It has been about 4 years since I got my Rebel XS, the entry level DSLR from Canon. I have had lots of fun shooting with the camera at events and friends’ parties and on vacations. My camera arsenal has grown up to be an expensive set of lens and filters. Why do I do this? After all, with today’s smart phone cameras, you can get decent pictures and thousands of people just don’t bother to carry a camera anymore. The answer is it has become a serious hobby. You have to spend your spare time somehow and photography is one of the ways for me. The XS and its lenses have given me so many great pictures that now I have a a ‘Wall of Family’ – a collection of photos in our family room that is quite a sight for anyone visiting. Then there have been so many events and parties where the photos I took have been enjoyed. Those amazing shots of children – spontaneous and refreshing to look at anytime, they are priceless. Of course, all the gadgetry and the accouterments that you buy and accumulate have no meaning in the end – you don’t carry them with you to your grave. Thinking about it, when you are lying down on the bed waiting for the end, you don’t even think about family or loved ones. This way life is shitty when you know you are left with just memories. But for those times when you are alive, it is good to have memories refreshed with these photos. I have a digital photo frame in the family room that I just re-programmed to run almost all day. This way it churns up more of the old photos. With a collection of more than 22k photos, I found that a two or four hour window every day just doesn’t let the frame pick up all the photos. This is now working better, until we get a frame that picks up a photo to render on a truly random basis regardless of the album size.
Anyway, coming back to the camera, recently I was shooting at a friend’s party and had my long lens on. I was also using my friend’s camera with the wide angle lens. This way I could get those amazing close-ups as well as the group shots. I realized it is a pain to switch lenses on one camera body and without two lenses, I miss a lot of moments. You can of course get a super zoom, such as a 18-300 Tamron, but the quality of the photos isn’t the same as a dedicated range lens. The zoom lens has a lot of glass in it – sometimes in excess of nine elements and the more they are in there, the more complex it becomes to get a sharp image. Hence the pros don’t use zoom at all. But then you can’t carry five camera bodies to cover all the needs, at least not for the general lot.
Since I had invested in the Canon line of lenses, I had to stick with Canon. Nikon sure has some great lenses and most of all, Image stabilization is built into the body of the camera so the lenses are a bit cheaper compared to their Canon counterparts. Carrying a heavy camera bag is surely a deterrent to enjoying a vacation and I had switched from a camera backpack to a handheld bag. Fitting two camera bodies with two lenses would have to be the goal. Given this requirement – that the load should be lighter, the Canon SL1 was a good choice. It had good reviews. At the other end of the Rebel range it was the T6S. The T6S is about 20% larger and heavier but was $200 more expensive. The T6S also had 19 auto-focus points and top LCD for a quick look at your settings. It also had a 24MP resolution compared to the SL1. You can see a detailed comparison here. Paying $849 for just the body of T6S was a bit of stretch on the budget.
I looked at the t6i which is a step below the T6S – it doesn’t have the top LCD, otherwise it is pretty much the same and was about hundred dollars cheaper. Late Saturday night as I was browsing on Amazon, I saw that the T6i was available for $150 less and it came with a kit 18-55 lens. This almost seems like a typo given the T6i body alone was $749. For fifty less, you would get both the body and a good lens. This was a clincher and I know what my second body would be 🙂 Later the next day I read that Canon had started a new promotion of $50 off on the t6i body and lens combo.
Happy as I was, once I got the t6i I got some trial shots. On the camera’s LCD, they pictures looked great. When I downloaded them onto the computer, they weren’t even close to what my Rebel XS took. I need to figure this one out now.