Canon EOS Rebel XS/1000D Fo .Dummies P2

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Canon EOS Rebel XS/1000D Fo .Dummies P2

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Getting the Lay of the Land The viewfinder data changes depending on what action you’re currently undertaking and what exposure mode you’re using. For example, if you set the Mode dial to P (for programmed autoexposure), you see the current f-stop (aperture setting), shutter speed, exposure compensation setting, and ISO setting, as shown in Figure 1-14.

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  1. Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land 29 The viewfinder data changes depending on what action you’re currently undertaking and what exposure mode you’re using. For example, if you set the Mode dial to P (for programmed autoexposure), you see the current f-stop (aperture setting), shutter speed, exposure compensation setting, and ISO setting, as shown in Figure 1-14. Shutter speed and f-stop ISO Speed Exposure compensation amount Maximum burst frames Figure 1-14: You also can view some camera information at the bottom of the viewfinder. The final value (9, in the figure) shows you the number of maximum burst frames. This number relates to shooting in the Continuous capture mode, where the camera fires off multiple shots in rapid-fire succession as long as you hold down the shutter button. (Chapter 2 has details on this mode.) Note that although the highest number that the viewfinder can display is 9, the actual number of maximum burst frames may be higher. At any rate, you don’t really need to pay attention to the number until it starts dropping toward 0, which indicates that the camera’s memory buffer (its temporary internal data-storage tank) is filling up. If that happens, just give the camera a moment to catch up with your shutter-button finger. Rather than give you a full guide to all the possible viewfinder readouts here, which would only boggle your mind and cause lots of unnecessary page-flipping, I detail the relevant viewfinder data as I cover the various photographic topics later in the book.
  2. 30 Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps Reviewing Basic Setup Options You know how sometimes you visit someone’s house and their kitchen cabinets are arranged in a way that doesn’t make sense to you? Why are the mugs above the microwave instead of above the coffeepot? And wouldn’t it be better if the serving spoons were next to the stove instead of by the dishwasher? That’s how I feel about the way that settings that relate to basic camera setup are organized on the camera menus. They surely make sense to somebody — namely, I’m guessing, the important somebodies at Canon. But to me, a couple of the basic setup options are out of place, found on menus other than Setup Menus 1, 2, or 3, where you might expect to find them. And Setup Menus 2 and 3 offer some options that are related more to advanced photographic controls than basic camera operation. Well, I can’t rearrange the menus for you any more than I can put those mugs near the coffeemaker, so instead, the following sections describe the options found on the aforementioned trio of Setup Menus, plus two additional options found on Shooting Menu 1. If you don’t yet know how to select options from the menus, see the earlier section, “Ordering from Camera Menus” for help. In case you haven’t noticed, the icons that represent the menus are color coded. Shooting Menus 1 and 2 have red icons; Setup Menus 1, 2, and 3 sport yellow icons; the Playback menu has a blue symbol; and the My Menus icon is green. (Chapter 11 explains the My Menus feature, through which you can create your own, custom menu.) Setup Menu 1 At the risk of being labeled conven- tional, I suggest that you start your camera customization by opening this menu, shown in Figure 1-15. Here’s a quick rundown of each menu item: ✓ Auto Power Off: To help save battery power, your camera automatically powers down after Figure 1-15: Options on Setup Menu 1 deal a certain period of inactivity. By mainly with basic camera behavior. default, the shutdown happens after 30 seconds, but you can change the shutdown delay to 1, 2, 4, 8, or 15 minutes. Or you can dis- able auto shutdown altogether by selecting the Off setting.
  3. Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land 31 ✓ File Numbering: This option controls how the camera names your picture files. When the option is set to Continuous, as it is by default, the camera numbers your files sequentially, from 0001 to 9999, and places all images in the same folder. The initial folder name is 100Canon; when you reach image 9999, the camera creates a new folder, named 101Canon, for your next 9999 photos. This numbering sequence is retained even if you change memory cards, which helps to ensure that you don’t wind up with multiple images that have the same file name. By contrast, the Auto Reset option automatically starts file numbering at 0001 each time you put in a different memory card. I discourage the use of this option, for the reason already stated. Whichever of these two options you choose, beware one gotcha: If you swap out memory cards and the new card already contains images, the camera may pick up numbering from the last image on the new card, which throws a monkey wrench into things. To avoid this problem, just format the new card before putting it into the camera. (See the upcom- ing Format bullet point for details.) Finally, if you choose Manual Reset, the camera begins a new numbering sequence, starting at 0001, for your next shot. The Continuous mode is then automatically selected for you again. ✓ Auto Rotate: If you enable this feature, your picture files include a piece of data that indicates whether the camera was oriented in the vertical or horizontal position when you shot the frame. Then, when you view the picture on the camera monitor or on your computer, the image is auto- matically rotated to the correct orientation. To automatically rotate images both in the camera monitor and on your computer monitor, stick with the default setting. In the menu, this set- ting is represented by On followed by a camera icon and a monitor icon, as shown in Figure 1-15. If you want the rotation to occur just on your computer and not on the camera, select the second On setting, which is marked with the computer monitor symbol but not the camera symbol. To disable rotation for both devices, choose the Off setting. Note, though, that the camera may record the wrong orientation data for pictures that you take with the camera pointing directly up or down. Also, whether your computer can read the rotation data in the picture file depends on the software you use; the programs bundled with the camera can perform the auto rotation. ✓ Format: The first time you insert a new memory card, you should use this option to format the card, a maintenance function that wipes out any existing data on the card and prepares it for use by the camera. If you previously used your card in another device, such as a digital music player, be sure to copy those files to your computer before you format the card.
