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dixonge

Member
United States
Not counting my childhood camera (which I 'won' by selling greeting cards) my photography journey began in the 90's. I bought a basic body (Pentax I think) and captured my first tornado with it. I learned darkroom technique. Later I upgraded to a digital video camera (2 mp!) and then a Canon Rebel. In 2007, in preparation for a trip to Alaska, I upgraded to a Panasonic Lumix FZ-4x and shot thousands of bears, birds, icebergs, whales, mushrooms and landscape photos in two weeks. In 2017 I upgraded to an FZ-80.

The FZ-80 is now failing when I zoom just the right way. Simultaneously I became aware that my bird photos are often good for nothing more than identification. Last week they failed even for that, brought to my attention by another person using a DSLR and big lens (300mm I think). So here I am zooming out to 1200mm and beyond, and they are getting the same bird at basically the same size, but with much better sharpness and color.

I can get another FZ-80 for just $300. It is tempting. But now I know its reach comes at a cost of quality. In addition, I'm beginning to think my high-tech superzoom is making me lazy. If I can grab a bird at great distance, enough detail to ID it, why work on my fieldcraft and get closer? Why bother with binoculars to get a clear view and practice field identification? Why remember photo basics like aperture, ISO and shutter speed when auto-everything just works?

I decided to upgrade. My first thought was to just get a better, newer superzoom. The Sony RX10 iv has crazy reach and a bigger sensor. It also costs $1700. So I ended up going really retro, back to my early camera days. I now have a Canon T7 and within a few days I will pair it with a Sigma 150-600 C lens and I'll save almost $400 in the process. The shutter/mirror click brings back memories/emotions. Sure, it's only 3 frames/second, but it's not like I've put 10fps to use.

Most importantly, I think it will cause me to be more aware, think more about what I'm doing, learn more, be a better photographer. Hopefully be a better birder as well.
 
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