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      10-12-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Canon Rebel XTi

Good morning gang,

I went to my local Costco yesterday and I purchassed a Canon Rebel XTi with the standard kit lenses 15mm-55mm

Now, here is where I need your help

I am a complete IDIOT when it comes down to cameras (this is my first SLR)

But I would like to get some advice from some of you that are more experienced with SLRs, of which settings to use to take some nice pics of my 8 months old daughter (moving arround a lot), and perhaps some more stable objects like my car or group photos.

Now I know that you are going to say that I need to buy new lenses, but I would like to first learn to max out the potential of the standard ones, before I spend $500.00 bucks on a SI wide angle ones ... you know what I mean.

I want to play with the camera this weekend during the day and maybe even at night.

Please, provide me with some advice for manual settings! Greatly appreciated!
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      10-12-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
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I would probably head over and post this in the Photography section... there are a lot of good tips there.
I'm sure the admins will move it anyways
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      10-12-2007, 08:45 AM   #3
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awesome camera

got the same one too!

there's a great photography forum on the off topic place, was pretty helpful for me
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      10-12-2007, 09:19 AM   #4
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How much was it at Costco ive been looking for the same camera.
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      10-12-2007, 09:41 AM   #5
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Enjoy your new camera.

Digital SLRs are great for taking pics of littl kids, there's little to negligable shutter lag - i.e. the time you press the button to when the camera takes the pic. I got my DSLR for the same reason.

Tips:

Get close
Take pictures low to the ground (at your kids profile)
Try black and white shots
try avoiding the flash and using ambient light conditions (dial up the ISOs or use auto ISO)

the beauty of the digital camera is you can have a lot of fun trying pictures and perfeecting your tecnique to immediate effect. Take ashot - review wit on the LCD and then try again.
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      10-12-2007, 09:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richwm View Post
How much was it at Costco ive been looking for the same camera.
I got it for $650 + 4GB card + Tax

Original price was $699.95 + $54.95 for the 4GB card, but they made me 15% discount because my wife called in and they told her they have the online special ($719.95 + Free 2GB card), but when I went there to pick it up they said to me that they do not have the online stuff in their stores.

Long story short -- after speaking to the manager there, she discounted the camera 15%
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      10-12-2007, 09:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCS View Post
Enjoy your new camera.

Digital SLRs are great for taking pics of littl kids, there's little to negligable shutter lag - i.e. the time you press the button to when the camera takes the pic. I got my DSLR for the same reason.

Tips:

Get close
Take pictures low to the ground (at your kids profile)
Try black and white shots
try avoiding the flash and using ambient light conditions (dial up the ISOs or use auto ISO)

the beauty of the digital camera is you can have a lot of fun trying pictures and perfeecting your tecnique to immediate effect. Take ashot - review wit on the LCD and then try again.

I played with the camera last night but I wasnt able to get good shots. Maybe I should try again during the day and see how that turns out
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      10-12-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
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If I am shooting inside my house during the day (no flash), what would my manual settings be?
Shutter speed, ISO etc?
Thanks!
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      10-12-2007, 10:22 AM   #9
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i just got the same camrea 2 weeks ago. I'm still learning to use it and my pics arent coming out great just yet. There are some good books out there if you want to read up on the camera
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...70110072&itm=1
or start with this one. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...00591006&itm=2
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      10-12-2007, 10:29 AM   #10
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Good rules of thumb is... For fast moving objects, unless you want to capture the blur, you may want to have a fast shutter speed and wider lens opening (lower aperture)... but it will decrease the deapth of field...

For slower/still objects, and where you need a higher depth of field, slower shutter speed and narrower lens opening (higher aperture) setting might be good, although you will need to make sure you are not shaking the camera too much. Tripod?
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      10-12-2007, 10:34 AM   #11
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Great camera for the price!!!

Best advice...practice practice practice.

Try different settings to see what works for the light your in.

Low F stop, higher than normal iso, and a steady hand will help w/ kid pics.


Here is a nice shot taken w/ a fixed 50mm f1.4 (the low f stop allows for a blurred out background and a quicker shutter speed....the higher the f stop the more of the picture will be in focus and sharp but with a reduced depth)

He is pondering quantum physics

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      10-12-2007, 10:51 AM   #12
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1. Never use your lowest or highest aperture (f-stop) setting.

