Help with my 350D!

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by fourside, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys, I just got a 350d a few days ago and I am having trouble knowing what to do. I have a few questions:

    When I go to Aperture Priority mode and adjust the aperture, when I look through the eyepiece, nothing has changed about the picture. Is this right? When I press the button near the lens to preview the aperture, it doesn't show what the focus will be like, it just makes the view darker. I just want to make sure this is a.o.k.

    My next question is more a question of how I should go about things: should I shoot in fully manual mode most of the time?

    Also, when I try to manually focus, I never seem to be able to. Then when I set it to autofocus, it focuses perfectly. What am I doing wrong?

    Sorry guys, I'm into photography, but I haven't learned it yet.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The lens is always at the maximum aperture (wide open) when you look though it. It only stops down, just before the exposure is made. Except when you press the DOF Preview button (down by the lens). The image in the view finder appears darker because the smaller aperture is letting in less light. The DOF in the view finder actually does change when you press the button....but it can be hard to see...especially because that camera has a rather small view finder. If you look close, you should be able to see the difference....unless of course, the increased DOF does not affect your scene because of the distance to the subject etc.

    This is not a 'should' or 'should not' type of thing. If you have a reason to shoot in manual mode, then do so. If shooting in Auto works for you, then do that. I use different modes, depending on what I'm shooting. It's usually Av, Tv or manual.

    I don't know...if the auto focus can find good focus...then you should be able to do the same. Once again, your small view finder is not your friend here. Professional level (or even just older film models) have nice big view finders that are easy to see though. They made it quite small on that camera, to save space and weight. Also, I guessing that you have the 18-55 kit lens...that is not the best lens for auto focusing. The focus ring is very small and at the very front of the lens. A better lens will be easier to focus. Also, a faster lens (bigger maximum aperture) will be easier to focus and preview because it lets in more light. Have a look at the 50mm F1.8 lens. It's nice and cheap & fast...and very good optically.
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Not only does a fast lens have more light, but the DOF is shallower, so it's a lot easier to see when the subject is going out of focus. With my bad eyes, I can't manually focus worth beans with consumer zooms, which often have max apertures around f5.6. That 18-55mm kit lens is f3.5-f5.6, and it's a wide angle, so the aperture is going to be really small. It's going to be hard to see the subtle difference in focus with the wide DOF and dim view using that lens. As Mike said, if you put on the 50mm/f1.8, you'll probably see a world of difference. Even more so with the 85mm/f1.8.
     
  4. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Ok guys, thanks alot for the help. I actually have alot fewer questions now (because of your help and my own messing around), but I do have a few more if that's alright.

    I have been trying to learn the manual modes, rather than auto. For that I have my ISO up to 1600 (it's perfectly bright outside, so this might not be the best choice). I want to avoid using flash, but I also want to avoid noise as much as possible - is there another way for me to get good lighting without flash? This is using a very fast shutter speed, by the way.

    Basically I need help knowing what settings to use. As I said before I don't like using flash, although sometimes it is necessary probably, but I also don't want all of my photos to have more noise than they need. I also hate when I can't figure out how to make a picture come out looking normal - sometimes I get just a white picture or a black one.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When you use manual mode...you still need to meter the light somehow. The camera has a built-in meter, which is how the auto modes know what to do. The meter is still active when you are in manual mode...but you have to adjust the settings. When you look at the top LCD, or look into the viewfinder, and press the shutter release half way...then meter is activated and you should see the 'needle' on the scale. When in manual mode, you have to adjust the settings to get the needle to the middle of the scale (at zero). You can obviously change the settings from there...but if the needle is off the scale...that's when you will get fully dark or light images. Often, people who use manual mode, will have a hand held light meter...so that they can measure the incident light, rather than using the camera's meter to measure the reflected light.

    While using Manual mode will certainly help you learn. The priority modes will also help. Av and Tv are great modes to use...they will help you understand what each setting does...and also help you to understand how changing one setting will result in the changing of the other.

    It's always a compromise...when the light is challenging...you have to make a choice. Having a faster lens, like the 50mm F1.8, will make the choice easier...because you have the option of using a bigger aperture...but you will still find that you are choosing between a fast shutter speed, turning up the ISO and dealing with the noise or using flash. On-camera flash is terrible for a lot of situations...but there are other options like using a hot-shoe flash and bouncing it or diffusing it. Or you can use off camera flash...the options are almost endless...especially if you have deep pockets :lol:
     
  6. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Thanks alot man, you're a big help! How sharp is the 50mm F1.8? I'm seriously considering it.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's probably the sharpest $70 autofocus lens that will fit on your camera ;).

    Optically, it's pretty darn good. A 50mm lens is about the easiest lens to make. It's not spectacular when shot wide open at F1.8 but it gets really good by F2.4 and smaller. It is made with a lot of plastic, rather than metal...so feels cheap, and it kind of is...but it's also $cheap$.

    There is also a 50mm F1.4, which is 4 times more expensive...but has a lot better build quality. There are other options...28mm F.8 etc....but the 50mm is the least expensive, so it gets the most recommendations. I really liked my 50mm on my film camera...but it's a bit long on my digital...a 28 or 35mm would probably make a better 'all around' prime lens...but that's a personal preference.
     
  8. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Alright - I have some extra spending money so I might go for it. Thanks for the suggestion!
     

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