Starting over...

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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Jason M Stone
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Starting over...
11 months ago

(Prologue: I just finished this post, and while I began with the intent to ask a simple question, it quickly evolved into a very long quasi-blog post. Sorry. I tend to be verbose and stream-of-consciousness-y. Feel free to ignore this thread... unless you're really bored.)

While my love of photography has been a constant in my life, my level of commitment to it has fluctuated wildly through the years. A year after moving to Denver (in 2008 — wow, has it really been that long?) I realized that I hadn't touched any of my gear since relocating from the east coast. Rather than letting it continue to collect dust, I decided to sell everything on Craigslist and do the only logical thing I could think of: buy a motorcycle. (Ahem.)

What was really amazing was that I was able to recoup probably 90% of my cost on the lenses (three of Canon's delightful L lenses and the Sigma 150mm macro, which to this day remains my favorite lens) and about 75% of what I paid for the 1D Mark II N body. There's a lesson there, I think: not only do good lenses make a difference in use, but they also hold their value pretty well. But I digress.

Not long after unloading all my gear, I realized I wanted to have something for occasional use, so I picked up the T1i and Canon's 18-200mm IS lens. Decent setup for casual shooting, and the range on that lens was sufficient to cover anything I was likely to need.

Then... fast forward to today. A new friend of mine has an interest in photography and a fascination with the national park system. We've taken a few trips (most recently to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah) and have more planned, but I'm suddenly kicking myself for selling the pro-level gear I had. While I'm not and never will be a professional photographer, it was nice knowing that my equipment was never going to be a barrier — only my own skill.

Before this most recent trip, I picked up the Sony NEX-6 (one of those mirrorless ILC numbers) with the 18-50mm kit lens. I decided to take only that camera with me, leaving the T1i at home. The Sony was light and easy to handle, but still had an APS-C size sensor and I managed to get some really great shots with it... but I absolutely hated it. It felt like a toy, I detested the electronic viewfinder, changing settings was a nightmare of scrolling through endless menus, and the battery life alone was a complete deal breaker. Also, about halfway through the trip, it picked up some dust or something on the sensor, so 50% of the photos have spots in the upper left quadrant (where sky is, unfortunately, often there to make those spots super obvious) — this despite the fact that I never once removed the lens; go figure. It's on its way back to Amazon as we speak. It's a bit unfortunate, because on some level, I like the idea of these smaller, mirrorless cameras one day supplanting SLRs as the camera type of choice, even for professionals. They're just not there right now.

Unfortunately, all this dipping of my toe back into the waters of photography have me dissatisfied with my little old T1i. Somehow, I have managed to convince myself that I absolutely cannot live without a full-frame sensor. Yes, I'm perfectly ridiculous.

I've spent the last couple of days, like so many others before me, poring over reviews in the debate: 6D or D600. Since the 18-200mm lens I have is, indeed, my only piece of glass, I'm not currently invested in either system (since it's an EF-S mount and wouldn't work on the 6D anyway). I've *always* been partial to Canon, but this represents an opportunity for me to move to Nikon without really sacrificing anything. The stories of sensor dust problems on the Nikon have me concerned (especially after dealing with that issue on the Sony last weekend)... meanwhile the accusations of the 6D's subpar autofocus system is also offputting. Though in the latter case, I'm not sure why I care: one of the first things I do on any camera is set it to use only the center autofocus point. That was true even when I had the 1D Mark II N, which (at the time) had what was considered an extremely good autofocus system. I just fail to grasp the point of giving up control of the focus point to an inanimate object. But I'm digressing again.

In the end, the odds are that I'll stick to my roots and get the 6D. That's why I'm making this (absurdly) long post in this forum instead of its Nikon counterpart.

I did have a question, though. Since I'm basically starting over, I wonder what your suggestion is on the lens front. The kit with the 24-105 f/4L seems to represent a pretty good deal, given the price of the lens on its own. And the range is certainly nice and versatile. But is there another lens option I should consider, while just buying the body separately (but that, combined, would be around the same price point). Yes, I had some high-end lenses in the past and I know they're wonderful, but I'm not willing to invest that heavily again in something I may end up losing interest in — at least not initially. We'll see how it goes, and I can build up the collection over time. It's kind of a "what would you do?" question: go with the 24-105 kit, or by the body and choose another lens separately?

Anyway... sorry for rambling. It's fun, though.

Canon EOS 500D (EOS Rebel T1i / EOS Kiss X3) Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS-1D Mark II N Nikon D600 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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