After deciding to take my hand-me-down p&s to a football game in the rain (which it did not survive) I am in the market for a new camera and would like to move into the dslr market. If I had to choose one type of photography it would, without a doubt, be macro photography. So, with that in mind, I am heavily leaning towards a Canon system as their MP-E 65 5x macro lens will definitely be something that I will want down the road. Other wise, I have tried both companies bodies in both the consumer and prosumer level and find them to be very comperable in ergonomics, so that is not much of a concern; although I should mention that I find the prosumer bodies much more comfortable than the entry level ones. Obviously, I will be doing other types of photography other than macro, one of which will be ski photography, mostly at night under the lights. Quality of these shots is not critical, but I would like them to be in focus and have halfway decent noise levels. They will mostly be used for training purposes so the higher fps the better. They will never be printed. I will also be doing some portraits and a little bit of everything else. Looking at the Canon line and my bank account I have gotten down to three models, the 40D ($600 used), 50D ($850 refurb), and 500D (T1i) ($600). I can not find any real complaint about the image quality of any of them given their price point which is basically the same. I am trying to find some opinions on the cost/benefits of the other features. I am the type of person who likes big artwork: big paintings, big scuptures, big installations, etc, so the ability to print large is high on my list of priorities. From what I have read the 50D and 500D both use the same 15mp sensor while the 40D uses an older, albiet still capable, 10mp sensor. I have also read that ISO noise is fairly comperable, maybe a slight edge to the 40D due to its lower density, but overall nothing drastic. If I could choose any camera it would probably be the 7D for its ability to take HD video with manual exposure control in addition to its incredible stills. It also has the build that I prefer. But unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and as a college student not majoring in photography, I cannot justify a $1700 body, so I am going to have to make choices. While I am not an avid videographer, the feature would be nice (particuarly if it has manual controls). However, neither the 40D or 50D record video and the 500D's video is fully automatic and recording at 1080x1920 is limited to 20fps. Obviously not an ideal solution but it certainly would not hurt to have it. Basically it comes down to this 40D pro: low price, high burst speed, prosumer body con: lower mp, older tech, no video 50D pro: prosumer body, high burst speed, high mp, new tech con: high price, no video 500D pro: low price, video, high mp con: entry level body, slower autofocus, low burst speed Has anyone made this, or a similar decision? Any regrets? Any suggestions? Any opinions? Lenses While the body often gets the most attention, I am well aware of the substantial contribution the lens makes to the system. As I said earlier, I am most interested in macro photography, so I think it would be a good place to start. I am considering both the Canon 100mm f2.8($500 used) and the Sigma 180mm f3.5 ($600 used). I have used the 100mm before and while it has a reasonable working distance I did find myself wishing I had a bit more sometimes. Both lenses get great reviews and the Sigma is often compared favorably to the Canon 180mm macro lens. While not super long the sigma could also serve as my starting telephoto lens since there is no way that I can afford to get anything in that length with an aperature in that range in addition to a macro lens. I will probably eventuall get both, but I am leaning toward the Sigma to start mainly for the length and working distance. Any thoughts? This is where I am really starting to get confused mainly because I have less direction. This is the "some portraits and a little bit of everything else" lens. I have been throwing around the idea of the Canon 18-200mm ($490 used) mainly due to its convienience. It seems like it would be a great walk around lens for days when I dont want to drag arounda bag full of lenses. I have also considered just going with the 50mm f1.4 ($350). It recieves rave reviews in terms of image quality, build quality, and, obviously, has a large aperature, but that would limit me to a 50 (80 equiv) and a 180 (288 equiv). Those two numbers are great for portraits, macro, and distant things, but that leaves me nothing in the wide range. Then again, I think the only way I can get anything wide with the crop sensor is to get one of the lower end ef-s lenses such as the kit lenses, the 10-22mm which does not fit into my current budget, or the really expensive wide primes which are almost my entire budget by themselves. Maybe I should just get the 500D with whatever medium telephoto lens it comes with, I think its the 18-55mm IS ($650 refurb) and the 50 1.4. Again, any thoughts, opinions, suggestions? A flash would also be nice if I can fit it in the budget. Canon 430 EXII $250 Cost summary: 50D: $850 refurb 40D: $600 used 500D body: $600 500D + 18-55IS: $650 refurb sigma 180 macro: $600 used canon 100 macro: $500 used canon 50 1.4: $350 canon 18-200: $480 used canon 18-55IS: $90 The combinations I am leaning towards: 50D, sigma 180, canon 50 1.4, flash $2050, price a little high, limited focal lengths, no video 500D, sigma 180, canon 50 1.4, canon 18-55IS, flash, $1850 reasonable price, body deficits, video* 40D sigma 180, canon 50 1.4, canon 18-55IS, flash, $1900, reasonable price, old sensor/body, no video Budget $2000, but less is always better. * I think this is currently seeming like the best investment at this point, but would like some other opinions. Sorry for the lengthy post and thank you in advance for your help.