A good camera is one that you know how to use, first, and one with quality optics, second. I personally use all Canon gear, but Nikon is good as well. If you have any interest in moving up to nicer cameras, buy on of those. Check e-bay or bhphotovideo.com. B&H is the best and cheapest camera store in the world, so check on the Nikons and Canons in your price range there. Hope that helps.
My brother upgraded to the canon 7d which is just below a pro-level camera ($2200 it think). He gave me his old Canon EOS Rebel xti, which i absolutely love. I think he got it for like 800 and he sold it to me for 300. I would definitely suggest it. Nikon makes great cameras, too.