2. All things being equal, most lenses are at their sharpest at f/8. If depth of field (DOF) doesn't matter, use f/8.

3. For portraits and people pics, use a small DOF and focus on their eyes. For outdoor/landscape, go with smaller apertures, but not f/22 (see above).

4. If there's not enough light, get more lighting. If it's still not enough, change locations. If it's still not enough, put the camera away and try again when there's more light. After all that, if you absolutely have to have the picture, then it's OK to use a flash.

5. Play around and practice a lot. Photography technique involves lots of balancing between lighting, contrast, exposure, perspective, motion, DOF, and color. If you have the gift, you won't need lessons--just practice and experience.

6. Be prepared to throw thousands of dollars away on this hobby if you get wrapped up in it. When you get a great shot, though, it's worth every penny.

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      10-12-2007, 11:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronco View Post
I played with the camera last night but I wasnt able to get good shots. Maybe I should try again during the day and see how that turns out
Ideally, you want to keep the ISO low, in the 100-400 range if possible. 800 and above will increase the "graininess" of your photos quite a bit. That being said, without some very expensive lenses, you won't be able to take indoor natural light photos without a tripod without using very high ISO.

Beyond composing a good picture, the basics you have control over at a given focal length are aperture and shutter speed.

Aperture is denoted in "f-stops" and the smaller number is a bigger hole in your lens which lets in more light. Note that the bigger the hole, the more out of focus the parts other than the subject will appear. This is called depth of field. For every "full F-stop" you decrease, you allow twice as much light to get to your sensor, which allows you to either halve your ISO, or double your shutter speed. Note that large aperature (small F-stop number) lenses are called "Fast lenses".

Shutter speed is the 2nd big thing you control, and it's measured in seconds or fractions of a second. The commonly used guide rule of thumb for taking hand-held non-blurry photos is 1 / (focal length). Therefore, if your kit lens is zoomed all the way in (close up) it has a focal length of 55mm. Therefore, to get a non blurry photo, you'd need to have your shutter speed of 1/50 or faster. When it's up close, you may be able to get away with a 1/20 shutter speed without things blurry.

IS (canon's image stabilization) will give you a little bit of that back... so perhaps 1/40 or 1/30 when zoomed to 55mm. It won't magically make all your pictures clear though.

Note that this rule only applies to things that aren't moving. To capture motion, you'll always need a faster speed. I've found that 1/500 freezes running quite well, but "impact events" need perhaps 1/1500 or 1/2000 to freeze motion. (like kicking a soccer ball). Obviously this translates into the need for WAY more light, meaning either a faster lens or a higher ISO value.

Also note that IS does nothing for moving subjects, it's purely for camera shake.


Once you've adjusted for the required shutter speed and the aperature you want to use, then adjust the ISO. If you're taking pictures indoors in the evening and don't want to use the flash, your kit lens is likely something like 18mm/f3.5 ... for that you'll need ISO800/ISO1600 to take a usable picture. If you have open windows, ISO200-400 should work okay. The best way to get around insufficient light is just turn on more lights than you normally would or open a few more windows or something.


BTW, while you want to use full manual, I'd recommend using one of the semi-manual modes and see what you think. If you're photographing a person, people generally want a very shallow depth of field so (assuming it's anything like a nikon) put it in aperture priority and set the aperture to the minimum F-stop (f3.5 or whatever) and enable auto-ISO and the shutter speed should be automatic.

If your daughter is running around, use shutter priority mode with a minimum shutter speed of say 1/300-1/500. (Or keep the shutter at 1/50 to 1/100 if you intentionally want to blur her legs a little bit)

For taking a picture of a static object in low light, even a very cheap tripod will let you take very cool pictures of objects at dusk using long exposure times that will look excellent. Until you get a tripod, just setting the camera on a shoebox, a chair, a fence, or a million other things will work. For taking pictures in the dusk/dark though, you'll just have to experiment with the settings, and odds are you'll have to manually focus the lens since the autofocus mechanisms require light to see if things are blurry or not.



Lastly, if you really want to take good pictures indoors, you'll need a faster lens. Luckilly, the entry into this type of lens is cheap.

This link is to a fixed-focal length 50mm lens with a f/1.8 aperture, which will allow several times more light in compared to the kit lens. It costs $75 brand new.

http://www.adorama.com/CA5018AFU.html


The next step up in speed is f/1.4 (almost twice as much light as f/1.8) for quadruple the price ($300).

http://www.adorama.com/CA5014AFU.html

A half step faster than the 1.4 is a f/1.2 for $1400.


