You got the money. And you haven't got yourself a DSLR. Sure thing. DSLR will improve your photography skills in various aspects and also you will be able to identify which type of photography you would prefer. Either an all-rounder, macro, portrait and etc.
There are 4 levels of photography gears that are available in the market and each of it have different needs and requirements. To make it simple, the more money you have, the better your gears will be.
1. Entry / Consumer
The perfect gear for someone who just stepped into the world of professional photography. Its small, lightweight, have all the basic setting for you to learn and it cost less than others. Some of it provide guide mode with detail explanation of the settings. It has basic accessories for you to improve your skills.
Canon EOS 1000D, 1100D, 450D, 500D 550D, 600D.
Nikon D40x, D60, D3000, D3100.
Sony A200, A230, A290, A300, A330, A350, A380, A390.
2. Advanced amateur / Midrange
You've proven yourself to be a good photographer. And you want to climb a step further. But this time, each step costs money. Just kidding. Gears on this level are for those with experience using DSLR before and they want to move up the ladder. Most uses pentaprism rather than pentamirror for better view. It is also more rugged and better build than the entry gears.
Canon EOS 40D, 50D, 60D.
Nikon D5000, D5100.Sony A450, A500, A550, A560, A580, A33, A55
3. Prosumer / High End
Yup. You got the money. Some would have a full-frame sensor while others are still stuck with APS-C or APS-H sensor. Gears on this level have better ISO, great settings, crisp image and able to burst-shot a lot better than others. At the moment, most professionals would prefer gears on this level as they have better weather seal and built. They also perform better in low-light condition. But beware. It will also punch a hole in your wallet.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 7D.
Nikon D70, D80, D90, D7000.
4. Professional / Flagship
On this level, its either you have too much money or your camera is going to feed your family. Yes. This is the top. This is the cream of the crop. This is nearly god-like. The quality this camera produce is second to none. Even if a noob takes a picture with this camera, it will end up becoming an award winning picture in National Geographic's Hall of Fame! It is always full frame (most of it) and usually it came with a vertical grip. The sensor is amazing. Even holding this camera will give you the thrill. Each snap of this camera can give you ... I better not use the word here. Any how, this is not for normal photography. Unless you have too much money to waste.
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1Ds Mark IV
Nikon D3X, D3S.
Sony A900, A850.
There you go. Guide that will allow you to choose you gears properly. But always check out quotations below.
'Its not the gears that took the pictures. Its you.'
-National Geographic Society
Currently, these are my gears.
- Canon EOS 1000D
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
- Canon Speedlite 420EX
- Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF
- Sigma DC 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 OS HSM
Hope this guide will help you. Thanks for reading.