I started with the Canon A570 IS. I was attracted by the value I got for the price ($150 = 850 EGP).
Also I liked the idea of having all control over the camera. Canon A series are the only non-professional cameras I know that allow Av, Tv, P, and M modes, manual focus, and other manual options.
My plan is to purchase a Canon EOS 450D or may be 1000D, may be by the end of next year; but I am yet very confused about what lenses to have.