It has been very interesting recently. A lot of people who know me casually have come up to me to ask what camera should they get. They like my photos or see me when I have my flash on the camera with a bouncer - seems to cement in their mind that I must know what I am doing. So first things first - I know a little bit about a little bit. I learn more every time I pick up the camera and every time I look at the shots I make. There are many people out there who are better at this than I am. I take photographs because I enjoy it. It allows me to be creative and capture moments.
Now, back to the question - I always want to know why they are asking. Many times it's because they have a 3 - 4 - 5 Megapixel camera and now everything has 10 or they see all these new cameras out there and feel camera envy. I try to explain that the camera doesn't make the picture ....its the thing behind the camera. You can always upgrade your camera and make it easier to take better pictures but just like getting a Porsche doesn't make you a better driver than when you had a Yugo, a better camera doesn't make the pictures look better. In many cases it can highlight the flaws because you have so much resolution.
Two of my favorite pictures that sit in my office were taken with a 5MP Canon S50. I have them blown up to 8 x 10 and they are as sharp as anything I could take with my current camera. If you don't believe me look at the photos in the Lemony Snicket post - they were taken with the same camera 4 days ago.
If you want a new camera, figure out what you will use it for and then see if you can find what you are looking for. I went the DSLR path originally because I could not capture the moments in sports when my daughter was playing that I wanted. I did a fine job, by the way, with a Panasonic Lumix 12x optical zoom camera and have great pictures from it but it fell short capturing what I was seeing which is why I upgraded.
For those of you convinced on a new DSLR Nikon just announced their new D60 and Canon announced their new Xsi. Both great cameras and good first DSLRs. Don't forget that photography is an addictive hobby, you can never have enough good glass and once you get hooked you will want a new body every year too.