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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for new DSLR Owners, December 20, 2009
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This review is from: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D For Dummies (Paperback)
I highly recommend this book for anyone who recently purchased the Canon Rebel XSi, especially if this is your first DSLR camera. I finally purchased the XSi after getting frustrated with my 8.0 megapixel point-and-shoot camera that took poor quality pictures. After a few weeks of research, I settled on the XSi as my first DSLR camera.

With this being my first DSLR camera, I knew very little about the advanced functions and I vowed to get away from the automatic modes as much as possible. Even though this camera takes excellent pictures in the automatic modes, I could not justify such a big ticket purchase if I wasn't going to take the extra time needed to learn how to use the camera like a pro (or at least as close to a pro as I could get doing this part-time).

I've made it more than half way through this book and I'm extremely satisfied with how it has helped me take much better pictures without relying on the automatic modes most of the time. The book takes a very logical approach to teaching a novice the basic terminology associated with this camera (and photography, in general) and clearly demonstrates how some of the key functions work.

One of the best features of this book is the comparison photos provided by the author. When the author is discussing, for the example, how to adjust aperture settings and how these adjustments affect the image, she provides multiple photographs taken using different settings to demonstrate how each adjustment affects the picture. This was extremely helpful for someone like me, who is just starting out, because I could then practice taking different photographs and comparing those to the ones in the book to confirm that I was understanding the instructions properly.

Another great feature of the book was the description of how aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings all work together. After a little practice, I have been able to capture pictures with my new camera that would typically not come out properly using the automatic settings or that I couldn't capture at all with my previous camera. For example, I wanted to take pictures of my daughter playing in the living room. In the auto modes, the camera forced me to a use a flash, which made the picture too bright and washed out in some areas. Based on the instructions from the book on aperture and ISO, I was able to take the picture without a flash and at a high-enough shutter speed that the photograph came out great, even with the indoor lighting. The image was much more natural compared to what you would see with the naked eye.

-Good, clear descriptions in layman's terms
-Great examples of the camera functions (with pictures) and how adjustments affect the images
-Well organized; increases complexity as you progress through the book
-Good combined discussion of how the functions work together (i.e. how aperture and ISO can compensate for a higher shutter speed in low lighting, etc.)

-It's still just a book; you can't ask it questions if something is not working as described
-All discussions focus on the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm), so if you have additional lenses (i.e. macro, wide-angle, prime, etc.) this book may fall short of what you need to learn to shoot with those lenses
-Some discussions jump around and the author may mention functions that you will not learn to use fully until a later chapter.
-Some example photographs show minimal differences, so the point of the example is somewhat lost. This is likely because the quality of the images in the book was clearly degraded during printing. [I determined this when I viewed my own full-size images on my PC.]
-This is just the beginning; this book is only good enough to help you learn basic functionality and some photography terminology. Additional books or classes will be necessary for more advanced skills. [not a problem for me at this point]
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2009 6:10:18 AM PST
Abendit says:
I appreciate your review because I too just purchased a Canon XSi and wanted to get away from the auto modes. As a complete novice, I was looking for a book that would help familiarize me with this camera while also helping me learn the basics of DSLR photography and from your review this looks like the book to start with.
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