Since 1970, my photography experience has been with lower-end film SLRs - Konica, Minolta, and lastly, the Canon Rebel XS. In a way, they each were point and shoots for me as I was not interested to know more than setting the Mode dial to P or A. The results were satisfactory most of the time, but the costs of film and processing prevented me from advancing my skills with photography. You know, to get better, you gotta shoot more often.
Last year, a DSLR looked like a good way to save money. Being ignorant about DSLRs, I researched all that I could in the span of 6 months. The results that Reviewers posted about the DReb and the “reachable” lower price of the DReb convinced me that this was going to be my first DSLR. I found the Black Digital Rebel under the Christmas tree.
To make a long story short, during the first few months, I was disappointed with the 300D’s performance. So much so that I hid all the bad shots from my family and friends. That was about 80% of my shots. I expected great pictures any time that I pressed the shutter button. Come on, I paid $899 for this wonder machine. Playback on the LCD would show a great shot, but Photoshop Elements did not reflect the same. Underexposure seemed an inherent characteristic of the 300D in almost any Mode. Post-processing (and cussing) became a part of the endeavor during this period. That darned 8-bit LCD lied to me a lot.
Through much Forum reading, I later found that the Histogram was an important factor in determining what settings were best. It’s been an uphill struggle learning this camera, but each month shows that the quality of my pictures keeps improving. And, most of them have been on the Mode dial set to the M. (Manual).
As someone said in an earlier posting here, the Digital Rebel is a good beginner camera. Any prospective buyers should keep in mind that the 300D is NOT on the high end of the Canon DSLR scale. I am in no way a wise person, but good pictures will have to be acquired through much practice, evaluation, modification, and such principles that success requires. : ) Then, again, some people just learn quickly. I am not one of them.
The kit lens has been a good lens to me. It produces fairly good shots. In due time, I realized that something better up front would produce better photos. Hey, we all strive to do better, don’t we? The kit lens is now accompanied by a Tamron 70-200 F3.5 and a Canon 50 F1.8 Mk II ($60) lenses. Until I come across a 50 pound sack full of cash on my way to work, all my lens and accessories purchases will be on the low budget side.
With the BG-E1 attached to it, reloading batteries does not happen as often, but the weight has increased somewhat. The “gripping area” is much more macho-like, however the entire setup occupies a little more room in my LowePro Nova 3. Also, the BG-E1 leads the naïve to think they are in the presence of a Pro. It’s a good feeling until they start asking me for tips. But I know how to exit out of those types of situations which would uncover that I am only a notch higher than they are.
Any troubles with the Digital Rebel? This month, img_9999 restarted the counter to img_0001. Other than me being to blame for the Rebel’s inconsistencies, there have been no build, no program, no mechanical, no troubles whatsoever to report. Knock on wood. Each month I must average close to 400 pictures. I have become my children’s school’s “free of charge” sports photographer, and my RC model airplane club’s events photographer. For practice’s sake, I suggest that the newbie get himself/herself into that kind of endeavor. It makes using the 300D a fun challenge (and a lot of work thereafter).
My Digital Rebel even has the UnDutchables firmware in it. I still wish for AI Servo, Pre-flash operation through my 420EX, and the unlocking of the other Custom Functions. I figure that sometime next year I will be getting all that when we all start seeing used 20D’s for $700 on this website’s Buy & Sell forum. Man, will I be grinning trying to pick out a seller among the hundreds.
The Digital Rebel started out as a disappointment. With lots of reading, asking questions, practice, more practice, and perseverance, anyone picking up this camera won’t feel sorry for too long. In fact, they will finding themselves cradling it in their arms, parking it next to the bed, carrying it to work, and bringing it along every where. Just don’t stop taking pictures with it. I’m happy.