to tell the truth you need more than one the quality of a SLR and its larger sensor can't be beat, some folks just use their phones for pics but you really can't crop and zoom the smaller compact ones i have found don't really take clear enough pics to be able to crop and zoom.
For awhile, the Canon S series (S90/S95/S100/S110) were the go-to point & shoot DSLR alternatives because they were the only ones which came close in terms of quality. Now, Sony (RX100) and Fuji (XF1) have fairly compact cameras which give the Canons a run for their money, but they are not as small, nor as cheap.
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Buying a DSLR at $250 is going to get you just a body probably and then its refurbished. By the time you buy a lens or two your going to be quite a bit over your budget of $250. Also the 4/3 cameras like the J1 you mentioned are technically not DSLR's since they don't have a main mirror.
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