I have had endless discussions with people about the best choice of dslr to buy and there is no definitive answer unless you are looking for a specific application.
I went with my Canon 450D with a view to strapping it to the end of my telescope, mainly because the CMOS chip that does the front end business is inherently low noise. The DIGIC 3 image processing engine had a reputation as one of the finest and it has the all important LIVE VIEW mode. I am not saying this is the best camera in the price range however it does more than can be expected for what I paid. All the astrophoto's on my website have been taking using this camera.
Given the fantastic performance of the 450D, I got the Canon EOS 7D as a natural successor and the benefits of technology 2 years further down the line. Twin Digic 4 processors, full HD 1920x1080 @ 30 fps and an 18 Megapixel sensor all housed in a dust sealed Magnesium alloy chassis. As you can see from some of the photos on my website both cameras get a fairly hard life, the 450D spends hours in the winter at subzero temperatures taking astro photos and the 7D suffers bumps and bangs in and around old buildings, aeroplanes and some fairly hostile environments.
My main camera is a Canon EOS 7d bought from new when they first arrived in the U.K
It is currently running firmware version 1.2.1 and is without doubt the best camera I have ever owned.
You can view the Canon brochure for this camera here Canon EOS 7D pdf
My Canon 450D is soley used for astrophotography these days. It is fairly lightweight and aside from some minor sensor noise at the bottom 5% of the frame it is perfect for this type of use.
You can view the Canon brochure for this camera here Canon 450D pdf
My studio flash are a pair of Interfit 300 watt strobies remotely fired using an IR transmitter. It all fits into a couple of small cases and perfect for a mobile setup.
You can view the details here studio flash pdf