Starting out: Film or digital
Sometimes, photographers argue whether someone starting out studying serious photography on a limited budget should use film or digital. The argument from the film camp goes something like this: Digital SLRs are just too darn expensive. For the cost of a simple entry level DSLR such as Nikon's D70 or Canon's 300D one can buy a pro-grade film body.
I don't think this argument stand up to scrutiny. If you're serious enough about your photography to buy a SLR camera, you should be serious enough about your photography to do your own post-processing.
I worked twenty years in a wet darkroom, before switching to digital. I would never go back to the fumes, the stains, and the high cost of working with chemicals and papers. When you are learning, you make mistakes, and a ruined colour print could easly cost $10 in paper and chemicals. Fiddling around with the settings in an image editing program like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop cost you nothing more than your time - and once you've mastered colour management you can outsource your printing and get consistent results at a very low cost.
I will argue that even if you use a film camera, you will still use digital for post-processing. That means that if you go for a film body, you should also factor in the cost of a film scanner. As it happens, an entry level film SLR kit ($ 300) plus a decent film scanner ($ 600) will cost you about the same as an entry level DSLR kit ($ 900). So whether you go with film or digital, your "starter kit" will cost the same.
Now, with a digital body, running cost is very low - so you can take a lot of pictures without having to worry about the cost of film and development. This is a huge advantage when learning photography. You can also instantly review the shot and histogram on the LCD screen, to check composition and exposure. This instant feedback is also helpful when learning.
The only advantage with film compared to the entry level DSLR bodies is that with film, there is no "crop factor", while budget digital bodies come with an APS-C sized sensor that mulitiply the FOV (field of view) of lenses made for 35mm with 1.6x or 1.5x. This means that you have wider selection of quality wide angles to choose from if you shoot film. Happily, this is changing. All the manufacturers that offer DSLRs also offer "digital" wide-angle lenses (e.g. the Nikon DX-range, the Canon EF-S range), which brings affordable wide-angle to digital bodies.
Overall, I think that the major benefits of a digital camera (low running costs, instant feedback) are so huge that if I were a student starting out in photography today, I would go the digital route.