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Old Jan 15, 2005, 2:27 AM   #1
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I'm used to shooting in B&W on my Minolta DiMAGE S304. I just got the Canon Digital Rebel 3 weeks ago and I can't find an option to shoot in B&W. Can someone help me find that. In fact, the menu settings seem VERY limited compared to a consumer digicam. Am I missing something?

I can post some pictures but I've had a number of problems already. I'm getting dark corners on a lot of my pictures though I swear nothing is blocking any part of the lens.

I have a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 lens. The 50mm lens seems to have a problem in that I'm getting a strange ghosting or reflection of another part of the image in a place that it shouldn't be. For example, I'm getting lights from the bottom of the image superimposed over a subject's face, for example.

Also, in low-light concert situations, I'm having to shoot at ISO1600 and ISO3200 and with 1/20 to 1/30 shutter speeds to get enough light for the photographs (even at f/1.8 or f/2.0!). And yet the photos still come out underexposed! I have tried to lighten them with software, but this just introduces digital noise which I may or may not be able to remove with another software.

Also, when shooting in low-light concert environments at such a wide aperture (f/1.8 or f/2.0), my depth of field is so shallow that I can often only get one of the musicians in focus at a time, and perhaps only part of that musician. For example, the musician's face may be in focus, but the guitar neck may not be.

Also, even shooting at 6MP Fine mode, the images often come out looking pixelated and not without well-defined lines and curves. I don't know if I'm just not used to the camera yet or what but in many cases, it seems I got a lot better looking photos with my 4-year-old Minolta DiMAGE S304. At least this has been my limited experience with using the Canon Digital Rebel for point-and-shoot people pictures, regardless of the lens I use (including the kit lens).

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Old Jan 16, 2005, 10:44 AM   #2
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Firs thing you should know, Digital rebel is NOT a consumer camera, its not going to have all the fancy stuff thats not needed, like movie mode, or black and white, sepia, etc, shooting modes and such. If you want black and white turn it black and white on the computer. One way you can look at it, the camera sacrificed certain features in order to be a much better camera. If you look at the professional canons (1D Mark2, 1Ds Mark2) you wont find a black and white color mode or anything like that (however with the professionals you can mess around with the color spectrum to make everything desaturated).

One thing should be asked, I always shoot with ISO 100 when i can, I dont go higher than ISO 800. I have a 50mm f/1.8 I've made great results from it. And of course depth of field going to be extremely shallow at 2.8 or lower. On a consumer camera the sensor size and lens size is so much smaller than its nearly impossible to get as shallow a DOF as a larger sensor camera. Also how low-light of a situation are we talking about, if its dark enough to where your eyes can hardly make it out, you are not going to get a picture at 1/20, but rather at like 2 minutes.

I always shoot in either Tv, Av, Or M mode. Sometimes P but rarely, I stay way from the automatic modes. Also check your auto exposure compensation, if its not in the center, but rather -2 that could also be your problem.

Far as the vigenetting (the dark ring) , its usally a sign of trying to take a picture where there is not enough light, then trying to push the exposure up.

All in all going to need more details in order to help you out. Sure the rebel can be ok in auto modes, but to utilize the most out of the camera to make it worthwhile, you have to learn to be a photographer.
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Old Jan 16, 2005, 11:54 AM   #3
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First of all, if you have a cheapo UV on that 50mm f1.8, take it off! I had the same ghosting problem with mine until I took the UV I had put on there, which just happened to be Canon brand.

As far as the vingetting, a goodly number of lenses have some light falloff in the corners at wide open apertures (such as shooting at f1.8 with the 50 or f2.0 with the 100). I personally haven't noticed with my copy of the 50. Something else that can cause vingetting is the use of one or more filters on the end of the lens that would block some of the light at the edges, but hat usually only occurs with wide angle lenses.

Shallow depth of field does result from big apertures, and the only way to combat that is a longer exposure or smaller aperture. You can combat that with the use of flash(if it is allowed).

The Digital Rebel does not have a B&W mode. Use Photoshop Elements (that came with your camera) to desaturate (not convert to B&W) to get good B&W photos.

I have to run, so I am a bit limited with response. Any other questions, feel free to post again or PM me.

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Old Jan 16, 2005, 12:12 PM   #4
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Hi YourFace,

I'm new to digital also, but hopefully can help a bit :-)... since it could be that some of the problems you are having would also happen if you were using a film SLR.

First, please let us know what mode you were shooting in. Also, were you using the built in flash or an external flash ... or no flash at all? Were you taking pictures of the band, or the audience?

I don't know much about the Dimage, but it appears to be basically a very nice point and shoot digital camera (with lots of features). It has a maximum ISO of 800, but it could be that the way that particular camera works is that the flash is always used to compensate for low light or add fill-flash.

So, if you aren't using flash with the DReb, but you are with the Dimage, your DReb photos of the same things could indeed look horrible. Note, if you are using flash beyond it's useful range (check the guide number and understand what it means), your pictures will also be underexposed on either camera.

I've also noticed thatvery underexposed pictures that are brightend up in post processing (Photoshop or EOS Viewer Utility)can sometimes look very bad, especially if you are using a high ISO ... "grainy" with poor color and contrast.

To get an idea as to what settings you camera would require without flash (any camera), the following site is pretty helpful:


The authordidn't include a selection for "concert" lighting, but it's a neat little calculator that can at least give you some guidelines. For example if you were shooting with lighting that would be equivalent to being under a full moon you would need 1/8s shutter speed using ISO 1600 and f 2.0. Increasing the ISO to 3200 would change the shutter speed to 1/16s. Concert lighting can be worse than being under a full moon ...

