I spent a long weekend playing with the office's Nikon D50 and debating the merits of purchasing an SLR, two years after I gave away my Nikon 6006 (my last SLR). While I love the immediacy of my point and shoot (witness the sunroof series), there's no comparison to the joy of perfectly framing a shot and knowing exactly what it's going to look like before pulling the trigger and lifting the mirror.
In addition, I had forgotten how much better my old Nikkor glass was than the little shards used in my cheapo p&s. I took the above pictures with my Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens, which is my all-time favorite chunk of glass. There's jut no comparison.
Unfortunately, the entry level Nikon no longer elegantly handles older lenses. So it's either save my pennies for the D300 (very drool worthy, and you pay for every drop) or go completely old school and back to focusing manually with the D40. The sad fact of the matter is all digital cameras are now to be considered disposable after three years, I don't have a lot of money to blow, and I guess I'm just going to have to get used to spinning a focus ring again.
Of course, if I'm going to buy a new camera I probably need an updated computer too (I'm already asking far too much of my old Pismo).
The upshot of all this pipe dreaming is that expensive thinking is enough to send me running back to my garage to go back to twiddling wrenches, since my next project (flushing the transmission in the Volvo) was only going to cost me for ATF and a few feet of clear tube.