Easy newbie Canon Rebel XT 1st questions

Discussion in 'Canon' started by All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Hi, all.

    Just came home with a late Christmas present for myself, a new
    camera. Barely got the Rebel XT running, but what I see so far
    looks great. Got 3 newbie-style easy questions that I can't
    see in the Menu functions or the manual. May be there, just
    don't see it.

    1) as best I can tell, the 3 available image sizes are all 3:2
    aspect ratio, rather than the 4:3 on my 2 older EVFs. That's
    fine, I can deal with that.

    Now, how do Rebel owners ensure when they're composing a shot
    in the heat of battle that they haven't cut off part of the
    subject once the image is cropped to 4:3? 99 44/100% of the
    time I am just displaying my images, not printing, and 99
    44/100% of the time I'm in landscape, so I'll be cutting off
    one end or the other of my car subjects, I just know it.

    2) I have tried a number of flash pictures with the built in
    speedlight. They look fine and I can easily see in the
    viewfinder that the flash indeed did fire.

    But, EXIF shows "not fired" under Flash Activity. Was ist los,
    heir? Do I have it set wrong or is that just when using
    wireless eTTL with a Canon external flash?

    3) Finally, the viewfinder is very dim compared to a P & S
    optical finder or an EVF, and is pretty hard for my 58 year-
    old eyes to see the status stuff. This will be particularly
    difficult for me in museum environments, where I shoot many of
    my car pictures, as they are inherently dimly lit.

    Is there a way to "brighten" the finder? I assume not, since
    this is an SLR, but it is quite a bit dimmer than my still-
    working 1969 Nikon FTN 35mm. Again, what do veteran Rebel
    owners do to compensate when they're shooting indoors?

    Thanks in advance

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005
    #1
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  2. All Things Mopar

    Alan Browne Guest

    A faster lens.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 27, 2005
    #2
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  3. My D70 can be set to display a grid in the vf, can the XT? That would help.
    What program are you viewing this in? First verify using the Canon sw.
    Manufacturers sometimes use maker notes, not standard exif tags for info.
    As another poster said, using a faster lens is the only way I'm aware of.
     
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Dec 27, 2005
    #3
  4. All Things Mopar

    Aad Guest

    And you could also try the adjustment wheel aside the viewfinder. (if your
    eyes arnt to well)
    Aad
     
    Aad, Dec 27, 2005
    #4
  5. All Things Mopar

    G.T. Guest

    If you're not printing why does it matter? Leave them at 2:3.
    Don't know. I've never bothered checking that. I can check tonight,
    though.

    Greg
     
    G.T., Dec 27, 2005
    #5
  6. Today Alan Browne commented courteously on the subject at hand
    Very helpful. I said Kit Lens and also asked what other owners
    do about it other than spend big bucks on a faster lens. I thank
    you for the fast response, but I'm not any smarter.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005
    #6
  7. Today Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!) commented courteously
    on the subject at hand
    Not that I can find in either the manual or in set-up. At the
    4 mega pixel size I'm testing, the pixel size is 2496 x 1664
    and cropped to 3:2 it would be 2218 x 1664 for a loss of about
    140 at each side, a significant amount.
    PSP 9. I haven't looked at Exifer yet, but there's no reason
    for me to believe that PSP is failing to read the data, and
    there's no exposure problem so I guess I just won't worry
    about it.
    OK. I had f/1.4 and f/2.8 on my Nikon FTN. F/1.4 is about 2.5X
    more light than my Rebel at full wide angle, and my f/2.8
    105mm is just 30% more light (area of aperature, right?). It
    isn't in the cards to try to get that fast a lens, so I'll
    need to go try the camera at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum
    tomorrow or Thursday.

    In plinking around my house, I decided I need to focus
    manually because the AF wasn't getting enough light to get a
    lock. That is a major PITA in a low-light museum!

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005
    #7
  8. All Things Mopar

    Paul Furman Guest

    Get a fast cheap 50mm prime, only $100. Use that for the dim museum work.

