Not everyone wants to purchase an expensive DSLR camera just to take pictures of our friends' weddings and vacations to Reno—but some still want the option of tinkering around with DSLR functionality on occasion. Here are three sub-$1000 cameras: the Sony Alpha A100, Canon Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80. Which one's the best for you? It depends what you want.
If you're looking for better image quality, the Canon is the winner. If you're looking for quicker shot to shot speed or startup to shot speed, it's the Nikon. The Canon also had less noise and more dynamic range, but the Nikon performed better in low light. However if you've got troubles holding your camera still, the Sony is the winner in image stabilization. If you're looking for which camera looks the best (subjective), they anoint the Nikon as the king.
The Sony Alpha A100 is intended for buyers who don't plan to buy more advanced equipment soon. The Canon certainly could be, and the Nikon is not just an entry camera, it's an appropriate backup body for prosumers and pros on a budget.
Faceoff [Digital Camera Info]