I have to agree with Claire up to a point, at the moment there really isn't a need for you to change or upgrade your Oboe just yet, I will add that I do understand the desire/need for the best/better instrument, the tuning is usually far better and easier and the smoothness is generally accepted and expected to be better between the registers, the build quality is more detailed and the quality of the keywork is of a higher standard, usually more resiliant to the daily abuse and more ergonimcally sympathetic.
If you decide that you really want to upgrade then there are various points that I consider important, not everyone will agree with me which is fine that is their perogative.
Firstly buy as complete a keywork system as you can afford, left hand F is very useful and stops you over using the forked F which is not a true F. All the trill keys are very handy as you progress you will need them more and more...B-C linkage is handy though not standard on French instruments (the french consider it de riguer that you play the low C key with your right hand when you play low B-Bb) you could go the whole hog and have the Oboe descend to the Low A but that is really pushing it and to my knowledge only Loree do this at the moment but I could be wrong.
Internet purchasing....DO NOT BUY AN OBOE OVER THE INTERNET...it is far too risky, you could get a duff one, cracked even. It would probably need setting up and tweaking by a specialist Oboe technician and is not a job for the faint hearted or amatuer. Internet prices may seem cheaper but you will still have to spend money getting the instrument adjusted whereas if you buy from a specialist they will automatically do things as part of the purchasing contract and naturally you will have a warranty with a known second party. The internet is an invisible third party and having to send the Oboe back via the mail to have it looked at is simply not appropriate in my mind, far too many risks involved with an instrument costing several thoudands sending it via the mail or courier system.
Always when you are buying and Oboe take your teacher with you whenever possible or a more experienced Oboist who can advise you and play the instrument for you and give you their considered opinion. Oboes are notoriously fickle and slight problems may not be openly apparant to the untrained eye/ear. You cannot buy experience so a freindly bit of support makes the whole process much more pleasant and removes some of the risk element. Oboes can still have problems, cracks in the top joint, dodgey octave boxes, awkward screws etc the list goes on. If you or your parents are paying a fair few thousand for an Oboe its best to have the whole deal well and truely set up with a specialist dealer.
Conservatiore, Thumbplate or Dual System, well the choice is yours, it all depends on what you like or are used to, each system has its own qualities so its highly subjective...
The prinicipal makers are as follows...
T.W. Howarth, Chiltern Street Londonhttp://www.howarth.uk.com/
F. Loree, Parishttp://www.loree-paris.com/
Cabart, Paris (part of Loree)http://www.loree-paris.com/
Strasser Marigaux (part of Mariguax)http://www.marigaux.com/english/?marigaux=instruments/
Bulgheroni, Italy, sold in some shops as Sound Alchemy here in the U.K.You definitely want Bulgheroni and Not Sound Alchemy.http://www.bulgheroni.it/home.asp?l=eng
Buffet Crampon, Paris http://www.buffet-crampon.com/en/instrumen...List&cid=11
I will add the company websites once I have finished this post and will edit them..
Good luck, don't rush into anything and always buy the Oboe not the maker...A good second hand professional Oboe might be a good idea, check the second hand lists at Howarths...the Oboes will be blown in which will save you a lot of work and hinder your practice at first.
Any further questions please ask I will do my best to advise you. Don't take what I say as gospel the above is purely my own opinion and will not necessarily be shared by everyone else...
I do wish you good luck and happy hunting, please keep us up to date with your progress and purchases.