I'm the person Rubix is on about, personally I'm a Canon man but the person who a shoot weddings with is a Nikon man. It comes down to personal preference at the end of the day what you go for for brand. As for the camera's, it really depends on what it's going to be used for. If it's just to be mucking around and learning the basic's then a bridge camera will do just fine, if your wanting to capture thing a long distance away then you'll need to go for an SLR digital or film, so that you can buy a long lens, to bring objects closer. You can pick up second hand D-SLR's for a couple of hundred pounds now, there's not much that breaks on them unless they have been dropped or heavily used, the most important thing with an SLR of any kind is the lenses, spend as much as you can afford on glass as this can be used again and again when you upgrade your body. As it's been said the better the lens(glass) the higher quality your pictures will be, so you need to decide what you want to shoot at this point in shopping, it doesn't matter how many MP the camera has, cropping is no substitute for a good long lens if your wanting to shoot things far away. Nor is it a replacement for a macro lens if you want to shoot close-up's. I gave Rubix the standard lens when he borrowed my camera and at q drift event the long end, 55mm, was too short, so all his action shots had to be cropped to look good but the suffered in actual image quality, the detail shots in the padock, however, had a higher quality as they didn't need cropped.