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2 great ways to learn! read our guides • watch the videos

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Take better shots with your EOS D-SLR FREE VIDEO DISC INSIDE

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minutes of video guides to using Canon’s editing software

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CHAPTER ONE

Camera skills

6

Master your SLR!.......................................8 Don’t be a D-SLR dunce ..........................18 Exposure made easy ...............................28 Get creative with lenses .........................38 Sharpen up your shots!...........................50 24 steps to better night photos ............ 60

CHAPTER TWO

Canon SLR College

70

Focal length .............................................72 Focusing...................................................76 Depth of field ..........................................82 Aperture ................................................. 86 Shutter speeds ....................................... 90 Exposure modes..................................... 94 Metering modes explained.................... 98 White balance........................................102 Digital processing................................. 106 Flash .......................................................110 ISO speeds .............................................114 File formats and memory cards ...........118 Histograms ............................................122 Video......................................................126 Battery power .......................................130

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Custom Functions .................................134 Live View ...............................................138 Drive modes ..........................................142

CHAPTER THREE

Master Canon software 146 Master Digital Photo Professional ...........148 Process multiple images in minutes ........152 Turn three shots into a panorama ...........156 Create custom Picture Styles....................158 Ten ways to use EOS Utility ......................160 Organise your photos ...............................164

CHAPTER FOUR

Essential kit

166

Budget telephoto zooms ...................... 168 Teleconverters ....................................... 177 Ultra-wide lenses .................................. 178 Battery grips.......................................... 189 Macro lenses..........................................190 Superzoom lenses .................................204 Remote releases.................................... 213 Flashguns ............................................... 214

ON YOUR DISC

Using your Video Disc 224 Get the most out of the supplied Video Disc

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Camera skills

Get to grips with metering, histograms, exposure compensation, and more with our jargon-free guide

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Camera skills

S

etting the right exposure is one of the most of the important things for the photographer – and camera – to get right. If too much light reaches the sensor, your pictures can be a whitewash – quite literally! Too little light, and you might as well have left the lens cap on! Fortunately, your Canon provides you with a wide range of ways to control the exposure – each providing different degrees of automation, or different ways of setting and assessing the necessary combination of shutter speed and aperture. With such a great range of exposure modes, metering patterns, locks and overrides, it can be difficult to know which to use when. Inevitably, some do very similar things to others – and in many

situations, many of the options can give you identical results. The next ten pages are all about exposure, we’ll show you which options are the most useful – and exactly when you need to use them. One of the great things about digital cameras is that you can check your pictures as soon as you take them – and even analyse the distribution of tones using the histogram. If the shot isn’t how you wished it to be you can simply retake it – correcting it so that it’s no longer too light or too dark. Our camera techniques will show you how to get more from the camera, so you get more of your pictures looking right first time around – and spend less time editing them in programs like Adobe Photoshop to fix them! So, let’s get started…

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Get creative with Make the most of your lenses, with essential skills to help you get more creative with your D-SLR photography…

M

on your D-SLR is one of the most important creative decisions you can make. Other than the sensor, it’ll have the greatest influence over the quality of your images. Of course there’s more to a great photograph than splashing out on an expensive lens; it’s how you use that it counts. So, if you’re ready to take your photography to the next level and want to know how to get the best out of your lenses, we’ve got some great tips to help you get started…

Words: Ben Brain. Background image: Fotolia. Main image: Chris George

ost of us start off with a decent benchmark lens when we get into in digital photography – the ‘kit’ lenses available with Canon EOS bodies are versatile workhorses, with decent zoom ranges that will be useful in many photographic situations. However, there will be a time when you might consider adding to your creative armory, and expanding your collection of lenses is a great way to go. The piece of glass you choose to place

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Camera skills

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Camera skills

MASTER YOUR SLR TODAY

Words by Peter Travers

Improve your nightlife with our easy techniques for better photos after dark…

T

hanks to the short days and the long nights, winter is the time to perfect your low-light photography. But capturing pin-sharp, stunning night photos can prove a real challenge if you don’t use the right settings and techniques. To make sure your get off on the right foot, we’ve put together 24 tried-and-tested techniques that are

guaranteed to improve your night images. We’ll start you off with the basics and key Canon D-SLR set-up tips. We’ll then take you through the best way to shoot buildings at night, tackle night lights and traffic trails, and then round it off with a masterclass on night sky photography. So what are you waiting for? Let’s head out into the dark and get stuck in…