If there is sufficient stage lighting you may be able to get some pics without flash,at high ISO (I'd personally stay away from 3200 unless you like having a bit of noise),at low depth of field and with some blur. Youmay also need to get pretty close to the stage.

However,if you are taking pics of people arounda nightclub you will absolutely need flash.

Try the camera outdoors during the day in full auto (green rectangle) mode and see how your pictures look. Before taking the shots, check the settings on your camera thoroughly ... making sure you didn't change any of the custom functions. If possible, take the same picture with the Dimage with the same lighting. Since the Dimage may use flash for it's pictures even outdoors during the day, take some with the DReb flash popped up as part of the comparison. If the pictures still don't look good, post a few and I'm sure some of the members will give some pretty good advice.

Also, do you have the image quality set at "large" fine? In your note you say fine,but there are three versions (small, medium and large). Small fine only produces 1.5 MP pictures ... not nearly as good as your Dimage. You need to use large fine to get 6.3 MP pictures.

I hope the above helps! I've been going through some similar learning experiences with my 20D, but slowly my photos are improving as I get used to my cameras features. Hopefully there is nothing wrong with your camera and you just need to go through a bit of a learning curve.

This is a great forum, and everyone seems to really want to help ... so keep shooting and asking questions! :-)

Best regards,


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Old Jan 16, 2005, 1:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies, guys. It sounds like the vignetting I'm seeing is actually normal. I am using Tiffen UV filters on all 4 of my lenses so maybe that's the problem. Would that cause the dark ring around the image problem or would that cause the problem with lights from the bottom of the image being superimposed over the subject's face?

Last night I borrowed a Vivitar speedflash. I REALLY liked the effect of bouncing the flash off the ceiling in the club. It seemed to help with the problem of flash creating unnatural looking light. The club I shot in last night was extremely dark. I mean, the AF didn't have enough light to work at all, even with AF assist flash pulses. I had to do manual focus in almost all cases and I had to use flash to get any kind of decent images. I have found that the built-in flash on the D.Rebel is way too powerful so I've had to adjust the exposure compensation to -2 or in manual mode, I've had to jack the shutter speed way up.

I'll need to continue practicing and become efficient with Photoshop to learn how to process the images. In the past I've used ACDSee to lighten photos and such but I've never really done so much post-processing on the computer. I guess that's a big part of professional digital photography. Are there any good free tutorials on the web for Photoshop CS?

I'll try the desaturation. With the Minolta DiMAGE S304, I used B&W mode with concert photography because it was often better able to deal with concert lighting. For example, in color mode, the musician's faces were often really red but in B&W, it was just darker but still clear.

What I've seen this week is that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens is good for half-body shots and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 lens is good for facial shots. But both lenses are too close for whole-band shots. I've used the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens at 18mm and f/3.5 for SOME low-light, no-flash, whole-band shots but mostly I've used some flash for that. Is that Vivitar speedflash the one to get or what? I was thinking I might want to get some inexpensive but bright wide-angle lens for whole-band shots with no flash.

Also...for nature photography, I'm thinking I will need to get a 70-300mm or 100-400mm lens. I like the idea of a compact super zoom 28-300mm lens but I understand that such lenses have major problems at each end of the zoom. I have the Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM lens, but it doesn't go deep enough for most nature shots. I'm not sure for what purpose that lens is primarily intended but I do like the IS.

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Old Jan 16, 2005, 1:56 PM   #6
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Filters can cause vignetting, ghosting and flare (the problems you are describing) in some lighting. Although usually not the case with a UV filter, they may also be causing some loss of light your club environments (from light reflecting off of them).

Polarizers are a definite "no no" in low light (they'll cost you about 2 stops of light).

As for Depth of Field, the closer your are to your subject, and the larger the aperture, the shallower your depth of field. So, try not to "fill the frame" as much with your subject to get greater Depth of Field.

Here is a handy online calculator to see how these parameters (aperture, focus distance and focal length) work together:


As for black and white, you can do this several ways.One is by desaturating the photo. Another is by converting to grey scale, and a third way is by channel mixing (but I don't think this feature is available in PS Elements).

Many printer drivers even let you specify B&W (print Greyscale) without converting the image at all.

One free editor that can quickly convert to greyscale (which is probably what your S304 provided shooting in B&W)is Irfanview. You can download it from http://www.irfanview.com (make sure to download the free plugins, too).

You can either convert one image at a time (under Image, Convert to Greyscale), or you can convert multiple photos using Batch Mode. To use Batch Mode, go to "File, Thumbnails" and select a folder. Then, use the "File, Start Batch Dialog with Selected Thumbnails" menu choice. You can add more photos to the ones you want to process then.

Make sure to select a different output directory so that you don't overwrite the originals (especially since you don't want to ruin them if you make a mistake). Also, make sure to select the "Options" button by your file format you're saving in (which will default to JPEG), so that you can select the desired JPEG Quality.

Then, select the "Advanced" button, and you'll have lot of options (including resizing, converting to greyscale, etc.).

A better way is by channel mixing (but I don't think this feature is available in Elements):

Making a Digital B&W Fine Art Image

The author also hasa free action for PS available here:


I've also seen some plugins that will work with Elements (but I don't know how well they work). Here is one example:


Also, keep in mind that your Digital Rebel is not going to be applying as much processing to an image as a consumer model (to prevent things like too much contrast, sharpening halos, etc.). So, you'll want to sharpen it some using USM later for best results.

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