Understanding Your Canon Rebel XTI / 400D
*The Photos of The Camera Were Not Taken By Me, They Are From Canon’s Website*
Understanding DSLR photography can be tricky, so I will attempt to ease you in to it as best I can. In this tutorial I will simply cover the basic concept of the buttons, and in a future tutorial I will cover the pros/cons of each setting and what picture style can be achieved by those settings. We will start by examining the front of the camera. Visible now are three important elements, the shutter release button, the timer/focus light, and the lens release button.
The Shutter Release Button, this is simple, you push it down to take a picture, nothing to it right? Well if you experiment with this you will notice that pushing the button halfway down will lock your exposure and your focus. This is great if you want to focus on one point, then wait for your subject to cross that point (excellent for sports.)
The Timer / Focus Light is the little white dot to the bottom right of the shutter release button above. It will blink if you set it on timed mode, to indicate a picture is being taken, it also contains blinks to denote a proper focus.
The Lens Release Button is to the right of where it says canon on the lens right in the picture above. By holding that button in and twisting the lens counter clockwise, it will easily come off allowing for easy lens swapping.
The Depth of Field Button is also important. It is located to the left of the red and white Rebel XTI logo on the bottom of the camera. You can hold this in while looking through the viewfinder to get an accurate depth of field preview for your aperture settings.
The AF/MF switch is at the top of the lens. This lets you choose whether you want the camera to control the focus, or whether you want to by using the focus ring at the end of the lens.
The scroll wheel is seen here just below the shutter release button, this will allow you to easily change your camera settings while still having your finger ready to get your shot.
The on / off switch and power light are located just to the right of the dial, these are both pretty self explanatory.
The Hotshoe is located right above the viewfinder and behind the flash. This lets you attach an external flash to the camera for greater reach and better lighting. I would recommend buying a $5 hotshoe cover to protect this if you arent using an external flash.
The Dial allows you to select various methods of photography settings, let me explain them in detail. But I should say, I detest using any setting below the “P” this is a DSLR camera. Learn to set exposure and learn to shoot in RAW, or just buy a pocket camera. If you are purchasing this camera to shoot in JPG you are ripping yourself off. Lets start at the bottom most setting:
No Flash. This is self explanatory, it disables the flash so you only capture natural lighting.
Night Portrait. Makes the camera compensate for underexposure, or dimly lit rooms.
Sports Mode. Configures your camera to take the fastest shots it can in your current lighting conditions.
Macro Mode. This mode is for photographing something close up, like the petals of a flower.
Landscape Mode. This mode makes sure everything in your foreground and background is sharp, eliminating your depth of field.
Portrait Mode. This sets your depth of field to be shallower allowing for crisp faces, and soft backgrounds.
Full Auto. This is for everyday “point and shooters” (I wince when I think of someone just pointing and shooting with this camera.)
“P” or Program Mode. This Is almost the same as full auto but allows you to shoot in RAW, and allows you to set your ISO.
“TV” or Shutter Priority Mode. This allows you to set how fast or how slow you want the shutter to fire, and your camera compensates the other settings to balance exposure.
“AV” or Aperture Priority Mode. This allows you to control your depth of field using the aperture on your lens. You can have the tip of a pin in focus, or a whole landscape.
“M” or Manual Mode. This is the sweet spot for pro photographers. This allows you to control ALL your settings from shutter speed, to aperture, to ISO. This is the preferred shooting mode of the photographic professional.
“A-DEP” or Aperture Dependant Mode. This mode is sort of a failed Canon idea in my opinion, but what it allows you to do is get a whole scene in focus if you can get a focus point on the nearest and furthest subject in the photo. I think it requires more care than Manual mode, so I rarely use it.
For the back of the Rebel XTI I will work my way from top to bottom on the left side first, then I will do the same on the right side but I will start with the two buttons on the top right.
The Print Button, this marks a picture to print the next time you sync your camera with a Canon printer, this is more of a gimmicky idea, as I know no photographers who actually use it.
The Display Button, this button turns on or off the lcd screen, or if you are previewing an image, it allows you to see the histogram, and settings the photo was taken at.
The Menu Button. This button allows you to access the in camera settings.
The Jump Button. This will allow you to jump 10 images at a time through your memory card. This is great for navigating the multitudes of photos you may take in a day.
The Play Button, this allows you to preview an image you have just taken.
The Trash Button. This allows you to delete an image, or multiple images.
The Zoom In Button. This button is located on the top right of the camera and will let you zoom in and out of a photo, as well as choose an auto focus point.
The Zoom Out Button. This will allow you to preview multitudes of images at once, and if you press it while the flash is deployed, it will warm up the flash.
The AV -/+ Button. This will allow you to adjust the aperture if you hold it down and use the scroll wheel.
The Shooting Mode Button. This will Allow you to choose single shot, continuous mode, or timed shot.
The Metering Button, allows you to choose whether you want the light to be corrected for evaluative, center weighted, or partial metering.
The ISO Button. This allows you to control the ISO. Choose a lower iso for crisper shots, choose a higher iso for more grain, but faster shutter speeds, especially in low light situations.
The AF Button. This controls whether you want it to focus each shot individually, focus for a series of shots, or have it constantly focusing as you point the camera around.
The WB Button. This allows you to control the white balance. This will help your pictures taken under fluorescent lighting get rid of the orange cast.
The Center Portrait Styles Button. This allows you to choose various shooting styles for your photograph: examine this graph from Canon’s site for more information on that:
Standard (default setting) Vivid, sharp expression; usable in a wide variety of conditions; optimal for direct printing without post-processing high slightly high
Portrait Soft texture and beautiful expression of skin color slightly high slightly low
Landscape Sharp expression with particularly vivid results for blue skies and green hues high green-blue high
Neutral Low saturation and contrast for easy adjusting during post-processing low none
Faithful Accurate reproduction of the subject’s colors based on colorimetric data low none
Monochrome Monochrome expression similar to silver halide film in black and white; for color filter work none (monochrome) slightly high
That is all I have for now! Let me know if you have any comments or questions!