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Old Jul 21, 2006, 3:02 PM   #1
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I am a total neophyte, with respect to anything beyond POINT AND SHOOT. I am very tech savvy and build computers and write programs for them, but when it comes to photography, I am a moron. But I guess I have good taste when it comes to cameras. Anyway, I just got my 350D with the EF 18-55 lens, and so far so good, but one major disappointment, I did not know that I can't use the LCD screen as a viewfinder, but I can get over that. What I am hoping some of you nice people would help me out with, is any tricks, tips and other useful info for a moron like me.

Also, I am going to an indoor dinner party tonight and I am very excited to use my new camera. I expect the light conditions to be somewhat dim. What is the best setup to use in that situation? Should I just auto? I'd rather get the best possible shot, even if it's complicated. I am a quick learner, so feel free to fire the tough stuff at me.


Your help, suggestion, ideas and welcome is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 4:45 PM   #2
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Well you will need to use flash for ondoor shots. I would say, put your camera on manual mode, select f5.6, ISO400, shutter at 1/60. This will give you nice starting point. Look at the histogram after taking some test shots to make sure exposure is ok.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 4:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply...What does the histogram show, what am I looking for? I know how to pull it up, but when it comes to charts, I think of stocks ( I do that for a living). :-)


bobbyz wrote:
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Well you will need to use flash for ondoor shots. I would say, put your camera on manual mode, select f5.6, ISO400, shutter at 1/60. This will give you nice starting point. Look at the histogram after taking some test shots to make sure exposure is ok.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 5:26 PM   #4
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Histogram is the graph you see next to the photo...take a shot, hit the INFO button 'til you see the graph. Ideally, the graph should cover the middle part of the square box. If it's toward the left, then you'll get dark photos (under exposed)...if it's toward the right, then you'll get very light photos (over exposed)...if it's somewhere in the middle...your exposure is just right. This is an over simplification, to get a better understanding, have a look here for further info on histograms: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...stograms.shtml


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Old Jul 21, 2006, 5:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for that link...that helped. What's the best way to correct the under/over exposure? Again, I am sorry about my elementary questions, but as I said, this is my first day even hearing words like this. Learing though
AlpineMan wrote:
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Histogram is the graph you see next to the photo...take a shot, hit the INFO button 'til you see the graph. Ideally, the graph should cover the middle part of the square box. If it's toward the left, then you've got under exposure...if it's toward the right, then you've got over exposure...if it's somewhere in the middle...your exposure is just right.

Have a look here for further info on histograms: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...stograms.shtml

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Old Jul 21, 2006, 5:34 PM   #6
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If you're in manual mode, you can change the aperture number to a lower setting...since you've got the kit lens, I believe the lowest setting is f3.5, depending on your focal length, (this setting will require less light). You can also change the shutter speed (unit is in seconds...so 1/60 is 1/60th of a second)...the greater the number, the more light it will allow...cuz it leaves the shutter open for that amount of time. You can also change the ISO settings...the lower the number, the more light is required...the higher the number though, the grainier the photos get.

I think bobbyz's suggestion is on the money...start out with those settings and adjust as appropriate. The histogram is your friend. Do not rely on the LCD screen brightness setting of your XT...that's not a good way of telling whether the photo will be under/over exposed.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 5:56 PM   #7
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Ok, thanks..I am starting to get it now...So in poor light conditions I want a higher a ISO setting, but I have to have steady hands in order to do so??

As for the aperture, that is like a keyhole, which opens and closes to you specs enabling more or less light into the camera? Improper use could result in the UNDER/OVER exposed picture refered to?

So, here is a question that I am sure most will have a field day with. If one were to use the AUTO function, which claims to detect the required settings and apply them accordingly, why not just use the auto settings

Again guy, thanks so much for the help......

AlpineMan wrote:
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If you're in manual mode, you can change the aperture number to a lower setting...since you've got the kit lens, I believe the lowest setting is f3.5, depending on your focal length, (this setting will require less light). You can also change the shutter speed (unit is in seconds...so 1/60 is 1/60th of a second)...the greater the number, the more light it will allow...cuz it leaves the shutter open for that amount of time. You can also change the ISO settings...the lower the number, the more light is required...the higher the number though, the grainier the photos get.

I think bobbyz's suggestion is on the money...start out with those settings and adjust as appropriate. The histogram is your friend. Do not rely on the LCD screen brightness setting of your XT...that's not a good way of telling whether the photo will be under/over exposed.
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 7:39 PM   #8
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Because you're in control.

Set it to auto and see what happens. You have no control and the camera goes into a default setting. As the photographer, you should be able to determine when the settings are appropriate and when custom settings are better.

That's the thing about the dSLR. With one, you have a ton of control, and a lot of creative possibilities. However, if you've been satisfied with P&S cameras before, there's no real reason to get one. dSLRs will not necessarily produce sharper images. You need a better reason than just image quality to be satisfied with a dSLR. Just look at the prices for lenses, flashes, etc.

I'm saying this, and I don't mean to sound rude, because it sounds like you just jumped into the dSLR realm without knowing what a dSLR can do for you. I'm just warning you, because it can get very very expensive from this point onward :roll:

With your current equipment, I would either agree with bobbyz settings or use the P mode. P mode is like auto, except you can choose some settings, like ISO, flash/no-flash, etc. But with bobbyz suggestion, you're more likely to get a better lit up background because the shutter is somewhat slow. Auto mode will probably use higher shutter speeds which will increase the chance of a darkened background.

And be careful of the pitch black backgrounds. Even if your subjects are exposed properly, your histogram will have an upside-down arc ("U" shape).

But even when I got the XT the first day, I just wanted to have fun. It's probably going to be hard to keep track on all the technical detail in the beginning- looking at the histogram and picture on the tiny 1.8'' screen gets annoying, imo. So on those "important" shots, just take more than one picture, and increase the chance of getting a better picture.
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