Canon XSi Testing…

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Took out the new SLR for a test drive today, messing with every function and feature. Guess I can share a little first impression about my very first SLR. This camera clearly shows just how much I need to improve (how much I suck) on my photography skills but once utilized correctly (did it by luck), it is just pure visual sweetness.

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I’m actually not familiar AT ALL with camera terminologies (studying now) and optics, so I’m totally clueless after turning the camera on and I’m greeted with a huge screen of text and numbers similar to hexadecimal and html codes. Ugh. Read the manual for half an hour before deciding to take a few shots in “full auto” mode. Got sick of that mode after a few shots then jumped right into full manual ^^;.

Here are some samples after hours of messing around with the ISO, aperture, shutter, and focus and familiarizing myself with the kit lens…

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I used Miku to test out the XSi’s White Balancing options- left is with fluorescent and right is with tungsten. And this is tungsten on my Canon SX100 (camera I’ve been using this whole time)..

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I don’t know if I’m not setting things up correctly in my XSi (probably not) but so far, I really like my SX100 tungsten look more.

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The above was me starting to practice on Manual Focus; for some reason, I really hate the auto focus on the XSi. It’s like almost… stupid (can’t decide where to focus). Might as well do it myself and quickly got the hang of it but still not really… astonishing. Don’t think I’ll ever be going back to AF though ^^;

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I am proud of this shot (except the lighting)! Every detail is in focus!

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Playing around with Depth of Field… love how you can still see alt-chan in the far back!

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Trying to actually take a group pic and attempting to get everything in focus… this is something I can’t do with my SX100.

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It’s probably the settings but all the pictures I’ve taken so far have this “gloomy” look to it… it’s just not very vivid. Gotta start messing with custom picture styles in the XSi. I loved how my SX100 has the My Colors option like “vivid, neutral, sephia, etc” while XSi’s stuff seems a bit watered down.

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Shot of Deep Striker with flash on. One thing I hate is taking photos with the viewfinder because my hair blocks my right eye and I don’t want to press my face against the camera screen; the images I took through the viewfinder are always a little off to the left thanks to being “blind” on the top and right side of my right eye.

I am a total noob but hey, we all gotta start learning some time and somewhere. I’m going to miss the “point and shoot” convenience of my SX100 but the XSi has more potential for me to develop some real photo skills. I’ll be using the XSi for my reviews from now on and hopefully… it won’t turn out so bad for the most part ^^;

I’ll continue to share more thoughts on this camera as I progress along and taking more varied pictures. Oh… please do share advices/tips and whatnot about using SLRs for this noob here ^^;

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23 thoughts on “Canon XSi Testing…

  1. You need lots more knowledge, judging by your comments on each of your pictures. An SLR basically gives you a shit load more options, and that means more things can go wrong. Besides learning about stuff like shutter speed and aperture, you need to be able to objectively realise what’s right and wrong with each picture.

    White Balance normally you either leave it in auto, or do a custom one. If you shoot in RAW, you can set your white balance on your computer, which makes it far more accurate.

    As for AF, you have to select the AF points! I’m not sure you mean “manual focus” as in selecting the AF points, or really turning the focus ring manually. If it’s the latter, it’s pretty difficult on the small 450D viewfinder I think. I have the same camera as you.

    Anyway, congrats on your new purchase, getting any lens or flash?

  2. TJ, you’re absolutely right. This is almost completely brand new to me. I’d even go as far as to say this is also the first SLR I’ve ever PICKED UP! ^^;. As you can already tell, I don’t even know how to use AF properly xD. I’ve already grown accustomed to turning the focus ring manually though. For now, I can more than safely blame every unsatisfactory photo on my part until I actually tame this beast of a camera^^;

    I don’t really have a need for flash but as for lens, I already have the Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens coming my way this week :D

  3. Hi. I think with some more practice you’ll get it. Don’t forget to get some more light in there. get near a lamp or some awesome window lighting. Our eyes see more light than we think there really is.
    I also just got the XSi after having a film SLR for over 10 yrs now. I absolutely love it!
    Good luck!

  4. Looks pretty good to me Z. I think Amanda has a good point ^^^^ – it’ll just take some practice. Then again, who am I to talk, my pictures are TERRIBLE!

    Keep up the good work!

    (the shot of the Unicorn and Impulse together is pretty awesome!)

  5. Amanda, thanks for the tip ^^. My room is very dark and the photos were taken near three different lamps within 3 feet and still looks very dark. Just took a look at your blog and you have great photos. I would like to be able to do what you can do one day..

    Aptkane, thanks man! Practice makes perfect holds very true here ^^

    Gordon, yea I tried daylight but it gives off a somewhat orange hue to the image. It looks nice for ambient shooting but not like for “normal” shots ^^;

    Divine Fang, I wish can I use photoshop as well xD

  6. Hi again. Thanks for the nice comment. My trick is to continue to learn more about photography and not think that I just know everything. It’s a cool learning process though. I think you’ll do fine. You’ve got a great camera and you should know how to use it. Yes, it takes practice but in the end, you’ll discover what type of photos you like to take. (ie: landscape, portraits, candids, nature, etc.)

