I have the Canon 30D and love this camera. The preset scene programs do perform very well. I use them if I need to grab a shot really quick and have no time to do manual settings. But in low light, it is better to do your own settings, to control the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, exposure and white balance to get the picture effect you want. When you first learn the manual settings, take one photo with the preset scene settings, and then play around with the manual settings. Then when you open up the file in the computer, you can compare and learn what settings will do the best.
The Canon 40D has a lot of significant upgrades, and is definitely worth the extra money if that is within your budget.
I don't know your reason to get a D-SLR, but for a lot of people, it is because of the faster speed and much better low light performance. And if that is the case, then you will also need a lens that can perform well in low light to let you learn how to shoot with large apertures, and controlling subject focus and background blurring. If budget is tight, the 50mm f/1.8 is about $70, and is a good learning lens. If budget is not a problem, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is a very good match with either the 30D or 40D. Also try to stay away from automatic white balance (AWB), and select your own white balance to learn how to use white balance to alter the mood of the photo. After you learn how to use ambient light to shoot, then you can learn more about flash photography and studio lighting. One important thing to learn is to study the effect of light. In photography, you use light to paint your photo. Learning with ambient light shooting helps you to learn about the beauty of natural ambient light, and how you can use the camera to capture or alter the mood and color of the photo. This will help you master the control of your camera. And let you realize when you need fill flash and other artificial light to enhance the photo when ambient light becomes challenging for the camera. If you use flash for all your photos and let your camera decide what to do, then you miss the fun of photography.
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