"Very fun little camera!"4.0 starson by devodude6687
Pros: Long exposure noise reduction (great for night photography), beautiful RAW, 14-bit A/D processing, very portable, SDHC is cheap, built-in USB 2.0 is actually pretty fast.
Cons: hand grip isn't quite bit enough, hunts for focus in low light, 6 continuous bursts in RAW doesn't seem like a lot
Summary: I spent a TON of time evaluating all the SLRs in my budget. I just took a film photography class and discovered I loved photography, but I couldn't decide which camera I wanted. I have a lot of friends who went with the Nikon D80, and when I picked up both of them at the store, my hand liked the D80 more than the XSi. However, when I got to the operation of the camera, the XSi made a lot more sense. The operations on the D80 seemed overly-complicated and besides that, it just felt old, considering the XSi was just released. I have to say, I'm loving the XSi, but it wasn't long before I got bored of the kit lens (18-55 EF-S IS). Now, I'm shooting with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 MkI, from the 80s (I think), very nice piece of glass, similar to what I was using for my film camera. I encourage everybody who buys an XSi to buy a 50mm. They're relatively cheap and the optical quality is WAY better than the kit lens.
If you're not going to use the creative modes, you might as well buy another camera. I find that if I put it in Auto mode, it actually feels like a different camera. In the creative modes, it feels nearly identical to shooting on film without all the developing time and chemicals. Almost feels too easy. After doing some night shots with film, I wanted to do some night shooting. Initially, I was disgusted at the noise with long exposures, but turning on the "Long Exposure Noise Reduction" function yields incredible results. A 5-second exposure at ISO 100 looks quite controlled, even for the pixel-picky. I didn't know about that function when I bought it, but I'm so glad it's there.
Shooting in RAW, Adobe RGB, 50mm f/1.8, and processing with Aperture on my Mac (running Leopard) is almost heavenly. Using a new iMac, MacBook Pro, or Mac Pro is the ideal system for the photographer. I thought I would be bummed that there are no FireWire SDHC card readers currently available, but the camera's built-in USB 2.0 is actually not as bad as I feared it would be. It feels really fast.
Here's how I made my decision: The D80: too old and big. The D60: doesn't have a mechanical focus coupling or something like that. If I recall, all the current NIKKOR prime lenses (the ones I would want the most) require focus couplings, if you don't have one, those lenses won't auto-focus (that's a deal-breaker for me).
The XSi is a terrific camera for me. It leaves me lots of room to grow as a photographer without overwhelming me with features and operations I don't need.