For camera equipment, I find a monopod in addition to a tripod comes in really handy, as well as a shutter release cable. You can put the camera on the monopod, attach the remote release cable, and raise the camera well above head-height if you're standing behind a crowd of people. A standard grey reference card is handy, too, for colour balancing purposes.
i loved my 40D now got the 50D
i take it you have already found the canon forums?
IS this a better camera than the EOS 40D ?
Canon 18MP Camera
Then as you upgrade you have to take into account the crop frame factors across the models (1.6x, 1.3x and 1x Full Frame) as they may affect what lens you can use effectively.
But just take it one step at a time. I'm only 7 months into my first DSLR, EOS 50D with 24-105mm F4 L IS Lens and I've only reached amateur status!!
If, and when you are ready to upgrade, personally I would go with a EOS 7D (body only) unless you have some serious amount of cash under your pillow for a 5 series. And don't be afraid to buy second hand, as long as your do your research beforehand and source from reputable sources. This is when you support your local camera shop, they may not be the cheapest but their knowledge and support is priceless. I know my local camera shop really look after you, not like other electrical high street stores where they are only interested in flogging their product of the week, or their insurance coverplan.
As with most hobbies, prepare for your wallet to be well used!!
However, a super high quality body is almost entirely pointless unless you have decent lenses. Even on a cheap 650D or similar you can get amazing shots so long as you have decent glass to take them through.
I've got a 500D which I managed to pick up for £150 last year at one of those cash converter type places, I have it coupled with an 'ok' lens and it has served me well. I really want to save up for one of these to go with it though - http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/...2p8_is_usm_c16
Yes, good point about the Lens.
Some people can't cope with the concept that the camera body is the cheapest item to purchase!!!
The L series are fantastic, but you can still have all the gear, and have no idea! I know that, but you only improve by just experimenting and learning. Luckily you don't have to send negatives off the Max Speilman anymore, and wait for the photographs to get posted back before you find out if it was a bad shot or not.
As others have said, I wouldn't bother upgrading a 40d - it's a great camera, and the best time to upgrade is when you find that the camera body is what's stopping you from getting the shots you want.
It'll probably take a while to get to that stage too... and it really does depend on what sort of photography you do as to what you should upgrade to.
For example, if you like sports/wildlife photography than the 7d is a great upgrade, the crop sensor means that it gives you a bit more range over a full-frame body (that 1.6x factor!) and it's got great Auto-Focus and a very high burst rate (how many shots it can take in one "burst").
If you're more keen on low-light or portrait photography, for example, then you'd probably be better off going full-frame with a 5d of some sort... the bigger sensor lets more light in, so, generally speaking, you'll get better low-light performance which is useful or just generally because more light = faster shutter speeds = lower ISO = better images.
I'm speaking very generally here and obviously there are exceptions...
Oh, yes... I forgot to say... good glass is very very important. You wouldn't want a Bugatti Veyron running on ling-long ditchfinders, would you?
Ive ordered the collins textbook previously mentioned in this thread so will work through that and hopefully take some better shots soon :)
I can only echo comments on quality glass and number of pixels. My old D60 (not to be confused with the 60D [*1]) was a mere 6.3 MP but still takes stunning pictures quite capable of being blown up to A1 without fuss. I doubt anyone can tell them apart from prints shot on my 5D MkII.
[*1] But it *is* confusing - thanks very much Canon.
BTW, if you do decide to sign up for flickr (despite it's age, I still think it's the best photo sharing site...), then feel free to add me as a contact (Flickr: Josh_Wolf's Photostream) and I'll happily help you out with specific advise on your own shots or pointers on how I got my own shots if you see anything you'd like to try in my stream :)