When the question which first dSLR should I get the most common response is to make your choice based on lens systems not bodies. While I somewhat agree with the argument of choosing the lens system not the body, Im not so sure how appropriate that advise is for a first time buyer, or perhaps the better way to put it is it may not be easy for a beginner to make that choice. Im not at all familiar with Pentax, or Sony so Ill keep this as a Nikon vs. Canon argument. Both make high quality (and expensive) Pro lenses. Both make pretty good consumer lenses. Both have a fairly extensive range of zooms, primaries, and specialty lenses such as fish eyes and macros. So whats the real choice here? Unless you know what youll need down the road and one manufacture can meet that need better then the other, on what do you base your choice? And how likely is it that someone buying their first SLR will know their future needs, or be able to distinguish which differences in the lenses are important and which are not. Its an important choice as you are locking yourself in, but as long as you go with the big two is it really that critical of a choice?