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Birding On a tight budget - should I buy less now or wait to buy right?


Hi all. I love nature and am tired of using only my iphone. I've had cameras in the past but it has been years. So long in fact, when I tried to hook my old Pentax DSLR up to my Macbook, it was incompatible, so no way to download my photos. So, now I am looking at Canon Rebels including the SL2, T7i and also the D77.


My goal, other than being able to take photos of my kids, is to shoot nature. I love to garden and we have many birds, bees and butterflies that come into the garden on a regular basis. I also have lots of flowers and want to capture them as well. My husband would like to use the camera for video capture of his Tankganyikan Cichlids (fish). 


My dilemma is I've watched so many Youtube videos and it seems I "need" at least the Canon T7i or D77 to be able to even get a mediocre shot (according to all of the "experts"), and I honestly can't afford the price point of either of these with all the lenses. I can afford the D77 body only, which obviously does me no good. The T7i is slightly better but only with the 18-55 lens. I can just afford the SL2 with the kit 18-55 and the 55-250. 


I'm at a loss. To hear most of the Youtubers anything less than at least one of these is a waste of money. No camera means no pictures but I am wondering if I should just hold off and save up for the better camera, the D77 or maybe even the D80. What are your thoughts and experiences?


Thank you!


"My feeling about Photoshop is that when you need it, you'll know."


My feeling is people need Photoshop and 'don't' know it.  It is laughable to think every time you use PS you need every percent of its power.  It is a, the best, post editor that has the power.  Not the best post editor that makes you use all its power all the time.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Lightroom is one of the best.  Only Photoshop is better.  But, Karen, if you do buy a new T7i you will get Canon's own DPP4 for free. Great place to start.  Not LR but still, again, a very capable editor.  When you get into this you are going to want to shoot Raw format.  Raw requires a conversion in order to actually see the photo.  DPP4 and LR do a fantastic job of this virtually seamless on your part.

Lightroom is a great application.  It is a digital darkroom, comparable Canon’s free DPP software.  It is used to process RAW photos into JPEGs, similar to processing a film negative into a printed photo.  You can make various adjustments to contrast, brightness, white balance, noise reduction, lens correction, and more.

Photoshop is a bit more complex, and bests suited to the more artistically inclined.  Unlike Lightroom, you can edit the content of images.  I use it primarily for image stacking of macro photos, and the occasional imagery sleight of hand.

Be aware that lens correction is one of the best reasons to use post editors.  The Canon DPP application only corrects for Canon lenses.  So, if you buy a third party lens, then you will not be able to apply lens correction with DPP, and most every super telephoto lens needs lens correction applied to their images. 

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Keep in mind, kido, you are going to want to go from this to that.  




It is just the way it is! Smiley Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Love the pics!! I hope to be able to take great bird (and other wildlife) pictures one day. Thank you so much for all the advice. 



"I hope to be able to take great bird (and other wildlife) pictures one day."


You will.  Try to keep clear of the ole inner web hype.  Do common sense things, meaning think before you buy.  But most of all learn.  Shoot a lot and keep track of what works and what doesn't.  Nobody starts at the top.  And guess what, if you don't become the world's greatest photographer, the Sun will still rise in the East every morning.  But you will have one of the most rewarding hobbies there is.  There are worse things you could have taken up.  It could have been golf !

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

 "There are worse things you could have taken up.  It could have been golf !"


Funny you should say that, my dad and brother are both avid golfers but the gene was not passed on to me. My brother even manages 12 golf stores in Florida. I really have no excuse. lol



"I really have no excuse."


Yes you do.  Photography, don't let them try to steer you to the dark side.  Resist it by buying cameras and lenses! Smiley Very Happy  We'er here for you.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

What do you think of the 18-135mm USM Lens? I am seeing a lot of kits T7i, 77D and even 80D being sold with them instead of the 15-55 and 55-250 or 70-300.

"What do you think of the 18-135mm USM Lens?"


Well it is not a bad snapshot lens.  A general purpose, general use all around lens.  However, it is not a bird or wildlife lens.  Any lens that has a FL of less than 300mm is going to be a real challenge to shoot birds with.  If you want it to start and you also get one of the 150-600 super zooms, I'm all in for you.


Keep in mind most birds are small to tiny.  They tend to remain small and tiny in your photos.  This has two solutions.  One is get closer to the bird or, two, get a long FL lens.  One that is greater than 300mm.


But let's say you don't want to shoot birds and your love is elephants ! A 135mm lens just might be the ticket as long as you can stay away from getting trampled.


You get the 'picture'? Smiley Happy  Big animal needs less FL.  Tiny animal needs long FL.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Makes perfect sense. 🙂 We have a lot of humming birds that come to our feeders so I definitely want to capture them. I won't be able to afford that 150-600 lens right off the bat but wondered if I should go for the 18-135 if that is all that is available to me in store (NFM) at the moment, which is where I am making this initial purchase. Right now in my price range they have a Canon 77D with a 18-135 USM lens and a T7i with an 18-55 lens. I can order the 55-250 but that seems a waste given what you mention about 300 mm as the lowest level zoom I will need. So I think I will forgo that lens and save up for the 100-600. So that leaves these two initial packages to choose from.