I recently have been asked what camera to buy from alot of people. I am always glad to tell people my two cents after years of shooting and in the past selling cameras.
Right from the start I say stick with Nikon or Canon. I have shot with Canon digital/film cameras and currently shoot with Nikon digital/film cameras. Knowing other photographers that shoot Canon I can tell you a few things, then a few things about Nikon.
First, Canon always seems to be a little, and I mean a little, ahead of the game. Their equipment is less expensive then Nikon equipment of comparable technology. However, all the professionals I know have their equipment fixed quite a bit. Most of you are not professionals and use your cameras significantly less than say a photojournalist, so Canon still makes sense in the long run.
Nikon is more expensive of the two when you compare technology. However, I recently had my first repair of my main camera. First repair EVER with any Nikon equipment. I do have a lens that should be fixed after being dropped, but it still works, dents and all.
Most consumers today are looking for a digital SLR(single lens reflex) but every month more and more advanced "point and shoots" are hitting the market. Again, I say stick with Nikon or Canon.
Here is a list of what I would suggest to the average consumer looking for a digital camera with great quality.
Next top quality DSLR's for amateurs looking to step it up a little.
An old friend/boss/teacher told me this a long time ago and I can think of nothing more important when it comes to photography, "It's not the camera, its the person behind it."
photos are copyrighted to Nikon and Canon.