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"Even at a few hundred dollars/year of prcessing costs, it would still
take many years to pay off a new digital setup."

If you want a high end pro setup, that's true right now. But for casual everyday ski shots a more modest digital is worth it. A point and shoot 35mm is maybe $150 cheaper and offers higher image quality if you use good film, but given the number of pics taken in a season the developing costs should tip the balance. Plus there's the whole concept of being able to shoot at will and toss the bad shots with impunity -- which happens a lot when shooting skiers.

"To release this camera at under
$1000, Canon seems to have cut a bunch of corners (plastic body,
cheaper components). Megapixels isn't everything."

Actually, I'd wager that the main reason they aren't bringing digital SLR prices down below $1000 is to prevent/delay dilution of the professional digital market. I can't imagine that, once the manufacturing process is in place, it costs all that much more to make a 6.3MP CMOS instead of a 5MP. As competition in the pro market brings prices down closer to what Joe Photog can afford, I bet there will come a time when the camera companies decide there is more money to be made by selling more cameras for lower prices.

"Digital bodies (sans lenses) comparable to a good quality
middle-of-the-line 35mm SLR are still in the $2000-5000 range."

The 10D is pretty close (metal body, better firmware than Rebel). Close enough for me at least ... if they can get the price down as low as the Rebel I might bite.  It's at 1500 right now...

Jerm

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