"I feel like I may just stick with the t2i, get the 24-70L and then really pracitce on getting my settings down."
First practicing with setting is the best thing you can do. I don't agree with some fo the advice you have received.
There are more reasons to upgrade your camera than just one or two. The newer model like the 80D has way better supporting electronics. DIGIC 6 Image Processor for instance or the 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen.
The ef 24-70mm f2.8L lens is my favorite lens maybe of all time but for you the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is a better choice. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens is also one of my favorite lens of all time and a good choice for you. It works well with the 1.4 tel-con. Forget the 2.0x version, it penalizes you too much.
If you have the 80D and these two lens suggestions there won't be much you can't do. The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is going to deliver good WA to normal use and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM with the 1.4x tel-con will yield a 450mm equivalent f4 tele. What's not to like?
Take a close look at the EOS 80D with the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for starters. It's a constant f2.8 did I mention that? Then add the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM with the 1.4x tel-con.
So I have been researching like crazy this past week since I started the thread. I tried to focus on specifically what I wanted to do photography wise.
Main type of photography: Landscapes/Wildlife and some occasional astrophotography/low light scenarios.
Secondary: low light cityscapes
Price range wise for a body is looking between 1k-2.5k. Really not looking to move over that hump on the body.
Future Lens Collection: I definitley have my eyes set on the 24-70L and eventually a longer reaching lens for wildlife.
After my rendevous this weekend at our cabin up in Kansas, I did notice that I am still having issues with capturing all of the deer/birds/turkey I am still getting quite a bit of blurred images. When you zoom in on the deer I captured from about 300 yards for instance, the fur is just aweful looking. Time was just before dawn and I did bring the ISO up to compensate for loss of light. The deer was not moving either.I suppose this is just lack of experience on my end and not the equipment :). I was using the T2i combined with the 70-200 f4.
"When you zoom in on the deer I captured from about 300 yards for instance, the fur is just aweful looking."
As distance increases, the lens resolving power decreases. You need to get closer. 300 yards is not just too far, it is way too far away.
This photo is with a 300mm lens at about 20 feet. Getting closerer is better than getting a better lens. Also shot in Kansas!
Wildlife with poor lighting conditions is demanding of equipment. You need a decently fast long telephoto and even then it is going to require a fairly high iso. I assume you were shooting with the 70-200 and at 300 yards the deer would have been a small "blip" on the sensor compared to the overall frame size so resoloution would be fairly poor even if you could use a lower ISO. Good photos of deer from 300 yards is going to take a very long telephoto or otherwise you are cropping so small that you will reveal the detail that wasn't captured in the first place.
Unfortunately those sorts of lenses (like the 300 and 400 f2.8 primes) are hyper expensive and out of the reach of us mere hobbyists so patience and getting as close as possible are the keys. And even with the Canon "bazooka" lenses 300 yards is way too far for great images that will stand being blown up to large size unless the background is a key feature of the image.
And what you need are cooperative deer like the doe below 🙂 This image was taken near sunrise on a cloudy morning in the Smoky mountains a few years ago when my daughter and I were hiking to Rocky Top and the deer were willing to share the trail but just barely. It was taken with my 1DM2 and the 70-200 2.8 at the full tele end and the deer fills about half of the frame so I was pretty close. It would have been better had I had the 1.4X mounted with the lens at the time.
Thanks and I love the squirrel. Being in the right place at the right time is critical and even then the best shots are lost to lack of preparation.
When my daughter was 4 we were spending some time in Coloroado and we were leaving Estes Park at the crack of dawn to head downstate. Anna was in her child seat in the back of the pickup and the window was down because it was a beautiful morning. We were stopped at a light just on the edge of town when a moose ambled up and stuck his nose through her open window to look around. Unfortunately my camera wasn't where I coudl grab it and I was more worried about an upset moose anyway at that point but he observed smiling Anna for a few moments and then ambled along his way. It could have been a great photo.
And on edit below is a more typical exposure where it could have been a nice keeper but operator error completely ruined the opportunity:
1. I could have gotten a little closer without spooking this guy.
2. I didn't put the focus point where it should have been, PURE stupidity on my part.
3. Exposure settings weren't optimal, I should have dialed in a higher ISO and faster shutter speed.
Bottom line is there is no good excuse for this sort of missed opportunity and it was purely due to lack of mental focus on my part. And I couldn't blame my daughter for this because she had just turned 9 and didn't require close watching when this was taken in the Fall of 2012 at a stream in the Smokies. 3 years earlier I ended up with mediocre images of a bear and a rattlesnake but Anna was 6 at the time and on her first real hike (just over 5 miles total) so I had to concentrate on her rather than photo ops. But it was a very memorable hike for her seeing a bear and two snakes, the rattle snake forced us to extend the hike by another mile since we had to back track and take a different route to the trailhead. The snake wasn't willing to move and a detour around him would have been a very bad idea given the heavy ground cover with more of his friends likely hanging out.
When I was three I picked up a rattlesnake and carried it around the yard for about 10 minutes before my parents convinced me to put my new pet back on the ground. My mother told me later I kept petting its head and for some reason they didn't have the presence of mind to take photos of this experience. I expect I took a few years off of their lives. And the only snakes I pick up now are garter snakes that get in the way of the tractor when I am mowing 🙂