OK, I'll bite...I'm a newcomer to Nikon. In the past, I have owned a Ricoh and a Minolta SLR. I converted to Nikon when I finally decided to upgrade to autofocus just recently. I fully intended to stick with Minolta, but a trip to the camera store with hands-on experience sealed the deal. To paint a complete picture, I was looking for a fairly compact, lightweight, but highly capable SLR for hiking and extended walking. The finalists were: Minolta HTsi and XTsi, Canon Rebel 2000 and Elan II, and Nikon N60 or N80. Pentax just didn't even figure, with too few lenses and other goodied in their system.
In the store, I tried all these cameras and checked autofocus speed and accuracy. The Minolta cameras focused like the lenses were immersed in vaseline. Plus much of the entry-level, lightweight line had plastic lens mounts and/or film rails. Bad, bad, bad...It was a tough call between the Canons and the Nikons. If Canon had an entry level camera with the features of the N80, I might have gone with them (it would be nice to have a stable of affordable IS lenses.), but alas, the R2K had that ratty plastic lens mount and fewer features than the N80. The Elan II was ergonomically not to my liking. So Nikon it was: the N60 was too limiting (I had more features on my manual Minolta X-700) so it was an N80 in the end...now if Nikon will just stop living off their reputation and get out some affordable VR lenses!
Bottom line: in the entry-level SLR category Nikon has got ergonomically well-crafted bodies, and a lens lineup to die for. Only the "C" company can match them body for body and lens for lens. As much as I liked my old X-700 Minolta, I am now spoiled by the lens choices I now have in the Nikon system. (But I want to see some competition for Canon's IS lenses...)