Old 11-01-2015, 12:08 AM   #1
ReadingRN
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Default Professional Rebel T5i/T6i advice needed

I am in the need of a new camera and I need advice from some of the pros who somehow have the time to waste time in these forums. In short, I am wondering if anyone here would be able to give advice on the Rebel T5i and T6i cameras and possibly compare them. I don't know enough about these cameras in order to make the best informed decision and would welcome any assistance. I've been using using my Rebel XT for a heck of a long time and, while somewhat adequate, it needs to be replaced by something with software that my laptop recognizes and has much better image quality. I do not have the money to spend on anything $1000+. Also, if I am missing out on a better DSLR within my $1000 or less price range, please feel free to alert me.

I have been told that the T6i image quality and focusing would be a step above the 5. Included in the bundles for each camera would be an extra 55-250mm STM lens with image stabilizer along with the expected 18-55mm kit lens. I also have a Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 lens that works very well but is hampered by the XT's imitations and age.

As far as the prices, the T5i bundle is $800 while the T6i is $950. I am looking for something that would take great shots and last for a bunch of years. Now, if the T6i really creates better photos, I would be fine spending the extra cash to purchase something that would last me for a good amount of time.

Thank you for any help you may be able to give.

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Old 11-01-2015, 03:22 AM   #2
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My thinking is that the order of importance is: lenses, tripod, camera. I.e., the camera is the least important thing in photography. This is even more true for RR photography in that you don't really need rocket fast AF etc. My suggestion is to buy a used camera on ebay, and a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, and with the savings buy a used 70-300mm IS of some kind. It's never a mistake to put money into the best lenses you can afford. I would avoid the kit lens/camera packages.

Virtually all of my gear was purchased used, and I now have the best available. I saved a lot of $$ doing this and have never regretted it.

A suggestion: used 7D @ $450, used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS (excellent lens!) $250, used Canon 70-300mm IS $250. I assume you already have a good tripod and ballhead. If not, go cheaper on the camera and put the savings on a tripod.


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Old 11-01-2015, 03:41 PM   #3
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Unless the OP does most of his photography at night a tripod may not even be necessary so I wouldnt go cheap on the camera just for a tripod.
I wouldnt go with a Rebel Series though, get either the previously recommended 7D (more expensive) or the 70D, the big improvement is the RAW buffer limit and better FPS, both which are very helpful for railroad photography.
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:12 PM   #4
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Cool Go glass!

FWIW, I would support the concept of spending money on glass not camera. And I would go further and suggest an "all in one" zoom (say 18-200 or 18-300) that minimizes your need to change lenses (and get dust on your sensor). Chasing trains is not typically a good environment for changing lenses. Not to mention the time and concentration lost.

I have found my pictures get better the simpler my equipment is.

I normally shoot with a Nikon D90, but on family vacations I sometimes limit myself to my little D40. The cheap little D40 is a darn good camera and for most purposes can produce results not noticeably different from the D90. Unless there is some specific feature on a high priced camera that you just have to have, put the extra money into your glass. Cameras tend to be like computers with far more features than you need 99 percent of the time. Whether that one percent is important is the question.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:02 AM   #5
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I am in the need of a new camera and I need advice from some of the pros who somehow have the time to waste time in these forums.
Somehow have time to waste in these forums? What does that mean?
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:29 AM   #6
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FWIW, I would support the concept of spending money on glass not camera. And I would go further and suggest an "all in one" zoom (say 18-200 or 18-300) that minimizes your need to change lenses (and get dust on your sensor). Chasing trains is not typically a good environment for changing lenses. Not to mention the time and concentration lost.
I concur with John's advice. Although a single camera and multiple lenses might "sound" like a great set-up, my experience is that it is anything but. Changing lenses in the field will lead to a dirty sensor, so unless you are willing to inspect and clean it yourself, you will eventually have to clean up every shot in post. In addition, changing lenses will cause you to miss shots, and lens drops are most likely during hasty lens changes.

As I see it, there are two routes to producing an efficient, ready-to use camera set-up that keeps the sensors clean. Either you can use John's approach, and buy a super-zoom, or you can buy two camera bodies and shoot one with a standard zoom and the other with telephoto zoom. I used to use the former, but found that super-zooms have some weaknesses, particularly on the long end, so I now use the latter....two bodies, each with a lens that has a smaller focal range. Both systems will give you the flexibility to shoot quick, and neither will require lens changes in the field.

