When I was camera shopping, my strategy was to find one at the highest price I was willing to pay, because my intent was to use it for as long as possible (going on 8 years now). As long as it was HD and used non-proprietary media (in this case SD cards), I was happy.
Looking back, my only regret is that I got a camera with a fixed, non-swappable lens. My ideal bare-bones kit would contain two lenses, one with shallow DOF and one deep. Shallow gives much better-looking shots and deep is more usable in shots where the camera and/or actors have a lot of motion.