Been using point-and-shoot cameras for a number of years, recently upgraded to something better. I've played briefly with a couple cheap DSLRs (Canon XS, Sony A300) and also with a Sigma DP1 (very sexy camera, but so slow!), finally settled on a Panasonic G1 - not quite a DSLR (it's the first Micro Four Thirds camera actually) but for most purposes it's just like a cheap $600 DSLR, in terms of features and image quality, only smaller and more user-friendly. That's the camera I'm using currently. But I'm looking at the high end side of things, and I see a Canon 5D is over $2k, or an EOS-1Ds is over $7k. Same with the Nikon high end. That's a 10x increase over my current type of camera. It just begs the question - what can those cameras do that mine cannot? This is not just about features (a cheap DSLR has enough features for me now). One thing I currently struggle with is dynamic range and exposure issues. The G1 usually does a good job at finding the right exposure parameters but, when developing RAW, very often I have to fix the usual blown highlight, or the squished black, or whatnot. This is usually doable after twiddling the knobs for a while, but it's the main reason why I spend on average one hour for each album I develop. And it's not just the G1, I noticed all DSLRs in this price range are similar in this regard. Also, the noise. The G1 is not quite as clean as a Canon XS, but surprinsingly it's slightly better than the Sony A300. In other words, if I have to shoot at ISO 1600 or higher, then I definitely need to use a smart denoiser (Noise Ninja), otherwise the image is freckled. In practice, I never go above 1600, I configured the camera to stop there. Are those expensive cameras better in this regard? Can they "magically" do something to alleviate the burned highlights and that kind of stuff? What is the smart stuff those cameras have that the cheap ones have not? How about low light performance? I bought the G1 specifically because I was dismayed with the low light performance of the point-and-shoot (also the shutter lag was a big issue). With the kit lens, the G1 is adequate: when my kids are playing in the living room, I can take pictures without the flash, and they come out just fine, provided I tweak the ISO and shutter a little. Given a similar lens (1:3.5/14-45), how much better in this regard would an expensive DSLR be? Would it get to the point where I can just push the button and it takes great pictures indoors without the flash, no tweaking required? (and keep in mind, children are pretty dynamic subjects) I know I can put a faster lens on my G1, but that's probably not going to happen. So, to make a long story short: in terms of performance and image quality, why are people paying $2k - $7k for a high-end DSLR?