About half a month ago, I upgraded from the Canon 400D to the new 500D/T1i SLR. I was actually contemplating between the 40D and the 500D, but found that the 500D would be sufficient for my shooting needs since I do not need the 6.5fps. Furthermore, the 500D had higher ISO speeds, shoots video, has a gorgeous screen, and as a boon has more megapixels too.
In the short time I have been using it, I am really impressed with the 500D. Although it is an entry level, 'low-end' body, I must say that it is pretty much sufficient for most amateur shooters. Roughly two years ago I bought my 400D for S$1300, but today, I am paying two hundred bucks less and I am getting features I could not imagine possible in entry level bodies 2 years ago. I am amazed at how fast technology has progressed. I mean, two years ago it could only be my dream to shoot at ISO 3200 and get a usable image. But today, with the 500D, it is reality. Two years ago, getting full 15 megapixels of resolution could only be something the higher-end bodies could offer, but today, I have it right in my thousand dollar camera. In this respect, I must really say that the 500D is a phenomenal camera. Great image quality, great features, all at a compelling price.
I'm happy shooting 500D. Although it may not be as good as the high-end 5D mark II, it is sufficient. I would prefer spending the money on better lenses. So if any of you are considering an SLR, whether you are a beginner or an advanced amateur, the 500D has a lot to offer, and doesn't burn your pocket. Highly recommended!