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A ShortCourse Book
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Photography

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Photography

Canon Powershot G9 Photography

This clearly written and easy-to understand short course on your Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi, known as the EOS 450D in much of the world, explains step-by-step how, why and when you use your camera's controls for better pictures. This guide is available as a traditional 156 page large-format (8.5 by 11) spiral bound book printed in black and white, and as a full-color, fully searchable PDF eBook you can order on a CD or download instantly.


Introducing Animations

The eBook edition of this book has links to 50 animations, movies and other resources that illustrate and explain the core concepts of digital photography. Integrated throughout the eBook, these linked resources help you understand your camera better, and make you a better photographer.

To use the animations you need the eBook version of this book and an Internet connection.

Click to see how every camera is just a black box then minimize or close the animation window.
Click to see how full color images are created from only three colors then minimize or close the animation window.


New, a Short Courses digital photography book for people who want to get better pictures with their Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D SLR camera. This beautifully written and illustrated guide, pulls together answers to the questions you might have about using the camera, including the following:


Cover ...i
Short Courses Books and Web Site ...ii
Preface ...iv
Contents ...v

Chapter 1
Camera Controls and Creativity ...7

The Digital Rebel XSi/450D Camera ...8
Jump Start—Using Full Auto Mode ...9
Good Things to Know ...10
Using the Viewfinder...13
  • Diopter Adjustment ...13
  • Focus Points ...13
  • Information Display ...13
  • Metering Display ...13
Anatomy of the Camera ...14
  • Top and Front Views ...14
  • Rear View ...14
Changing Settings with Buttons and Dial ...16
Changing Settings with Menus ...17
Playing Back & Managing Your Images ...19
  • Image Review ...19
  • Information Display ...19
  • Image Playback ...19
  • Jumping in Playback ...20
  • Giving Slide Shows ...20
  • Using the Playback Menu ...21
Selecting Image Quality and Size ...22
  • Number of Pixels ...22
  • How an Image is Captured ...24
  • The Exposure ...24
  • It’s All Black and White After All ...24
  • Choosing Image Size and Quality ...25

Chapter 2
Controlling Exposure ...28

Understanding Exposure ...29
The Shutter Controls Light and Motion ...30
The Aperture Controls Light and Depth of Field ...32
Using Shutter Speed and Aperture Together ...34
  • Exposure— Faucets & Buckets Analogy ...35
  • Exposure— Seesaw Analogy ...36
Retaining Highlight and Shadow Details ...37
Choosing Shooting Modes ...38
Using Image Zone Modes ...39
Using Shutter-Priority (Tv) Mode ...41
Using Aperture-Priority (Av) Mode ...42
Using Manual (M) Mode ...43
How Your Exposure System Works ...44
  • Meter Averaging and Middle Gray ...44
  • Types of Metering ...46
When Automatic Exposure Works Well ...47
When to Override Automatic Exposure ...48
  • Scenes Lighter than Middle Gray ...48
  • Scenes Darker than Middle Gray ...49
  • Subject Against Very Light Background ...49
  • Subject Against Very Dark Background ...50
  • Scenes with High Contrast ...50
  • Hard to Meter Scenes ...51
How Overriding Autoexposure Works ...52
How to Override Automatic Exposure ...53
  • Exposure Compensation ...53
  • Autoexposure (AE) Lock ...53
  • Autoexposure Bracketing (AEB) ...55
Using Histograms ...56
  • Displaying Histograms ...56
  • Evaluating Histograms ...56
  • Clipped Pixels ...58
  • Sample Histograms ...59

Chapter 3
Controlling Sharpness ...60

Getting Sharper Pictures ...61
  • Supporting the Camera ...61
  • Using the Self-timer ...61
  • Increasing Sensitivity (ISO)...62
Sharpness Isn’t Everything ...64
How to Photograph Motion Sharply ...65
  • Speed of Subject ...65
  • Direction of Movement ...65
  • Distance to Subject and Focal Length of Lens ...66
Focus and Depth of Field ...67
  • Focus ...67
  • Depth of Field ...67
  • Checking Depth of Field ...68
Focusing Techniques ...69
  • Autofocus Modes ...69
  • Selectable Focusing Points...70
  • Using Focus Lock ...71
  • Manual Focus ...72
Controlling Depth of Field ...73
Using Deep Depth of Field ...74
  • Focusing on the Hyperfocal Distance ...74
  • Auto Depth-of-field AE (A-DEP) ...75
Using Shallow Depth of Field ...76
Conveying the Feeling of Motion ...77

Chapter 4
Capturing Light & Color ...78

Where Does Color Come From? ...79
White Balance and Color ...80
  • Using Preset White Balance Settings ...80
  • Creating and Using a Custom White Balance Setting ...81
  • Selecting a Color Space ...82
Using White Balance Correction & Bracketing ...83
Color and Time of Day ...84
Sunsets and Sunrises ...85
Weather ...87
Photographing at Night ...89
The Direction of Light ...91
The Quality of Light ...93

