As I was chatting with someone recently about my intent to redesign my website for photography they asked, "How much camera do I need?"
This is an interesting question, filled with many potential answers.
My initial response, "Let's start with what you have - cell phone, point-and-shoot, whatever. Why does it leave you feel like you need something more?"
It turns out that they were under the impression that if they wanted to make a high quality photo, they needed to spend thousands of dollars on photo equipment. I pointed out that the camera on their cell phone took better photos than many expensive cameras from a decade ago - they might actually get the best results by learning how to exercise the camera in their phone first.
What do I use? I use what I have with me. First, I've made some dandy photos with my cell phone. My wife's cell phone, with is three years newer, makes even better photos.
I carry my Fujifilm X30 in my truck. It gives me a better lens, better sensor, and the ability to zoom. I've captured some very nice photos with the X30, such as the photo of Disneyland on the top of this site.
Finally, I have my digital SLR with a bag of lenses. Yes, I can make the finest images from the most complex equipment - but I also have decades of practice and formal training. For many people, this level of stuff is just excessive.
How much camera do you need? Start with what you have, then decide what you're missing. Expect that fancier gear usually comes with greater training and practice to get the most out of it.