If you're serious about your photography and are willing to spend a bit more money, there are some truly exceptional digital SLR cameras to choose from.
Improved AF systems, faster burst rates and higher sensitivities are just some of the features you can get from the top digital cameras in this price bracket.
To help you choose the best camera for your needs, below are our five best DSLR cameras priced more than £1,000/$1,200.
Canon EOS 7D
Price: £1,070/US$1,440/AU$1,250 (body only)
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p
The full-frame EOS 5D Mark II may still be preferable where video recording is concerned, but the cheaper EOS 7D brings a more complete focusing system, faster burst rate, wireless flash control and a number of additional improvements to the table, at an even better price.
Read our Canon EOS 7D review
Price: £1,120/US$1,700/AU$1,850 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p
The winning formula of the D300 with the added extra of video functionality, the D300s is a solidly crafted mid-range DSLR. While its focusing system and higher frame rate place it above the cheaper D7000, its resolution and video quality both fall a little short by comparison - for these reasons, an upgrade is believed to be just around the corner.
Read our Nikon D300s review
Price: £1,600/US$1,900/AU$2,300 (body only)
Specs: 20.2MP, HD video: 1080p
Although it has a full-frame sensor like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the Canon EOS 6D has a much smaller body and a simpler control layout, making it more appealing to enthusiast rather than professional photographers. In many ways it's like a full-frame Canon EOS 60D.
The 20.1MP Canon 6D has the honour of being the first DSLR to feature Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS technology built-in. The Wi-Fi system is particularly useful because it enables the camera to be controlled remotely (with a decent selection of settings, including exposure, being adjustable) by an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.
It's a great camera that's capable of producing superb images in a range of situations, but some may be disappointed by its 97% viewfinder coverage (rather than 100%) and lack of a built-in flash.
Read our Canon EOS 6D review
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Price: £1,840/US$2,300 (around AU$2,760) (body only)
Specs: 46MP, HD video: none
Recently rebranded and cut in price by around £4,000/$6,000 (!), the SD1 Merrill is Sigma's answer to both professional DSLRs and medium format systems. It sports a new 46MP sensor as well as a magnesium alloy body and an 11-point twin cross AF system. Other features of note include 3-inch LCD screen with a 460,000 dot resolution as well as pentaprism viewfinder.
Read our Sigma SD1 Merrill review
Nikon D800 and D800E
Nikon D800 price: £1,930/US$2,800/AU$3,390 (body only)
Nikon D800E price: £2,360/US$3,100/AU$3,670 (body only)
Specs: 36.3MP, HD video: 1080p
The D800 is another sterling addition to Nikon's DSLR stable. The inclusion of a 36.3MP full-frame sensor inside a relatively compact body makes it ideal for those looking to travel light, while the strong video specifications make it more of a match for Canon's EOS 5D Mark II and III models.
It, and the D800E, rules the roost with regards to detail resolution and it produces images with a very impressive dynamic range - especially considering the pixel count.
Read our Nikon D800 review
Sony Alpha a99
Price: £2,200/US$2,800/AU$2,800 (body only)
Specs: Full-frame, 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p, ISO 100-25600
The Sony Alpha a99 is the first full-frame interchangeable lens camera to have an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is an OLED Tru-Finder with 2,359,000 dots, and it covers 100% of the image frame.
In addition there's a 3-inch 1,228,000-dot screen on an articulating hinge to make it easier to compose images from unusual angles.
Our tests reveal that the Sony a99 is capable of capturing lots of detail and that image noise is generally well controlled. There are also some very useful features such as the ability to control the AF range, and there's a healthy level of customisation available. However, the AF system is a little slower in some situations than the competition.
Read our Sony Alpha a99 review
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Price: £2,340/US$3,150/AU$3,600 (body only)
Specs: 22.3MP, HD video: 1080p
Its pixel count may only be 1.2MP higher than the 5D Mark II's, but that's still 4.2MP more than the 18.1MPCanon EOS-1DX at the top of Canon's DSLR lineup. In addition many of the core features have been upgraded on the previous incarnation.
For a start the processor is a DIGIC V unit, which is faster than the DIGIC IV in the 5D Mark II, and this enables better, more complex noise reduction calculations to be applied as well as a faster maximum shooting rate of 6fps. There's also a much more refined, customisable AF system and a wider ISO span (ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO 50-102400).
Read our Canon 5D Mark III review
Price: £4,250/US$6,000/AU$6,700 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p
The 16.2MP Nikon D4 is a fabulous camera, but £5,290/$6,000 (body only) it's only every going to be bought to professional and well-healed enthusiast photographers.
It's 91,000 pixel metering sensor is reliable and the maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps with full exposure and focusing control at full-resolution makes it a great choice for sports photography. It's also the only camera so far to support the latest XQD media format.
Read our Nikon D4 review
Canon 1D X
Price: £4,850/US$6,730/AU$7,300 (body only)
Specs: 18.1MP, HD video: 1080p
Canon's amalgamation of its 1D and 1Ds models, the 1D X aims to cater for a variety of professional users. Although its resolution is a step down from the 21.1MP of the previous 1Ds Mark III, its 12fps burst mode – expandable to 14fps in the Super High Speed Shooting mode – as well as a 61-point AF system and maximum extended ISO setting of ISO 204,800 set a new standard for the pro market.
Read our Canon EOS-1D X review
Price: £5,000/US$6,700 (around AU$7,500) (body only)
Specs: 24.5MP, HD video: none
Externally similar to the D3s, but with a higher resolution sensor on the inside to justify the premium price. Developed with studio and landscape work more in mind, you also don't get quite as high a frame rate nor as wide a sensitivity range as the D3s, and there's also no video recording. Where resolution is concerned, the D800 poses a significant threat to the D3x, offering a 36.3MP full-frame sensor for half the price.
Read our Nikon D3x review