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Old December 21st, 2003, 09:19 PM   #1
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DSLR newbie questions....

I just purchased a Canon EOS 10D last week. I'm comming from years of working with cameras (video and still) with fixed lenses (GL-1, DVX100...Sony F707, F717)....so needless to say I have alot of learning to do when it comes to real-deal photography.
Here's a few questions (please don't laugh):

1. I'm used to the lenses quoting their focal length in x's. Like 10x, or 5x. SLR lenses are rated in mm? Why is it rated in mm, I don't understand how that would coorelate to focal width and zoom?

2. The lens I'm currently working with is a 28-105mm F/4-5.6 USM. According to the name of the lense the F stop range is 4.0 to 5.6....yet in my camera I can choose F stop settings as tight as F/11 and F/12? Why is this?

3. When storing images on the CF card apparently it creates folders that have a 100 picture limit. Once it hits the limit it creates a new folder. Folder # 100, 101, and so on. I deleted all the pic on the card, and even formated the card via the menu yet I still start out with a folder numbered #103. Is there a reason for this not resetting back to 100? Not a problem, just more of a curiousity.

4. I was looking into the 550 EX Speedlight. Can anyone describe what it's benefits are? Does it sync up with any shutter speed. How about continuous shooting- say if I specify a 1/1000th shutter and shoot 9 frames continuously will the 550 EX flash all 9 times?

5. White balance? Is there a way to test my white balance other than taking shots and reviewing them to fine tune it? I'm used to my fixed lens sony in which I could see a real-time preview on the LCD as I changed white balance settings.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 09:54 AM   #2
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Re: DSLR newbie questions....

<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : I just purchased a Canon
Here's a few questions (please don't laugh):

1. I'm used to the lenses quoting their focal length in x's. Like 10x, or 5x. SLR lenses are rated in mm? Why is it rated in mm, I don't understand how that would coorelate to focal width and zoom?

The standard has really always been to rate lenses in terms of mm. The 3x, 5x that point-and-shoot manufactureres use really doesn't tell you anything (except that the zoom is 3x the base field of view). On the other hand the mm rating does give you some information as to how the camera lens compares to your eye or to binoculars. So, 1x in terms of a 35mm lens is approximately 50mm (the field of view of the main portion of human vision). 2x would be 100mm and so on. Thus, 10x on binoculars is approximately the same as a 500mm lens.

However, the 10x zoom on an Olympus point and shoot or the 20x zoom on the GL2 does NOT correspond to the 20x of binoculars (or a 1000mm lens). Why not? Because the base point, the field of view at the widest angle, is different (not 50mm). So, the camera manufacturers will often tell you what the 35mm equivalent is. On a standard point-and-shoot 3x is around 105mm (or only 2x magnification).

Clear as mud?

2. The lens I'm currently working with is a 28-105mm F/4-5.6 USM. According to the name of the lense the F stop range is 4.0 to 5.6....yet in my camera I can choose F stop settings as tight as F/11 and F/12? Why is this?

This refers to the largest opening of the aperature or the maximum amount of light gathering potential. It is a useful number for determining how 'fast' a lens is (or how dark it can still be and let you take pictures without a flash). The other end can be equally important for more depth of field. An f32 lens is really useful for macro photography.....
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 06:27 PM   #3
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Glen, Jeff covered your first two questions, the third question I can't help you with but the fourth I can. The 550 is a great flash unit, a little pricey but well worth it. It has many features that are missed on the 540 I have like:

High-speed sync - syncs up to shutter speeds of 1/2000, great for shooting sports in low light or strong backlight.

Built in WIRELESS connection. This is the one I miss the most. To get my flash off camera, something that is needed for shooting skate and snowboarding, I have to use a bunch of adapters and cables which is quite limiting. With the 550 all you need is either a second flash, either a 420 or 550, as a slave unit or Canon's wireless transmitter and the 550 and your good for around 150ft from what I've heard.

When it comes to continuous shooting the 550 is pretty good, it will keep firing as long as it has power in the capacitor. It also has a strobe mode that allows you to set the frequency of flashes on a single shutter release.
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Old December 27th, 2003, 02:45 AM   #4
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few more answers

I can chime in with some help here.

#1 Jeff explained focal length pretty well, but it should be added that your 10d has a crop factor of 1.6x - so, your 28-105mm lens is actually more like a 45-168mm lens on a regular slr camera. I'm not as familiar with the 2x/10x type numbers, but from Jeffs description (1x=35mm) - I think your lens is 1.5x to 5x. Clearer than mud now?

#2 as far as the f-stop - again Jeff covered it - I get this question a lot from newbies and I always strongly encourage reading up on f-stops and how to use them effectively. People who have always used point and shoots don't realize the incredible potential of the camera

#3 regarding file numbering - I'm pretty sure that the camera will just keep climbing in its file numbering. I'm not sure if this is the reason for it - but its main advantage is that as you store the photos on your computer they should all have different filenames.

#4 Nothing to add here

#5 with a dslr - there really is no option for realtime preview, but I find that using the histogram when you go back and review an image can be very helpful.

hope that helps.

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Old December 27th, 2003, 08:38 AM   #5
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glenn some more notes that might help...


play around with your camera a lot...i just got a 70-300 lens i'm returning it because the pictures it creates are pretty soft (or should i say the pictures i create with it) but upon some testing i found that setting the aperature to 8 helped create some sharper photos when compared with other settings...

as for the folder naming there should be a menu selection that stops 'continuous' file numbering...
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Old December 27th, 2003, 09:13 AM   #6
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Continuous file numbering is preferred in most cases. Duplicate names are to be avoided, in most cases, to avoid the system (or user) over writing preexisting files with the same name. It numbering preference is set in the custom functions.

WB is only really relevant if you're shooting JPEG's. RAW files can have the WB changed during the conversion process with no loss of quality.

Generally, speaking your sharpest lens opening is 2 stops down from maximum aperture. In other words, your F4 - F5.6 lens will be sharpest between F8 and F11. Beyond F11 your lens will start to show the effects of diffraction. My article on optical defects may be of help.
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Old December 27th, 2003, 12:50 PM   #7
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2. The lens I'm currently working with is a 28-105mm F/4-5.6 USM. According to the name of the lense the F stop range is 4.0 to 5.6....yet in my camera I can choose F stop settings as tight as F/11 and F/12? Why is this?

It lists 2 maximum aperture numbers because your lens changes itís maximum aperture when zoomed. Your lens has a max of f4.0 at 28mm and f5.6 at 105mm. This becomes most important when shooting manually and taking readings from a hand held light meter.

The minimum aperture setting on a lens is usually not listed as part of the name (so to speak) because it is the maximum aperture that indicates how useful the lens is in low light.

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