... with a little help from my friends (that's you!!)

I'm thinking about a new camera and would love decision-making help. This is a picture of what I have right now - a 7mp point-&-shoot Pentax Optio M20 - - - but I'm giving serious thought to upgrading to my very first digital SLR either the Canon Rebel XSi (EOS 450D), the Nikon D40, Nikon D70 or Nikon D80. Being a blogger, where else would I turn but to all of you for some advice, insight, comments, feedback...

I'm happy with my camera. I've had it for about 18 months with no complaints. It's small. It's 7mp. It takes great shots. It's convenient to take with me. It's easy to operate. It has a super-macro button. In general, there's really nothing "wrong" with my Pentax Optio M20 and I certainly don't **need** a new camera. But, yanno, in my world, "need" is rather over-rated ;-) Before we even bought the current camera we had decided it would be our last P&S digital camera. If we were to upgrade in the future, we'd only upgrade to a DSLR.

Up til now, I've really had no desire for a DSLR. I remember getting my first SLR camera back in my second year of college and thinking I was all grown up. At the time, I was dating a guy who was into photography and it was fun to learn about it from him. But if I'm being honest... I really thought it was a big pain the butt. The f-stops, the aperture, the shutter speed, the lighting, the lenses, etc etc etc. Oh brother... way too much effort. I just wanted to take pretty pictures :)

And if I'm being honest, that's all I want to do now.

But I'd like more control over my images as I'm taking them. I'd like more versatility. I guess I'm at the point where I think I'd just like to move up to a digital SLR :) I'd mainly use it for my food photography but that would probably just be a beginning... I'd eventually use it for other types of photography too. And it wouldn't replace my digital point-&-shoot, I'd definitely keep it as well :)

I'd like a digital SLR that takes **better** pictures than my digital point-&-shoot... uses an SD or SDHC card... has an excellent reputation... won't cost me an arm and three legs... isn't ridiculously heavy... isn't too bulky... is comfortable in my hand... won't cost me an arm and three legs... isn't so entry-level that I'd be bored with it but at the same time isn't so pro-level that I'd never use the bulk of its features...

And I posted a poll because I'm curious about you guys as well. What camera do you use? What camera do you think I should get?  If you were to buy another camera, what kind would it be... and why?

Any advice... or feedback... or insight... or comments? I'm ready to hear it!!! Post a comment and let me know :)

Happy happy!