My d5100 just arrived. I've taken my first pictures with it.
I've finished "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, and am in "Camera and Lens" by Ansel Adams. These two photographers agree that it isn't as much the equipment* as it is the experience, talent, and (according to Adams) the soul for art. A camera can take sharper pictures than another, but, if it is in the hands of a vacationing office worker who just points and shoots in auto mode, the lesser camera, in the hands of an experienced artist photographer will take better pictures. You GOTTA read Adams' book.
* The equipment is important so far as it enables the artistic expression of the artist. It's more important to chase composition and expression than pixels and ISO. But the camera still has to deliver sufficient image quality to implement the artist's vision.
That having been said, I go out tomorrow to test distance shots with my new camera. That's where the point & shoot (P&S) fell short. Manual focus with the 18-55 kit lens is easy. It was agony with the P&S, and unreliable. The DSLR lens manual focus rocks!
It'll take me a week to work into this thing! Sooo many options!