Sunday, May 1, 2011

The New Toys of Spring, Part 2 - Canon T3 DSLR

As I said in an earlier post, the last month or so has seen the upgrading of a number of gadgets around the house. The first was the iMac. The second was something I have been wanting for quite some time, but hadn't gotten around to being able to justify the expense, knowing that while such a thing would be very cool (and useful), it certainly wasn't truly necessary. That thing would be a digital SLR camera. A true photographer's camera.

Canon EOS Rebel T3
After going back and forth in my head for at least a year now, a couple of things pushed me over the edge. First, with the Dakotas trip coming up later this summer, I really wanted to have a serious camera to take with me, and wanted to have enough time to learn the camera before the trip. Which meant buying something soon. Second, I have always been partial to Canon cameras, beginning in high school in the early 1980's with the purchase of my first real camera - an original AE1. I still have the AE1 and a couple of additional Canon lenses, and I still shoot some film with it every now and then. Our point-and-shoot cameras through the years have always been Canon, including the current one, a PowerShot SX100IS 8 megapixel that has been fantastic. So I noted with some interest that Canon was releasing their new digital Rebel this spring; the T3i and T3. The T3i is an 18.1 megapixel thing of beauty. But 18.1 megapixels is pretty much overkill for non-professional use, as just about anything over 10 megapixels is only really necessary if you plan on making posters out of your shots. I don't see this happening. So the T3, the T3i's 12.2 megapixel baby brother, which has pretty much all of the newest technology for $300 less than the other, sounded like a good deal.

The camera was released in March, immediately went on back order in most places, but eventually came back into stock at Amazon. So for the best price I have seen anywhere, the camera fairy has brought me one. Now I just need to learn how to use it. It does so many things, and has so many features and options that I admit it is a little bit overwhelming. Or a lot overwhelming. But I guess the only way to deal with that is to just dive in and start playing. Which I intend to do.

As an aside, the interface with this camera is another example of how easy Apple products can be to use. The camera came with a few CDs of software for both PC and Mac. The camera's instructions talk about needing to install software, find drivers, and all of those things that I am used to having to do with a Windows based PC. I went into iPhoto (Apple's photo management and editing software that comes standard with all of their machines), checked out the Help section about importing photos from digital cameras, and it basically said "just plug the camera into a USB connection on the iMac and we'll do the rest." So I tried it. I took a few pictures. Didn't install any software or drivers. Connected the camera to the iMac. Turned on the camera. The iMac recognized the camera, started up iPhoto, downloaded the photos, asked me if I wanted to delete the photos from the camera's memory card, and I was done. It couldn't have been easier. Very very impressive.

Oh, and the photos were terrific!

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