In the past I have begged for a Nikon D40x. It is a digital SLR camera. A pretty basic model, but the key here is that it is a)an SLR and b)digital.
In 2000, I bought myself a 35mm SLR for Christmas. It was the first time I ever spent a ridicuous amount of money on anything for myself, and I fell in love with that camera. I took photos of everything, and learned a lot about the technicalities of photography - how do use aperture and shutter speeds to get the look you want. Then I had a crash course in developing black and whites, and fell completely in love with the whole deal. I took my camera to Europe with me and shot about 20 rolls of film, hauled them back, paid for developing, and absolutely loved about 90% of the shots I took.
Then came the digital age. No more economy of shots, no more lugging around of film, no more waiting in line at the photo counter. Just pictures pictures pictures. My mom bought us our first, fabulous digital camera which took great photos, and had lots of fabulous options. Then it got stolen. Then we replaced it with something similar. And it was equally great and convenient and the pictures, they were there, on the computer. Ready for uploading and the photoshop, if either of us were photoshop savvy. For a point and shoot, both of these digitals have treated us very well, and given us some really great results.
But yesterday I broke out the old 35mm SLR. Even just looking through the lens, I can see the difference. I snapped out 11 whole photos before I started worrying that I was taking too many and put it away for another day. And I just know that when I finish the film, and find a photo developing place that's close, and wait in line, and deposit the film, and then drive back an hour later and pick up the photos and CD (because really, all I want is the CD so I can UPLOAD), I know that those are gonna be amazing photos.
But you know what would be even more amazing? If I had taken them with a Nikon D40x and was able to upload them 10 seconds after taking them. And was able to erase the bad ones from history immediately. And could take as many photos as I wanted and not have to pay to develop them if I didn't want. Ever.
please please please please please buy me a Nikon D40x. Or even a D40.