Lastly, a word on cameras. Yes, it is true that cameras (unlike lenses) are almost considered expendable these days. They become obsolete every couple of years. That said, I would not be too quick to compromise on the quality of the body, nor would I take the risk of buying a used one. What the higher quality body gets you is a sensor that does a better job handling low light.....and that is worth its weight in gold, if you need to photograph a one-time event, and you are not blessed with beautiful sunshine. I shoot charters frequently, and you never know what you are going to get for weather. WRT used equipment, most used cameras are probably OK, but I also have heard some stories about the junk people have sold on the secondary market. Not everyone takes great care of their stuff before selling it used. Buyer beware.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:05 AM   #7
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Not everyone takes great care of their stuff before selling it used. Buyer beware.
Amen to that!
Some Ebay sellers "forget" to disclose defects, then resist full refund requests.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:39 AM   #8
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Amen to that!
Some Ebay sellers "forget" to disclose defects, then resist full refund requests.
OTOH, I've spent over $8,000 on used gear just the past 12 months alone, and probably over $20,000 in the past three years. Dozens of purchases from all over the world. Never have I had a bad experience. Ebay is pretty strict and very much in favor of the buyer. Pick someone with at least 100 feedbacks and you're good. Been on ebay for 16 years and have yet to have a transaction that ended badly for me. Have bought several thousands in gear from dedicated photo forums such as Fred Miranda over the past two years and have never had a bad experience.


--->I speak from over a decade of experience.


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Old 11-02-2015, 03:02 AM   #9
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I concur with John's advice. Although a single camera and multiple lenses might "sound" like a great set-up, my experience is that it is anything but. Changing lenses in the field will lead to a dirty sensor, so unless you are willing to inspect and clean it yourself, you will eventually have to clean up every shot in post. In addition, changing lenses will cause you to miss shots, and lens drops are most likely during hasty lens changes.

.

The problem with the "all in one" zooms now is that the latest sensors have surpassed them. True, if you only put photos on the internet (i.e. low resolution, small size) you won't see much difference. Those lenses just aren't that high quality, and if (big IF) you ever want to do more with your photography, you will be crippled by those kinds of lenses.

As for dirt on sensors, I photo grain harvesting, threshing bees, rodeos, and so on quite regularly. I've been using single focal lenses (aka "primes") for the past year and obviously have to switch lenses. I clean my sensor about once a month, and it's just not a big deal. I have a Rocket Bulb I regularly use, and an Arctic Butterfly. Been cleaning sensors for years-it's not hard. I also clean my lenses.

Having interchangeable lenses is the WHOLE REASON to have a DSLR. This allows you tailor the lens to the task. In the end, it's the LENS that determines what you can photo, how, and how well. Instead of using one of those 18-200mm f5.6 wonders, I think you'd be better off with something like a Sony RS with dedicated lens or one of the Fujis. True, the AF on those cameras isn't as good as that of a Nikon D750, but AF is about the least important thing in phoamer photography.

Another problem with the all in one zooms is they are SLOW. Most are f5.6, some are f6.3! In daytime, no problem. However, when the light begins to fade (or is gone!) you have to push up that ISO to the point you get lots of noise and if using a Canon sensor you quickly lose dynamic range. With an f2.8 zoom such as the Sigma 17-50mm OS, you have two stops more to play with. I.e., where you'd be shooting 1/60s @ f5.6, you can do 1/250s @ f2.8. That can be huge! Train photography really does come down to shutter speed more than anything else, for sharpness. I would never be happy with f5.6 lenses in that regard.

Finally, it all depends on what your goals and expectations are. With my night shots, I often spend an hour setting up and maybe a couple of more hours waiting around. Most of the time, I get only ONE shot per outing. For all that trouble, I want that shot to be as good as it can be. Thus, I always use a tripod to maximize sharpness, my camera is the best I can afford, and my lenses are the best available. I've sold enlargments that were 4 ft. on the longest side from this combo, and I've just sold another shot to a local RR for their 2016 calendar.

All in all, the two lenses I listed earlier will easily outperform any one-lens set up when paired to the latest sensors. Like everything in photography, there are trade offs.


