I have always worked with core PHP and was always reluctant to use any CMS (Joomla, Drupal, etc). Coincidentally I never got a chance to work on any of the frameworks in PHP. But in the current project at work, we have decided to use CodeIgniter.
CodeIgniter is a lightweight open source web application framework. In short, it gives you a directory structure of a proper MVC pattern along with a lightweight built-in templating engine of its own. MVC pattern helps developers to separate business logic and the presentation layer. It requires a very minimal setup, unlike the famous PHP framework, Zend. Zend is mostly used in developing enterprise applications and is a vast framework, hence making the learning curve more difficult. On the other hand, CodeIgniter is easy to set up and easier to learn.