Digital SLRs

Are Today's Digital SLRs Too Complicated & Too Fully Featured - For You?

I don't know about you, but I only use a few of the features on my digital SLRs - Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.

In fact, the settings/features I use for most of my still pictures are:
• Aperture or shutter priority mode.
• Exposure compensation.
• Center AF focus point or other AF focus spot.
• Evaluative metering mode.
• One shot.
• Highlight alert on.
• RGB histogram displayed.
• White balance set to the lighting conditions.
• ISO 100 - 400.

I rarely go into the Custom Functions – although I am glad they are there when I need them.

So I was thinking: Do you think digital SLRs are too complicated and too fully featured for most photographers - and that includes you? Would you like to see a more basic digital SLR?

Let me know by posting a comment here. Share your ideas.

Explore the light,

P.S. Thank you Canon for supplying the menu shots for this post.

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 26/101: Manually Activate Your Camera's Self-Cleaning Feature

This is tip #26 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

Today's tip: Manually activate your camera's self-cleaning feature

Many of today's digital SLRs automatically clean the sensor when you turn on and off the camera.That feature works quite well in removing small particles from the low-pass filter that's placed over the image sensor.

A more effective method is to manually activate the self-cleaning feature.

Also, before an important shoot, shoot a test shot of the sky. Open the image in your image-editing program and search for dust spots. If they are still visible even after you have manually activated the self-cleaning feature, use a blower to try to remove them. Still there? I recommend having a professional clean your sensor. Why? If you use a swab and cleaning fluid, it's not impossible that you could turn the spots into streaks. I have seen that happen more than a few times.

Explore the light,

Take a Guess: Compact Camera or SLR?

Hey all,

You know the old saying: Cameras don't take pictures, people do.

Well, I took two of these pictures with my compact camera and two with my digital SLR. All are captive animals.

Take guess. Which is which?

I am giving a free talk at B&H in NYC on Feb 21 on compact camera photography. Most of the tips apply to shooting with entry-level digital SLRs, too. Check my Events page for the link (when it's up, which should be soon).

Until then, you might want to check out my latest book, Confessions of a Compact Camera Shooter on my Books page.

If you already have my book, please don't spoil the fun for others by revealing which is which. Thanks!

Here's a tip from the book: When photographing people and animals, focus on they eyes.

Explore the light,

P.S. All my gear is listed on this page of my site.

SLR Shapshots to Great Shots Week: Day 5 - Goodbye Jen & When You Plan, Pray!

This week's blog is devoted to SLR tips - in honor of the Wiley DVD (available this fall) that I am currently shooting on the new Canon Rebel T1i . All the photos were and will be taken with that camera. It's a also to celebrate my new SLR classes on (available now).

Well, my “student,” Jen Maihack, on the DVD has flown the coup – back to Florida! She did an great job, playing the part of the student very well, especially because she is a pro photographer herself.

Thanks Jen. Great work!

Speaking of great work, our creative director, David Leveen, actually shot a few HD video segments with the T1i. We'll post some soon.

So what’s the tip for this installment of SLR Snapshots to Great Shots? Here goes:

When You Plan on Taking Outdoors Portraits,
Pray for an Overcast Sky

During a shoot at Bear Mountain State Park, one segment was devoted to shooting portraits. Thankfully, the sky was overcast, as you can see in the top right of the frame in my vertical picture on the right.

An overcast sky produces soft, pleasing flattering light – unlike the harsh light we get on sunny days.

If it is sunny, try to shoot in the shade or use a diffuser to soften the light. Shooting before sunrise and after sunset works, too.

Explore the Light,
P.S. If you like the image on the left better than the picture on the right, let me know here. I’ll share the technique.

SLR Snapshots to Great Shots Week: Day I - See the Light

This week's blog is devoted to SLR tips - in honor of the Wiley DVD that I am currently shooting on the new Canon Rebel T1i (available this fall). All the photos were and will be taken with that camera.

See the Light

Compare these two pictures. I took the top image of our videographer/sound person/creative director David Leveen (the dude won an Emmy) with my camera set on the Green mode. Notice how the background is washed out and the lamps are overexposed.

Now look at the light in the bottom image. Nice and even. What's more, one of the lamps on the wall behind our friend, Paula, acted like a hair light. (Click on the images to enlarge.) That was no accident. I set my camera on the Av mode and added just a bit of flash – for what's called fill flash photography.

Take the time to see the light - and work with the light - and you'll get more professional looking pictures – turning your SLR Snapshots in Great Shots.

You can read more about exploring the light is my book, Exploring the Light.

I also have an extensive range of SLR classes on kelbytraining. The latest classes are on the Canon 5D, 5D Mark II, 40D and 50D.

Okay, I have to go. We're shooting in an hour.

If you have an SLR question, I'll try to answer it here.

See the light,