You will hear alot about Nikon and Canon, many people think that they are the only choices (not saying that this is the view of any of the other posters here). I would keep in mind the other brands as well. Someone has suggested Pentax, and I would put in a word for Olympus. I have the e520 and love it; the quality of the consumer level lenses is superior (imho of course) to the main two and at a better price. The new e620 is supposed to be a fantastic camera, I would suggest looking into it to see if it would work for what you are interested in. That said, many others would complain about noise at high ISO due to the 4/3 sensor. You can read about that in plenty of places (check out dpreview.com for a decent forum for more info on cameras).
I am not saying you must get an Olympus, there are other great cameras out there. I just am suggesting keeping open to choices beyond Canon and Nikon before making your final purchase. If you poke around user galleries and look at everyones photos, it will quickly become apparant that it isn't the camera that makes the photos. It is of course the user... Good luck!
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