  4. 32 Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps When you choose the Format option from the menu, you can opt to perform a normal card formatting process or a low-level formatting. The latter gives your memory card a deeper level of cleansing than ordinary formatting and thus takes longer to perform. Normally, a regular format- ting will do. ✓ LCD Off/On Btn: This option gives you three ways to control when the monitor displays and turns off the Shooting Settings screen. At the default setting, named Shutter Btn, the screen appears when you first turn the camera on, disappears when you press the shutter button halfway, and then reappears after you release the shutter button. The screen remains visible until you next press the shutter button or the camera shuts itself off automatically at the time you specify through the Auto Power Off option. (See the first bullet in this list.) If you select the second option, named Shutter/DISP, the screen disap- pears when you press the shutter button halfway and does not reap- pear when you release the button. You then must press the Set or DISP button to view the screen. And if you select the third option, Remains On, the screen does not go away when you press the shutter button half- way; you must press Set or DISP to turn the monitor off. Because the monitor is one of the biggest drains on battery power, I don’t advise using the Remains On setting. And while using this book, I suggest you stick with the default setting so that things work as described in steps and other text. ✓ Screen Color: I cover this option earlier, in the section that introduces the Shooting Settings screen, but here’s a quick reminder: If you don’t like the default background color of the Shooting Settings display, which is white text on a black background, you can choose from three other color schemes via this menu option. For this book, I use color scheme 2, which produces black text on a white background, which is a little easier to read on the printed page. Setup Menu 2 Setup Menu 2, shown in Figure 1-16, offers an additional batch of customiza- tion options. But you can take advantage of only the following options in all exposure modes (Full Auto, Manual, Portrait, and so on): ✓ LCD Brightness: This option enables you to make the camera monitor brighter or darker. After highlighting the option on the menu, as shown in Figure 1-16, press Set to display a screen similar to what you see in Figure 1-17. The camera displays a picture from your memory card in the main preview area; if the card is empty, you see a black box instead.
  5. Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land 33 Press the right and left cross keys to adjust the brightness setting. Press Set again to return to the menu. If you take this step, keep in mind that what you see on the display may not be an accurate rendition of the actual exposure of your image. Crank up the monitor brightness, for example, and an underexposed photo may look just fine. So I recommend that Figure 1-16: Most options on Setup Menu 2 you keep the brightness at the can be used only in advanced exposure default setting, which places the modes. brightness marker at dead center on the little brightness scale, as shown in Figure 1-17. As an alternative, you can display the histogram, an exposure guide that I explain in Chapter 4, when reviewing your images. ✓ Date/Time: When you power up your camera for the very first time, it automatically displays this option and asks you to set the current date and time. Keeping the date/time accurate is important because that informa- Figure 1-17: You can adjust the brightness of the camera monitor. tion is recorded as part of the image file. In your photo browser, you can then see when you shot an image and, equally handy, search for images by the date they were taken. Chapter 8 shows you where to locate the date/time data when browsing your picture files. ✓ Language: This option determines the language of any text displayed on the camera monitor. Screens in this book display the English language, but I find it entertaining on occasion to hand my camera to a friend after changing the language to, say, Swedish. I’m a real yokester, yah? ✓ Video System: This option is related to viewing your images on a tele- vision, a topic I cover in Chapter 9. Select NTSC if you live in North America or other countries that adhere to the NTSC video standard; select PAL for playback in areas that follow that code of video conduct.
  6. 34 Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps That leaves the following menu options, which you can’t access (or access fully) unless you switch to one of the advanced exposure modes (P, Tv, Av, M, or A-DEP): ✓ Sensor Cleaning: By default, the camera’s sensor-cleaning mechanism activates each time you turn the camera on and off. This process helps keep the image sensor — which is the part of the camera that captures the image — free of dust and other particles that can mar your photos. In the fully automatic modes, you have the option of turning the feature off, but I can’t imagine why you would choose to do so. You can also ini- tiate a cleaning cycle via this menu option at any time. In the advanced exposure modes, you can access a third option that pre- pares the camera for manual cleaning of the sensor. I don’t recommend this practice; sensors are delicate, and you’re really better off taking the camera to a good service center for cleaning. ✓ Live View Functions: This part of the menu enables you to enable Live View mode, in which you can preview your shots in the monitor, and to customize a couple of aspects of how the camera behaves in that mode. Chapter 4 explains your options. (By default, Live View shooting is disabled.) ✓ Flash Control: Here’s where you customize certain aspects of how your flash behaves. Chapter 5 provides details on flash photography. Setup Menu 3 This menu, shown in Figure 1-18, con- tains the following offerings, which you can access only in the advanced exposure modes. Again, those modes are P, Tv, Av, M, and A-DEP. Chapter 5 introduces you to each mode. ✓ Custom Functions: Selecting this option opens the door to custom- izing 12 camera functions, known as Custom Functions in Canon Figure 1-18: To display Setup Menu 3, you lingo. These functions either must set the Mode dial to an advanced relate to advanced exposure exposure mode. options or are otherwise designed for people with some photography experience. Check the index to find out where to locate details about the various functions.
