New Xti user with an event coming up - suggestions appreciated


TPF Noob!
Nov 28, 2007
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I've been using an S5 IS for about a year and I'm getting an XTi tomorrow. I'm attending a 50th birthday party that I'll be taking photos at on the weekend and I would love to use the new camera. It will be in the afternoon in a church meeting room with big windows and lots of natural light coming in. I have a 430ex (and a bounce card if necessary?) and a 17-85mm IS USM. I'll also have an Expodisc to help with the color.

I won't have a chance to really play around with the new camera before the party but I would really like to use it - any tips or suggestions on how to get some good shots with the new camera - should I just leave it on Auto and snap away?
If you do not have the time to get familiar with your camera, expect mediocre results at best.

No amount of advice could be offered to really help you out with such a broad event, nearly anything could happen and you are going to face a broad range of circumstances and lighting conditions.

Auto is the only thing you can do... since you are not even well versed in the basics of photography nor how to change the settings in the camera and what the results of your changes will do.
if your not getting paid/ hired to do this, and are just taking photos, I would use this opportunity to play with the camera and learn it.
Can you take both cameras? Maybe shoot a lot of the pics with the camera you're familiar with and play with the XTi separately.

If you do decide to take just the XTi, and IF you're fairly familiar with camera functionality, I would suggest putting the camera on its P setting. You'll still get a lot of help from the camera, but can modify the shots creatively as you work. If nothing else, just be very aware of the ISO that the camera is set on if you're not in fully automatic mode. I've toasted otherwise great shots because I forgot that I had been toying with the ISO and set it too high.
Can you take both cameras? Maybe shoot a lot of the pics with the camera you're familiar with and play with the XTi separately.

My thoughts exactly.
I used an Xti a couple of weeks ago; and man was it difficult for me to focus in the viewfinder. Too use to the slightly larger one on the 20D & 40D I guess. With your set-up you can actually choose P-Mode which handles everything Auto except for the flash. Just be mindful of the shutter-speed, when it gets too slow, your chances of blurry pics really increases. IS can help, but its not a miracle worker. Also, flash will not work at speeds faster than 1/250. Unless you activate High-speed sync. Check out the rooms layout, so you accustom yourself to which direction the light will come in, etc. so you can use it to your advantage. The bounce card is a good idea, especially at closer distances. Might need some test pics to adjust flash compensation. And it would not hurt to pack your P&S.
If I were you, I would just set everything on the Portrait mode, because you will be shooting mainly people. That way the camera will adjust everything for you since you won't have had a lot of experience with it. As an XTi user myself, here's what I would do about the flash: unless you have the chance to get really familiar with it, I'd leave it home (or just keep it in your camera bag). The built in flash is sufficient, and it should do nicely. However, it was unclear whether you own the flash and have had practice with it?

Good luck!

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