I personally prefer Nikon, I own a D70s(wish I waited for the D80). I was deciding between it and an XTi until I held them. The Nikon has more weight and feels "stronger" if that is an applicable adjective. The Canon just felt small and fragile.
Does not take away or add to eithers ability to produce great pics. JMO
Do yourself a favor and go to a camera store and hold a few. Either Canon or Nikon DSLR, you cant go wrong with what ever budget frame you will work with.
And Yes you WILL spend the same as or more money on lenses than your camera, so budget accordingly.
Boris Rudzinski aka The DirtModJunkie
Staff Photographer @ DirtTrackDigest.com-Your Dirt Racing Connection!