Everyone was friendly and willing and eager to show me their cameras and chat about advantages and annoyances. I've been looking into switching from Nikon to Canon, and was disappointed to find that most of the things I find annoying on the Nikon D80 are done the same way on the Canon 40D. From what I saw, I'm guessing both companies buy their basic program chip from the same company, and engineer their own menus around it. I was also hoping the Canon CMOS sensor would give better white balance, but side by side they both shot identical orange tinted images even when WB was set for incandescent light. Using a gray card, they both shot green-tinted images. The 40D does have better light sensitivity, though. It includes a bright 3" LCD which marketing made them put there to appeal to all the amateurs who think a digital camera needs to use the LCD as a viewfinder, but I just find it annoying.
And I was also disabused of the notion that faster lenses are available for the Canon. If anything, people were reporting a narrower range of available lenses. For instance, no one had an 18-200 mm or anything approaching it. Most of the Canon folks are used to switching lenses for wide angle and long telephoto.
Anyhow, excellent meetup, I'll be back.