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Canon

LESSON 13

J

udging whether you have taken a decent shot and a decent exposure is simple with a digital SLR. As soon as you fire the shutter, a preview of your picture flashes up on the LCD. You can instantly see if the shot is too bright, or too dark – so it seems unnecessary to have a second, more scientific, way of judging the suitability of your exposure settings… So why bother looking at the histogram? First, and foremost, displaying the histogram is not a replacement for looking at the image itself when you review a picture. This mathematical graph simply gives you some additional, but invaluable, information.

All EOS D-SLRs can show a simple graph that you can use to judge exposure – some can also display a full-colour version

Quantity not quality

The qualitative nature of the preview image means that it can be hard to see if an area of the shot is slightly too dark, or slightly too bright. The quantitative graph does not lie, and tells it to you straight. Once you learn to read them, histograms clearly show the exposure – and whether you need to use exposure compensation to darken or

lighten the next image you take. But more importantly, it also tells you about the contrast of the scene. This allows you to avoid – or at least take special care with – subjects that have a greater range of brightnesses than your sensor can cope with. It also ensures that you get the

STEP BY STEP How to locate the histogram

Start off by pressing the Review button on the back of the camera – the one with the blue arrow in a square that you use to review the pictures you have just shot.

Your EOS has several ways of displaying the pictures you have shot. To change the display mode, press the Disp or Info button (some models have one, some the other).

Keep pressing this button until the white luminance histogram appears alongside the picture. Other information will also be shown – such as exposure setting and file size.

Recent models offer a second histogram display mode (press the Disp/Info key again). This gives separate graphs for red, green and blue (RGB) colour channels.

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Histograms

Reviewing images with the histogram Learn to look at the graph as you assess your shots

Compensation

MIDTONES

NUMBER OF PIXELS

Use exposure compensation to shift the histogram left or right for your next exposure

HIGHLIGHTS

SHADOWS

TONAL RANGE BRIGHTNESS OF PIXELS

Dark to light

Histogram Settings

The histogram display also provides the settings used to take the shot, time taken, and file information

best-quality results from your sensor when shooting low-contrast subjects. The standard histogram – found on all EOS D-SLRs – plots the brightness (or luminosity, to use the scientific language) of every pixel in the picture. This brightness is measured on a 256-step scale (the number of permutations available in a JPEG digital image). This graph can also be displayed as you frame up a picture on cameras that offer Live View (see how on p124).

The right is bright

The darkest tone available is zero, and shown at the left-hand side of the graph. The lightest, whitest tone achievable is 255 on the scale – and is shown on the extreme right of the graph. The steps along the x-axis then fill in all the possible shades in between. The vertical y-axis then simply shows the number of pixels of each brightness. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as an ‘ideal’ histogram. Some subjects will give shots that simply have more brighter tones than others – and ultimately no two histograms will be identical. It’s the overall shape of the graph that is your secret weapon for assessing the shot’s exposure and contrast. To get the best tonal range, and to avoid problems with underexposed shadows or overexposed highlights, the histogram should be vaguely bell-shaped. That is, the graph should

Judging basic exposure Underexposed If the histogram is positioned on the left-hand side of the available graph area, this shows the shot is dark and is probably underexposed.

Overexposed If the histogram is squeezed up on the right side of the available graph area, this shows the shot is light and is very probably overexposed, with clipped highlights.

Well exposed An ideal exposure stretches the full width of the graph area, so has the widest possible tonal range – but does not butt up to either side, so neither highlights or shadows are clipped.

Photos: Chris George

Image preview

The thumbnail image of the shot is important when judging the histogram – as it shows you if the shot is meant to be dark or light!

The graph plots the brightness of each pixel in the picture, from darkest on the left to brightest on the right. Vertical lines partition the graph into five segments, designed to make it easier to judge the position of the histogram graph

The shape and position of this black-and-white graph can give you instant information about the exposure of the shot, and of the contrast of the scene

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Your companion Video Disc Here’s your jam-packed Video Disc with 50 minutes of exclusive video guides and all the images you’ll need for our projects

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