I recently dove headfirst into the world of digital photography by buying my first DSLR. I went with a new-to-me Canon 30D. I chose Canon because a couple photo geek friends shoot with Canon and I figured they could answer my newbie questions about it. I decided to buy used because I wasn't sure how "in to" photography I would be in the long run, so it didn't make a lot of sense to break the bank right up front.
The 30D is a couple generations old in its model line, but it is still a fine camera by today's standards. The image quality is fantastic and I'm happy with the 8 megapixel resolution (no need to waste disk space since I don't plan on huge prints any time soon.) I picked my camera up at Precision Camera in Austin. They usually have a good used selection of used gear and the staff are helpful and friendly. They have a 10 day return period on used stuff and there are warranties available for a low price, so the used gear risk is minimal. I picked up the 30D body and a Canon 28-135mm lens as my starter kit.
I've got my work cut out for me, learning to run this thing properly. It will be a fun experience! The picture of Chloe, one of our toy poodles, is one of the first pictures I snapped.