    I don’t have Photoshop either BUT there is a site that can help you edit your photos a bit. Photos shouldn’t be manipulated TOO much bit it helps when you’ve made a mistake or the WB was off a bit. (For starters.) The site is http://www.photoshop.com/express

    Speaking of WB (white balance)…Lots of people DO use the “Auto” white balance feature. However, on the XSi it is wise to use the “Tungsten” setting when in a tungsten surrounding. The Auto isn’t as accurate as the Tungsten setting. Do some test shots to see. Try especially with a person so that you can see how it effects their skin tone.

    Are you familiar with the “Rule of Thirds”? Some people forget what that is but sometimes photography rules can be broken. It depends but this one is hardly broken.

  7. Hi Amanda, I’ve actually never heard of that rule before I’ve just looked it up on wiki ^^;. I’d have to test it out (so THAT’S what the grid on the XSi is for!) Thanks for the link too. I’ll check that out on my free time. I’m also starting to understand the XSi a bit more and hopefully the weather will permit me to do landscape shots this time of the year. Tungsten is actually my favorite setting and about 90% of the photos on this blog is taken in that setting; tungsten gives the image that “cool” look while keeping the true color. The rest being in Fluorescent for that “hotter” look. The tungsten setting in the XSi seems to give off a more “gloomy” feel to it though… been figuring out how to make that more vivid. Thanks for the advice again!

    Hey Chun! I’m checking my email right now! Thanks!

  8. A bit late congradulations. I personally still don’t have a camera of my own but I’m hoping to get one before I head out to Japan for the summer(yay me!). Since I really suck with camera’s, but get used to other ones, I can say that the time you put into trying everything out will definately be worth it when you finally learned how to get that perfect picture. Heck, you’ll probably learn new stuff as you go along. That’s what happened with me and photoshop. I was so bad its wasn’t funny when I started. Now I’m making actual wallpapers that aren’t just a brushed background and stacks of pictures.

    BTW Just a random question but can you one day show a pphoto tourish kinda thing of your collections? Its always cool to see the way other bloggers live/collect stuff. And on the side note, I added you to my blog roll

  9. Hey, maybe you can start posting your own wallpaper arts on your blog ^^ I’ve always been envious of people who can use photoshop. I can’t even make a simple word bubble correctly xD. We all gotta start somewhere and with enough effort, things can be accomplished. Thanks for the add and actually, I’ve been planning on giving everyone a tour of my room for the longest time but for now, it’s nothing impressive until I can fill up all the empty shelf spaces and clean up a bit ^^;

  10. Hey Z I need your advice with photography. I recently bought a Lumix FS3 camera ( http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/support/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Cameras/model.DMC-FS3P.S ) and I’m having problems getting good shots without flash. I’m using the highest resolution and they look ok from a distance but upon zooming you start seeing some grain and noise.

    This is a photo I took with my sister’s cybershot with flash (on auto settings I think) and resized on 1024*768: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/AceWhatever/Stuff/mecha/skullheart-1.jpg

    The full-sized image to me is perfect because I can see all the details up close with no noise or grain (and I didn’t use a tripod, too expensive).

    I’m sending you three images that I’d like you to take a look at. All three were taken with ISO at 100 and exposure at +2. The first is with camera held, the second is with flash and the third is with the camera stable on the table.

    I’m still pretty new at this so I appreciate any tips you can give me, specifically about the use of flash.

  11. Hi “Ace”! Can I make a few suggestions?

    1. Use the “macro” setting for a shot like this.

    2. Lose the background clutter. It takes away from the main subject. My eyes can’t help but look everywhere else.

    3. Use bright window light. (Light coming from the North is best.) You don’t need a tripod. You can use anything that will help stabilize your camera. A stack of books, bracing yourself against a wall with your elbows against your body, etc. You can use the stack of books and use the timer setting on your camera that way you won’t create camera shake when you press the shutter button.

    4. Keep the ISO setting above 200 if possible. You will need lots of light so try the window light and turn on the lights in that room. (Try different White Balance settings if you choose the latter route.)

    5. If you MUST use flash, you need to “diffuse” by simply holding up a piece of toilet paper over the flash. (But remember, it dramatically cuts the light so keep that in mind.)

    I hope that helps. Good luck!

  12. hey is whats the diff. between a slr and a dslr? and is there a dslr ver. of that cam? pls reply cause i need to buy a dslr cam for my course in college!!

    1. Hmm… your question is kinda like asking “what’s the diff. between a car and a sports car?”.

      SLR = Single Lens Reflex camera (category of camera… or the film kind)
      DSLR = Digital Single Lens Reflex camera… in short, digital cameras that let you swap lens.

      I can safely say that SLR and DSLR are used interchangeably nowadays since almost all are digital unless the context specifically refers to the film SLR. My XSi IS a DSLR… there is no film version of it. Another way to put it… it’s just like how everyone calls digital cameras “cameras” instead of the full name “digital cameras”.

      1. oh … thanks i just put up a bid on ebay Philippines a few hours ago for a new canon 500D DSLR can’t wait ^_^

  13. you have got the same camera as me. If you have not found out about the customizing function for the white balance, I would recommend you to give it a try.

  14. Been lurking here for years now.
    It’s amazing what a few years in college can do to you. Seeing my old comments here makes me giggle a bit, I didn’t even know what the difference is between an SLR and a DSLR (complete with horrible grammar) but I now shoot with a 5D Mark III and a couple of L lenses (yes I have improved a lot XD ) not to mention that it’s me my classmates come to when in need of technical know-how ahaha
    BTW Z do you have a flickr account?

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