I own an EOS 300 (Rebel 2000) It is the best camera in its priceclass, with 7 autofocus points and 35 light measuring points. It is offcourse compatible to al the EF lenses (canon Lenses) The big advantage are the EF lenses using USM motors for autofocus. USM lenses have very fast and accurate autofocus motors. That way you can easily track an airplane on 300 mm without losing focus. So if your dad hasn't bought any lenses yet, go for an USM lense! (I have the 75-300mm USMII F/4-5.6 Lense)
In all, you won't get a better camera for the same price.
Hope this helps!