Advice to a friend buying a new camera

A friend of mine posted the classic "I'm going to get my first dSLR - What should I get?" question which spawned a bunch of comments from friends chiming in about their favorite brands.  I think most people usually recommend the brand that they shoot with, but I didn't.  I shoot Canon for now but I said "Nikon or Sony", which caused him to ask why. I thought I might post the details here before they get lost to the annals of Facebook:

The Canons take pictures just fine - 100% of the pictures I've taken were with Canons! It's just an attitude thing for me now. After being a hardcore Canon user/watcher for a couple years I've figured out how Canon's marketing mind works. The lower end stuff is suitable for most uses but they always hold out the little things that would make photography more convenient for their highest-end stuff.

I'm not talking about expensive features here - I'm talking about things like 5 shot exposure bracketing, a built-in eyepiece blocker, more flexibility for exposure compensation, mirror lockup as a drive mode and not as a custom function, perhaps an actual knob for drive mode, etc.

Many of these are simple things that their highest end model has. I understand paying thousands more for actual technology, but paying thousands to change some firmware constant from 3 to 5 is insulting.   I also think that selling the intervalometer as a $150 accessory instead of building it in to the camera is insulting.

I went with Canon because of the lens selection, and that's why I'm staying with them for now. (In fact, I keep adding to my lens investment.) And I'm hoping that the recent advances by Nikon, Sony, and others will compel them to bring some of these (essentially free to engineer) features down to the mid-range.

When you buy a Canon, you're paying for the millions of dollars they've invested in CMOS image sensor fabrication and high-volume manufacturing technology. You're also paying for the labor of the one intern they hired do do their User Interface work and the tools that work in Technical Marketing.

BTW, I'm officially "cynical" about the whole Canon vs. Everyone Else battle. Just like Lance said "It's not about the bike", photography is NOT about the camera. The most important thing is that you get a usable tool that's gives you the level of flexibility you need and then GO OUT AND TAKE PICTURES!

That's by far more important that the details of which lens you buy, how much you spend, or what brand you use.