Charles, if you don’t know anything about photography (ie; what is SLR?) why would you spend over $1,000 for a camera that you won’t know 90% of the features of?
I see so many people going out and buying DSLRs all the time who are clueless to the reason why professionals and advanced users buy these cameras. They’re spending way too much on cameras when they’re not helping them take any better photos.
If you really want something “fancy” that’ll be good for virtually everything you’ll need to do, take a look at the Canon Powershot Pro 1 camera. I assume you want lots of “zoom”, so the Pro 1 has approximately 8x zoom lens equivalent to a 28-200mm lens on a 35mm camera. It’s also got 8 megapixels, I guess megapixels are pretty important to consumers these days to. It’s got a good kit flash and there’s the opportunity to buy an external flash for better flashes over long distances etc.
Pro 1 will run you around $800. My setup has cost me more than that, ie;
$1100 - Canon EOS 10D (used)
$270 - Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 II USM (used)
$50 - Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II (used)
$90 - Vivitar 285HV Flash (used) + sync cable
$80 - Compact flash cards
$150 - Filters
That’s only $1740, but including my past equipment, which I’ve been able to sell (for much less than I paid, mind you), I’ve spent over $3500 on photography, and I’d spend much more to get lenses I die for, and buy memory since I only have 256mb but considering I’m 17 and saving for college and paying for car insurance/gas every month it’s not easy.
Is that something you’ll willing to do? Because photography with Digital SLRs isn’t cheap. If you’re going to buy an 8mp camera, you’re looking at about 10mb per RAW file and 3mb per high-JPG, so you’ll want a couple GB in memory cards which is a couple hundred $$. Something you’ll need to buy with the Pro 1 also, but you won’t need to spend money on lenses.
Think about it before you buy a DSLR. It may be the “cool” thing to do, but when everyone realizes their photos are no better with a DSLR, and like 50% of them are out of focus, they’ll switch back to P&S’ and DSLRs won’t be cool any more.