muni - can you post a link to the fuji S3?
I own a Canon EOS 20D, and I can tell you that you don't need 8 MP for reference images. I have an old Powershot S10 that does a fine job at 2.1 MP. If you want a dSLR the Rebel would be a great choice, and the Tokina 17mm lense has been getting great reviews. With dSLR you have a crop factor, which basically means the sensor is smaller than traditional 35mm film, and to get the equivalent lense specs you have to muliply by the crop factor. On my 20D the factor is 1.6, so a 17mm lense is equivalent to 1.6 X 17 = 27mm. Personally if all I wanted was reference images I would go with point & shoot, much cheaper, smaller, and some of the newer ones have fantastic image quality are are way less hassle.
Here's a link to a good Canon camera site and forum (all you will ever need to know):
Photography on the Net
Here's another photographer site, this one does Canon and Nikon plus lots of pro level photo stuff (a bit stuffy in here but lots of knowledge):