$1K upgrade advice

Started Dec 4, 2018 | Discussions thread
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Mike-G Junior Member • Posts: 48
$1K upgrade advice

New member here, but I've lurked on dp for quite a while. It's a very informative and entertaining community and was very helpful in steering me to my first camera purchase.

I'm relatively new to photography. Started this summer with my daughter's Fuji XT-20, and soon afterwards bought a used Canon 7D for under $300 and a 70-300mm is II USM as my only lens. My primary interest is wildlife photography and annoying my family with all of my "keepers." No video. Occasional candid family pictures and scenery shots. I've been shooting lots of birds and have had a blast combining it with my weekend hikes and even neighborhood walks. I learned almost immediately how important good lighting and decent lens reach are for photographers. I've also learned that animals don't always cooperate and do some of their coolest stuff outside of the golden hours, in heavily shaded trees, and cloudy days.

So I have a nice lens that's not optimum for wildlife photography, and a camera that's pretty decent in most but not all situations. I've read the interesting discussions on the Tamron vs Sigma 100-400 threads, but I'm unsure if I really need that extra reach compared to the 70-300 that I already have. While looking at some 300/400mm comparison pictures, I didn't see a huge difference between the two although in my short experience the less I have to crop, the better in order to preserve decent picture quality.

I started thinking about a used 400mm f/5.6, but I don't know if my current photography skills are up to a lens like that, and since a lot of my photography is of the run-and-gun while hiking variety, I'm not sure a camera that big is suitable for my 10+ mile walks in hilly terrain.

The same considerations go for a camera body upgrade to a 7D ii or 80D. Better low light performance, better af, more af points (although to be honest I've only been using single point for most of my BIF shots), but are my once-in-a-year shots of migrating snow geese and bald eagles really going to be better with a new camera body especially when I get so caught up in the action that I forget to adjust exposure compensation for the blinding white geese or brown/gray/black immature bald eagle? Ugh.

New lens? New body? Wait to save another couple thousand for that 7D ii/100-400L combo I dream about? I'd be grateful for anyone's advice. Maybe I'm missing something...thanks.

Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 80D
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