PDA

View Full Version : Need DSLR tips for AX06 ASAP!


dst
06-17-2006, 03:44 PM
I need some tips for using my new Digial Rebel XT which should be in Monday (6-19). This is my first SLR, basically I don't want to look like a total fool taking pictures at AX.

What drive mode do you recommend in the different enviroments at AX? Outdoor, Indoor area in the ACC (both exhibit hall and just outside exhibit hall). What distance from Cosplayers do you usually give between yourself and the them?

I'm not looking for a complete DSLR basic book, just some tips for someone without much time to practice and research

Thanks :cheers:
-dust

jtnishi
06-17-2006, 05:57 PM
I guess short schedules require straightforward answers. I still recommend you get some practice shots of ANYTHING before hand, just so you can get used to handling the camera. It's a totally new experience. Trust me, trying out about 400-500 shots before hitting AX will help a LOT.

If you're starting out and are on a tight schedule to learn (which given AX, you are limited), the safest modes are full automatic (green), or program mode (P). Unless you have experience fooling around with apertures, I'd leave it at that to begin, and then fool around with it later. If you have time, and can practice with it, you might want to try Aperture Priority (Av), leaving Aperture numbers low (wide open) for portraits, and higher (closed down) for big groups.

Distance is purely a basis of your lens, and the type of your shot. Given it's your first SLR, I'm guessing you're starting with the kit lens (the 18-55mm). With that lens, it's roughly a 5' distance at 55mm to get a half body shot. For the large cosplay groups, you'll probably need to stand at crowd distance, leaning back, at 18mm to get a full group. Everything else is probably going to fall in between.

If you're using Program Mode (P), go with Single Shot mode, One-Shot Focusing for "normal" shots. Burst Drive Mode, AI Focus mode for anything that might move predictably.

In Automatic & Program mode, the camera handling isn't going to be too much different from your average point and shoot. This should work for the first convention. Spend some time fooling around with the settings though during the convention. That'll help you to adapt.

Good luck!

Ashurachan
06-18-2006, 02:28 AM
The problem with full auto is that it decides for you whether you should use the flash, and the built-in flash is a bit weak, so for indoors I recommend program mode and high sensitivity (400 ISO or more, depending on the amount of light in the area), with no flash until you can get a better one (if you get blurry because of long exposure time, just get the sensitivity up - the XT still only has very moderate noise at 1600 ISO). Especially if you want to take pictures of the masquerade (but the 18-55 range is not wide enough a range for masquerades, I found out). Only use the flash if there's very little light in the area, or to compensate for backlights.
Also, batteries should not be a problem - I've done two-day cons with just one battery without a problem with my Digital Rebel, and I tend to take quite a lot of pictures. Just keep the charger in your hotel room and charge during the night to be sure. The main reason why you'd want to get the 2-battery grip is not for the autonomy, but because you find the camera too small for your hands, or too light to have good stability.
And make sure you have a nice amount of CF cards. 8 megapixels make for huge files, and you don't want to run out of space.

staereo
06-18-2006, 08:58 AM
I guess short schedules require straightforward answers. I still recommend you get some practice shots of ANYTHING before hand, just so you can get used to handling the camera. It's a totally new experience. Trust me, trying out about 400-500 shots before hitting AX will help a LOT.

If you're starting out and are on a tight schedule to learn (which given AX, you are limited), the safest modes are full automatic (green), or program mode (P). Unless you have experience fooling around with apertures, I'd leave it at that to begin, and then fool around with it later. If you have time, and can practice with it, you might want to try Aperture Priority (Av), leaving Aperture numbers low (wide open) for portraits, and higher (closed down) for big groups.

Distance is purely a basis of your lens, and the type of your shot. Given it's your first SLR, I'm guessing you're starting with the kit lens (the 18-55mm). With that lens, it's roughly a 5' distance at 55mm to get a half body shot. For the large cosplay groups, you'll probably need to stand at crowd distance, leaning back, at 18mm to get a full group. Everything else is probably going to fall in between.

If you're using Program Mode (P), go with Single Shot mode, One-Shot Focusing for "normal" shots. Burst Drive Mode, AI Focus mode for anything that might move predictably.

In Automatic & Program mode, the camera handling isn't going to be too much different from your average point and shoot. This should work for the first convention. Spend some time fooling around with the settings though during the convention. That'll help you to adapt.

Good luck!

I agree with this 100%. If I were going to write advice, it would have been this advice word for word.

The only thing I want to add to this, is that if you use a flash, use P or auto (auto on my 20D doesnt allow raw capture, i image the rebel is the same). If you use Av with a flash, Av doesnt offer flash metering. So all your shots will be overexposed.

