@jedijaybird ===I wanted to spend well under 1000 for the camera, lens (or lenses) and a CF card. Somewhere between 500-750 is my ideal price. That's a lot to ask, but I was pretty sure I could do it.
@Morgbug===Honestly, your problem with digital cameras is the same reason I want this new camera. My little point and shoot elph takes great snapshots, but if I want to take a shot at night, in weird lighting or with any sort of movement, it requires a lot of trial and error before I find the perfect setting and get it right. That's why I like SLR for the stuff that counts. And that's why I need a new digital one before I get married....because I'm only going to have this opportunity once. And it's gotta be digital, because film just doesn't cut it for me anymore. Who wants to carry a heavy rig and 10 rolls around when you can have the same functionality with a DSLR camera and a CF card?
Anyway, I took my regular SLR (EOS Elan IIE) down to the camera store today and tried out the lenses I have for that on the Rebel XT 350D. I had done some research, and it sounded like many of the lenses for my film camera might work on the Rebel.
Even with the big lens, that camera is surprsingly much lighter than my film rig (and it's 20D counterpart). It doesn't weigh much for as big as it is.
Turns out all of my film lenses were indeed compatible, which ended up making this decision a no brainer for me. I was able to find some internet coupons at Slickdeals that enabled me to buy the camera body on Dell.com for 659. That's just a bit more than what I paid for my point and shooter...and this is a beast of a camera for someone like me that is a relative noob to this stuff.
I still want that 17-85 lens sometime...but I have a couple of good ones for the film camera that I can use until I have a few more bucks to rub together.