Kent in SD

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Old 11-02-2015, 04:13 AM   #10
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Could not find the Rebels so I subbed the Nikon D7100. Here's how the camera/lens testing lab DxO rates the Tamron 18-270mm vs. Sigma 18-200mm vs. Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 OS. That last lens is twice as sharp and has nearly twice as high a rating:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...49_865_377_865


Again, I'll agree that even this won't show much difference if you mostly only post 72 dpi and small sizes on the internet. It will show up in an 8x10 print though.



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Old 11-02-2015, 05:22 AM   #11
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The problem with the "all in one" zooms now is that the latest sensors have surpassed them. True, if you only put photos on the internet (i.e. low resolution, small size) you won't see much difference. Those lenses just aren't that high quality, and if (big IF) you ever want to do more with your photography, you will be crippled by those kinds of lenses.

Another problem with the all in one zooms is they are SLOW. Most are f5.6, some are f6.3! In daytime, no problem. However, when the light begins to fade (or is gone!) you have to push up that ISO to the point you get lots of noise and if using a Canon sensor you quickly lose dynamic range. With an f2.8 zoom such as the Sigma 17-50mm OS, you have two stops more to play with. I.e., where you'd be shooting 1/60s @ f5.6, you can do 1/250s @ f2.8. That can be huge! Train photography really does come down to shutter speed more than anything else, for sharpness. I would never be happy with f5.6 lenses in that regard.

Kent in SD
Hi Kent,

These are just some of the reasons why I abandoned the super zoom as well as small sensor cameras. When I looked at the images at 100%, I didn't like what I saw. That was especially true when I was shooting in bad light. I realized that I was spending a lot of money on travel and charters and was coming home with images that were just as you say....good for internet posting, but not always good enough for other things.

WRT cleaning sensors, I now clean my own and carry the materials to do it wherever I go. That said, because I only change lenses indoors or in a car, I rarely need to clean the cameras. I mentioned the cleaning thing in my earlier post, because not everyone is comfortable cleaning their own, and I think the camera manufacturers try to scare everyone into paying $50 or more to have their service department perform this relatively simple task for them.

Interesting comment on the AF on the D750. I have heard several others say that the AF on that camera is bullet-proof, but I have found numerous situations when it would hunt. On the other hand, in the same situations, my D4, which is theoretically the less technologically current camera, has just been kick-ass on AF. The 750 is a nice camera, but if I have a critical shot to take, I am still reaching for the D4.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:28 AM   #12
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I would forget the Rebel line and opt for the 7D as many users have said. It's in a league by itself and you can easily find one in the mid $400, or mid $500 for a low actuation count. The 7D has better AF performance, FPS, and build quality. I recently just upgraded my entire rig after a hiatus from shooting having departed from a 7D and upgraded to a 5D Mark III.

You also have to look at your shooting style in regards to what lens to buy. A jack of all trades lens, like a 18-300 sounds good on paper, but as some said they tend to be on the slow side. If you notice you shoot on the telephoto end, I would recommend picking up a used Canon 70-200 F4L lens. Don't bother with the 24-105 as many copies, including the one I used to own are on the soft side (known issue.)

Remember to have some realistic expectations with your budget.

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Old 11-02-2015, 03:43 PM   #13
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Hmmm. So the feeling I'm getting here is that the 7D is far and away better than the Rebel Ti series. So for a little extra it would be better for me in the long run to spend a little extra for the camera body and and get a lens that fits well with my style of shooting? That's just something I never thought about. I am considering new because I want the extra assurance.

Regarding lenses, I have a Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 DC Macro. Now I've been hearing a lot of good things about the Sigma 17-50 F2.8. Would anyone know enough to be able to compare them or if I would better off purchasing and using the 17-50? Also, I've been noting times where I could more effectively use a much higher zoom. What would you say about Canon's 55-250 STM with the image stabilizer? If it's worthwhile, I am okay with going a little bit over budget.

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Old 11-02-2015, 10:56 PM   #14
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Yes, a 7D will absolutely be better than the Rebel series. I've owned the 7D for 4 years before departing with it. Also, don't hesitate to plunge for a used one. I've noticed a lot of them are being sold with 24-30k actuations, which is not high at all for a camera like that especially considering it shoots at 8FPS and RAW burst rates of 25 shots before the buffer is full.

