Despite the advice to buy online, I buy my cameras locally. I find that a local shop can give me the best tips, instant satisfaction if something is not working well, and promotion at their store if they have wall-space or know of a local contest. Besides, a local store is likely to allow me to try out new lenses and even camera backs if I am a good customer. You would be surprised at how much support you can get from a local store. If you buy from an online store, you have no support at all, just a phone number.
I am now a semi-pro in the artistic photography field. I shop at Jim’s Campus Camera and The Photography Store in San Luis Obispo, California.