposure and the lack of aperture control was very frustrating. If you care about creative control then you should at least consider a fully manual point and shoot like the Canon S90 or a Panasonic LX5. Both great point and shoot cameras that gives you full control of your exposure.
Lastly, if you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can get great results out of a point and shoot camera. Just be aware that there are limitations. If you learn to work within those limitations, there's no reason why you can't have great images out of them.