First DSLR, now have some random questions

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by hopemax, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. hopemax

    hopemax Note to Self:

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    So after years of wanting one, I finally have a DSLR. I got a Canon T3i kit from Costco (it came with a 18-55 and 55-250 lenses). I know I could have gotten the T4i for about the same price if I looked around on line, but after so long hemming and hawing, I just wanted to get it. The new camera became a necessity because we're going to Hawaii for Labor Day. And since I wanted to be comfortable with where all the buttons were, and how to change settings quickly, I had to get it before my WDW trip in 2 1/2 weeks so I could use WDW as a training ground. :)

    My last two cameras have been a Canon S5 and the S1, and I've spent the last 8 or so years becoming comfortable with shooting in Tv and Av priority modes. I have Understanding Exposure. But there are still a lot of the other camera features I haven't spent that much time playing around, and feel way over my head with such as metering modes, manually choosing focal points, flash settings, etc. Any good resources for learning about those?

    Also, as I'm wandering around my house taking pictures of random things in my Disney collection, I've been wondering what is preferable, as far as forming good and bad habits. Using the flash, with lower ISO, or no flash but at higher ISO (800 or 1600)? With the S-series, the graininess at anything 800 or above made flash a necessity if I couldn't get more light in the room. But the flash makes things seem less natural (I'm guessing I need to learn more about modifying flash settings). I prefer the shots I've taken at the higher ISO with the ambient light, but I don't want to be one of those people that is using my equipment wrong. :)

    Lastly, the camera is quite loud and I'm wondering if I'm going to get a lot of nasty looks because of it when taking pictures of the shows at the theme parks? Obviously, getting a quieter camera isn't an option right now, but do you try to sit in certain spots where your less likely to have neighbors, leave the camera in the bag, don't worry about the noise?
     
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  3. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

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    Your camera manual is a good source to start with for learning about the metering modes and how to change focal points.

    As far as flash or no flash... it's personal preference. There is no right or wrong, it's about what gets the shot you want. I prefer faster lenses with no flash. Others prefer a flash in the hot shoe or off camera. I don't know too many who are generally happy with the pop up flash though.

    The mirror slapping down can seem loud. You can use live view with the mirror locked out of the way to avoid that, but then you have the LCD screen on and some people don't like to do that. I generally don't worry a lot about the mirror noise myself. You're not the only one using a camera that makes some noise. And your crop camera is a whole lot quieter than the mirror on the bigger full frame cameras.
     
  4. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Your camera is no louder than other dSLRs in the room. Partially, you're just not used to the sound -- plus you're putting your head right up to the camera, so of course it seems loud.

    Flash -- As Danielle said, there is no right or wrong answer. Personally, I really dislike the built-in flash in cameras, so I try to avoid using it indoors except emergency. (Outdoors, I'm ok using it as a fill-flash to get rid of shadows). Of course, it also helps if you have a faster lens, so you don't have to crank ISO tooooooo high. Remember also, a slightly under-exposed photo can be corrected in post-processing, especially if you shoot RAW.

    A benefit of an external flash is using it as a "bounce" flash, which can create a more natural look.
     
  5. krb2g

    krb2g DIS Veteran

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    I've never found the mirror noise of a SLR to be a huge deal in the parks. That said, if you're in a dark ride, you may want to turn off some of the light-producing parts of your camera (for example, I turn off my auto-focus assist light, which can be blinding in the dark, and my automatic LCD review).

    I am much more comfortable using a flash now that I have an external flash that I can diffuse or bounce off walls and ceilings. If you're interested in lighting, I can recommend the strobist blog--but that could take you down an expensive path eventually (he has a recommendation for a way to get your external flash off your camera for only $100...but once you get into lighting, it may not stop there...).

    The other topic you may want to consider when it comes to flash is your computer--what software will you be using to edit the pictures? Take a bunch in your house using different combinations of flash and ISO. Then, on the computer, you can see how much noise your set up actually can handle to your liking. I try to err on the side of low ISO. I will also sometimes underexpose (at least to my camera's understanding of "expose") pictures and then try to bring out shadows rather than get things brighter at a higher ISO.

    I'd recommend looking through flickr or photography blogs to find photographers whose style you admire (and who are shooting in similar situations/locations to the ones you will encounter on vacation) and then looking at their EXIF data: you can see if they used a flash in a given situation, what ISO they used, etc. I've also learned a lot from photo blogs and discussion communities (like this one).
     
  6. SplashMo

    SplashMo DIS Veteran

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  7. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk My, what red cheeks you have, Santa!

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    You can also use the flash exposure compensation function. This allows you to turn down the flash output, so the difference between foreground and background is not so stark.

    You would probably enjoy and benefit from reading Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure and Understanding Flash Photography.

    Most who choose to use flash on a regular basis eventually add an external flash. It gives you a lot more flexibility. The ability to bounce the flash is really key.
     
  8. bob100

    bob100 DIS Veteran

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    the manual, books and blogs are all good. Investing in an external flash and learning lighting techniques will help you with that more "natural" look for indoor photos
     

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