Photographers contend that gear does not make you a better photographer. Learning about depth-of-field, composition, and moving around the aperture-shutter-iso triangle will make a point-and-shoot a formidable tool in anyones hands. Taking control of the available light and using a tripod will result in much better photos than dropping extra money for a megapixel count.
Of course, everything has an exception. Today I got my hands on Nikon's tilt and shift lens. Not prepared to drop that kind of money on a lens, we instead decided to rent it. Now that I've had a chance to play with it, I'll admit that there is really no way to replicate tilt and shift without having the gear. Normally, your focal plane is runs parallel to the film or sensor in the camera. With tilt built into your lens, you can turn the focus plane so that it isn't running along the same boring parallel line.
Examining the large version of the above photo you can see that the focus plane does not sit perpendicular to the viewing angle. The bottom left of the photo is in focus, and the focus plane moves across the middle of the photo to the upper right. The focus plane makes the braiding in the upper right pin sharp, whereas if you step off the plane the image is quickly overcome with pleasing bokeh.
It's too bad this lens costs as much as it does.