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Rebel XT: AF and Metering Mode

Guzin PESTIMALCIOGLU , May 09, 2007; 02:26 p.m.

Hi, I'm respectively new to photography and my camera is Canon Rebel XT. For a while I had been setting up a little home studio to learn the studio lighting and other stuff. Yesterday, I took my first pictures and I haven't satisfied with the results. I had been using Tamron 70-300 with macro to take macro pictures with tripod and the light was 500 Watt incandescent light. For sure, it needs lots of practice and time, but I have a few questions.

My friend has a Nikon D70s. Her camera has a feature to focus to the subject. Single, Dynamic and Closest Mode. She asked me how do you do this in my camera. I looked mine, I think Canon doesn't have a feature corresponding to Nikon's this feature. I just thought that my focus (and clearness) problem might be beacuse of my focus mode. Mine has 3 too, but they function differently than the Nikon's I guess. I used One Shot in studio, since everything is stationary. But somehow I couldn't get what I want. Roughly, I know the differences between AF Modes, but is there anyone who can explain AF modes to me. Should I always select One Shot in studio, AI Focus for the possibility of movement and AI Servo for the moving subjects? And of course Metering Mode. How metering mode works?

Thanks in advance...

Responses

Bruce C , May 09, 2007; 02:53 p.m.

First, I'm no Nikon expert, but that's actually good because you need to focus on understanding and using your XT, not on how your friend's D70 works -- that puts you in the position of learning two new camera systems at the same time, and the results so far aren't good.

You seem to understand the AF Modes fine. The metering modes are a little less obvious:

"Evaluative" is just that -- the camera's built-in intelligence analyzes the whole scene and sets the exposure based on what Canon has taught it. For now, I suggest you stick with this setting until you find out exactly how it works and doesn't work for you.

"Partial" meters the central 9% of the scene and sets exposure to make that come out a mid-toned value. Use it when the background is much lighter than the central portion.

"Center weighted" uses the whole scene, but gives priority to the center part. In effect, this mode is intermediate between "Evaluative" and "Partial".

As I said, just stick to evaluative for now until you feel you know how it works and doesn't work for you.

Now, about your initial question: Exactly what displeases you about your results? If you can post a sample, that will make things much easier.

However, shooting close-ups is NOT the best way to start photography. If you are able, go outside and take some pictures. Or shoot inside, maybe using the pop-up flash. Chances are a substantial portion of your shoots will be fine, and that will give you both experience and confidence.

Good luck!

Bruce C , May 09, 2007; 02:55 p.m.

PS: Stop bugging your friend! Its obvious she knows as little about your Rebel XT as you do, so she can't help now. You just need to learn how to take some basic pictures. Do a couple thousand shots and THEN get together with your friend to compare notes. You'll both have laugh!

Andy Szeto , May 09, 2007; 03:25 p.m.

Just remember you cannot select the focusing point or set the focusing or exposure mode if you use one of the shooting modes in Programmed Zone (green box, portrait, night portrait, sports, landscape and close-up). For example, one of the popular problems is that the camera automatically selects the focusing point and focus on something which is other than your desired subject in the green box mode. Or you should use the partial metering for backlighted subject but instead it uses evaluative that cause your subject way underexposed. Hope this helps.

Leon Schnell , May 09, 2007; 04:22 p.m.

Like somebody said, for macro photography focusing precisely is all-important because the depth of field is so shallow. In many cases autofocus won't focus exactly where you want, so you'll need to click your lens over to Manual and do it yourself. If you are using autofocus you'll have to select the centre focus point, autofocus using it, and then recompose to get the photograph you want.

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