Derrick - first let me say what a very nice review you provided.
I totally agree with about the 'bond' between shooter and camera. I refer to this as the photographers extension because I believe the camera is an extension of both the photographers eye and hand as he/she tries to 'reach' for what it is that they are seeing at the moment.
Bond story - when my girlfriend asked for a compact digital camera for xmas she was confused when I said ok but only if she promised to go and handle each and every model that we could get our hands on - twice ! She did so, the first time with me explaining what all the options meant and the second time on her own (well I was really looking on from afar). She admitted that it helped and she was much happier in the end.
As for myself - I have been shooting with a Sigma outfit for years and am just now thinking about moving over to the digital realm. I was just waiting for a decently priced digital with a SLR feel and I think this may be it.....
I wonder if you know if the Sigma lens with fit this model ? I tried to find out at the Canon website but those silly flash pages made me mad and I gave up.