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Friday, October 5, 2012

First dSLR

Canon Powershot A480, P mode, ISO 80, 1/60", f/4 (newspaper's a year old in case you're wondering)
Week-old Canon Rebel T3i (600D) with the 18-55mm kit lens. One of the first things I did when I got it was to enable back button focusing. Divorced from the shutter button, focusing is now performed by pressing the * (star) button. Pressing the shutter button halfway down now only locks the exposure setting. I also changed the default image format to RAW+JPEG.

This is my first dSLR (although I've had a couple of film SLRs decades ago), and it's very liberating after spending the last six years with low end Canon point and shoots that don't give the user any control over aperture and shutter speed. Moreover, focusing speed is an order of magnitude faster--I've disabled all the autofocus points except the center one. Combined with back button focus, it's easy to pick which part of the subject you want in sharp focus and then recompose to take the shot.

Love having an SLR back in my hands after all these years. One drawback though: I can no longer slip the camera in my pocket :)

First impressions with the T3i + kit lens: I'm not particularly satisfied with the sharpness--a pet peeve of mine even with previous digital cameras. I don't know if a better lens would remedy this. Well, even if could, it's beyond my reach at the moment. Second letdown: It doesn't have the low light performance I need. Last night at a restaurant for instance, even with ISO set to 3200 and 6400 and with aperture one stop down from maximum opening I was still left with a shutter speed of 1/20" to 1/80". Camera shake isn't a big issue given Image Stabilization on the lens, but IS won't (apparently) do anything to freeze subject movement. So I got a lot of slightly blurry people surrounded by furniture in relatively sharp focus. Not to mention noise galore!

Ah well. I'll just have to keep these points in mind and try to work around them.

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