Learning the Ropes of DSLR Photography


Snapshot of a DSLR EOS Rebel T2i (550D) with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. The S in EF-S stands for "Short back focus". Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

If you have been following my blog, you already know that I recently purchased a DSLR camera in an effort to upgrade the quality of the pictures posted on Lingua Franca.  For over three years I have used a compact P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS with decent results.  But I thought that after three years, it was necessary to climb up a rung in the ladder of good photography.  After reading hundreds of reviews on DSLR cameras on the Internet, I finally decided the Canon EOS Rebel T2i was my cup of tea.

The kit lens that came with the camera is not the best lens you can buy, buy it is fine for somebody like me who is just entering into DSLR territory.  It has a wide aperture (f/1.8) which allows you to take pictures in low light without flash and it’s also great for portraits if you want that blurry background (or bokeh) look.  It also has an image stabilizer which is great if you have the tendency to move your camera while taking a picture.  This movement will result in blurry pictures.  The IS features will enable you to compensate the camera movement and produce crisp sharp images.  Generally speaking, this kit lens is cheap (about $100), plastic mount and a low end consumer lens.  It’s small, it’s light, it’s cheap and a good performer.  For $100 you can’t really go wrong with this consumer lens.

For several week I’ve been reading the Instruction Manual and watching instructional videos of the Canon Rebel T2i in YouTube.  At this moment, I would say, I’ve learned the basic operation of the camera and am ready to start acquiring experience actually using the device.  I tested it a couple of days ago and compared the shots with my Birthday Camera and you could easily see the difference in quality.  The only problem is that it’s a bulky camera and heavier than the P&S camera; but of course I knew that when I made the decision to purchase it.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  You always have to sacrifice something in most situations in life.

The learning curve was not so bad.  I was initially intimidated by the size of the camera and the numbers of buttons on it.  But after a while, I noticed that many of its features were identical to the Canon PowerShot A720 IS.  The Instruction Manual is excellent and reveals interesting features.  For example, the camera has a small scroll wheel known as the “Dioptic adjustment knob”  to adjust the focus of the viewfinder to your own specific vision. All you have to do is turn the knob left or right until the nine AF points in the viewfinder look sharp.  I wear graduation lens, so this feature is very convenient for me.

I’m planning a shooting excursion to Summit Gardens in the former Canal Zone sometime next week, probably on a Sunday.  It will be my first full experience with the new camera.  I’ll initially start shooting in Full Automatic Mode and later to Program Mode and Creative Auto Mode.  This means the camera will automatically take care of adjusting the shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity.  As I learn the ropes, I’ll start dipping my toes into shutter speed and aperture adjustments.  I’m not in a hurry to learn.  Patience is a good word to have under the pillow.  Good Day.

2 thoughts on “Learning the Ropes of DSLR Photography”

  1. I pretty much went through this routine with my first Rebel. I ended up getting all three of them, including the T1i that I still have. I sold one.I ended up with the new one – the T3i that has the pull out, swivel back on it. I seldom use that feature but it is there if you need it. You can hold the camera way up over your head and with that feature pulled out you can look up and see what the camera is pointed at. I have used it once or twice but it is something I seldom use. I got it without any lenses as I have several good lenses already. The one I use the most is a Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5 and it is the best lens I have as it tends to do it all for me on birds. I can get real close (18mm) or zoom out to 270mm. I also have Sigma lenses and other Tamron Lenses. I had a “white lens” you see the pros using. It was an f4 70-200mm lens. I sold that one to a person online and used the money to buy the new Tamron and one other lens. None of my kit lenses are better than f/3.5 though. You got a good deal with an f/1.8,

  2. Hi Abe:

    Making a decision to buy a DSLR camera is a tough job. There are so many options out there, it makes you dizzy. I was considering the T3i, but I couldn’t afford it, Instead, I made my bet with the T2i.

    Don’t know much about lenses. I have a modest lens which I described in this post and still don’t know how good or how bad it is. The same goes with the camera. These are complex machines and takes some time to learn all their tricks.

    One thing is true though, I’m going to hang in there, and learn as much as I can. I love photography and it blends beautifully with my blogging activities. It’s a win-win situation.

    Thanks for your comments. I always appreciate your work. It’s absolutely amazing.

    God Bless,

    Omar.-

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