in 6 months this is my best read post! So I offer to you if you read to give advice as to what you should purchase. I will ask lots of questions, but will help to narrow the options just so you know you have the camera YOU need to have ;-)
Again today I was asked what camera i recommend. Specifically what DSLR. The answer of course in my simplistic way is 'whatever camera works best for you' but I think it should really be whatever camera you will use.
I ran into somebody taking photos a year or so ago who had just purchased a new Nikon D3000. Ohhh Ahhh, a new fancy camera from Nikon, so I asked how he liked it to which he replied "It Sucks!" Hmm not the answer I was expecting, and I didn't investigate why. My guess is that he was frustrated that it didn't take photos all by itself. It seems to me that many peoples expectation that Just because it says "Nikon" on the front, that every photo out of it will be an award winning image. I sure wish that were true, but it isn't. It is after all just a tool, and if you don't know how to use a tool, it won't work well for you. Just Sayin'! Any good crafts person won't blame his tools for their work, and any good photographer worth their salt will take a cheap point and shoot and make some amazing photographs. Using the camera within its limitations.
A camera in Automatic, is just programed to be pointed at an average scene, an average distance at an average subject with average lighting. That works for the average situation, but people expect more. We expect the camera to make amazing images when our subject is not average, when our lighting is poor, our subject is really close or really far, and it just can't, wasn't designed to do so, and if it was, it would be priced out of our reach. Autofocus won't work when the light is really low. The flash won't fill a room the size of a large living room with light never mind ta sports stadium, Taking sports action shots indoors becomes an excercise in blurry photos. Who wouldn't be frustrated with that?
The Promise isn't being fulfilled! "You click the shutter, We do the rest" Rubbish! Ok, I admit under 'average' conditions absolutely! works like a charm. But if you make the situation challanging, the deal is OFF! Low light, flat uncontrasty subject, fast subject, small or large spaces uncooperative subjects all throw a monkey wrench into the 'average' camera settings. Have you ever noticed that the camera ads on TV are always depicted in great lighting outdoors? Easy picking! The more light, the easier the job of the camera.
So it begs the question how do you work around the shortcomings? The best way is to read the manual, and take lots and lots of photos sharing and asking questions. Learning to read light, understanding how the camera sees light and color, and the limitations of your equipment all make that equipment the best! Really the best tool you have is observation. We are bombarded all the time by photographs in the newspaper, TV Print ads, Social Media. Take a moment to ask yourself if the quality is there, if so, observe how it was lit, and framed.
To get back to the question. All of the current DSLR's will take amazing photographs. All will outresolve the kit lenses that are now sold with them. All will if used well give a photograph suitable to print at HUGE dimensions for your living room wall. All will auto focus in reasonable room light quickly and accurately and give enough flash power within 10 to 12 feet, and do it for less than $1000, and even as low as $500. Why chose one over the other? Legacy lenses, size, weight, feel in the hand, a specific feature, a brand loyalty, but really, they all do the same thing well, take photos (and video)
Good luck and happy hunting!