This is my take on the state of play in todays DSLR market. I apologise to Pentax and Oly users - these makers produce fine cameras, I just havent included them because both companies have such limited ranges at the moment.
Clearly my groupings are pretty arbitary and people can debate all day on precisely where any particular camera sits. In the main I've thought in terms of:
Band 1 - entry level - my first DSLR. (Note how many of these bodies can only be bought with a lens - designated by the + symbol)
Band 2 - my second, DSLR. I'm getting serious and value little touches like a second control wheel, more direct buttons, less menues etc. May do a little lite pro work.
Band 3 - ok, I'm not mucking around anymore. People have worked there way here and are after very serious photograohic tools. Bigger, heavier bodies, big VF's, lots of direct controls, can be relied upon for a variety of pro roles.
A couple of things leap out from this:
1. The need for something like the 7D becomes pretty obvious.
2. The D40 is hopelessly outgunned as an entry to DSLR land and will be replaced soon.
3. Despite having a lot of camera's on the market, Sony still has two huge gaps to fill
a) A 'serious' APS body to take on the D300s and 7D (expected to be filled in about 5 months), and
b) A high end pro model to take on the D3/1D pairs (may never be built).