In 2017, our photography journey began with the Fujifilm X70, a gem for street photography priced at around $900. Despite its inability to swap lenses, its versatility remains unmatched, outperforming even the iPhone 15 Pro Max to this day. Our next acquisition was the Nikon D7500 in 2019, costing approximately $1100. Sporting a similar sensor size to the X70 but with 20 MP, it served us well, especially with the 18-140 mm kit lens.

Yet, the lack of a tripod often limited our usage, leading us to discover the game-changing lightweight Peak Design tripod and a handy wrist strap for constant readiness. Over time, my views on our D7500’s performance, especially compared to smartphones, shifted. Initially eyeing a full-frame upgrade, the high cost of them as well as compatible lenses made me reconsider. I opted for upgrading our kit lens.

With the Nikon F mount’s decline and the sparse APS-C lens market, we went for used gear from KEH - a decision that’s paid off. The Sigma Art series lenses have become my latest exploration, with two prime players: an 18-35 mm and a 50-100 mm, both boasting an impressively fast f/1.8 aperture. This speed is crucial for maximizing the potential of smaller sensors, offering a full-frame equivalent of ~f/2.8. Not only invaluable in low light but also for achieving the coveted bokeh effect. Another valuable addition to our kit is the Godox flash, a true ally for portrait photography in challenging lighting conditions.

Sharing this evolution might just spark something for someone out there in the vast cosmos of photography enthusiasts.