Look out for these key features when buying your first DSLR:
Scene modes such as portrait, landscape and sports can help you achieve optimum results in most shooting scenarios with the minimum of know-how. They are a good starting point for beginners.
Less powerful than a separate flashgun, the pop-up flash unit can still be useful for providing some fill-in illumination - for avoiding facial shadows in sunny outdoor portraits, for example.
Unlike more advanced cameras, DSLRs in this class are fitted with a pentamirror rather than a pentaprism viewfinder. However, they should still feature a fairly bright, sharp and clear display.
All the cameras in the group feature live view. This enables you to compose pictures on the LCD, just as you would with a compact camera. A magnified view is good for checking focus accuracy.
Whereas most advanced and pro DSLRs feature tough magnesium-alloy bodies, budget models tend to have plastic shells over metal chassis. They should still be robust enough for daily use.
An 18-55mm 'kit' lens is the norm on this class of camera. If you'd rather have a different lens, such as an 18-200mm superzoom, it's worth speaking to your retailer and seeing if you can do a deal.
There can be a difference in the physical size and resolution of LCDs in competing cameras. A pivot facility is also worth having, enabling you to shoot from extreme angles.
Direct-access buttons for shooting parameters such as white balance, ISO, drive mode and autofocus mode are useful. They help you to react to different shooting conditions quickly and easily.