You can get a brand new digital SLR for under AU$1000, but if your wallet is a bit healthier, there are plenty of models available.
Looking to make your photography more than just a casual hobby? If so, spending more on a digital SLR generally means you'll get better shooting performance and more features than with an entry-level model.
Generally, these mid-range SLRs have sturdier bodies and more features than their less-expensive counterparts. Some cameras, such as the Pentax K3, even come with weather sealing, which ensures your gear survives the great outdoors.
APS-C or full frame?
One of the most important decisions you will have to make when choosing an SLR in this price range is the sensor size. Are you ready to step up to the world of full-frame photography, or is APS-C just right for you?
The key difference between APS-C and full-frame (sometimes referred to as 35mm format) sensors is their physical size, indicated in the diagram below. APS-C sensors are smaller, resulting in smaller and cheaper SLRs. However, crop factor is an issue with APS-C sensors, which you can read all about in our digital SLR basics article.
Full-frame sensors can gather more light because they are physically larger than their APS-C counterparts. This makes them better for low-light work, as full-frame cameras generally exhibit less noise at higher ISO levels. There are also advantages in situations where you don't want to encounter crop factor.
APS-C sensors do have a couple of key advantages over full frame, though: cameras with these smaller sensors can generally shoot faster than their full-frame counterparts, so they are ideal for sports. You can also use the crop factor to your advantage to increase the effective focal length of a lens.
It is possible to spend less than AU$2000 on a camera with a full-frame sensor, but you will usually only be able to get the body only for under this target than with a lens included. An important factor to bear in mind if you are upgrading from an APS-C SLR to full frame is lens compatibility. On Nikon cameras, the F-mount is cross-compatible between bodies, so they will work without any issue.
For Canon, full-frame cameras, such as the 6D, can only accept EF lenses — not EF-S lenses that are usually reserved for the APS-C sensor range. So if you want to make the jump to Canon's full-frame range, you will need to invest in new lenses as well.
Cameras with APS-C sensors in this list include the Nikon D7100 and Canon 70D, while full-frame sensors are found on models like the Nikon D600 and Canon 6D.