Jason has covered everything I would have said. He has a tendancy of doing so. :cheers: Good advice.

Bruce

gmontem
06-19-2006, 04:47 AM
...just some tips for someone without much time to practice and research
Good luck with that approach. Ever read of stories from wedding photographers blaming a new camera body/system bought a few days before the event for the poor exposures it produced?

Ollie
06-19-2006, 02:49 PM
Just set it to auto and have fun. It's a good camera, and even the auto mode will do you pretty well. Yes, a number of shots will come out poorer than you expected, but this way most of your shots should come out decently. It's better than trying to use a number of manual settings and trying to get it right, only to find out you've screwed up a bunch of pictures. You just need experince to get it right. Start at the basic mode (auto) and see how it works. That way, once you know what you like and don't like, you can start doing things manually and appriciating them more.

Eriol
06-19-2006, 04:25 PM
I'd suggest using the camera's Auto mode since time is so short, as jtnishi says. You should figure out what distance you need to be from a human subject to get a full body shot and a wide shot.

dst
06-20-2006, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the great tips. Please, keep em coming!

I thought Id run this by you experienced photographers before I actually buy them.
Im thinking of buy these:
Canon Accessory Starter Kit for Digital Rebel XT (Includes 200DG Bag, NB-2LH Battery, & 58mm Haze Filter) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A5LP5Y/ref=ord_cart_shr/102-8563059-8720919?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance&n=502394)
SanDisk SDCFH-2048-901 2GB ULTRA II CF Card (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001CNMFM/ref=ord_cart_shr/102-8563059-8720919?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance&n=172282)

Thanks again, like always, you guys are very helpful!

[SG]
06-20-2006, 03:23 AM
The "Starter bag" looks pretty decent, I went with a Lowepro bag for my camera though.

Sandisk 2 GB card isn't a bad buy either, if I had the money I'd buy a few of those ... be wary of buying the larger ones like 4+ GB ... while they can be reliable I hear a lot of talk about how the card can go bad and you'd lose your pictures.

Sad to say but I haven't been to AX just but I can imagine the shooting conditions .. Maybe 100 or 200 ISO outside, and using from anywhere from 400 to 1600 ISO inside.

Be wary of shooting at 1600 ISO as you pictures will have more then average noise and you'll need to post-process them for sure.

I've used the rebel on generally three settings, Auto, Program and Manual. While I do prefer manual and would suggest it, I doubt you can manage to learn enough to shoot in it so if it were either auto or Program , I'd go with Program. You get a bit of control over ISO settings and that damn annoying flash doesn't keep popping up when you don't need it :D

You still have like .. two weeks? Before AX. I recommend going all out and shooting as much as you can for practice. It's not like it'll hurt, and it'll give you the chance to mess around with the camera.

Oh.. and one last piece of advice.. I don't think it'll matter too much if you're going to stick with P or A mode but when you try manual with the stock lens, don't leave the aperture open all the way up. It tend to make soft pictures. Around f8 at 18mm would be a good target to hit and f11 at 55mm. Well that's what I think at least, try messing around and see what settings you'd like.

Godly
06-21-2006, 05:50 PM
I did something like this when I got my first DSLR last Dec. I got it and then had to do a cosplay shoot soon after before even getting a cosplay photo with it before. I just shot without a memory card at home, shooting the same objects over and over again to help understand bokeh. Up until then I only used a P&S. I never really studied anything either so it was all trial and error. Would've been nice to go back in time and redo that shoot, but oh well. The subjects really liked some of the shots anyways.

Oh yea I only used Aperture Priority and still do to this day. Not like I'm a photographer or anything.

Eriol
06-22-2006, 12:53 PM
Other last-minute tips:
Aperture is the amount of light that passes through the lens. Low apertures let in more light than high apertures.

In general, low apertures like f/3.5 and f/5.6 will cause the object you are taking to be in focus while the background becomes unfocused.

Apertures f/9 and f/11 are good when all the objects you are shooting are the same distance from the lens or objects are against a wall or uniform background. Both the background and the objects will be in relative sharp focus. These apertures are good for everyday use for most people.

Apertures f/16 and f/22 and higher keep both the objects you are shooting and the background in very sharp focus.

The reasons that these are so are due to optics, but you can look up the physics behind the lens if you're curious about it later.

In low-light situations (indoors primarily), the camera in P and A modes without a flash will choose low apertures, so it can capture as much light as possible to get a properly exposed shot. If you let the camera use the flash, you can access higher apertures.

In automatic mode, you can't change the aperture settings, but you can do so in Program mode. If you go to Aperture priority mode, you can control the aperture.

Keep taking those test shots before the con.