Canon T3i Troubles
Hi everyone -
I shoot predominantly on a Canon T3i and I have a few technical questions. If anyone knows the answers it would be much obliged.
1. Low light. How do I combat this? I understand the sensor size is an issue but I feel like I shouldn't be getting images as grainy as I am. Flash is not an option at times because there are instances when that would totally ruin your shot. So what's the best solution? New lens? Weird setting?
2. Depth of Field. Although I am by no means a portrait photographer, I do enjoy shooting them on occasion. As I become more technical with my photography I am realizing that my lenses (18-55mm and 70-300mm) just aren't producing the results I am hoping for especially at a close proximity. I would like the subject to stand out and if there are things in front of the subject (grass, items, etc) I really want them to appear as blurry as possible. I can't figure out what lens would be most compatible with my T3i and would produce the best results. (Preferably not the 50mm 1.2 for $1600:-) ) I've seen a lot abou the 50mm 1.8 and 1.4, does the 1.8 have a very shallow DOF?
3. How can I get the most professional results from this DSLR? Any other 600D users that have found a niche or lens brand or settin that makes their pictures look great?
Thank you very much,
1. More light. No matter how sensitive the sensor is, they all still need more light. The T3i sensor is barely a nudge up from the T2i which is similar to the 7D. I try to never use ISO lower than 800 or 1600 on rare instances because the gain is absurd. The T3i is not a great low-light camera.
2. Prime lenses will usually have better DOF than zooms. I just bought a Canon F2.5 50mm macro lens that performs like a 1.8 lens for far less money ($300). Besides, you don't usually want to push your lens that far open - if you are pushing your lens as wide as it will go, you need more light - once you hit wide open, you no longer have any room to play and cranking up ISO just presents more problems. Try to stay within f8-11 as much as possible for your lens' best performance (that range is where they are usually designed for).
3. More light. Steadier camera. Better composition. Learn to take better pictures: plugins, attachments, filters, etc. won't help a badly exposed or composed picture. Get it right in camera and you don't need those things. That said, I use the following tools all the time:
CINESTYLE "flat" picture style. Free. Easy to use. Set it up as one of your "User" picture styles on your camera. It was designed for DSLR cinematography, but it works great for photos. It "flattens" the contrast in an image which makes it look really muddy with no detail, but you can then add back the Cinestyle S-curve or use a different one if you want and then bring back contrast where you want it. Not for those new to color management, it can be a pain to make it work, but it can also bring out detail in highlight and shadow areas and it's much easier to get fine-tuned images.
MAGIC LANTERN. While the big news is that its a hack that will allow the new 5D MK III to output RAW, it has some absolutely incredible features for the t3i and other Canons. The list of features is extensive, but you can add photo and video tools normally reserved for high-end equipment for free. If you don't like it, just pull the memory card out when you power down and drop in a new card without ML installed and it goes away. Instantly. Again, not for those who aren't comfy with installing something that can void the warrantee (mine already expired so who cares?) and potentially turn your camera into a brick. While it's a possible, it's also not real likely and while I have had issues with the software from time to time, reinstalling an update usually fixes it.
Save early. Save often.