I think many poeple have the wrong idea about SLR camera's. When they see that they look like the same kind the "pros" use and when they see the prices, they usually assume several things that are false: 1-SLRs mean better pictures and 2-most people who use them are either pros or attempting to become one. Whenever you have a hobby the invovles expensive equptment people not into that hobby will never understand why you spend so much money. There many people in a place like this who can't imagine spending $200 on a camera lens but would gladly pay $500 for the top of the line video card if they had the money. Yet most computer users wouldn't dream of spending half that on a video card. So an SLR doesn't have to be an investment in money, but it can be a great investment in time. To learn to fully control every aspect of each shot to achive the photgraph you want takes time, and you may never see any monetary gain from it. Don't forget about post processing either. "The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways. -Ansel Adams " As much as writing a sheet of music doesn't equal sound, The work is only partially done once you click the shutter. Even though there isn't a "negative" in digital photography. To realize the full potential of each image takes time to learn all the tools available to you, whether that means layer mask, or dodging wands.