Pete's Camera Tips

Thoughts on buying cameras from an amateur photographer.

Canon’s Included Digital SLR Software Programs

A CD full of free software tools was included with your Canon digital SLR camera. You can perform all manner of tasks with these utilities - transfer pictures onto your PC, file your pics, edit your pics. If you lost your DVD, you can re-install the software using this post. It’s not quite quite as good as having the full suite of Adobe’s image manipulation and cataloging software, but it also doesn’t cost above a thousand bucks. Free is the best.

EOS Capture Utility. This software lets you hook up your camera to your machine and manipulate it remotely. You can utilize your PC to have a live preview from your camera. Each of the camera’s specs can be altered with the click of a mouse. You can snap photos, and have the files placed on the PC in lieu of or in addition to the SD card. There are many spectacular ways to work with Canon EOS Utility.

Digital Photo Professional. Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) enables you to develop RAW images and change images. All of the things that you could perform with Lightroom or Photoshop - i.e. curves, white balance, etc - can be completed with DPP. It ain’t as feature rich as either Lightroom or Photoshop, but if you’re not ready to spend hundreds of dollars on the Adobe suite you can work with this free Canon software. Lightroom is a $200+ investment by itself, and Photoshop is even more. Get Digital Photo Professional and get started with that.

Picture Style Editor. The Picture Style Editor is a different RAW file processing tool that enables you to alter color settings and then apply them to other RAW files. It’s useful for batch processing RAW images. Install PSE yourself and experiment with it to find all that it can do.

Zoombrowser EX. You can store your digital picture library in order with Canon’s Zoombrowser EX. It lets you copy your pictures from your digital camera and save them on the PC. You can sort and view pictures, and you can also do some uncomplicated editing stuff. Get Zoombrowser EX to witness the things it can do for you.

These tools can be very helpful, especially if you haven’t obtained professional tier applications. Use the free stuff you have, and if you instinctively tossed your Canon utilities CD see this guide to help you download and install all of the software for free.

Balancing Canon Digital SLRs Based on Radio Flash Features

If you plan on doing a regular lot of people photography, then you really should practice how to use non-wired speedlites. Some times, existing light is acceptable, but you’re able to make much better photos by using a few lights, a couple light modifiers, and planning the light in your image.

There are a couple situations with this. You’ll have to invest money in speedlites, to start with. Second, you have to plan a way to fire those lights without wires. If you start to experiment with strobist style photography, this second bit can be quite complicated and daunting.

In the past, this wasn’t a default feature on Canon dSLRs. Either a couple of pocket wizards, a OEM Canon infrared transmitter, or some less expensive off brand radio triggers are among the gear you’ll need. When I first started learning to use flashes along with my Canon EOS Rebel t1i, I need to purchase a set of wireless triggers. It didn’t have a built in commander flash.

The trend lately, however, has been for Canon to incorporate a pop up commander flash with many of its newest digital cameras. So which Canon digital cameras start with the capability to set off flashes?

The newest camera in all of Canon’s levels includes a pop up commander flash. This means that the Canon EOS Rebel t3i , the Canon 60D, and the Canon EOS 7D will all work. On any of these SLR cameras, the on camera flash can be used as a commander flash, and it will without wires fire the rest of the flashes in the group. The built in flash fires off to send this infrared light, but the power strength of this primary flash is low enough that it won’t alter the brightness of your image (unless of course you want it to and you increase the output).

Older models, like the Canon t2i 550D and the Canon EOS 50D, don’t come with this ability. The top end Canon digital cameras, like the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, don’t come with on board flashes at all. So these cameras don’t include that capability either. But honestly, if you’re investing upwards of $2k on a digital camera, it isn’t a giant issue to pay a few hundred bucks on a Canon ST-E2 infrared transmitter.

If you’re still comparing the Canon t2i vs t3i, then this is a good reason to go for the newer camera. If, on the other hand, you’re still deciding between the Canon EOS 60D vs 7D, this isn’t going to be much help. They both have the same possibilities for flashes.

Comparing the Canon t1i, t2i, and t3i Image Resolution

So you’re in the market for a digital SLR. You’re thinking about a Canon t1i, a Canon t2i, or a Canon t3i. Which one sis right? One important specification you might think about is the digital camera’s res. Which of them has the greatest camera resolution?

The Canon t2i and t3i collectively win a slight edge when it comes to resolution. They boast a 18 megapixel res, yet the Canon t1i has a measly 15 megapixels.
Does this matter all that much? I don’t think so. In most cases, approximately 8 megapixels is just fine. Over and above that is simply too much.

A typical 4x6 print, done at 300 dpi, needs about 1200 x 1800 pixels. That’s a bit over two megapixels. A fuller, 8x10 image calls for 2400 x 3000 pixels. That’s roughly 7.2 megapixels. Unless you will be creating huge pooster prints, you aren’t going to use all the data saved in those extra pixels.

There are some other explanations for why you could want to upgrade from the Canon t1i to a different camera - like a Canon t3i, or a Canon 60D or 7D. But, pixelage isn’t honestly a good reason. The improvement here is tiny. Surprisingly enough, the lot of these cameras (the t2i/550D, the t3i/600D, the 60D, and the 7D) all use the same chip, giving them just the same resolution and image quality.

If you require a more detailed comparison between all the cameras, I wrote an in depth review of the Canon t2i vs t3i. Read that for a look at how the three digital SLRs are alike and different. If you’re looking for, you could too be interested in another thorough comparison about the variations between the Canon t3i vs 60d vs 7d.