I get questions about what camera to buy about once a month, and almost without fail at an wedding. I wish there was an easy answer. There isn't, because a lot depends on what you shoot, what you want to be able to shoot, how much you know about photography, and how much you want to spend.
For SLR equipment, I shot Nikon when I was a film user. I have been with Canon since I switched to digital in 2005. I think today, the two are more balanced and either is a great product.
Lenses are more important. In general, I think the body you buy is not as important as the lens. Once you decide on your brand, get the very best lenses you can afford. You may upgrade the body several times over the years, but a great lens can be forever. Canon makes a nice 24-70mm F2.8 which is a great all around lens, particularly for travel. It is not great for portraits. I like to shoot with 85mm or longer for that purpose.
I like the Canon Powershots for pocket sized point and shoot cameras, though I recently switched to a G10 for more control. Eason's Panasonic Lumix is very impressive as well.
I was a very loyal customer of my friend Steven Kay at Lens & Repro on 17th St., NYC since 1988. He has been in business for 41 years and is a true pro. He now sells rare and hard to find cameras, and high end digital for pros. I love these kinds of things, but they are not for everyone.
My best advice: Call Allen in Delaware . I was introduced to Allen, of Allen's cameras near Wilmington several years ago. I like Allen for modern equipment because he knows the cameras well and you won't pay sales tax on your purchase (unless you live in DE). He also has a good range of used equipment, which I buy from time to time. He always gives me good advice, he ships quickly, and I like his prices. He is still building his e-commerce site, so you have to actually call to order.