I would whole-heartedly suggest the Olympus E-1. It can be had at a very decent price right now and it will take excellent photos at 5.1 mp, plus it comes with an excellent lens matched to the (14-54mm wide angle zoom) format. I think they are going for around 500 USD currently (camera and lens).
One feature that it has that Nikon, Canon, et. al., all lack is a anti-dust feature that plagues the other digital SLRs. PLus it has excellent weatherproofing and built like a tank. Visit dpreview.com.