Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i w/18-55 IS Lens Kit + a 16GD sandisk ultra 2 card + a slr holster case and a 58mm UV, Polarizer & FLD Deluxe Filter kit for $779 Nikon D5000 kit + DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED IS + 4GB Card + Carrying case 750$ at Costco Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera w/ EF-S 18-55mm Lens IS Kit: $527 or less + Tax Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera 14.2 Megapixels w/ 18-55MM VR Lens $574 AC at Tiger I am not saying these are the best deals ever (they weren't posted to the front page of slickdeals...just a few I found with a quick search) but they are fairly typical of offers that I see. At the entry level, a lot of cameras are sold as "kits" which include the body and a lens. The kit lenses are usually not so great (but better than your average point and shoot). A lot of the deals will throw you a second lens and some accessories which might get you a better lens (but don't pay extra for a second lens that turns out to suck...read some reviews) Higher level cameras are usually going to be body only so you need to buy lenses to shoot. This is where you get tied in to canon/nikon (or olympus or sony...but only do that if you don't actually care about your lens options). Sure, you can switch by ebaying all of your glass and buying new...but it is easier to stick with one manufacturer. As far as canon vs nikon goes...canon's top end "L" lenses are better but at the low end, there really isn't much differance. Nikon's camera bodies seem to have a little edge right now on the consumer level but they go back and forth on that technology all the time with canon and they are pretty comparable. Basically when you buy into a system it doesn't really matter unless you have really specific needs (like "need to use canon's 70-200 f2.8 IS L series lens"). You could decide based on whatever gives you the best package deal when you are buying or which ever body feels better in your hand or which one is prettier and it wouldn't matter (I shoot canon because my pro-photographer father shoots canon and I have one of his old bodies). EDIT: One big pro for nikon in my mind is the SB-400 flash unit ...I am intensely jealous of this thing as a canon user. If you don't want to have a big full size flash unit and you don't like the crappy built in flash, this thing rocks. Canon's current mini flash has bad reviews and their last model sticks out at least twice as far as the nikon unit.