Next step: camera, lens, or education?


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Sep 28, 2010
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I started with a Rebel XS with kit 18-55mm IS about 9 months ago, and have since added the canon 55-250mm IS and 50mm f/1.8 and a 430EX II.

I've read some books and researched online, and I feel I have a pretty good grasp of the fundamentals, and feel comfortable operating my equipment in general. I still have a long way to go as far as experience; I don't feel that I've "outgrown" my camera, but I also feel like I could use a fancier model without it being over my head.

Of course, I've also shopped around for nicer lenses, but I haven't been very enamored with what I found in the few-hundred-dollar price range for a "walkaround" lens.

I have recently been toying with the idea of upgrading to the new 60D. A friend of mine, who has had some formal photography education and a lot more experience than I, has urged me to reconsider and instead take some photography classes.
I think time is a bigger issue than cost when it comes to classes (at least from the offerings I've seen), so it's mainly a question of whether or not I should consider upgrading before I've mastered my entry-level camera.

While I feel that the operator is still a bigger bottleneck than the camera in my case under most circumstances, I have been drooling over the more advanced autofocus (I have a puppy, enough said) and low-light performance offered by the nicer models.

Anyone got any advice?
Consider buying the camera body, benefit from some of the features now and grow into the rest?
Shop for a lens and hold off on the camera for now?
Or, save the cash and just focus on practicing and maybe taking a class or two?

Comments appreciated.
Usually the rule is to put your money into your lenses first. I would do that until you feel your camera is restricting you from taking better pictures. And always practice! I wouldn't take classes, there are plenty of resources on the internet that you can benefit from for free. But if you prefer hands on learning, take a class.
I would buy good glass first absolutely. I'm currently shooting with the same basic kit as you but from the nikon camp (d40, 18-55, 55-200, 50 1.8, sb-600). My next purchase (this friday actually) is going to be a sigma 70-200 2.8. After that I plan on buying a new computer for editing (I'm 17, and currently sharing a laptop with my mom, which SUCKS), then buying the new d7000. Thats my plan for the next four months or so. Sharp, fast gass is the single best investment you can make in photography.
Yep started with a D40 with 18-55 & 55-200vr kit lenses.
Then to increase my usability in more situations like indoors and lower light situations.
Replaced my 18-55 with Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and usability and Image IQ went up.
Then replaced my 55-200vr with Nikon 80-200 f2.8 AF-D. Added a Sigma 10-20 and couple of primes and flash. Then upgraded body to the D90 couple years later.

Becoming intimate with camera controls,features and changing them without looking and learning the ability of lenses and flash you own are first and foremost. As learning them you start to pick up on things like exposure,DoF,metering,etc.. thru the different modes of the camera. And way too many tutorials and howto's online and in books to keep me busy learning.

I would consider specific workshops on lighting,flash,wildlife,etc... If I was finding a need for more structured approach. But generally find all the info online and then just go out and practice.

And learning with a solid understanding takes persistent practice and going out more than just the weekends. I take my camera everywhere and shoot almost everyday something if nothing more than the practice.
Thanks for the responses!

"Lenses first" wasn't the response I expected, so I'm glad I asked.
The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 seems the most appealing to me so far for a next step, and seems to be fairly popular in general. After that, I'm not entirely sure which direction to go.
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I bought the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and I am thrilled with the image quality!
Thanks again to everyone who replied.

I bought the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and I am thrilled with the image quality!

btw,what is the price?
Yo Dude.....

Use the Internet! Highlight and copy the 'Tamron 17-50 f/2.8'. Go to and paste the 'Tamron 17-50 f/2.8' into the amazon search field - click GO. You can then view new and used pricing........: Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP ZL Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras: Electronics

Repeat that action at other online stores.
Yeah dude good glass is huge. I just bought the sigma 70-200 2.8 on friday and I'm loving it, its great!!! Blows away what I expected based on the reviews.

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