Maybe I'm flawed in my thinking, but I never considered the Sony as a serious contender in the pro-sumer SLR market. I based my choice on Nikon's reputation, testimonials from friends who stand by their Nikon D40 or D60, and reviews on the internet through articles and owners.
I considered the XSi because of my happy experiences with Canon point-and-shoots. I myself can testify about their great picture quality. I would imagine this translates well in their SLRs.
I also checked CNET.com before buying and found the D80 at the top-of-the-heap in their "Best entry-level digital SLR cameras" category http://reviews.cnet.com/best-prosumer-d ... /?tag=lnav, just beating out the XSi and the Sony A100 by a slim margin.
To be honest with you, if I could, I would love to spend a couple of weeks with different SLRs (in my price range) to see which I liked best. But I would rather spare myself the time and aggravation of going to the big box stores, having to explain why I was returning the product, buying another, only to repeat it again.
I suppose I could purchase three or four cameras at once for my consideration and take advantage of Future Shop and Best Buy's 14 day refund policy. But my judgment is getting the better of me.