Not so beginning beginner seeks advice on camera(s)/moving forward

Started Oct 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Not so beginning beginner seeks advice on camera(s)/moving forward
Oct 13, 2012

A few years ago I decided I wanted to get better photos and was interested in learning more about photography, so I started looking at cameras.  I decided I wasn't prepared to deal with DSLR size and lenses, so I chose a pocketable Canon camera (S90) for everyday use and lower light and a panasonic super-zoom for times when reach was important (it also has an EVF, which I prefer).

Fast forward to today and I still have those cameras.  I have since taken an online photo class and read Bryan Peterson's book on Exposure as well another on the same topic and various blogs, articles etc.  What I haven't done enough of is take photos (except when I was taking the class).  I also realized that having two different cameras with different menu systems makes things a little cumbersome because I don't use either enough to remember where everything is and to be comfortable when I go to shoot.  To add to this confusion, in my attempt for yet better image quality, especially in low light, I recently purchased a Sony NEX 5N, which I may return so I can sort out what I really want and/or need.

Like many people I see post in these forums, I have conflicting needs/wants when it comes to taking pictures.  The vast majority of my photos are taken when vacationing or at family events, so something compact makes sense.  If I'm honest with myself, I don't see myself dragging around a DSLR and lenses on vacation or day-to-day, so if taking more pictures is the goal, smaller probably makes sense.  However, I also want to be able to obtain good images in lower light conditions and my zoom requirements vary -- I may be taking a picture of a building or landscape, people on the street, musicians in a club or wildlife, etc.

I guess I need to make some compromises.  What I am hoping to get from the good people on this forum are some opinions as to what compromises others in similar situations have found work best for them and any advice.  Are multiple cameras just going to be a necessity to cover all of the bases and, if so, should I stay with the same brand for familiarity?  Does a single, small mirrorless camera with a couple of lenses make sense for flexibility?  And what do people suggest in terms of a way to continue learning so that three years from now I don't find myself wondering why my skill, consistency and comfortableness with my camera hasn't really gotten any better?

This is a bit of a ramble (for which I apologize), but I suspect there are some others who would also benefit from the responses, so thank you in advance for your help.

 Larry251's gear list:Larry251's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6000 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +2 more
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