I have done some research on my preferred brand of Camera, Pentax, and it looks like they currently have two models that meet my base requirement of an X-sync socket to allow the use of external strobes. This is important because I would like to be able to use the Norman Studio strobes that I have currently stored away.
The Models in question are the K-5 at $1599.95 (body only) and K-7 at $1099.95 (body only). I am leaning toward the more expensive one due to higher data capture and some of the high end features. One thing I have been reminded of during this research is that good lenses can tend to cost more than the camera body. For example, a smc Pentax DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM lists for $1399.95 and a smcP DA 50-135mm f2.8 ED (IF) SDM lists for $1129.95. It is very nice to see that Pentax is still making prime lenses. For those that do not know, a prime lens is a fixed length lens, like the 300mm lens I referred to.
It is possible to find less expensive lenses out there, but the lens is the heart of the camera and plays a very large role in the quality of images you get. No amount of manipulation in software can fix an image taken through a cheap lens.
Due to cost and budget constraints, I may only get one lens with the camera and work with my old lenses. I will at least get a short zoom like the DA * 16-50mm F2.8 ED/AL (IF) at $1029.95. The prices I quote are directly from the Pentax Web Store. I am sure that I can find lower prices by shopping around good camera stores like Gordon’s Photo Service in Reno.