First, I'm old, so I have in my closet at home two 35mm Minolta film bodies, complete with various lenses. They are really old, by today's camera standards (SR-T102), so I suspect the lenses will not mount on Sony bodies. Too bad. They're excellent Minolta glass built to excellent standards - no plastic, no cheap greased threads, etc. I've also used 6x6 cm square medium format and 4x5 inch view cameras on occasion.
Anyway, I'm not really much of a photographer, but I've had the pleasure of using some pretty nice equipment, so I'm not completely ignorant.
I'm looking at options for a new DSLR or DSLR-like (Micro 4/3) camera.
The DSLR is attractive because of IQ and the possibility of weather sealing, but weather sealed cameras and lenses are very expensive. Nonetheless, I find the Canon 7D attractive for quality of construction and excellent reviews. Outfitting it will be costly. I can get a very similar camera body without the weather sealing and magnesium frame in the Canon 550D (Rebel T2i) for less than half the price (body only). Both have decent HD video implementations, though not the best (see below). So, how big a deal is weather sealing and magnesium body? As an Old Schooler, I remember that in conflicts between my old Minolta and my ribs, the Minolta won and the bruises healed. A little snow didn't hurt the Minolta, either.
Pentax offers weather sealing for lower cost than Nikon or Canon, but I've been most impressed by the Canon reviews so far.
I've also considered ignoring the traditional names entirely in favor of smaller size, a very versatile 10:1 kit lens, and one of the best video implementations on a still camera. That points me to the Panasonic GH-1. It also gets very good reviews, but for different reasons than the Canons, and it has slightly lower IQ, although for any application short of 16x20 prints or double-page magazine spreads, the IQ is apparently just fine. It's fairly expensive, but I don't have to spend another $400-$500 on a 10:1 zoom that may not have IQ that's all that great anyway. It isn't weather sealed.
As several, including the honorable Bob Barnes, have pointed out, the best camera is one that you will actually carry and use. Since I'll probably have to make a choice without carrying any of them skiing for a day, I wanted to know if anyone had any experience with the Panasonic.
Opinions are all I'm expecting here. I reserve the right to consider the source!