If you know you want to take a ton of indoor natural-light photos, maybe spend $75 on the f/1.8 lens and see what you think.


Oh, and sometimes you just gotta use a flash, no matter how many dollars worth of lenses you throw at the problem. Same with a tripod, below a certain light level, no human can hand-hold steady enough to get a non blurry photo.
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      10-12-2007, 11:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
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1. Never use your lowest or highest aperture (f-stop) setting.

2. All things being equal, most lenses are at their sharpest at f/8. If depth of field (DOF) doesn't matter, use f/8.
One caveat, the dropoff in sharpness usually starts from the edges and works towards the middle. In low light or indoors, you rarely have the choice of using using f/8 without a flash without cranking the ISO way up.
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      10-12-2007, 11:17 AM   #15
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I usually set the ISO at 200 on my Nikon D200 to take pictures of my kids. And to be honest, the auto mode on most DSLR do a really good job. I mainly play with just the iso and f stop. Set your camera's ISO between 400-800 for most indoor multiple shots when taking picture of your kid if you don't want to use the build in flash. When you use your flash, it will give you different effect on how the picture look and you have to decide if you like it or not. 30% of my pictures now are shot with the external flash and I like it more and more.
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      10-12-2007, 01:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
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... Please, provide me with some advice for manual settings! Greatly appreciated!
I can't help you with the Canon specific questions, but I can give you some ideas about setting up for manual shooting.

First, check some places like www.kenrockwell.com and see how your camera stacks up at different ISO's. It may take some reading to find this info, but it's an easy site in which to become engrossed.

Don't be afraid of the flash, but consider getting an external speed light. The one built in to the camera is a piece of poo. The important part of an external speed light is the ability to bounce off the ceiling or to use a diffuser. It will greatly reduce the harsh nature of beginner flash photography.

For shooting indoors, look at using ISO's in the 400-800 range, depending on what your research in #1 above reveals. If you can't find anything, experiment. BTW, always be ready to experiment. That's the fun of photography. I have a DSLR thats about 14 mos old, and I've shot almost 10,000 frames. Practice, practice practice.

If you're not familiar with the ISO setting on your camera, it's adjusting the light sensitivity of the CMOS / CCD image sensor. The higher the number, the less light is needed to make an image, and the darker the setting in which you can shoot. The downside is the higher the number, the more noise is introduced to the photo. Newer cameras are better than older ones here, and it's always getting better. People claim to get good results out of my D200 with ISO 1600, but I see lots of noise. The larger you plant to enlarge the photo, the more noise you'll see. It's the same look as grain in a film camera.

As for the settings of the lens, wide open is usually best for shooting indoors with no flash. Generally, your lens will yield the sharpest images around f/8-f/12, depending on the lens, but you'd need a flash indoors to use these f/stops. Your lens probably has a marking that says f/3.5-f/5.6, or f/1:2.8 or something like that. The numbers will change, but the f/ is indicating the aperature of the lens. The aperature is controlled by a diaphragm inside the lens that can change diameters. Smaller numbers equate to larger openings, and more light coming through the lens. So, The SMALLER the number, the better the low light performance, but the shallower the depth of field.

Depth of field is how much of your image will be in focus as the distance from the camera increases or decreases. The full explination of this is the subject of many books, but here's the 50,000ft view: The depth of field increases as the f/stop increases. So, f/1:2.8 has a very shallow depth of field (your subject's nose may be in focus, but the ears may not), where f/1:22 has a very long depth of field (the whole football field may be in focus). Play with this, master this, and you have mastered the physics of photography.
It's worthy to note that the depth of field is actually a ratio of the distance of the subject from the camera. So, in a close-up photo, at f/1:2.8, the pistols of the flower may be in focus, but not the petals. At f/1:8, the pistols and the petals could be in focus. Now, if you're shooting the quarterback on a football field, at f/1:2.8, the entire person may be in focus, but the sidelines could be fuzzy and the stands behind and the fileld in front completely blurry. This to me is the most fun part of photography, and the reason I spend $$$ for lenses with fast aperatures (low f/stop numbers). At f/22 in the above example, the whole stadium could be in focus.

Now you can learn about shutter speed. The only real reason to mess with the shutter speed when you have established the desired aperature and metered the light is to show motion, or a blurred subject.

