Photog Chris's Blog

got a camera and photoshop, fun times

Setting Up Your XSi

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Believe it or not, there is more then one way to set up your camera, there are many options to chose if you wish. Me, I did indeed wish. So, the first thing I changed:

AF Point selection to manual

Turn your camera on (Duh) and hit the top far right button… Here is a pic

AF Select

If everything is at the factory default the back screen will show “Auto Select” and nine blue boxes. Hit the Set button and you will have “Manual sel” or manual select. I personally keep the camera on manual select and on the center selection. I am the type to focus and then move the camera to get the subject were I want, or just use manual focus all together. Anyway, this is a good way to make sure the camera is focusing on what you want it to focus on.

Back Button Focus

This is something I learned about in the flickr Canon dSLR User group. It involves separating the functions of the shutter button. When you press the shutter button the exposure and focus is set. That is normal for just about any camera. But you can separate these two functions to two different buttons. Half pressing the shutter button will still set your exposure but the AE lock button is for your auto focus. This button here

AE Lock

Why do this? The Pro’s like it. 🙂 It comes in handy. If your in AV mode you can set you exposure once and take multiple shots at different focal lengths. Better is you can set you focus on one spot and shoot away with out fear of the AF taking over. Good for sports or action shot when you know where the action is going to be.

To change to back button focus go to your Menu > Custom Functions (3rd yellow icon). On function 10 you want option 1.

Metering Mode

I use two different modes Spot and Evaluative. Spot metering sets your exposure from the center of your image. Evaluative is the default and check the whole image and decides what is best. If you are just shooting snap shots evaluative is fine, in fact, it is preferred. But if you are taking Pictures I like deciding what is best, so I use spot.

Oh yeah, how to set your Metering mode?  Push the up button to get to the menu, select with the direction buttons and set with the set button.

Metering Mode

AF Mode

Auto Focus mode. Factory default is One-Shot. In most cases that will work fine. Servo mode is useful for sports or action where the subject is constantly moving. AI Focus is  a pain. It switches between the two when the camera thinks it should… I don’t like it.

Auto Focus Mode

Drive Mode

Factory default is for single shooting. Push the shutter, take a picture, Push the shutter, take a picture, Push the shutter, take a picture. 🙂 I like the continuous shooting, machine gunning, wasting film. Good thing this is digital. While holding down the shutter in continuous mode and One Shot AF mode the camera does not refocus or set exposure between shots. This is good if you are shooting at a very slow speed (maybe one will have no shake) or shooting action (like a deer jumping a fence). It is also good at eating up card space.

There is still more. I use continuous mode most of the time, but what if you are doing a tripod shot and don’t want any shake? Use the two second delay. The 2 second delay is basically a substitute remote shutter. Self Timer is great for self portraits, just get yourself posed in ten seconds. That leaves the Self Timer Continuous. You set the number of shots you want taken, up to ten and the camera will take them in ten seconds.

Drive Mode

Okay, that seems like a lot of set up but really you won’t be changing things all too often. The Manual AF point and Back Button focus can be set and forget. Metering and AF modes rarely need changing once set. Drive mode might get changed regularly depending on what you are shooting.


Written by photogchris

December 20, 2009 at 1:49 am

Posted in Tutorials

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