  7. Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land 35 ✓ Clear Settings: Via this menu option, you can restore the default shoot- ing settings that are used for the advanced exposure modes. You also can reset all the Custom Functions settings to their defaults through this option. ✓ Firmware Ver.: This screen tells you the current version of the camera firmware (internal operating software). At the time of publication, the current firmware version was 1.0.3. Keeping your camera firmware up-to-date is important, so visit the Canon Web site ( regularly to find out whether your camera sports the latest version. Follow the instructions given on the Web site to download and install updated firmware if needed. Three more customization options Shooting Menu 1, shown in Figure 1-19, offers two more basic setup options — at least, these options fall into that category if you share my logic, which some may consider a frightening pros- pect. At any rate, these two options work as follows: ✓ Beep: By default, your camera beeps at you after certain opera- Figure 1-19: You can silence the camera via tions, such as after it sets focus Shooting Menu 1. when you shoot in Autofocus mode. If you’re doing top-secret surveillance work and need the camera to hush up, set this option to Off. ✓ Shoot w/o Card: Setting this option to Off prevents shutter-button release when no memory card is in the camera. If you turn the option on, you can take a picture and then review the results for a few seconds in the camera monitor. The image isn’t stored anywhere, however; it’s temporary. If you’re wondering about the point of this option, it’s designed for use in camera stores, enabling salespeople to demonstrate cameras without having to keep a memory card in every model. Unless that feature some- how suits your purposes, keep this option set to Off.
  8. 36 Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps Why does this camera have two names? As is the case with some other Canon cameras, pronunciation is ee-ohs, which is also how you yours goes by different names — EOS Rebel XS pronounce the name Eos, the goddess of dawn or EOS 1000D — depending on the part of the in Greek mythology. world where it’s sold. With apologies to the goddess, I save a little The EOS part, by the way, stands for Electro room in this book by shortening the camera Optical System, the core technology used in name to simply Rebel XS/1000D, which is Canon’s autofocus SLR (single-lens reflex) already long enough. cameras. According to Canon, the proper
  9. 2 Taking Great Pictures, Automatically In This Chapter ▶ Shooting your first pictures ▶ Setting focus and exposure automatically ▶ Using flash in automatic exposure modes ▶ Getting better results by using the automatic scene modes ▶ Changing from single-frame to continuous shooting ▶ Switching the camera to self-timer or remote-control mode A re you old enough to remember the Certs television com- mercials from the 1960s and ’70s? “It’s a candy mint!” declared one actor. “It’s a breath mint!” argued another. Then a narrator declared the debate a tie and spoke the famous catchphrase: “It’s two, two, two mints in one!” Well, that’s sort of how I see the Rebel XS/1000D. On one hand, it provides a full range of powerful controls, offering just about every feature a seri- ous photographer could want. On the other, it also offers fully automated exposure modes that enable people with absolutely no experience to capture beautiful images. “It’s a sophisticated photographic tool!” “It’s as easy as ‘point and shoot!’” “It’s two, two, two cameras in one!” Now, my guess is that you bought this book for help with your camera’s advanced side, so that’s what other chapters cover. This chapter, however, is devoted to your camera’s simpler side. Even when you shoot in the fully automatic modes, following a few basic guidelines can help you get better results. For example, your camera offers a variety of fully automatic exposure modes, some of which may be new to you. The mode affects the look of your pictures, so this chapter explains those
  10. 38 Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps options. I also cover techniques that enable you to get the best performance from your camera’s autofocus and autoexposure systems and review the flash options and Drive mode settings available to you in automatic modes. Getting Good Point-and-Shoot Results Your camera offers several fully automatic exposure modes, all of which I explain later in this chapter. But in any of those modes, the key to good photos is to follow a specific picture-taking technique. To try it out, set the Mode dial on top of the camera to Full Auto, as shown in the left image in Figure 2-1. Then set the focusing switch on the lens to the AF (autofocus) position, as shown in the right image in Figure 2-1. (The figure features the lens that is bundled with the Rebel XS/1000D. If you use a differ- ent lens, the switch may look and operate differently; check your lens manual for details.) Auto/Manual Focus switch Full Auto mode Image Stabilizer switch Figure 2-1: Choose these settings for fully automatic exposure and focus. Unless you are using a tripod, also set the Stabilizer switch to the On set- ting, as shown in Figure 2-1. This feature helps produce sharper images by compensating for camera movement that can occur when you handhold the camera. Again, if you use a lens other than the kit lens, check your lens manual for details about using its stabilization feature, if provided.
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