Here are some digital photos taken with my
A Pelican On The Cliffs Above Pismo Beach
18-55mm zoom lens, ISO 100, f4, 1/60 sec
One of our Cocker Spaniels having fun in our back yard
Canon 70-200mm "L" series lens, ISO 100, f5.6, 1/640 sec, camera in full manual mode, RAW
Sunset at Shell Beach, California
18-55mm zoom lens, ISO 100, f4.5, 1/40 sec
Two puppies from our May 2007 litter
Canon 70-200mm "L" series lens, ISO 100, photo shot in RAW mode
A quick break on the lawn after playing with our dogs
Canon 70-200mm "L" series lens, camera in "action" (sports) mode
One of the best things about the Rebel XTi is the ability to shoot in natural light
at high ISO settings without getting horribly grainy pictures.
Here are some examples:
Monarch Butterflies at their winter home in Pismo Beach
70-200mm zoom lens fully zoomed in, ISO 800, f4.5, 1/80 sec
When you mount the big zoom lens on the Digital Rebel, it's amazing what you can get pictures of!
Downtown San Luis Obispo on a Thursday night
18-55mm zoom lens, ISO 1600, f3.5, 1/30 sec
Absolutely no third-party noise reduction was used on any of the photos on this page!
I've shot quite a few pictures at ISO 1600, and the quality is outstanding... the
best I've ever seen shot at ISO 1600.
A Border Collie at an Agility Trial
70-200mm "L" series lens, ISO 1600, f4.0, 1/800 sec
This was in a covered arena where there wasn't a lot of light. Very little noise considering it was at ISO 1600.
A little cutie snuggling with one of our puppies
camera handheld using 70-200mm "L" series lens, ISO 100, f4.5, 1/160 sec
I have found when shooting people pictures that the further away the camera is from the person, the more natural and comfortable they tend to act. For this reason, I love taking people pictures with the big zoom lens because I can stand way far back and still get a good close-up photo.
Sunset from the cliffs above Pismo Beach
18-55mm zoom lens, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/80 sec, camera on a tripod
A sleepy Cocker Spaniel puppy - one week old
camera handheld using Canon 17-85mm image stabilized zoom lens, external flash bounced off the ceiling, camera in Program AE mode
Click here for more Cocker Spaniel puppy pictures taken with the Digital Rebel XTi
Wildflowers along the San Luis Obispo county coast
camera handheld with 17-85mm image stabilized zoom lens, IS0 100, 1/60 sec, f9.0, camera in Landscape mode
Want to see pictures I've shot with other digital cameras?
Check out the Jim Zim photo gallery
This camera is known in the USA as the Digital Rebel XTi. In some other parts of the world, it is known as the EOS 400D.
In 2003, Canon revolutionized the digital camera world by introducing the first under-$1000 digital SLR camera... the original Canon Digital Rebel. They improved on it in 2005 with the release of the Digital Rebel XT. The Canon engineers have been hard at work, and their latest & greatest version of the Digital Rebel was released in the fall of 2006... the Digital Rebel XTi.
This latest version of the Rebel offers 10.1 megapixel images, and a larger LCD screen on the back of the camera.
The main reason I wanted to upgrade to the Rebel XTi, though, is because of the improvements to the autofocus system.
Getting properly focused pictures in automatic mode is one of the hardest things for a camera to do. Canon has a
new 9-point autofocus system, which they first introduced on the much more expensive "big brother" to the Rebel XTi...
the EOS 30D. Now you can get the same powerful autofocus system on the much more affordable Rebel XTi.
Another nice feature of the Rebel XTi is USB 2.0 connectivity. In other words, you can download the pictures to
your computer much faster than you can with some of the older Canon cameras.
Canon Digital Rebel XTi with 70-200mm "L" series lens attached
Of course, some things have remained the same in all of Canon's Digital Rebel cameras... they are compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses. I'm excited to finally have a camera that can handle an EF-S lens! Other standard Rebel features: the ability to shoot in "RAW" mode, which gives you the ability to make much higher quality adjustments to your photos than you can when working with .jpg images... a full range of shutter, sensitivity, and exposure adjustments... and there's an intelligent flash "hot shoe" on the top of the camera. I had a camera a few years ago that featured a cheap stripped-down hot-shoe. Canon's system is so much better! The camera and the external flash talk to each other and share exposure, shutter, focus, and white-balance information. It really makes for the best quality flash photos I've ever been able to take. Also, if you get the 580EX external flash, you have the ability to add a second less-expensive flash unit later, which you can place in another part of the room and the two flashes will fire together at the same time. My friend, Carol Patterson, a professional photographer, showed me how this works one time and it was so impressive!
A look at the big LCD display on the back of the EOS 400D (Digital Rebel)
The LCD display is way bigger than what I was used to with my previous camera, the EOS 10D
(Camera shown with optional battery grip attached to the bottom of the camera)
As I mentioned earlier, the Rebel XTi is a 10.1 megapixel camera. What this means is that it shoots images that are 3888 pixels wide and 2592 pixels tall. That may sound like a lot... it may even sound like overkill... but in my experience, it can definitely come in handy. A good example is a photo I snapped last year (with my Canon 10D) of a puppy next to a red wagon:
Original version of the photo - not cropped
It's a nice photo... and I was lucky to get it since the puppy only had his paws up on the wagon like that for a couple of seconds... but like many photos snapped on the spur of the moment, it needs some cropping. Here are two better versions, after a little cropping:
The problem with cropping, of course, is that you throw away a lot of resolution. This photo was shot with a Canon 10D camera, so it started as a 6-megapixel image... but by the time I was finished cropping it, I was down to three megapixels. That's still a fairly high resolution image, but not ideal for very high resolution printing at large sizes... for example, the 2006 Zim Family Cocker Spaniels Photo Calendar. To print an image at 300 dpi at 8.5 x 11 inches, you need an 8.4 megapixel image. So, the 10.1 megapixel images of the Digital Rebel XTi give you enough resolution to throw some away during the cropping process, and still have enough left over to do the job.
