Monday Nov 13, 2006

My new digital SLR - Canon EOS XTi

So I finally bought a digital SLR and decided on the Rebel XTi (10 Mpixel effective). I was a Nikon (film) SLR diehard until the digital age began and other camera / electronics manufacturers took the opportunity to reinvent the technology. My first digital was an Olympus C3030, a 3 mpixel, point and shoot. This produced nice snap shots, but the shutter lag seemed to be half a second or more and I was constantly missing moving shots of my kids. It was great for stills and portraits, but for action I still used my film camera.//

Then I upgraded to a Canon 4 mpixel point-and-shoot which was smaller than the Olympus, so I would take it more places, gave me better resolution and was faster. However, the shutter lag was not great and the lens could not really capture what I saw with my naked eye. The latter was especially noticable on our trip thru Arizona in the Spring. The wide angle was not up to the Grand Canyon and the telephoto end of the zoom range was not enough to focus on distant objects. It's great for parties and casual snaps but not much else.

So this led me to the digital SLR so I could change lenses to capture the shots I wanted with little to no shutter lag and have some control over my exposures. Then there was the question of Nikon vs. Canon and this is like Ford or Chevy and decided on the Canon due it popularity and the many lenses available which also means there are a lot of perfectly good lenses on the used market. So I bought the Canon Rebel XTi. I can't add much to the many, many REVIEWS that are out there, but I can make a few comments on it. The XTi has the same smaller digital imaging sensor as the more expensive 30D, costs less, has more effective pixels and takes the same lenses. I felt it was more important to invest in the right lenses rather than the more expensive body that I will replace in the next 3 to 5 years when all Canon's EOS line will have full frame (or larger) 35 mm sensors (my speculation!).

The one thing the reviews don't tell you about is the exposure management of the XTi. It is simply amazing! Every single shot I take is nearly perfectly exposed, be it in daylight or at night w/ the built in flash. The camera precisely evaluates the scene and the flash emits just enough to light the subject but exposes the background to reveal details (No more of the overexposed face on the black background for me!). There is a wonderful night portrait mode that automatically ups the ISO to 400, pops the flash and keeps the shutter open enough to capture background details. There is also a sport mode that ups the ISO and enables rapid multiple shots (3 / second) to capture action as well as many other pre programmed controls. And there is a portrait mode that softens the shot, warms up the tones and enables multiple shots. Certainly you can program any mode like this yourself, but Canon has managed to preprogram the main ones and based on the first 100 shots, they've done a great job.

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