Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back to the Basics - The EOS Digital Rebel XT

Canon introduced the Digital Rebel in 2003 and revolutionized the world of digital SLR cameras with the model when it retailed for just under $1,000.00. What really shocked the camera critics was the fact that lightning did indeed strike twice when Canon released the totally redesigend second generation of the Digital Rebel line, the Rebel XT. With an 8MP sensor, it was a serious competitor of the EOS 20D and with the price around a grand as well, This camera could actually serve as a "disposable" DSLR for professional photographers to take into areas that they did not want to risk their more expensive gear.

I picked up my Digital Rebel XT in March 2005 and I have been impressed by what this little camera can do ever since. Even 6 years later, this camera (with the very inexpensive kit lens) continues to take great photos that compete on the level of my 5D (Classic and Mark II) bodies. For this reason, I selected this camera for the project to showcase the ability of entry level DSLRs.

Here is a summary of some of the Digital Rebel XT features:
  • Eight megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC II image processor
  • Instant power-on time, faster shutter release, shorter blackout time
  • Continuous shooting speed increased (3.0 fps)
  • Buffer increased (14 JPEG frames)
  • Image processing time decreased (thanks to DIGIC II)
  • Small, light weight body
  • Re-designed control layout (drive mode button, new metering mode & AF buttons)
  • Metal mode dial
  • Harder rubber finish on hand grip
  • Smaller and lighter NB-2LH battery (same as PowerShot S60 / S70)
  • Flash pop-up slightly higher than Digital Rebel (just 5 mm)
  • E-TTL II flash
  • Nine custom functions
  • Customizable SET button
  • Control noise reduction
  • Flash sync speed in Av mode
  • Shutter button / AE button
  • AF-assist beam control
  • Selectable 0.3 or 0.5 EV exposure steps
  • Mirror lock-up
  • E-TTL II mode
  • Flash shutter curtain sync (1st or 2nd)
  • Selectable Metering mode
  • Selectable AF mode
  • Flash exposure compensation
  • Independently selectable color space
  • Two preset and three custom image parameter sets, B&W mode (same as EOS 20D)

  • So as you can see, it was a pretty easy pick to select the Rebel XT as it was several hundred dollars cheaper than the 20D and had a better feature set than the competing Nikon D70. Plus with the feature set included in this camera, it was an easy step up to the bigger offerings from Canon like the 5D.

    Still today, this camera is a great bargain with the used kit packages selling for $400.00 prox. For the first time DSLR user, this is a perfect camera to begin learning the basics of photography. Add to the equation that this is also a Canon body that is compatible with the complete lin of EF and EF-S lenses, then you have a real bargain for a starter camera that will grow as far as you want to take it. This may not be the best Canon camera ever made, but it is on the list of memorable models that put Canon at the top of the pack in the now highly competitive DSLR camera category.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    New Project Now That Spring is in the Air

    Spring is in the air and may I never have the pain of ending winter with a broken wrist from falling on ice. It took four weeks of being trapped in the house to heal and another two weeks of modified work with a cast, but two months later, I can move my wrist without too much pain.

    So with that disclaimer out of the way, I am back and ready to roll on a new photography mission this year. My goal is extend my knowledge of photography and also explain more about what I learn in this blog to make others a better photographers as well. "Back to Basics" is a project where I am going to hit my favorite photography spots with my first DSLR, the Canon Rebel XT Kit.

    The purpose is to demonstrate the power of these little Rebel series cameras (even this 6 year old, second generation Rebel DSLR from the lineup) if you us the creative mode and not the fully automatic settings. I will work through how to set the camera and explain the accessories used in each shot.

    The one accessory that I recommend is good tripod with a easily manipulatible head. Many stores like Best Buy and Ritz Camera carry a selection of tripods that are perfectly sized for the smaller kits from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, etc. so it is not necessary to spend as much money as I have on my tripod legs and ball-head to support the weight of my 5D and EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS lens. But in later features, I will showcase where better features on tripods come to be a benefit in shooting.

    So this is where it begins. I will document my settings and show the camera setup to pull the images that I display. I will also describe my post processing, but the final post processing edit will have to be up to the photographer taking the image. Over the years, I have developed a taste for vivid colors and HDR that may not be appropriate for all DSLR shooters. But the concepts on how to capture the base image will be the same.