Pentax makes a good product and image stabilization in in the camera so lens can be less.
Towcestermark wrote: Batteries - Canon batteries are copied by lots of Chinese factories and as most of them are the same for DSLR's they come in a $6 a piece. So you can have as many batteries as you want for a Canon very cheaply. Check out Ebay for Canon DSLR battery and see for yourself. Anyone that has a Canon and says that the battery ran out - well, shouldn't be out there..!
Lenses - As Canon has over 85% of the DSLR market the lenses are relatively inexpensive and upgrades are in easy steps from the kit lens, usually 18-55mm. It only starts to get expensive when you go pro, which I presume that you're not ready for just yet.
Camera - For your budget you would be looking at a Canon XS/Rebel/500D which is an excellent all rounder and will suit most situations until you start to grow in your photography.
Anyway, that's my view, it's a little bit biased because I'm Canon all the way. Good luck with choosing. Whichever one you go for, you'll find yourself immersed in a whole new world
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