GET IT! GET IT! GET IT!
I have it and absolutely LOVE IT!
It sounds like you are in the exact same boat that I was a year ago - wanting to finally get a nice camera but not knowing what to get. I asked my uncle, who is the self assigned family photographer, and he suggested this camera. I have had it about a year - I probably got it a year ago this week. I have yet to find something I dislike about it. About a week after I got it, I went to Rome and used the point and shoot setting - it took amazing photos! I also brought it to China during the summer. There were some camera wizards on the trip, so they showed me even more awesome things that I didn't even know about. I will attach some photos that I have taken with it - both with the point and shoot and other settings. One setting in particular, the "sports mode," is awesome for catching horses jumping. It takes like a photo every .3 seconds or something.
Anyways, mine was about $350. I have two batteries, only because when I went to China I wanted to make sure I never ran out of power
Anyways, if you have any questions at all feel free to ask me! Do you have a FB? I can friend you so you can see more?