First, fix the budget. If you are not sure how much you want to spent, you will be always looking at the next model and the next model. You can pick any model from Canon or Nikon - you will not go wrong. Before you decide which one, try getting your hands on both models and decide how comfortable you are with the models. I chose Nikon over cannon because I felt more comfortable using Nikon. When it comes to choosing your first DSLR, there are two school of thoughts - one is to buy a basic DSLR, learn the ropes of photography and identify the areas of interest and slowly build the gear and upgrade to a better body once you are sure of the way you want to take. The other is to start off with a medium range DSLR and then add more lenses as you go by. The second approach will need more initial investment than the first one, but the first approach will give you enough time to study and decide on that next big step - a better body. My personal advice will be to go with first approach. I brought a D40 4 year back and I still have not fully exhausted it. So, if you are not into out and out photography, a basic DSLR may be all what you need.