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I'm just about to take delivery of my first SLR, a Cannon 400D with 17-40 Lense plus the nifty fifty. In 10 days we will be following in Russ's footsteps and visiting the Snowy Mountains - I wont have much time to familiarise myself with the camera and I would really like to take some good shots of this scenic area. Should I stick to Auto? Any tips/advice welcome. Sad
Congrats on the new camera, Pat! I don't know the specifics of the 400D, but here is what I recommend:

If you have absolutely no time for experimenting before your trip and no idea what I'm talking about in the next paragraphs, stick to the Automatic. Smile

I think for landscape shots you can safely use the "P" mode. The 350D (and I think the 400D too) has also a full auto mode (it's a green rectangle on the dial) and some specific automatics, ie one for landscape, but I wouldn't recommend these - you can't shoot in RAW with them (at least, not with the 350D). Also, in "P" you can use program shift - that means that you can choose another aperture/shutterspeed combination. Wider apertures (lower f-numbers) make the DOF shallower (blurry background), with smaller apertures (higher f-numbers) the DOF gets wider (sharp background).

If you can afford it (in terms of memory on the card), shoot in RAW. RAW gives you more range from dark to light and you can change the white balance if it's gone wrong.

Don't forget to set the exposure bias properly. If there is snow in the "Snowy Mountains" and you shoot a scene with a lot of snow in it, try to set the exposure bias to +1 or higher, otherwise your snowy landscape will be gray and you lose detail in the dark parts. If the dominant color is dark green (forest trees for example), set the exposure bias down to -1. Check the histogram after each shot to see if your settings are ok and nothing is clipped.

Have a nice trip!
hi Pat, good to hear you will soon have your new camera etc.......gotta be happy with that!

No need to say read the manual as I am sure you will Big Grin

Most of the time I shoot on AV so as to have control over the aperture/DOF and I will also adjust my aperture to achieve the exposure I want. I also keep a close eye on the shutter speed and adjust the ISO. I always try to keep my ISO down where possible. Exposure compensation is another I will play with after looking at my histogram..... I will most of the time be +2/3.

I will also use M and TV...........and if I am handing my camera to someone else most of the time I will set it to P.

If in doubt I would use P to start with.........exposure and aperture are set by the camera but you have control over ISO, flash. exposure compensation and the metering

Its a steep curve when you get your first DSLR...........ask heaps of questions

good luck
Thanks G & Russ - my Pro1 had manual controls so I understand what you are telling me - think I will use P and ISO at 100, the Pro1 only had f stops 2-8, so not sure what f stop I should use for scenery. Fiddled with the exposure on the Pro1 and know how that works.
Have a 1.0 Gig SanDisk and a device that stores photographs so can shoot raw. My nifty 50 arrived a couple of hours ago from Perth, the camera is on its way from Melbourne and the 17-40 is winging its way from the good old USA, ain't shopping online fun?
Hey Pat,

Congrats on the new purchase! I'm sure you'll be rapt with it when it comes...

You can get away with a lot surprisingly on P mode... I prefer it to Auto as it doesn't pop the flash up of its own accord - you decide when to use it.

It should be handle almost similarly to the Pro1 - some menu items might be different, but essentially everything should be the same....

Sure is Pat, congrats on your new 'baby'

I think for scenery, you want to use the smallest (which is the highest number, e.g f/11) apeture so that you get lots of detail. Just keep an eye on your shutter speed and try to keep it above 1/125th if you are hand-holding.
Have fun!!
Pat - Lots of good advice above. Dont feel that you have to learn everything at once - start with the auto and P modes and then play a bit more. It sounds like a great trip to experiment with your camera. You will love the camera...
I'm looking forward the seeing the photos!
I heard that for your 50mm f/8 is ok... so you may start with this aperture and ... move your settings...

Ask the others which setting they are using... and try them... don't forget to take your manual with you as well... it is horrible when a red light is flashing and you are clueless about what it means... and don't be afraid to use manual mode... take one in program mode and see the setting the camera gives, then play with those settings in manual mode...

Things that are important to know, I think, is where automatic exposure lock button is... how to set the self-timmer ....

A tripod is a must, and a plastic bag always is a good idea to carry with you... if it is a bit windy you can always fill the bag with stones and hang it in the tripod it will make it sturdy... and you don't need to carry a heavy tripod...

