Well, since you're a novice hobbyist, I'd recommend Wacom's Bamboo line of tablets.
There are multiple models with various price ranges, but the entry level is the Bamboo Pen&Touch which runs about $70 USD. It's got a modest drawing area, but it should be sufficient.
If you're willing to pay more, there is always the Bamboo Create which has a much larger surface area, but runs $130 more than the Pen&Touch. If you've got the cash, I urge you to seriously consider this one, because as you become familiar with how tablets work, a larger surface area allows your strokes to be more natural.
There are many other brands of tablet as well, but Wacom is consistently the best.(Recent criticisms aimed at the professional line of Intuos tablets notwithstanding)
Thanks for the advice. $200 is probably within my price range. I am a novice and a hobbyist, but I'm definitely hoping to improve to at least commission-worthy level and I want a tablet that can get me that far and last a while.
However. . . You said you use Painter. Painter makes heavy use of Pen Tilt, which is a feature of the Intuos and Cintiq lines. Unfortunately, Bamboo lacks this feature.
I'd suggest checking Amazon, DickBlick Online or CarpeDiemStore for new/unused Intuos4 tablets that cost less than buying directly from Wacom.
The only difference between Intuos4 and 5 is that 5 supports touch(and costs much more). Also, be aware that these two tablet types also feature highly textured surfaces that increase nib wear significantly.