I'm exactly in the same place that skwerlee is. And I understand Nick_si but there should be something more to say than what has been said.
If somebody comes to me to ask what is the best camera they can get for 500, I will say one thing, for 1,000 i will say another thing and so it will be for 5,000 and 20,000. The brand will change, the specs will change because some brands nailed it better with price/performarce combinations than others at different market levels.
Of course somebody will come and say, hey dud go shoot with all cameras and see which one you like, but there are all sorts of problems in that. 1. not all cameras are available to shoot in all places. 2. that will consume a large amount of time, and time is money. 3 shooting one camera is one thing, but then the combination of camera, lens, software, etc...
Although we can all do that, the purpose of a forum is save time/money using community experience. I really hope someone can post more specific information.