It could be really great if you had another card... it is so sad that the sunset is going on and your are downloading your pictures into the device... Sad

Try to go out and take lots of pictures to get familiar where the buttons are... Smile

and btw, Congratulations on your new toy Smile

It is a wonderful camera, you'll have a lot of fun!! Smile
Irma Wrote:It is a wonderful camera, you'll have a lot of fun!! Smile
Says Irma who has just upgraded Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

Use what you feel comfortable with.
I used Av mode to start with. (Aperture priority...You set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed)
If you want a fast shutter speed (racing cars, kangaroo kick boxing) then Tv mode.( you set the shutter and the camera sets the aperture)
Aw you will crack it, and after a short while you will love it.
Happy shooting.
Thanks to all, I feel a lot more confident about using the 400D, however as my mother used to say 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating' so you will be able to judge yourselves when I get back and post the pics.
Congrats on the new camera, i know you will enjoy it . Everyone has coverd eveything . So i thought i would say Congrats ...Big Grin

.......... Shawn
That is great news Pat - Everyone's advise is great. I will just add - don't be afraid to use your histogram. Watch the graph and try and shoot so that it is as far to the right as possibel without actually touching the right hand side (small highlights are ok to blow out - you will know if the blown area is small by the height of the graph. The lower the height of the graph the smaller that area is in the picture).

To go closer to the right increase exposure and to go to the left decrease exposure. Obviously rules can be broken and not every shot has to be to the right - but in general you will get the most detail and least noise in your photographs that way.

And have fun Big Grin
Thanks for that, I discovered how to do that with my Pro1 which has been a good one to learn on but falls short on what I want in a photograph.
I don't know anything about cameras - sometimes I think I should go back to point and shoot. I shoot in RAW - so that I can mess with it a LOT in PhotoShop if I screw up...

I *believe* that pretty much any camera and lens in the right hands will meet the real requirements of most photographers - its the eye not the hardware - feel free to disagree.

Congratulations on the new camera - experiment and don't feel shy about posting your results...
Hi Toad, I agree with your, the most expensive equipment wont make you a good photographer. Since belonging to this forum I have learned (hopefully) to watch my composition etc.
Hi Pat,

Congrats on the new 400D Big Grin I'm sure you will get the hang of it quickly.

This is an answer to a questain I asked when I got my new 350D a few months ago, on another site. Hope it is of help......

Using the green auto mode on camera automagically enables all focus points. These look for areas of contrast and the point selected may not be the one that you actually want.

Try using one of the other modes that allow you to select the focus point to use (centre one is most accurate). Suggested modes... Av (you set the f-stop and it will set the shutter speed), Tv (you set the shutter speed and it will set the f-stop) or if you must use a full auto mode try P rather than the green.

Once you have the centre focus point enabled, position it on the subject, 1/2 press the shutter button and wait until you hear the focus confirmation beep and see the red focus square flash, then gently press the shutter the rest of the way.

Being new to DSLR you may find this site of interest...

I look forward to seeing the results of your trip down the Snowy.

Gosh, I am going to have to deliver after all these hints :/ thanks Sharon for those tips.
hi Pat, is it here yet.............. Big Grin

don't you just hate having to wait Big Grin
The nifty fifty arrived a couple of days ago, the camera will be here tomorror (Friday) not sure when the 17-40 will arrive as its coming from the USA. If the camera arrives tomorrow will take some pics over the weekend & post- that's if they are any good Wink
When my 5D arrived they couldn't give it to me... Sad

When the DHL van arrived I was already in the door... He practically gave me the box in the middle of the road... so well... he said... Could you show me your ID? Oh! Well, I don't have an ID but I have my driver's license... my passport is in the foreigners office in Ratzeburg and it will be there until mid of October... Ok... Give me the driver's license... already the box had passed to his side and he was writing the numbers...

Let me phone the office if the driver's lincese is ok... the central office said no... It should be a passport. and I said... a bit loud... Rolleyes What... I bought it, I paid it already and you can't delivered My Camera just because I don't have the bl**dy passport with ME??

Nope, I won't deliver your camera he said... he took the box and put it back to the trunck... so I asked what I should do... he said I will wait until I get my passport... at this moment I started crying and the man was shocked...

I phoned G to the office... and I told him... He phoned the foreigners office to send via fax a copy of the passport, then he phone DHL to explane the problem...

Next day, he saw the copy of the passport and delivered the camera... I couldn't believe it... I was so happy... Smile
Irma - that is so frustrating. So close and yet so far - glad you got it at last.
Irma, I had a bit of a giggle at the thought of you turning on the tap when the DHL van came and went and you had to watch your camera disappear out of sight Big Grin My 17-40 lense and camera arrived this afternoon within 30mins of each other. Setting the date/time and other settings was a breeze, fitted the nifty 50 lense and tried a few shots, the camera is a lot quicker than the Pro1. What I am going to miss is the tilted LCD view screen on the Pro1, its going to take some time to become accustomed to just using the view finder.

Tomorrow will try the 17-40 which is a lot heavier than I thought, when I got the Pro1 I thought that was heavy but soon got used to it. Well, I need to take a Bex and lay down after all the excitement.
Fantastic Pat - looking forward to your pictures.
Quote:Fantastic Pat - looking forward to your pictures.
echo Big Grin
Every thing is easy to set. It is just remembering where to go to set it.Big Grin
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