It all depends on what you want out of a camera
. I think both Sony and Canon make some very good range finder cameras as does Olympus. Range finders (AKA point and shoots) have the advantage of being small and affordable and for the money
, I feel they take reasonable images
. Disadvantages are: shutter lag, many lack of a view finder,poorer optical quality and inability to use filters. I have a canon powershot that I think does a good job for the money
. My powershot has a viewfinder, but unlike an SLR, it is not through the lens, so does not accurately represent the frame capture.
SLRs cost more, but allow you to use filters, buy what ever lenses you wish, have no shutter lag, and allow you to see through the viewfinder which is actually seen through the lens.(which addresses your screen
visibility issue) They also give you more control options. I find being able to add a polarizing filter is a very nice feature for cruising. I have a Canon Rebel XSI and also a basic Rebel. I really like the Rebel XSI and use it mostly with a reasonable Tamron zoom lens. (Nikon makes some great SLRs too, but I'm not as familiar with them)
Realize that different digital cameras have different sized sensors which changes the effective focal length of lenses. Few have full frame sensors, so you will get a larger image with most digital cameras than most film cameras using the same lens.
I highly recommend staying away from cameras that use AA batteries as they tend to gobble them up. The rechargeable lithium batteries are much more efficient.
For reference, all the image on my website were taken with one of my Rebels.
This image of The Baths was taken with my canon point and shoot:
While I feel it is a reasonable image, I think you can tell the blues are a bit more washed out and it lacks the sharpness that comes with better optics. It also has more noise