I am on my second Sony Cybershot digital camera. Overall I think they take pretty nice photos and capture a lot of detail (Sample included at full pixels. You can stretch them to 8x10 for printing and they stay clear.). And I don't treat my cameras well at all... I carry it without any case on it, every day in my purse - floating around with keys and dust-bunnies (never know when you will find some cool old thing to photograph).
Like you, I'd kind of like to upgrade to be able to take even better photos - especially closeup shots. But you are right, they cost a pretty penny when you start getting into fancier cameras with detachable lenses and stuff.