To start, I usually set the aperature depending on what I want to do, and then adjust the shutter to get the needed light into the camera. The camera can do this automatically, it's called Aperature Priority mode. It's a semi-manual mode, where you set the aperature, and the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed to get a "correct" exposure. I make about 80% of my images this way. The exception to this would be shooting action, where you'll need a high shutter speed (usually over 1/500th second), and then adjust the aperature to get the desired exposure as dictated by your camera's internal light meter.

How's that for a start?
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      10-12-2007, 01:52 PM   #17
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WOW..... I am speachless guys....

GREAT advice from all of you. I think I will even print out this thread and use it as a guide along with the mini-guide that came up with the kit

What type of lense I need in order to take pictures that re focused in the middle and blurry arround the main object?
Shooting distance from 10 inches to 18 feet.

Or do I need to adjust any settings
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      10-12-2007, 02:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronco View Post
WOW..... I am speachless guys....

GREAT advice from all of you. I think I will even print out this thread and use it as a guide along with the mini-guide that came up with the kit

What type of lense I need in order to take pictures that re focused in the middle and blurry arround the main object?
Shooting distance from 10 inches to 18 feet.

Or do I need to adjust any settings
It all comes down to depth of field and how big the object might be. It's easiest with something that has at least an f/2.8 or faster, say 1.4. or 1.8. For a flower, you'll need to be close, around the 10 inch mark as you said, to keep the depth of field close to the depth of the whole flower. As you move away from the flower, the total depth of field for that f/stop will increase. Check this site out - http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html - it's cool to play with, and will give you a good feeling of what you can do. The near limit is the closest distance to the camera that will be in focus, the far limit is the furthest distance from the camera that will be in focus, and the subject distance is the distance of the spot on which you are focusing to the camera.


It also helps if you have a telephoto lens that is around f/2.8. I have a Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8, and the results are stunning. You'll want a tripod for something like that, and you have to back off a ways, but it's a cool effect.
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      10-12-2007, 02:16 PM   #19
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What type of lense I need in order to take pictures that re focused in the middle and blurry arround the main object?
Shooting distance from 10 inches to 18 feet.
Few lenses will focus at 10" - they are typically called Macro lenses - they cost more . And you'll need a 100mm+ zoom for shooting at 18'.

To show the subject focused/sharp and a soft background, you will need a lens whose aperture goes to f2.8 or wider (meaning lower number). To a budget, get the 50mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.4, they are excellent lenses (and the latter one will allow for some incredible low light photography, once you get some experience under your belt).

As others have said, to freeze a fast moving child, you will typically need ISO 400-800 and a shutter speed of at least 1/500sec. Put the camera in Shutter Priority (I think that's called Tv in Canon-speak) and set your shutter value to 1/500 - and experiment (also try 1/1000, 1/2000 etc.).

If you want good looking portraits, set the camera in Aperture Priority (Av in Canon-speak, I believe). Set the aperture value to f2.0-f4.0 (whatever the lens allows you) and again, experiment.
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      10-12-2007, 03:08 PM   #20
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Is this lense only an Auto Focus? Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

What does that mean? Will I be able to manually focus or...GOD I want to learn so many new things so FAST
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      10-12-2007, 03:12 PM   #21
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Is this lense only an Auto Focus? Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

What does that mean? Will I be able to manually focus or...GOD I want to learn so many new things so FAST
I think both manual and auto-focus. USM means ultra-sonic motor, which is a way of saying a fast, noiseless focusing motor.

I don't think the Xti's viewfinder is big/bright enough to allow easy manual focusing anyway.
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      10-12-2007, 03:14 PM   #22
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Few lenses will focus at 10" - they are typically called Macro lenses - they cost more . And you'll need a 100mm+ zoom for shooting at 18'.

To show the subject focused/sharp and a soft background, you will need a lens whose aperture goes to f2.8 or wider (meaning lower number). To a budget, get the 50mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.4, they are excellent lenses (and the latter one will allow for some incredible low light photography, once you get some experience under your belt).

As others have said, to freeze a fast moving child, you will typically need ISO 400-800 and a shutter speed of at least 1/500sec. Put the camera in Shutter Priority (I think that's called Tv in Canon-speak) and set your shutter value to 1/500 - and experiment (also try 1/1000, 1/2000 etc.).

If you want good looking portraits, set the camera in Aperture Priority (Av in Canon-speak, I believe). Set the aperture value to f2.0-f4.0 (whatever the lens allows you) and again, experiment.

Is there a MODE that I can go in to adjust both the shutter speed, the ISO, and the f?
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