Tag Archives: SLR

More Help with Your Digital Camera (SLR)

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As you know, I bought a new Canon(SLR) camera for Christmas. One of our readers sent in ten tips to help me (and all of you!) along the way when using and/or buying one.

  • Megapixels are not everything. People tend to think, the more megapixels the better my photos turn out. That is true to a small degree but there are so many other factors that come into consideration like sensor size, Lens, Mirror etc. I could go on for days. For example you can have a 10 megapixel point and shoot and have a very small or very bad sensor thus your pictures will probably turn out well, not too good.
  • Some people say it’s alright to change lenses while the camera is on but over time you can cause damage to your camera because the sensor is electricity charged dust particles and such are attracted to it. It does not take long to flip the off switch and change the lenses.
  • If you live in the cold like I do chances are you’ve left your camera in the cold. First things first, Condensation, if you take the camera/lens inside after being in sub-zero temperatures the camera will condensate reason being is because it comes from something cold and is probably going into a house that’s around 65-75 degrees. Instead of taking it inside that moment if you have a camera bag (I hope you do) then take the camera bag outside DO NOT PUT THE CAMERA IN IT RIGHT AWAY. Let the camera bag cool down to the outside temp. Then put the camera inside the bag. Take the bag inside the house and let them gradually warm up hopefully preventing any damage to your camera and lenses.
  • This does not apply to SLR cameras Do not get non-name brand CF cards. It’s a bad idea to risk 200-300 photos. Sure their cheaper but they break a lot and in the long run you’d have to keep replacing them so stick with the name brands and save yourself the headache.
  • Treat the camera well. You probably paid 400$+ for this camera, treat it well. It’s not disposable you know. Put the camera strap on the camera, it’s saved me a lot when it slips out of my hand.
  • Does not apply to dSLR cameras Don’t leave film in your camera for extended periods of time. It wastes the life of the film.
  • When you’re changing lenses you can’t help but to inside the camera, It’s a good idea to look inside for dust and such on a regular basis but if you ever notice something like a screw out of place, don’t try and put it back in place or tighten it. It’s just not worth it. Keep shooting with the camera and if you notice anything wrong consult your manual or your camera company.
  • If your camera has a problem that you think you can fix. Don’t try it, chances are you’re only going to make it worse and probably break the camera because there are so many small parts.
  • Something I see happen quite a lot, is people with their damn flashes open, Yeah they are useful with you need them. Not when you’re in broad daylight and don’t even need it. So when the flash is not in use make sure it is not up.
  • Before even buying the camera. Go to a place that sells camera’s, whether it be Best Buy, Joes Camera, Ritz Camera, any shop that has camera on display so that you can test the camera out before you buy it, Test to make sure it does what YOU want it to do, Make sure it fits your hands they way YOU want it to. Make sure you like it before you drop over 400 dollars for it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to someone that hates their camera because it does not work for them.

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SLR Accessories to Buy

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Calvin writes: “Just watched you video on your new Rebel XTi. Congrats! I remember when I made the jump and it was great. As a hobby photograph,I used point and shoot cameras for a while. I thought I’d suggest 5 things that I found helpful as a DSLR owner.”

