Friday, June 28, 2013

Anatomy of My Camera (Part 1)

Canon EOS 600D (aka Rebel T3i in America)

Well, it’s time to unpack the purchase and once the Open-Sesame moment is over, this is what comes out of the box.
The Kit comprises of: A) Camera Body, B) Software CD, C) Install CD, D) Battery Charger, E) Battery, F) AV Cable, G) USB Connector, H) Strap, I) Kit Lens
There are a few good reasons why I bought this particular Camera. Firstly, it was the cheapest one available. The cost keeps fluctuating, so for current pricing, take a look at the Canon website or you might also wanna visit your local showroom. For my first Camera, I wanted to go for an entry-level piece. The plan was to get trained in photography, click some photos and then, once I might start selling my photos, then buy more expensive ones. Although, now that I’ve started studying Photography, I have come to realize that, other than a coupla reasons, there’s not much need to upgrade the Camera’s body. Just need to keep buying new lenses (Wide Angle, Prime, Telephoto) and maybe a Tripod, eventually. I’ll be writing about the reasons to upgrade the body below. Second, would be a question, Why Canon? Well, no particular reason, I am sure all camera makers, be it Canon, Nikon, Olympus and many more, put the best features into their Cameras. My decision was based on the fact that most of the courses that I studied from used Canon Cameras.
Of course, I did find two reasons, in particular, that helped me finalize the purchase. First being the fact that I can shoot 1080p Full HD video and Second, Vari-Angle LCD monitor, meaning the LCD’s on a hinge which allows it to be swiveled in almost any angle, great for viewing the frame while recording at crazy angles.

Following is a basic breakdown of the key features of my Camera:

Body Type           
Well, so for sure, it’s a DSLR i.e., Digital, Single-Lens Reflex, AF / AE Camera with built-in flash. Wow, that was a mouthful. It simply means that it's a digital Camera and the body has a movable mechanical mirror system (Reflex Mirror), which is switched down (exact 45-degree angle) to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder eyepiece and flicks up when the picture is taken. Along with that, it has built-in Auto Focus and Auto Exposure features.
It also comes with a Revised kit lens - Canon EF-S 18-55mm F3.6-5.6 IS II and is compatible with Canon’s range EF and EF-S lenses.
Combine the two and you get this piece of beauty.

In addition it has an SD Memory Card which happily sits on the side of the body, so that you can change it without lifting the Camera off the Tripod.
The CMOS Image Sensor sits right behind the Mirror and its size is approx. 22.3 x 14.9mm. Now this is the information that helps you decide whether to upgrade the body or not. To get the best quality without any compression one must have a Full Frame or 35 mm Image Sensor. This is basically the size of the conventional Film reel. Smaller sensors will have lower picture quality. With the advent of Digital Recording, the option to buy a full frame or reduced sensor is now open to buyers depending on their spending capacity.
Most of the controls for clicking photos are on the top right part of the body viz., Mode Dial, Display toggle, ISO button, Jog Dial and the Shutter button.
The Mode Dial has the entire range of standard shooting modes found in most DSLRs, starting from Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Program mode for the professionals, to the very reliable Scene Intelligent Automatic Mode for the novice, to a tonna Preset Modes for the enthusiasts.
The rear side of the body has the unique vari-angle LCD Screen, the Viewfinder, all the Controls for Camera & Shooting Settings, Image Viewing and Post-Processes.

Recording System             
The Camera allows me to record images in both JPEG and RAW formats, in various sizes, along with the option to record both at the same time:
JPEG: Ranges from Largest being 18 Megapixels (5184 x 3456) to smallest, approx. 350,000 pixels (720 x 480)
RAW: Approx. 17.90 megapixels (5184 x 3456)
Image size directly affects file size. Larger the size, lesser the number of pics you can click. My advice would be, keep the size large and invest in more storage. You could also learn photography properly and click better photos…ha ha ha. No point in having a tonna low quality images you can’t use anywhere as opposed to a few good ones you could probably sell later.
From post-processing point of view, it’s better to shoot RAW. Although JPEGs can be edited to no end in an application like Photoshop, Adobe’s Camera Raw allows you to do a tonna pre-processing before opening the image in Photoshop. Although you can also open JPEGs in Camera Raw, the range of controls is less. Hope that made some sense.
It also performs some amount of image processing during shooting which involves choice of Picture style, such as, Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome. Along with a buncha White Balance settings according to the type of lighting in the scene, like, Auto, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fluorescent light, Flash), Custom White balance correction and white balance bracketing features are also provided.
One of the most important features is the amazing NoiseReduction, applicable to long exposures and high ISO speed shots. Along with Automatic image brightness correction and Auto Lighting Optimizer.

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