Have some more questions... :)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

    Nov 2, 2008
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    Ok, so, I've got my new XSI now, and have had only 3 days to really play with it, this of course, being the third day. I can't even begin to express how much I'm loving this camera. It feels and works perfect, and the image quality is literally stunning. This is the single best purchase I've made in a very long time, and I thank all of you here who've inspired me to really get serious with photography, and also for recommending this camera to me enough times to convince me that it was worth the money :)

    Now, on to the questions...

    Since I started off with a point and shoot, and used it for a long time, this camera is a tad bit intimidating. I've got options and settings that were previously unavailable to me, and these things are the focus of this post.

    First off... "Picture Styles"

    So I know what these are, and what they do, as I've tested each one, but then I discovered the ability to adjust these styles. I started with the "Standard" style, and cranked everything up just to see how the camera would perform, and wow, talk about over saturated... the colors were so "colorful" that it made the images look ugly almost :) Anyway, I turned the settings back down to normal, no problem. I went back in however, and turned the "sharpness" all the way up, and the contrast as well. This is producing some incredible quality shots, that are clear as the day is long, but at the same time, the photo's look a bit "harsh" or "hard" even, without much feel to them. Now I know that's due to the settings I applied, and I can easily change them back, but my question is this...

    What do you more experienced users keep your settings at, or do you even use them at all? I'm currently using the "neutral" style, which applies nothing at all to the image, what ya see, is what ya get, and indeed, the images are a bit softer, with much more feel and flow. Should I stick to neutral? Should I raise the sharpness and contrast just a bit, or not? I know different situations call for different settings, but what is a good all around configuration?

    Second topic / Question...

    The focusing features of this camera / lense (which is the 18-55mm kit lense) has been a bit confusing as well. I've been using AF mostly, but have toyed with the manual as well. Anyway, in the days of the point and shoot, I loved taking macro shots, and it was easily done. With the XSI however, it seems that I can't get as close to things anymore, as if I get TOO close, the camera will NOT fire, at all. At that time, I have to back the camera away from the subject, and then it will shoot. Why is this??? Is it because it can't focus? If so, why can't it? What am I doing wrong? I'm able to get really close, don't get me wrong, but not as close as I used to could get, which was probably TOO close anyway, but I'm just really curious about the camera not firing, and why.

    I also am aware that I'm not using a Macro lense. The lense that I have is I'm sure, as basic as you cat get... probably a good "starter" lense perhaps, but nothing more. More paychecks are coming of course, and tax time is here as well, so a nice macro lense is certainly in the near future, along with the EF 1.4 as well.

    One other thing...

    This camera has really taught me to use the view finder much more than I thought I would. Live View is really nice, and works well, but I'm not liking it as much as I used to. The old P & S had a really small VF, never used it at all, but this one is large, so is easy to use, and I love the internal display too :)

    Sometimes however, when looking through the VF, I can't see anything clearly, as it really looks out of focus. So, I'll press the shutter release down halfway, thinking that the AF will fix that issue, but it won't, and the picture will literally, come out blurred to all hell and back. I don't know what I'm doing to cause this, as it just seems to happen sometimes. Live View will also show everything out of focus. At one point, it got so bad, I had to turn the camera off, then back on to make it go away. What could be causing this?

    Ok, so, that's it for now I think, thanks for reading if you made it this far :) I think I'm basically trying to achieve a good, all around base of settings and adjustments here. Perhaps some other XSI owners with much more experience than I have, would be willing to list out how they have they're camera's setup? I'de be very greatful.

    I know I need to start learning about how to properly focus, and cure the blur :) Do you folks always use manual, or auto, prefer one over the other, or use them both? Which is better?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm not as far behind or "new" as I sound, I'm still new, but not brand new :) I've just never owned something like this before, and it's throwing me off quite a bit :)

    Thanks again, and in advance, for all help issued.

  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Dec 4, 2008
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    Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
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    A number of us shoot raw.
    We would rather process the image in Adobe Photoshop than let the in-camera algorithm's ("picture styles" do it.

    Lenses have a minimum focusing distance. Your previous P&S had a closer minimum focus distance.
    Most camera's are programed to only take a shot when focus is achieved (though this can be changed in most camera's programming).
    There are Macro lenses that are specially made with very small minimum focus distances.

    If the subject is of low contrast the AF sensor may have a difficult time finding something to focus on ... when this occurs the lens will hunt back and forth until it finds something.
    Some camera's have a focus assist LED that will turn on to help the AF sensor (on my camera I have to pop up the built in flash) ... though it is only good for short distances.

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