In film, I have to say that my favorite is the Nikon 35ti, which sold for around $650 when new. This is a great cameratitanium body, really cool retro looks melded with lots of modern features, super-sharp f/2.8, 35mm Nikkor lens. Alas, Nikon has bailed on the 35ti, although a few camera stores still stock some. You can also find them on eBay (like pretty much everything these days?).
I've also triedand liked very muchthe Contax T3, which is similar in size and basic specs to the 35ti. It has a great lensa 35mm, f/2.8 Zeissand you'll get tack-sharp photos from this thing (www.contaxcameras.com).
In digitals, I'm partial to the Canon PowerShot S45 ($500, but price is falling; www.powershot.com). It has four-megapixel resolution, an excellent zoom lens, and easy-to-use features. Nikon's Coolpix 4300 has similar specs at a similar price, in a chunky but compact body that some people may find easier to hold than the S45 (www.nikonusa.com). And while I haven't tried one, the Olympus C-750 has an amazing zoom lens that's equal to a 38mm to 380mm lens on a film camera. Plus, it has digital zoom for a potential 40:1 zoom ratio. Olympus digitals I've used in the past have always proven to be well designed and easy to use (www.olympusamerica.com).
So there you go. It saddens me that all my favorite cameras, such as the T4 and 35ti, are being consigned to photography's dustbin.