With a budget around $1,000, you'll find some very nice "prosumer" cameras, featuring great speed and image quality. All of the cameras I've listed in this price range are DSLR or DIL cameras, offering interchangeable lenses. Most cameras that cost less than $1,000 also offer some unique shooting features. The cameras listed here include the cost of the camera body only. Accessories for DSLR and DIL cameras will cost extra.
Here are the best DSLR and DIL cameras for under $1,000, listed alphabetically.
And, if you want some help in finding the best DSLR camera, click the link and read our DSLR camera buying guide.
Those looking for an advanced DSLR camera heading into the holiday season will want to consider an interesting candidate from Canon: The EOS 7D. This Canon model has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor sporting the latest technologies, including a 19-point autofocus system, high-end ISO settings (100 to 6,400) for low-light photography, full HD video capture at up to 30 frames per second, and a built-in dual-axis electronic level.
Several accessories are available for the award-winning EOS 7D, too, including a wireless file transmitter (the WFT-E5A), which allows for remote photography, controlled over a laptop or smart phone. The EOS 7D's big brother, the EOS 7DSV, is a more expensive studio version.
The Fujifilm X-E1 interchangeable lens camera is a sharp looking model that offers a smaller size with powerful features.
The large CMOS image sensor can shoot 16.3MP of resolution. Few consumer-level cameras can match the quality of the X-E1's image sensor.
The TIPA award-winningX-E1 includes an electronic viewfinder, as well as a 2.8-inch high-resolution LCD screen. It can shoot at full HD video, offers a popup flash unit, and can accept a variety of interchangeable lenses that will work with a Fujifilm X lens mount.
The X-E1 carries a price tag in excess of $1,000 with a starter lens, so this model won't appeal to everyone. However, it's a sharp-looking, powerful camera that's available a camera body that measures only 1.5 inches in thickness (without the lens) and can be found in all black or silver with black trim.
One way for camera manufacturers to set their fixed lens cameras apart from the low-end point-and-shoot portion of the market -- and from cells phone cameras, for that matter -- is to include large image sensors in the advanced fixed lens models.
Nikon has done exactly that with its Coolpix A camera, which includes a APS-C DX-format image sensor, which is much larger than what most fixed lens cameras use, providing great image quality. The Coolpix A has a high-quality 28mm equivalent prime Nikkor lens, meaning it offers no zoom capabilities.
You can shoot in full manual mode with this advanced camera. Certainly at this price point, the Coolpix A isn't going to appeal to everyone. However if you don't want the bulk of a DSLR camera, the Coolpix A would work well for shooting great portrait photos.
The Nikon D7000 features a 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor. When coupled with Nikon's EXPEED 2 image processing system, which allows for fast autofocus, low noise in photos, and six frames per second in burst mode, the D7000 creates high-quality images with impressive speed.
Look for 1080p HD video capability, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and a built-in flash unit with the D7000, which won a TIPA award in 2011.
One of Nikon's latest advanced DSLR models, the D7100, is now available for purchase.
The D7100 has an impressive 24.1MP of resolution in a CMOS image sensor. It also includes a large 3.2-inch LCD screen, and full 1080p HD video recording. The D7100 is compatible with DX or FX format Nikon lenses. You'll find a 51-point autofocus system and a 6 fps burst mode with the TIPA and EISA award-winning D7100. This model also made my list of the best cameras in 2013.
One quick glance at the specification list for the Panasonic Lumix GX7 DIL camera will quickly convince you that this is one of the more impressive mirrorless digital interchangeable lens cameras on the market.
The GX7 uses a MOS Micro Four Thirds image sensor with 16MP of resolution, a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, a 3.0-inch touch screen LCD, and full 1080p HD video capabilities.
The Lumix GX7 has some nice advanced features, too, including full manual control, ISO settings up to 25,600, 5 frames per second in burst mode, and shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second.
The GX7 has a silver and black magnesium alloy on the exterior of the camera body along with rubber accents.
If you're a fan of Pentax DSLR cameras, you're going to want to pay special attention to the recently announced Pentax K-5 II DSLR.
As you can guess from the name, the K-5 II is an upgrade to the older Pentax K-5 DSLR.
The K-5 II will include a 16.3 megapixel image sensor, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, an optical viewfinder, a popup flash, and full HD video capabilities. The K-5 II can accept a variety of interchangeable lenses, too.
The Sigma SD15 DSLR camera makes use of a 14 megapixel Foveon X3 image sensor, which captures pixels in the primary RGB colors, providing high-quality images. In addition, the SD15's buffer is large enough to allow 21 RAW images to be shot continuously.
Earlier this year, Sigma also announced two additional DSLR-like cameras, including the DP2s and DP1x. Sigma initially announced plans for the SD15 in 2008, so photo enthusiasts have been waiting for this model for a long time.
Most DSLR cameras are designed to provide large amounts of resolution and that, along with a large image sensor, helps provide great image quality.
However, Sony has taken the resolution in its recently released Alpha a65 DSLR interchangeable lens camera to a new level for an advanced consumer-level camera: 24.3 megapixels.
Like the Sony a77, the a65 offers high-end shooting features to go with its high resolution. The a65 can shoot in full 1080p HD video, uses 15-point autofocus, and features an electronic viewfinder and a 3.0-inch LCD.
10. Sony a77 DSLR
One of the most powerful cameras aimed at advanced consumer-level photographers this holiday season will carry 24.3 megapixels of resolution.
The Sony alpha a77 DSLR camera offers a powerful set of features beyond its high resolution level. It offers a 3.0-inch LCD that can tilt and swivel and full 1080p HD video. With a series of alpha interchangeable lenses available from Sony, you can find the telephoto or wide-angle capabilities you need with the a77.
11. Sony NEX-6 DIL
The NEX-6 is a little larger than other DIL cameras, and Sony appears to be trying to create a bridge between DSLR and DIL cameras.
The Alpha NEX-6, which is available only in black, can use interchangeable lenses, includes 16.1MP of resolution, an electronic viewfinder, full HD video options, and a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen that can tilt.