No tool works better than the artist or craftperson using it. If one can not make powerful, high-quality images with a Coolpix 4500, putting a deposit on a D2X will not improve them in the immediate future. It is not the camera, but what the shooter can do with it.
I was honored to be the guest speaker at a regional new-media conference last spring, and as an introduction I did a slide show encompasing most of my career. My best work over the decades.
It was a mix of images that originated from a variety of 35mm and medium format cameras - SLRs, rangefinders, field cameras and a panoramic, plus a CP990 and CP5k digital. The film shots were all carefully scanned and everything was optimized and balanced for digital projection.
In the discussion that followed, it came up that no one could tell the camera origins of the images. The only clue that a picture was of film origin, was by deduction - digital was not available when people were wearing that style. Someone further chimed in about how it all looked like my work - and that was the key point. There were no shots with a digital or film "look". There were none with a Nikon F3 look, or a Linhof "look". There was not a rangefinder "look" to compare to an SLR "look".
These shots were about the image - the content - not what camera made them. Learn photography to the point that you can actually MAKE USE of an advanced camera BEFORE you buy it. There is no point in giving a fiddle student a Stradivarius violin. It will not improve the kid's playing one iota. It takes a top-notch master to bring out the difference, and the difference is quite subtle.
The various cameras were bought one at a time as my image-making demanded them. Nothing was ever bought because it was "cool". Each camera and each lens was chosen to do work in specific conditions that my job demanded, and not purchased until that demand could be clearly defined. Once purchased, many days of testing were spawned, learning its strengths and weakness to the point that I was totally fluent with it before it ever went on a job.
I am always delighted to discuss the making of images, and all such questions will elicit the best answers of which I am capable.