With the lens situation, I would review your work and find the average focal length you find yourself shooting at. If you've always been at the telephoto end of the focal range, I would opt for a used 70-200 F4L lens. It has solid build quality and a constant F4 aperture throughout the zoom. With regards to the 55-250, after reading reviews people say it's a slow lens considering it's rated F4/5.6, meaning you'd have to bump up the ISO to compensate for a suitable shutter speed.

Take into consideration your shooting style with what you invest your money in.
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:28 AM   #15
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The DxO site is down right now--I like it because I can directly compare lenses. However, I found another review site that talks about the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS and the 17-70mm. It reminds me that there is one OTHER factor with lenses that I look at very closely--resistance to flare. Flare is when the sun or train headlights hit the lens and washes out the contrast and color (ghosting is different but similar deal.) Both of the Sigmas we discuss are more resistant to flare than the Tamron and Canon equivalents.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

As for a long lens, I agree the Canon 70-200mm f4 IS is a superior lens and actually is pro quality. However it does cost more. My strategy over the past 15 years has been to buy the best lenses I can afford, and plug a new (used) camera in every few years. This has worked out very well. The downside to the 70-200mm is of course it's shorter FL. If you lived out here on the Northern Plains, you'd actually want a 400mm for these open spaces. Back East, you probably would do OK with 200mm. You could add a Canon 1.4x later which would yield an equivalent of 420mm f5.6 which would still be very high quality and just as fast as the xx-250 and xx-300mm f5.6 consumer zooms.

All in all, I think you would be astonished at how good a lens set of Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS HSM plus Canon 70-200mm f4 IS (with later 1.4x) on a 7D compared to what you have now. The camera upgrade you may not notice (image wise), but the lenses will make a difference when you start looking close or enlarging. Those two lenses I just mentioned would actually serve a beginning wedding photographer as a starting point, along with the 7D. Watch out though--this is a slippery slope!


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Old 11-03-2015, 03:03 AM   #16
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I forgot to mention, the 70-200 I recommended was the non-IS version, which used through B&H can be fetched around $600. Factor in a used 7D, and you can find one with a grip included for $550ish, and you have a splendid rig.

Don't be fooled, sometimes upgrading cameras can yield tremendous image quality improvements. I went from a 7D to a 5D Mark III recently and am extremely satisfied with the improvements. I noticed the colors are more vibrant and find the dynamic range several notches ahead of the 7D. On the flip side, I traded off some FPS but it made me think more carefully about what I was doing when I was firing off consecutive shots before I filled up the buffer. Also, some lenses perform better on certain bodies verses others.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:07 AM   #17
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Don't be fooled, sometimes upgrading cameras can yield tremendous image quality improvements. I went from a 7D to a 5D Mark III recently and am extremely satisfied with the improvements. I noticed the colors are more vibrant and find the dynamic range several notches ahead of the 7D. .

Yes, but used 7D is ~$450 and used 5Diii is $1,800. And then you need lenses to match it, and those aren't cheap. Slippery slope.


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Old 11-06-2015, 06:26 PM   #18
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Thank you to all who responded with their personal advice. I took the advice of some here and took a look at my photos to see how I usually shoot. Because I tend to take many more landscape/scenic shots, I decided that I would not need a 200-250mm lens. Therefore, since I was no longer looking at the zoom/telephoto lens in a camera kit, I decided to look for a better quality camera body to go with my existing Sigma 17-70 2.8 OS lens. I found a nearby camera shop that had one Canon 7D left, their floor model. I picked it up today.

Now I have been seeing a lot of reviews and some people here saying how nice the Sigma 17-50 is. I am possibly thinking of picking it up. I may end up buying it used (there you go noctfoamer) because of the price.

