Of course, 'good' means different things to different people. Your idea of a good camera may be the one on your phone. Alternatively, it could be something costing four figures. It all depends on how you view things and whether you're a gadget person, a professional or a keen amateur I suppose.
I bought my camera when I received a settlement on the house I used to live in (along with two other 'investment' buys - a sofa and a food processor). I'd been using a small digital camera up until that point and was growing increasingly frustrated with the ever shorter battery life and the poor image quality.
I was at a low at the time - both physically and mentally - and my way of dealing with that was to get out and walk, sometimes for hours on end. I always took my camera with me and it was so annoying when the battery died halfway through a trip (often upon spying a great photo opportunity). So after a lot of research and deliberation I went into Jessops for some advice and ended up with my Nikon D3000.
It wasn't cheap. Not to me, at least - in fact my knees were shaking as I took my bank card out. But I've never looked back. I can honestly say my camera is one of the most rewarding things I've ever bought.
Of course, technology constantly evolves. There's always something 'better' on the horizon. But part of my philosophy is not to buy - literally - into that whole thing. My camera does what I want it to and that's enough. It gives sharp closeups and impressive panoramic views. Most importantly of all, using it is great fun.
I still have lots to learn about photography. But having a camera I love makes it enjoyable. And even though it's bulky compared to smaller models, you get used to that - it's just part of what comes with me when I go out. Kind of like how some people carry a big handbag.
I'd recommend some basic editing software too (I use Photoshop Elements 9). It helps correct bad lighting, lets you rotate wonky images and crop them as well as trying out more creative effects.
Of course, we have thousands of pictures. Many of them will never see the light of day. But being able to document Joe's development (and share that with friends and family) has been fantastic.