    : - )

    But to answer your question directly, are you having trouble seeing the
    numbers or the image? Adjusting the diopter dial on the viewfinder might
    help with the numbers as mentioned. Or look at the top LCD for meter
    readings.
     
    Paul Furman, Dec 27, 2005
    #8
  9. Today Aad commented courteously on the subject at hand
    That's a diopter adjustment for the viewfinder and I need to set
    it one way if I have my reading glasses on and a little
    different if I'm using the ole naked eye. I can see well enough
    to focus manually, so I may be able to get by. It doesn't do
    anything for brightness, but thanks for the suggestion.

    BTW, this is yet another GD digital which has no readout on the
    lens manual focus and nothing in the viewfinder of LCD that
    shows the distance focused so I can shoot in full manual with
    flash, so I guess I have to stick with guesstimating the
    distance when the flash gets fooled.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005
    #9
  10. Today G.T. commented courteously on the subject at hand
    It matter a great deal, Greg, because I have to make a
    judgment which only time and experience will teach me on how
    to stand farther back and/or zoom out more to ensure that I
    don't cut off one end or the other or both of the main
    subject.

    Another poster asked if I can turn on a viewfinder grid but I
    can't. Wish I had the gridded ground glass on my FTN!
    Thanks. This is the least of my worry since I can tell right
    away if the flash fired and the 2 second LCD preview tells me
    if the exposure is OK or not.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 27, 2005
    #10
  11. All Things Mopar

    G.T. Guest

    Yes, the grid on the D70 sounds like the ticket. The XT definitely doesn't
    have one.

    Greg
     
    G.T., Dec 27, 2005
    #11
  12. All Things Mopar

    Paul Furman Guest

    Heh, a faster lens will help with autofocus also!
     
    Paul Furman, Dec 28, 2005
    #12
  13. All Things Mopar

    Paul Furman Guest

    That doesn't mark the crop though, just shows thirds for composition and
    aligning verticals. I agree it would be handy to have the crop marks.
     
    Paul Furman, Dec 28, 2005
    #13
  14. Today Paul Furman commented courteously on the subject at
    hand
    I really like EVFs much, much better since I can see what the
    sensors see, not just what the lens sees. But, everybody, and
    I mean everybody, says that it is hopeless to get good museum
    available light or flash in museums. My Fuji 4900 was OK but
    not great, Nikon 5700 was crap, and the Nikon 8400 I test
    drove was also crap.

    That said, my days of trekking through a museum or even
    outside looking like the stereotypical Japanese 1950s/60s
    tourist with a camera and 3 lens cases around their neck ended
    for me 30 years ago.

    If you've done much museum work yourself, you know that there
    simply is /no/ way to get the job done with a 50mm prime. You
    just can't get far enough back. I'm usually at the 35-40mm
    equivalent range when I shoot, and even then I often have to
    "creatively" cut off 20-30% of the cars I'm shooting in some
    views. Museums have barriers and stepping over one will get
    you tossed out.

    Or, I stand across another exhibit and shoot from 20-30 feet
    away zoomed in, which means I'll need to buy a 28-200mm for
    the Rebel, for about $480. With primes, I'd need a 150mm or
    200mm minimum.
    I have the diopter set right. It is brightness, not viewfinder
    focus. The problem is partially me and partially the AF
    mechanism. I can't see where I'm pointing the single or
    multiple AF points and manual focus is difficult when it is
    dim. I haven't gone to a museum yet, I've only had this for 5
    hours, but if I can't see in my house with all the lights on,
    I'll play hell getting an AF lock in a museum.

    This is a Hobson's Choice for me: try some other expensive EVF
    and likely have flash exposure and/or noise problems, or stick
    with the Rebel and learn my way around it's (apparent)
    idiosyncracies. Please keep in mind, I am /not/ knocking this
    thing. I sure as hell can't do that on the basis of 20 plink
    shots. I put "newbie" in the subject to get me just a tad up
    the learning curve, and I'll take it from there.

