The point most of us who've posted here on this thread is to share our experience, no more no less. Its certainly not our intention to start another brand war. I also believe most of us would agree that buying a camera is not abt the best or cheapest body alone, the same is true for lenses. You have to consider the system as a whole, and whether it fits your needs/wants and budget. Buying into a system because they supposedly have the most pro bodies & widest lens selection may not necessarily be the best fit if you're just an enthusiast with relatively lower demands on your gear. The opposite is also true in that just because a particular system has a really cheap lens at your favourite focal length doesn't mean it'll work for you if you have to buy a more expensive body in order for the lens to AF for example.
Speaking from my personal experience of being a penny pinching student who just wanted to buy a cheap camera with fast autofocus so as to take pictures of my hyperactive dog. I was initially considering just buying a prosumer compact as I was totally clueless abt camera settings, lenses etc. But with more research I found that for ~$800 (which is only slightly more expensive than the high end prosumers I was considering at the time) I could get an entry level dSLR kit. The fact that it had superb high iso capabilities, a sensor with great dynamic range, inbuilt shake-reduction & can operate ALL AF lenses ever made for the brand just sealed the deal for me. Since then, I've also added a 50mm macro lens, a 55-300mm kit lens, a third party 10-20mm lens & a fast 35mm prime (all bought second hand from BNS ) - all for well under $3000.
Photography is not a cheap hobby as I'm sure you've realised by now... spend your hard earned money wisely! good luck!