Friday, June 28, 2013

Anatomy of My Camera (Part 2)

Canon EOS 600D ( aka Rebel T3i in America)

It has an Eye-level Penta-Mirror Viewfinder with a focusing screen along with Depth-of-field preview. Ha ha ha…again a mouthful. It simply means that internally it has a 5 mirror system to reflect the light into the viewfinder and that autofocus can be previewed here along with Depth-of-Field.

Well, for sure, it has a very advanced Autofocus; only thing is, while it works great in the Viewfinder, it is a little slow in the Live View Mode.

Exposure Control, ISO Speed, Shutter Speed
These three controls are the very basics of taking good photographs. They are the backbone of the functioning of any good Camera. If you get this right, there’s nothing that can stop you from becoming a good Photographer. An over-simplification would be to say that all three of them combine forces to decide how bright or dark the image is gonna be. Along with this comes the shady business of Metering and White Balance. It would take me pages to explain what all this stuff means and how they come together to make-or-break your photos. My suggestion would be to study up on the Fundamentals of Photography before attempting to fool around with these suckers.
I can only say that this camera has got the goods when it comes to these features. It’s a bit technical, but for those interested in knowing:
1)   It’s got all sorts of Metering Modes, ranging from Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points), Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center), Spot metering (approx. 4% of viewfinder at center) and Center-weighted average metering.
2)   Exposure Control is based on the Mode of shooting I choose, Program AE (Scene Intelligent Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Program), Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, manual exposure and automatic depth-of-field. F-Stops range from 3.5 – 5.6.
3)   ISO Speed ranges from 100 – 6400 expandable to 12800.
4)   ShutterSpeeds range from 1/4000sec. to 1/60sec.

There’s a Built-in flash mounted on top of the Camera’s body. It is retractable and there’s a button to the side, to pop it up when needed. Also, in Auto mode the Camera’s Scene Intelligent Program decides when to pop-up the flash or not, depending upon the lighting conditions surrounding the subject.
It also has a Wireless master unit function provided, which allows me to fire an external Flash Wirelessly.
There’s also a standard Hot Shoe to attach an external Flash directly onto the body.

Drive System             
Drive mode in the Camera allows me to take Single shots or Continuous shots alongside a self-timer feature.
If I shoot with JPEG it gives me a Max. Burst of about 34 shots, with RAW approx. 6 shots and with RAW+JPEG approx. 3 shots

Live View Shootings             
This means that the Camera allows me to shoot a scene thru the display on the LCD Screen. Although it works just fine, has Face Detection, Contrast Detection and supports Auto Focus as well as Manual Focus, I’m not a big fan of this feature. Reason being it’s known to be slow and not very accurate, be it stills or video.

Movie Shooting             
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first defining reason why I bought this Camera. Full HD Video recording. It is capable of recording:
1) 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) video at 30fps / 25fps / 24fps
2) 1280 x 720 (HD) video at 60 fps / 50 fps and
3) 640 x 480 (SD) video at 30 fps / 25 fps.
Recorded Video gets compressed into MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 Variable (average) bit rate and saved as a QuickTime MOV. Audio can be recorded thru the built-in monaural Mic as well as using an external Stereo Mic.

LCD Monitor             
This is the second defining reason why I bought this Camera. It has your standard TFT color liquid-crystal monitor, 3.0-in. (3:2) wide with approx. 1.04 million dots. It also displays all the in-camera Feature guides and Menus. But the major feature is its angle adjustment.

The Camera allows me to display images in a coupla formats viz., Single image, Single image + Info (Basic info, shooting info, histogram).
Images can also be displayed in 4-image index, 9-image index. I can also rotate it in-camera.
Along with images, movies can also be played back. Audio out is thru the built-in speaker. It can also be connected to an HDTV via the HDMI Terminal for better viewing experience.

Post-Processing of Images             
It has a tonna built-in Creative filters viz., Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Toy Camera, Fish-eye and Miniature Effect. Also resizing your images is possible.

Direct Printing             
It also allows me to directly print my images, both JPEG and RAW with a buncha PictBridge-compatible printers, including Canon's own range.

Well, the Camera’s gotta interact with the rest of the world, like, Computers, HDTVs, Printers, Mics and such. There are a buncha jacks that allow it do just that:   
1) Audio / video OUT / Digital terminal allows it to share Analog video (Compatible with NTSC / PAL) / stereo audio output to Analog TVs. It also works as a Hi-Speed USB equivalent for Personal Computer communication and direct printing.
2) HDMI mini OUT terminal allow it to interact with HDTVs
3) External microphone IN and Remote Control terminal.

It comes with a rechargeable ‘Battery Pack LP-E8’ that goes into the base of the Camera. Life of the battery depends on whether I'm shooting thru the Viewfinder or the Live View mode on the LCD. It may range from 200-400 shots and approx 1 and a half hour of video shooting before I’ve to charge it again. My advice would be to start using the battery only once it’s fully charged and only recharge it once it’s fully drained.

Dimensions and Weight             
One of the best things about this camera is that it feels so comfortable to hold and is pretty lightweight. Even the design of the body gives the user a very comfortable grip, which automatically reflects on the quality of image taken. Specification below:
Dimensions (W x H x D) - Approx. 133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm / 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1in.
Weight - Approx. 570g / 20.1oz.

Operating Environment             
Finally just like any other electronic device, you gotta keep the Camera cool. They say that a working temperature range of 0°C - 40°C / 32°F - 104°F would be great to keep it in good shape. Buy frankly I’ve never really kept an eye on that, although I do take care not to place it in direct sunlight or near the stove…ha ha ha...all jokes aside, for a long life. it’s good to keep it in optimum temperatures and it’s absolutely necessary to save it from sudden, extreme changes in Humidity, like stepping out of an Air conditioned room. Easy remedy is to keep Desiccant packets in the camera bag. These are often found in new product shipments to absorb moisture.

Well, that’s just about everything I know about my Canon EOS 600D. By no means is this an exhaustive review of the Camera. Please don’t consider this sufficient information to take a decision about buying one. If you really wanna go in-depth into the nitty-gritty’s of the features and functions, then do visit this multi-page Camera Review by the awesome guys over at DPReview or you could watch this youtube video.


Yours Truly,

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