I've been extremely impressed with the new Digital Rebel. It's helped me to create some great photographs! I had already owned five previous digital cameras when I decided to upgrade to the Rebel XTi, and it's been interesting to see how each camera has been better than the others.
There are lots of good reasons to go with a digital SLR camera over a traditional point-and-shoot digital camera. Without question, the end result... picture quality... is superior on photos taken with a digital SLR camera. It's great to be able to use interchangeable lenses... so you can use the right lens for the particular shot you are trying to get. As someone who tends to upgrade hardware frequently... it's nice to know that the Canon lenses I buy today will work with the Canon digital SLR cameras of the future. I don't think it's unreasonable for me to believe that I'll be using some of the lenses I have right now for the rest of my life. The best reason, though, is probably the reduction in "shutter lag" in digital SLR cameras. Anyone who's used a regular digital camera knows what I'm talking about... when you push the button, you want the camera to take the picture NOW! Also, if you put a good lens on a digital SLR camera, you'll find the autofocus feature works better than on any camera you've ever used before.
All this comes at a price, of course. Digital SLR cameras are a lot more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras... but the results speak for themselves. As someone who really loves photography, I think it's worth the money. The prices have definitely come down over the last few years, too.
If you're ready to make a purchase, and you appreciate the information I've
presented on this web page, you can do me a favor by buying your camera, lenses, and accessories through one of the
links on this page. The links take you to Amazon.com, and Amazon will pay me a small commission for any
purchases... which is the best thanks you could give me for taking the time to share the information on this page
One of the great things about using a digital SLR camera versus a point-and-shoot is the hot-shoe which allows you to use an external flash unit. Most inexpensive digital cameras do not have a hot-shoe, so you're stuck with only the built-in flash. But when you get in to the world of digital SLR cameras, you have a hot shoe so you have the option of adding an external flash on to the top. You will find that you are able to get much better results in many situations where you are shooting indoors... especially if the room has a white ceiling you can bounce the flash off of.
I use a Canon Speedlite 580EX external flash on my camera, and it makes all the difference in the world in the quality of my indoor photographs. Here is a little demonstration...
The photo of our son was shot at night at our dining room table. If I had shot with just the natural light, it would have looked horrible... with huge shadows on his face. If I had used the camera's built-in flash, it would have looked very harsh and un-natural. By using the Canon Speedlite 580EX external flash, we have very soft lighting, not harsh.
You get the soft lighting effect by not pointing the external flash directly at the subject... you swivel it up towards the ceiling and let the light bounce off the white ceiling and fill the room. This is called "bounce flash". If you're going to buy an external flash, make sure it can swivel! Some lower-priced external flashes can not. And make sure it can swivel both vertically AND horizontally, so you can bounce it off the ceiling regardless of whether you are shooting in portrait or landscape orientation! The Canon Speedlite 580EX is a good match for any Canon camera that can accept an external flash, and will swivel in both directions.
Here's another demonstration of why an external flash is so useful.
Three photos of our neighbor, Natalie, using different lighting techniques:
The one taken with natural light is not bad at all... there was a fair amount of light coming in through a window. The one using the built-in flash is horrible... the lighting is very harsh. You can see it actually made her squint. But the best photo of all is the one using the Speedlite 580EX bounced off of the ceiling. Look at the difference in the way her face is lit in that photo. If you're going for the best possible photos, the Speedlite is worth every penny!
Ready for another suggestion regarding accessories for the Digital Rebel?
My favorite accessory for the camera is the battery grip. It's great for several reasons. First off, it holds two Canon batteries at the same time... so you can go twice as long without having to worry about running out of batteries. Unless you are shooting thousands of pictures at one time, you never need to worry about whether you've got enough battery charge left when you have the battery grip attached to your camera.
Second, the battery grip features an extra set of camera controls that are oriented for vertical
(portrait mode) shooting. Without the battery grip, when you rotate the camera to shoot in portrait mode, it's
very awkward to reach the shutter release, for example. With the battery grip attached, the shutter release on the
battery grip is in the perfect spot. It's also easier to hold the camera in portrait mode when the battery grip is
attached. Finally, the camera just looks bigger and more professional with the battery grip attached. If you
put the battery grip and a big zoom lens on your EOS 400D, people may ask you what newspaper you work for!
|Finally, don't forget that Canon does not include a memory card in the box with the Digital Rebel. So, you'll need to be sure to get one... otherwise you won't be able to take any photos with your new camera! Each jpg image shot with the Rebel requires about 4 megabytes of memory space, and each RAW image may take up as much as 10 meg... so I think a 1 gigabyte card (or larger) is what you should start with. If you're going to shoot in RAW mode a lot, think about a 2 gig CF card.|
About a year after I bought my Canon Digital Rebel XTi, Canon came out with an upgraded model, the XSi. The XSi has a few upgraded features over the XTi, and one feature in particular that I absolutely HAD to have! So, I sold my XTi and upgraded to the XSi. If you'd like to find out about my experiences with the XSi, including a rundown of what it's got that the XTi doesn't, as well as LOTS of pictures I've taken with it... click here.
Canon Digital Rebel XSi with 100-400mm "L" series lens attached
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