  • Additional lenses I’m not being specific here, because every “eye” is different. I like landscape shots, so my wide angle lens hogs my Canon body a lot. It always helps to carry more than one lens at a time, you never know when you need that Telephoto moment or that wide angle when you just can’t step back any further. Assuming you’re gonna stick with Canon lenses, be mindful of the difference between EF and EF-S lenses. EF-S is for the cropped sensor models e.g. Rebel XTi, whereas EF are usually for the full frame sensor models e.g. 5D. You can fit EF lenses on an EF-S body, but you can’t fit EF-S lenses on a full frame body. So if further down the line you trade that Rebel XTi in for a full frame model those EF-S lenses won’t work! Also, Canon don’t ship lens hoods with their lenses that aren’t part of the L range (argh!) so you’re gonna have to buy a separate lens hood for that lens if it’s not an L “Luxury” model. IS (Image Stabilization) is another feature to look out on lenses for if you find out you have more shaky hands then you realize. Since the body doesn’t have this technology and any IS you get will be from the lenses, the benefit of this that you can see the IS effects through the viewfinder.
  • Battery Grip Picture the scene, your baby is in Ponzi’s arms and is about to yawn for the first time. You reach out for your camera in attempt to snap this amazing moment…. only to find out the battery is dead. Not that this has happened to me, but you can imagine you’d be pretty livid if this were to happen, regardless of how organized you are with batteries. Which is why I recommend a battery grip for your Rebel XTi. Not only can you store 2 batteries worth of power within the grip, but it also allows you to hold your camera vertically much easier and has additional controls when holding it in that position. The official Canon model is the BG-E3, but if you find that too pricey, there are some other ones out there which are basically the same but don’t sport the Canon name.
  • Flashgun + diffuser Whilst the flash is acceptable on the camera itself, it can never fully compare to a proper flashgun. With one, you can adjust its angle so you can bounce the flash off walls or ceiling for a less direct flash. Or even better, use an off-shoe camera cord and manually control the direction of the flash with your hand off-camera. Take a look at the offerings from Canon’s Speedlite range, they’re sure to get you going a bit. I also recommend getting a flash diffuser. Basically its a small device which softens the flash from the flash gun, which is especially useful if you need that direct flash but don’t want the harsh shadows that go with it.
  • Tripods/Monopods Tripods are fantastic if you want to take shots which just aren’t possible handheld. I have a bit of a soft spot for long exposure shots, but that’s just me! I recommend something from the Giottos and Velbon range. Again, I won’t name specifics because everyone has their own tastes so I suggest you get down to the store and have a feel, tug at its joints and play around with it. A monopod isn’t a must, but if you feel the need to reduce the camera shake in those moments but don’t have the time to setup the full Tripod, it may come in handy.
  • Camera bag You’ve got the equipment, now you need a container. I have several camera bags, namely a backpack if I want to carry a tripod, laptop and a few lenses for a long trip or a small messenger bag for just the camera and another lens. Unfortunately, I find most camera bags look too much like camera bags and are begging to be swiped. I recommend Crumpler. It’s not cheap, but they do make attractive bags. And whilst now thieves have caught on that Crumpler bags are what more and more photographers are using, for the most part they disguise themselves pretty well as being passed off as just “a bag”. They make a large range of backpacks and messenger bags for photographers so do check them out. If you don’t mind that obvious camera bag look, check out bags made by Lowepro. Their sling bags are a favorite for photographers, and their range is very respectable.

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Buying a Digital SLR Camera

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A community member at large sent these tips in after watching my video about the new Canon camera we bought for Christmas. These are excellent tips to keep in mind when buying your next camera.

  • When considering a new SLR camera, ask your self do you really need the SLR Camera? Most people want a better camera for better quality pictures, but as Chris said it is only a tool set that can guide you to a better quality picture. Are you up to spending lots of time for learning the skills of photography. If not you are almost not getting the item worth your money. Most Point&Shoot Cams can do a better job in auto than SLRs, Great Brains and Engineers worked hard to make these cameras to be as simple as possible for the user while bringing out the best quality: like best combinations of ISO and Shutter and IRIS positions to get a great picture. SLR camera can be considered as dumber than Point&Shoots, but if used right can out shoot any point and shoot simply because of the expensive lens and larger image sensor.
  • Don’t go for the highest pixel count. Normally 5 megapixel is enough for everyday shooting, but when camera has more pixel count the smaller each Pixel on the sensor, so it needs more light. For an average user the higher pixel count will only result in larger file size.
  • Invest in image stabilizing function – Digital or Optical ? both have +/-. Digital is a bit stronger because it is a before and after shot process, while optical only stabilizes before capture. Digital looses some quality while Optical does not. So try it out and choose one that fits you.
  • Consider semi-SLR – there are many cameras that work like SLR cameras but have all the features of a simple Point&Shoot. Although larger in size and heavier they offer many more features than a pocket size cameras and can be used in full auto as well as full manual mode.
  • Many stores talk down users from getting cameras that have AA Batteries. Use your brain on this one. Lithium batteries are faster and may hold more charge but you can get stuck without power easily. Buying a good set of rechargeable batteries will give you almost the performance of the Lithium’s but whenever you are on the road and don’t have a way to recharge you are stuck, AAs are available in the stores everywhere, while Lithium’s are not. So judge this one your self which one is better for you.
  • Bonus Tip! If you Chose SLR than Don’t fight about Canon or Nikon or Sony…. Go to the store Pickup a camera feel it, Press buttons, play with it. Which one feels better to you? They all have and do basically the same things. Instead Figure out your budget and spend half on the camera and half or more on the lens. Get a good lens with at least 2.8 aperture capability you will not regret it. Just remember you will change your camera 3 or more times before you will change your lens.

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