Am I going overboard?

Started 3 weeks ago | Questions thread
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Am I going overboard?
3 weeks ago

Hello all!  This is my first post here and I am just getting into the world of photography and excited to learn from all of the veterans out there.  Let me start off by saying that I know very little. All of my cameras that I have purchased in the past have been on sale through groupon, or other discount options of $200 or less, and have all been your basic point and shoots. But after seeing some of the beautiful shots that some of you pros are capable of and the fact that I'm usually thought of as the picture taker among my group of friends, I figured it was finally time to upgrade.  My cheap cameras of the past never seem to last very long before having some kind of issues and this whole investigation into the world of cameras started as me just wanting to get something more quality that will last a long time, but after seeing the amazing options out there I am a bit lost and in need of professional advice.

Basically I want something that takes amazing pictures.  I will be the first to admit that I usually stick to the auto focus option and that has generally worked for me, but the more I read the more I think I want to experiment with other settings as well.  The things that I would ideally like to have in a camera are: COMPACT (most important), attached flash, wifi connectivity, ability to control with a smartphone, and touchscreen would be nice as well, but not critical.  I always do in depth research when making an investment of this size and I was lost when I started reading about sensor size, ISO, EVFs, and all of the other options out there, but I think I'm slowly starting to grasp all of this.  So I am currently considering between a high end compact such as the Sony RX100 and a compact system, with the Olympus E-PL5 and Panasonic DMC-GF6kk currently topping my list.

Now my question to you is, am I going a bit overboard here? I initially started looking for just a camera that will last longer and take better pictures, but now I am looking at all these other features that just seem like they would be worth the extra money.  Are these just too nice of cameras for someone who typically just uses autofocus?  Do you think I will be overwhelmed with these advanced cameras?  What I love about the concept of the compact system is that they are upgradeable for when I do have the time to learn more about photography and really get into it (I'm currently in a hard doctoral program and working simultaneously with very little free time), so they seem like a promising options; Having a small pocketable camera that I can bring with me during light travels, but can bring lenses along when I have the room/ability to do so is very appealing to me.  But for someone who just currently enjoys taking pictures while on vacations or with friends, am I getting in over my head here?  I was planning to wait until black Friday to see if I can find some good deals, so I'm in no rush here, but I would really love for some of the experts here to guide me into my first serious camera purchase.  And please, if anyone has any advice on other cameras that might be better fits for me, or just overall thoughts on steps I can take to learn more about photography in general, please don't hold back.

Thank you in advance everyone! I'm so very excited to learn this new hobby that seems like it can be so rewarding.

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Olympus PEN E-PL5 Sony RX100
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