Getting back into DSLR photography
A couple of weeks ago on the Fediverse, somebody posted a picture of a bee taken with an old Canon Rebel XS DSLR and a telephoto lens. It piqued my interest, because I happen to have this exact same camera model at home.
The EOS Rebel XS/1000D was an entry-level digital single-lens reflex camera that Canon released back in 2008. I bought the basic kit with EF-S 18-55mm lens (29-88mm equivalent of full-frame 35mm cameras), with the plan to purchase an affordable telephoto lens at some point.
During the next 4 years I took thousands of photos. Mostly family shots, family pets shots, and product pictures for the work place (I was the designated “photographer” even though I had no experience). I tried to use the manual settings, but mostly I used it as a point-and-shoot.
Then I progressively used it less and less. I stopped using it between 5 and 6 years ago. I never did get that telephoto lens.
Why did I stop?
I tend to lose interest in things. But the main reasons were:
- Over thousands of family pictures, I would wager that I was on less than a hundred of them. With the advent of small digital cameras with LCDs, people quickly lost the habit/ability of actually using a viewfinder to take pictures. I would throw my DSLR into their hands, they would be intimidated by it, even though I had put it in full automatic mode. So at some point I simply stopped asking people to take pictures of me with my camera. (Note : the Rebel XS could actually be used with the LCD screen rather than the viewfinder. I don't remember if I knew this back then. In any case, taking pictures in that mode is not as straightforward as on a small digicam – or, of course, a smartphone).
- With its carry bag, it was very big to lug around.
- I didn't think I was getting good results with it. I purchased an Olympus PEN E-PL2 mirrorless camera for the workplace, and even with its smaller sensor, I thought it took better pictures.
- When I finally got my first smartphone, I exclusively took pictures with it. It was so much smaller and convenient to carry around.
Why get back to DSLR photography?
- I've been dissatisfied with the quality of pictures taken with my current 6-year old smartphone. I expect that the one I'm getting next (Pinephone UBports Community Edition) will be worse (it has a more basic camera sensor, not to mention the current rudimentary camera software support in Ubuntu Touch).
- I want to play with settings that aren't available on smartphones. Mostly, depth of field, shutter speed, exposure level.
- Speed!!! It's crazy how a DSLR is fast at autofocus and snapshots compared to a smartphone. I had forgotten!
I took my Rebel XS out of the closet and started shooting again, exploring its features. And I ordered a telephoto lens! :-D I can't wait to get it.
I took the camera to a bike ride last week (the pictures in my previous post were made with it), but I'll either have to figure out a way to fasten the camera bag on the handlebar (to free my rear pannier rack), or purchase a dedicated handlebar bag.
Compared to what's being sold now (including mirrorless cameras), the Rebel XS is hopelessly outdated. But I think I can still get nice pictures with it. I won't pretend that I know what I'm doing, or that the pictures I'm getting are any good. But I'm having fun! :-D
This post is day 8 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. I'm making an English and a French version of each post, and I decided to count each as a day. If you want to join in this challenge, visit the 100 Days website.