It is very difficult to recommend a DSLR camera without knowing exactly what kind of photography you're going to do, your budget, and if you have already invested in lenses from a specific manufacturer. However, I do want to provide some VERY GENERAL principles on what camera you might consider.
If you're shopping for a camera and you aren't “up” on the current models available, I think the following table will be helpful for you to decide what to buy. This table was most recently updated on April 4, 2012.
|PRICE||NIKON DSLRs||CANON DSLRs||Which DSLR do I recommend?|
|Under $600||Nikon D3100 (Will be replaced soon)||Canon T3||Nikon D3100 for its low-noise abilities for low-light situations, but this camera is going to be updated SOON.|
|Under $950||Nikon D5100||Canon T3i (Will be replaced soon)||Nikon D5100 wins for low light capabilities, but that LCD on the T3i is fantastic!|
|Under $1,500||Nikon D7000 (Fantastic!)||Canon 60D||Nikon D7000 for low light capabilities, but 60D is great for video.|
|Under $2,000||Nikon D300s (VERY old)||Canon 7D (Getting old)||Canon 7D is the CLEAR winner–even though it's getting old. Both cameras will be replaced in Summer 2012.|
|Under $3,000||Nikon D800 (Brand New)||5D Mark III (Brand new)||Depends on what you shoot. D800 for studio work and most portraits, 5DIII for video, sports, and wildlife.|
|Your left kidney||Nikon D4 (Brand new)||1DX (Brand new)||Depends on what you're using it for.|
UPDATE: Some readers have commented that they wish this article would talk about brands other than Canon and Nikon as well. There are MANY good cameras other than the Nikons and Canons. Sony and Pentax also make great cameras (as well as other manufacturers). I fully believe that in the next few years, they will become mainstream and see wide adoption. Often they are cheaper camera bodies right now, but Sony and Pentax simply don't have the selection of lenses nor the cheaper third-party accessories available. The reason I don't recommend them right now is simply that there isn't much room to grow into the selection of lenses and accessories like you can with a Canon or Nikon. If you keep your photography simple and don't plan on going pro or needing a bunch of lenses or accessories, then you'd be happy with virtually any Sony or Pentax Camera.