Finally I am back into serious photography or at least I am aiming to follow it more seriously now. I just got my brand new Pentax K10D from Amazon which I chose primarily over the Canon Digital Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80 because of the build in shake reduction, sealed case and some nice new features unknown of so far in the Canon and Nikon world. I sort of had a Digital Rebel XT (D350) before which was lighter, more compact and had some great easy to use programs (such as portrait, and an intelligent depth of field program) but in order to have a proper set of lenses with image stabilization you would pay a lot more as Canon doesn't have IS build into the camera. From what I could see in direct comparison tests the Nikon D80 makes just better photos than the Canon D400 (DR XTi) but is a lot more expensive given the fact that there you also need to spend a lot for IS lenses. For my Pentax I got a Sigma 17-70 mm lens (2.8 – 4.5) for roughly $360 – about half of what I would have had paid for a Nikon lense and the body was about the same ($100 cheaper than the Nikon D80).
First impression: the photos are generally slightly underexposed, the buttons are great, you can access all the most important functionalities without going via the menu. It is not so fool proof as compared to the Canon, very fast, the image stabilization works very well. The Sigma lense has a lot of distortion and the autofocus is quite noisy but has no focus issues as other users have reported. Generally, it appears to require more knowledge, it's definitely not a point and shoot experience. But I managed to get some great pictures out of it already and it is amazing what you can do with it – it's fun to play around with it and discover new features every day.
More info here: