I recommend two cameras in the $2500 price range. One Canon and one Nikon. I will only recommend these two brands in this price range. The reason is that the ability to learn with others in the same brand, accessibility to used lenses and accessories and resale.
Reason: This semi-professional camera is a great value and has exceptional image quality. The Lens I have selected is the Sigma version of the 24-105mm f4 and is part of the Sigma Art series. Great image quality and the construction is easily as good as the Canon version.
Price Range: Expect to pay $1299 for the camera and $1200 for the lens. This is slightly higher than the 2k budget but I believe its worth it.
Reason: Nikon’s most recent version of the popular 7000 series. Excellent image quality and usability. The lens included here has a great zoom range and the key to this kit is the wide f2.8-f4 maximum aperture. This kit would be great for portraiture, weddings, and general photography.
Price Range: Expect to pay $1700ish for the camera and an additional $1200 for the lens if purchased with the camera.