Just today I've decided I'm finally going to dive into the pool I've been eyeing from a distance for so long...DSLR. I've been reading for about 8 hours, my head hurts, and now I'd just like some opinions from real people. My goals: learn about photography (I know nothing, I am the very definition of a casual photo shooter), be able to take quick, clear, crisp images of everything from landscapes on vacation to people at parties, and not spend more than about $500-$550 to get started. With my research today, I think I've narrowed it down to three (or four, depending on how you look at it) models: The Nikon D40 (or maybe the D40x), the Olympus E-510, and the Canon Rebel XTi. From my vantage point, I love the number of features the Olympus has -- live preview via the LCD, image stabilization, dust cleaning -- over the Nikon and Canon. On the other hand, the Nikon seems to have slightly better image processing/overall image quality than the Olympus, according to reviews. Also, the Nikon and Canon have larger "systems" of lenses available for them, even if I have to limit myself to AF-S or whatever it is on the Nikon. I'm wondering, never having owned an SLR, how important those three big features on the Olympus would really be for me. I pretty much never make prints, and if I did they certainly wouldn't be bigger than 8x10, so I don't think the 6MP/10MP argument is a big deal here. Since price is a big deal to me, let's talk $$$. I prefer to get something with a good kit lens, since that's what the reviewers use, and the Nikon and Olympus are supposed to have very good kit lenses. I can get the Olympus E-510 with 14-42mm and 40-200mm lenses for just over $500; I can get the Nikon D40 with a 18-55mm for $363(!!!) or add the highly regarded Nikon 55-200mm VR and bring it to $533. Although the Rebel XTi has only a mediocre kit lens, I can get the XTi body for $427, so what's a good general-purpose lens for ~$150? Maybe this Canon 28-105mm for $140? Or this Tamron 28-80mm/75-300mm dual lens kit for $150? Keep in mind I'm coming from a crappy 4 year old point-and-shoot, so I don't need the best lenses on earth. The price, the helpful beginner features, the wide system support, and the compactness of the D40 are making me lean slightly toward it (D40 with 18-55mm kit lens and 55-200mm VR for $533 total), but the XTi looks very compelling too ($427 + $150 high-rated Tamron kit for $577 total)...I'm completely open to suggestions. Thanks for anyone who can take the time to respond.