First time post, however I purchased this camera based on a lot of the reviews read on this and other similar sites so I am putting something back.
Reviewed this camera in the flesh at HN and liked it straight off (needless to say I didn't buy it there). Have owned the 350D and 400D and just recently came off a PS SX1 IS which got me hooked on the HD video but I was bitterly disappointed in the very very poor higher ISO still performance. Video was excellent however. Was tempted by the D5000, however my love affair with Canons won out.
At any rate - I was sorely tempted by the 5D2 and the 7D, however for what I do, the 500D seemed to fit the bill, and I figured to spend the difference in price on good lenses. I found a good copy 17-85mm and dropped $1350 on a 70-200mm f4 IS. Never regretted that decision for a second. Overall the camera is quick, flexible, produces excellent photos, esp high speed sport shots through the 70-200 and I couldn't be happier.
Nothing is perfect however and the slow Live Mode (as per all cameras) and the lack of good, fast AF in Video Mode (as per Live) is a pain - in saying that however I recently used it to video an indoor cricket game and the manual focus was extremely handy to get past the net pulling the focus. All the photos I shot at 1600 or 3200 and at a shutter speed nearly quick enough to eliminate substantial blur.
Would recommend this for the amateur enthus, like myself.