"I was easing into digital and actually went into the store with the intent to purchase a Canon Rebel XT. I picked up the Canon.. put it down and tried the Nikon.. picked up the Canon one more time simply because I couldn't believe the very cheap feel and then purchased the Nikon. I read about the newer Canons but never considered not buying the D300s, which I'm happy to report that I'm very pleased with. Oh, and someone tried to compare his 50D to my D300s a couple days ago as he looked and touched with envy"
HeuMAN, your experience sounds very much like mine. Being a birder, I was looking into Canon originally as most birders and wildlife shooters use them. I was going for entry level and looked at the Rebel XTi just like you. I had been playing with them for a while. Then my roommate got his first DSLR...a D40. He let me play with it a bit and after comparing it to the Rebel (which was over 200 more at the time), I knew the D40 was by far the better buy.
Since then, I've always looked at Canon as an alternate but always came back to Nikon. As recently as a few months ago as anyone on here can tell you, I almost got a 40D because Canon has a lens I want. Oh well, I will just wait and deal.
Nikon has better technological specs (I'm into electronics I look at this stuff because I can learn how to aplly them). The Expeed processor is much better than Canon's digi...whatever the hell it's called. Canon also has nothing like the Multi-Cam3500. Picture controls in the new gen Nikons also are just another tool Nikon gives that are more powerful than what Canon offers. Then there's Capture NX/NX2. Nuff said ;)