    I bought it from Ritz Camera and verified that I have 10 days
    to return it for full charge credit so long as there's no
    visible dings on the camera and I don't open the software. So,
    worst case, I'll take it back.

    In April, I shot about 500 carefully controlled pictures with
    the Nikon 8400 and SB-800 external, in TTL and manual modes
    and couldn't get reliable exposures. The big problem shooting
    cars is that the flash sensor is easily fooled if it "reads"
    off the fat WSW tires, I get a flash glare on the paint,
    chrome, or glass, I catch a tail light reflector, or even a
    licence plate. So, I wanted something with enough ISO to at
    least try available light and full manual to do flash the old
    fashioned way based on GN and distance (which is why I'm
    annoyed that the Rebel doesn't tell me the distance, maybe no
    digital does that).

    In the store today, I tried a Nikon D70s and some competitive
    Konica-Minolta, and then the Rebel. Both were much bigger,
    which some find good, both were much heavier, both had larger,
    heavier longer lenses, and ditto for a good flash.

    I get pooped quickly trying to trek around a museum and get as
    many "acceptable" shots as I can before I run out of energy -
    which is always before I run out of memory or batteries. So,
    smaller and lighter is the key. Yeah, I know, what I'm trying
    to do is nutso, but I shoot cars for a hobby, and more is
    better. Also, museums usually frown on tripods and won't let
    you set up lights or reflectors without prior permission.

    Putting the Canon vs. Nikon religious wars aside on this NG,
    my best conclusion after reading in this NG, dpreview.com,
    talking to multiple camera stores, and reading for the last 6
    months strongly suggests that the Rebel is my best choice for
    the admittedly strange and tough shooting situations I find
    myself in.

    Thanks for the tips.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 28, 2005
    #14
  15. Today G.T. commented courteously on the subject at hand
    Thanks for confirming that I've not gone daft! Seriously, I
    commented in another reply that there's so much that is
    ostensibly "better" for me with the Rebel that I'll just have to
    learn to use it. Practice still makes perfect, Greg.

    Now, let the flames begin! All the D70 advocates will tell me
    that I'm nuts, but that's OK. Aesop told a tale thousands of
    years ago about a man, his son, and a donkey - you can't please
    everyone!

    Have a good one, and thanks for checking this for me.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 28, 2005
    #15
  16. All Things Mopar

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yeah I remember your strugggles with flash on a P&S. You probably chose
    correctly with the Rebel for available light at high ISO. It will just
    take some getting used to. I hated the dim viewfinder at first and
    really missed the live LCD preview but you'll learn ways around it like
    manual focusing another object at a similar distance, swinging the focus
    back & forth to find the sweet spot, clicking off test images to look at
    the LCD review.
     
    Paul Furman, Dec 28, 2005
    #16
  17. All Things Mopar

    Alan Browne Guest

    In your OrigPost to which I replied you made no mention of "Kit lens"
    nor that you didn't want to spend money. A "fast" prime, such as a 50
    f/1.8 is not at all expensive and would probably work quite well for the
    planned sujbect if there's enough room around the subject. OTOH a fast
    lens won't help with the viewfinder data at all but at least you would
    see your subject better.

    Another solution would be get a Maxxum 7D instead as the Maxxums (7, 9,
    7D) have exceptionally bright viewfinders compared to the majority of
    SLR's. The data is clearly and brightly presented both in the VF and on
    the rear LCD monitor.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 28, 2005
    #17
  18. Today Paul Furman commented courteously on the subject at
    hand
    Paul, for a couple of months, I entertained the notion of
    asking for advice again on this NG instead of the more general
    rec.photo.digital but just didn't. This time I was going to
    concentrate on just the D70s and Rebel which seemed to me to
    be the top contenders. Then, I saw almost the same kinds of
    questions being asked a few days ago.

    Except for my strange requirements shooting cars in museums
    with a flash, the debate was right on topic for me.