Thank you again to everyone for their input!
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Old 11-07-2015, 04:23 AM   #19
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All excellent advice. Kent's I particularly agreed with.
The 7D is one of the best cameras made in the digital era. Pro build metal body, weather sealing, high fps, high quality sensor, dual processors, video, the works.
Being APS-C, you get more reach per mm on your lenses. The single con is that is it's not sensational in low light.
Great glass is paramount. Sigma is no slouch in lens quality. I am not sure which one you have but it should be excellent.
Kent's experience on eBay is telling. KEH is another used place that gets raves.
Since getting a Canon 40D and 6D, I never clean the sensor. I am glad because it is a pain in the behind. I do use dual cameras but not for keeping the sensor's clean but so I can switch from tele to wide cameras.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:15 PM   #20
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Being APS-C, you get more reach per mm on your lenses.
Yes, assuming that you have a bag of full-frame (FF) lenses, as opposed to APS-C/DX lenses. Putting an FF lens on a small sensor camera does magnify the designed focal length of the lens. The downside of that arrangement is that if you have nothing but FF lenses, and you need to go super wide for some reason, you're out of Schlitz. A FF super-wide zoom on an APS-C/DX camera is just a normal zoom. You'd still need to buy a super-wide APS-C/DX zoom for that, and such a lens will not work at all on a Canon FF camera, if you ever decide to upgrade to FF. On a Nikon, a DX super-wide will work on an FX (FF) camera, although it will produce a severely reduced resolution image.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:40 PM   #21
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A 50mm is a 50mm is a 50mm.
With a 200mm on APS-C, you get a tighter FOV shot than on a Full-Frame.
With a 17mm on a Full-Frame, you get a wider FOV shot than on a APS-C.
When I was only APS-C, yes I needed to get the 10-22mm. Great lens.
The 17mm on my 17-40mm has just about the same wide FOV on my 6D as the 10mm on my 40D.
After I go all Full-Frame, I will have to get the 100-400mm because my 70-200mm will not be long enough.
6 or 1 half dozen or the other.
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Old 11-07-2015, 04:12 PM   #22
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A 50mm is a 50mm is a 50mm.
With a 200mm on APS-C, you get a tighter FOV shot than on a Full-Frame.
With a 17mm on a Full-Frame, you get a wider FOV shot than on a APS-C.
When I was only APS-C, yes I needed to get the 10-22mm. Great lens.

After I go all Full-Frame, I will have to get the 100-400mm because my 70-200mm will not be long enough.
6 or 1 half dozen or the other.

I still use camera formats DX, 35mm film, FX, 120 (6x6 and 6x9), and 4x5. I am resisting the urge to totally abandon sanity and buy an 8x10 camera. Anyway, the DX/FX thing has never really confused me because I am used to thinking of lenses in "absolute" terms.

Often on message boards we concentrate on the difference in field of view/image magnification (i.e. a 100mm on a DX is equivalent to 150mm FX,) but there is another important property that is affected as well. That property is DoF (depth of field.) A given lens on a DX camera will have one more stop of apparent DoF than that lens would on an FX camera. (e.g., a lens at f2.8 on DX will show as much DoF as f4 will on FX.) As film/sensor size increases, DoF decreases. Is this another advantage for DX? Well, it can be. With DX you can get away with stopping down one stop less and still have the same DoF as you would on FX, but now you can get one stop faster shutter speed. Like everything in photography though, this cuts both ways. Let's say you're trying to photo a train against a busy background and wish to blur the background out. With an FX camera you can probably do this at f2.8, but to do it with a DX camera you will need an ever bigger aperture, like f1.8, to get the same effect.

Lately all of this has been hitting me square in the face. I've been shooting my night shots with 4x5 on b&w film. Where with my FX camera I was getting perfectly adequate DoF at f5.6, with 4x5 I need to stop down to about f11. That takes a TON of flash power! (I've been limiting ISO to 400.) To hit ISO 400/f11 takes so much more flash than I usually use* that I've only been doing it with crews I know and have tipped off in advance.


Kent in SD

*usual exposure is
ISO 800/f5.6, so with
4x5 I need 3 stops more
light, or eight times as
much!
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:26 PM   #23
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Red face In defense of mediocrity

Reading all this makes me somewhat embarrassed to be running around with an obsolete D90 and an 18-200 zoom that is admittedly a bit soft when wide open at the wide angle end.

But since most everything I do with images these days is post them on the low rez internet, it is tough to justify going upscale.

Perhaps one of the reasons I really enjoy my light load is I remember the days of running around with three cameras around my neck, and especially that huge but wonderful Nikkor 70-200 2.8 that weighed a ton.

But as others point out, freedom comes at a price.
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