I have a Canon Digital Rebel XSi, also called the Canon 450D. Although their purposes are similar, it is much different than a paintbrush; I would consider a paintbrush to be a tool comparable to the pencil. I would consider this camera to be comparable to the electron microscope. Its manual is the size of a small novel -- about 200 pages.
The 450D is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. The main thing that distinguishes it from a regular digital camera is its interchangeable lens. You can have a tiny macro lens, or a giant telephoto lens. You can also buy flashes that attach to the camera.