    I took a half-dozen shots around my house and garage with a
    PSP shaded crop rectangle showing the aspect ratio danger for
    me. And, I've already started learning how to focus manually
    again. I'll be going to the WPC museum a number of times in
    the next week. I'm a Chrysler retiree so I get in free, and it
    is only 20 minutes from my house. I think I'll take some
    pocket size printouts of the aspect ratio cropping
    "nightmare" and see if that helps me up the learning curve.

    As you recall, my main issue with 2 EVFs was inconsistant and
    often severely underexposed images from the "smart" flashes
    hitting something that reflected the pulse. Naturally, the
    Rebel has that problem with tail light reflectors, reflective
    license plates, etc., but my quickie tests show it is much
    better, and when it does several stops under, the noise is
    /far/ less that that POS 5700.

    It looks like I will be able to get a fast judgment of all
    this stuff with the 2 second LCD playback, and if I see
    something that is amiss - including a bad composure - I can go
    into playback mode and look longer. I'd certainly like to be
    able to change the playback time, but there's a limit to what
    I can/should expect in a camera of the Rebel's quality for
    only $1,000.

    Thanks for your positive reinforcement.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 28, 2005
    #18
  19. Today Alan Browne commented courteously on the subject at
    hand
    My bad. I went back and looked. Sure enough, I didn't say that
    I bought the kit lens, so I apologize for my smart ass retort.
    I am also interested in the Canon 28-300 equivalent but I'll
    wait on that until I decide if I'm keeping the Rebel. The
    biggie is that at this store I can return it. At my fav local
    store they won't let me return a Rebel (or maybe not a D70
    either) allegedly because the folder names and image numbers
    don't reseet to 0001 again (or, so the sales manager claims).

    The fast prime is obviously a cheap fix for the viewfinder
    brightness, but I'll learn to get around that in time. I was
    looking for some quick advice and I'm delighted on how many
    people have responded with what is and is not realistic and
    how to potentially get around perceived annoyancess.

    But, I just can't survive in a museum with a fixed focal
    length lens and don't want to haul several different lenses
    around, not to mention increasing chances of dust getting on
    the sensors from all the changes.

    When I go someplace locally, it isn't a biggie except for
    drive time and admission, but at any distance it is fatal if I
    die before I complete all the cars. It is not unusual for me
    to shoot 200-300 pictures in a 2-3 hour period, you know what
    they say - digital is free (although it gives you vomit of the
    image real fast, but with cars, multiple views and multiple
    detail shots are highly valued). As you can imagine, that
    leaves no time to savor the excellent exhibits, I have to wait
    to look at my pics to see what I saw. And,when I get home,
    it's a little late to fix composure, cropping, focus and other
    challenges.
    Thanks, Alan. Now, please tell me what a Maxxum 7D is! <grin>
    That's a brand/model I've never heard of.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 28, 2005
    #19
  20. Today Paul Furman commented courteously on the subject at
    hand
    My Nikon gridded ground glass was for the 35mm manual aperture
    PC (Perspective Correction) lens, but I liked it for general
    shooting. I always hated Nikon's split finders, since they
    were horizontal, and I never got used to the microprism jobs
    either.

    Talking about aspect ratio and cropping is really funny for me
    today, because I shot maybe 8,000+ 35mm slides with my FTN,
    mostly KodaChrome. I was in West Germany in the Army 1970-72,
    and shot around 5,000 of Germany, Austria, Paris, and London.
    They're all stuck in the basement.

    But, I never gave a thought to aspect ratio. It was what it
    was. Period. And, until today, I never gave it a thought with
    3 previous digitals, as I had WYSIWYG all the way around.

    But, I intend to make lemonade from any lemons that come
    along, and my overall experience with how far I need to be
    from a car will help me to step farther back (if I can) and/or
    zoom out more.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death
    your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the
    pseudonym Stephen G. Tallentyre
     
    All Things Mopar, Dec 28, 2005
    #20
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