Canon Rebel XT

I own a Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT, which I have used for 2 years (07-08) before upgrading to a Nikon D90. The quality of manufacturing is great, and most features needed to make good shots are there. On the negative side, I would say that the ISO performance is poor (400 is the max acceptable noise) and the screen is small. The XTi brings a lot of improvements like a larger screen, more megapixels, more autofocus points, etc.

I own / have owned the following lenses, in chronological order, besides the standard one:

  • Canon EF f1.8 50mm: the price at $75 is unbeatable. You can get some very nice shots out of it, and f1.8 enables nice focus effects and low-light use. The only problem of the lens is that it’s a 50 x 1.5 = 85mm on the XT, which is too narrow of an angle for general use, it is really a portrait lens. Consequently the much more expensive Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L should be preferred.
  • Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8. The maximum constant aperture of 2.8 and a rather wide angle make it a great general purpose lens. Price is pretty good compared to Canon’s equivalent. The quality of manufacture is good, and size is really compact compared to equivalent competition. But IS is missing, and I have heard that people have issues with many blurred / out of focus shots. The focus is not as fast or precise as Canon’s USM.
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS. Very good lens, esp for the price under $400. IS makes a big difference, pictures are sharp even at long exposures. It’s not a compact lens, a bit heavy to carry around, but not bad. The only problem is, with a non-full-frame camera, the low focal is 28×1.6 = 45 which is not wide enough for shooting buildings and group scenes. Also, picture is good at the center but barrel distortion and softness can be significant on sides.

I own / have owned the following filters:

  • Canon UV filter: have one for every lens. Does not improve picture, can create internal reflexion, but in the end you are happy to have a spotless & scratchless lens when you remove it.
  • Tamron circular polarizer: this filter is extremely useful, it will make your pictures much purer and intensify colors, and also removes hightlights from the sun. Pictures sometimes look a bit “fake” but I love the result, and that’s something you won’t get with a point & shoot. Note that you lose at least 2 stops, and it takes a bit of time to adjust it correctly for almost every shot.
  • Tiffen Neutral Density .9 filter: useful to make long exposure shots, to have nice water movement for example. Of course you will need a tripod. x9 is a good density, it makes your exposure time go around 3-4 seconds on average.

Note that it is better to buy 77mm filters since it is the standard size for pro lenses, and use a step-up piece to adapt the filters to your lens. This way you dont have to buy new expensive filters every time you have a new lens diameter.

Import raw CR2 images from camera

If you have a standard compact flash reader, then you should be able to mount the device and pull your pictures easily.
If not, the standard is gthumb which pops up when you plug the camera. If you are lucky it will fetch your pictures correctly. It used to work fine, but lately with a large amount of CR2s I have had an issue where import stalls halfway through, for no apparent reason.
I have tried to change the usb setting, not to suspend the device in any manner, but no luck.
I was finally able to do it correctly, by using gtkam:

  • Plug in and turn on camera. Ignore gthumb import.
  • In a terminal, run “lsusb” to see which usb port the cam is using.
  • Start gtkam, and if nothing shows up go to Camera / Add Camera.
  • Select the right camera model, then you should be able to select the right usb port
  • From there you should see a bunch of folders, select all folders, then select all pictures on the right. Save them all to disk.

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