After a lot of time spent online and fretting about this purchase, I eventually plumped for the Nikon D5100 with the std 18-55 VR lens, which I got from Sundan for 5,400rmb, about 230GBP under the UK price. Included in the price were a half-way decent Nikon branded bag with lots of padding, a 4 Gb card, body and lens cover and a full-sized tripod with it's own bag. With the Sony eqpt, you even have to buy your own memory card. I'm certain there is no better image quality to be had for under 7,500 yuan. The image style of the EOS range, while very impressive, seemed a tad harsh after the initial wow-factor had worn off, especially comared to the 90D shots, which only seemed to emphasise the 600D's "trying too hard". The A580/A55/A35 were also in contention, but the naturalness, rich detail and soft break-up under stress of the Nikon suited me best. The A580 imaging is too soft and the screen a joke. The A35 is compelling, but can't compete with the D5100 in noise-levels and seemed to have a very fussy focus. The D5100 has the sensor and processor of the considerably more expensive D7000. The only gripes the experienced reviewers seemed to have with it was a lack of a dedicated ISO button and remote flash connectivity.
I'm waiting for the battery to fully charge, then thinking of some shots of my few, inexpensive watches, but one thing I have noticed is....my apartment looks terrible!
Thanks for all the advice from the members who contributed to my previous darkroom thread. I hope to post some shots soon and spend some very enjoyable hours out and about it Suzhou. Now. Lenses.........