I guess what i should have said was most of the rebel series (excluding some like the XTI) and the lower Nikons are not good cameras at all. They are usually cheaply made and have a lot less functions. Im not even really basing my opinion on the image quality because truthfully all the sensor technology in most non pro cameras is comparable.
I guess this is where my bias for Pentax comes in. I shoot with the K10D but it feels more like a film camera, it has much controls on the outside instead of searching through menus. Holding it, it has good heft and is covered with a rubberized water seal. These may seem like small things to a first time buyer but when the output is comparable these are the other things to compare in a camera.
And of course as mentioned, there are other factors that need to be considered, but he was asking about cameras. I guess all have to say is really look around at other non Nikon or Canon cameras and if you dont like others you still got the rebel, many people love them.
In my opinion Rebels are not worth the money when theres cameras like Pentax.