Chapter 5
Understanding Lenses ...94

Canon Lenses ...95
  • Electronic Lens Mount ...95
  • Focusing Technology ...95
  • Ultrasonic Motors ...96
  • Image Stabilization ...96
  • Information on a Canon Lens ...97
Focal Length ...98
Zoom Lenses ...99
Normal Lenses ...100
Wide-Angle Lenses ...101
Telephoto Lenses ...103
Macro Lenses and Accessories ...105
Tilt-Shift Lenses ...107
Lens Accessories ...108
Perspective in a Photograph ...109

Chapter 6
Using Flash and Studio Lighting ...110

How Flash Works ...111
Using Autoflash ...112
  • Flash and Shutter Speeds ...112
  • Flash in the Basic Zone ...112
  • Flash in the Creative Zone...113
Portraits with Flash ...114
  • Positioning the Flash and Subjects ...114
  • Red-eye ...115
Using Fill Flash ...116
Using Slow Sync Flash ...117
Using Available Light ...119
Controlling Flash Exposures ...120
  • What’s E-TTL II? ...120
  • Flash Exposure Compensation ...120
  • Flash Exposure (FE) Lock ...121
  • Using the Flash Control Setting ...122
Using an External Flash ...123
  • The 580EX II Speedlite ...123
  • High-speed Sync (FP) ...123
  • Flash Exposure Bracketing (FEB) ...124
  • Wireless Remote Flash ...124
  • Stroboscopic Flash ...124
  • Autozoom ...124
Using Flash in Close-ups ...125
Studio Lighting ...126
  • Candidates for Studio Lighting ...126
  • Lighting ...126
  • Risers ...128
  • Special Bulbs ...128
Portrait and Product Photography—Introduction ...129
The Main Light ...130
The Fill Light ...131
The Background Light ...132
The Rim Light ...133

Chapter 7
Other Features and Commands ...134

Live View Shooting ...135
  • General Tips in Live View ...135
  • Manually Focusing in Live View ...137
  • Autofocusing in Live View ...137
Continuous Photography ...139
Using Picture Styles ...140
  • Selecting Picture Styles ...140
  • Adjusting Picture Styles ...141
Remote Control Photography ...142
Using My Menu ...143
Using the Set-up Menu ...144
  • Auto power off ...144
  • File numbering ...145
  • Auto rotate ...145
  • Format ...145
  • LCD auto off ...146
  • Screen color ...146
  • LCD brightness ...146
  • Date/Time ...146
  • Language ...146
  • Video system ...146
  • Sensor cleaning ...146
  • Live View function settings ...146
  • Flash control ...146
  • Custom Functions (C. Fn) ...147
  • Clear settings ...147
  • Firmware Ver ...147
Using Custom Functions ...148
Entering a Print Order ...152
Caring for Your Camera ...153
  • Cleaning the Image Sensor ...153
  • Cleaning the Camera and Lens ...155
  • Protecting your Camera from the Elements ...155
  • Protecting when Traveling ...156
  • Storing a Camera ...156
  • Caring for Yourself ...156


A great photograph begins when you recognize a great scene or subject. But recognizing a great opportunity isn’t enough to capture it; you also have to be prepared. A large part of being prepared involves understanding your camera well enough to capture what you see. Getting you prepared to see and capture great photographs is what this book is all about. It doesn’t matter if you are taking pictures for business or pleasure, there’s a lot here to help you get better results and more satisfaction from your photography.

To get better, and possibly even great photographs, you need to understand both concepts and procedures; the “whys” and “hows” of photography.

  • Concepts of photography are the underlying principles that apply regardless of the camera you are using. They include such things as how sharpness and exposure affect your images and the way they are perceived by viewers. Understanding concepts answers the “why” kinds of questions you might have about photography.
  • Procedures are those things specific to one kind of camera, and explain step-by-step how you set your camera’s controls to capture an image just the way you want to. Understanding procedures gives you the answers to the “how” kinds of questions you might have.
This book is organized around the concepts of digital photography because that’s how photographers think. You think about scenes and subjects, highlights and shadows, softness and sharpness, color and tone. The procedures you use with the Canon EOS Rebel XSi camera—called the 450D in many parts of the world—are integrated throughout the concepts, appearing in those places where they apply. This integrated approach lets you first understand the concepts of photography and then see step by step how to use the XSi in all kinds of photographic situations.

To get more effective, interesting, and creative photographs, you only need to understand how and when to use a few simple features on your camera such as focus, exposure controls, and flash. If you’ve previously avoided understanding these features and the profound impact they can have on your images, you’ll be pleased to know that you can learn them on a weekend. You can then spend the rest of your life marveling at how the infinite variety of combinations make it possible to convey your own personal view of the world. You’ll be ready to keep everything in a scene sharp for maximum detail or to blur it all for an impressionistic portrayal. You’ll be able to get dramatic close-ups, freeze fast action, create wonderful panoramas, and capture the beauty and wonder of rainbows, sunsets, fireworks, and nighttime scenes.

As you explore your camera, be sure to have fun. There are no “rules” or “best” way to make a picture. Great photographs come from using what you know to experiment and try new approaches. Digital cameras make this especially easy because there are no film costs or delays. Every experiment is free and you see the results immediately so you can learn step by step.

This book assumes you’ve mastered the mechanics of your camera. It’s about getting great pictures, not about connecting your camera to computers and using your software. That information is well presented in the user guide that came with your camera. Be sure to visit our Web site at for even more digital photography information.

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