Digital Rebel

Almost three years ago I invested in a 2.1 MegaPixel point and shoot digital camera. Since then I’ve taken nearly 10,000 images. Not all of them are winners, to be sure, but I’ve enjoyed the process and learning to see in a different way.

It didn’t take long, however, to run up against the limitations of the little camera. I always shoot at the highest resolution—even upgrading the card so that I can put over 300 hi resolution images on it—but sometimes you want to print something bigger than 5x7. And then there is the limitation of a 3x optical zoom or the inability to set shutter speed or aperture.

A camera that could do what I wanted cost at least $1,500 plus accessories. Then, about a year and a half ago Canon introduced a digital SLR at a price point of under $1,000.

The Digital Rebel, or EOS 300d, has a 6.3 MegaPixel CMOS ccd, allowing for poster sized prints of outstanding quality. But even more importantly it allows for interchangeable lenses. Now $999 was still too much for me to invest, particularly since I’d also need things like a CF card and reader, not to mention additional lenses.

All that changed last fall when Canon introduced a particularly appealing rebate. $100 off a Digital Rebel, and then rebates in varying amounts off of selected lenses. That’s nice, but what really made me look twice was that buying a camera and a lense doubled both rebates. Add a third lens, and the rebate tripled.

I’ve been watching the Rebel’s price slowly drop from it’s introductory $999, and this rebate was just the thing to draw me in. The whole point of buying an SLR is that you can switch lenses, so I knew once I took the plunge it would only be the beginning. The rebate only served to accelerate the process.

I finally settled on a couple of lenses. One was not on rebate, but is only $75 and has received high marks in reviews from many users. So, Canon has received a larger sum of money from me than I would have initially laid out, but I would have made the lens investments in the future anyway, and with the rebates, I think I’ll be coming out ahead, and I have a good “kit” with which to learn.

I should point out that the 300d forum at Digital Photography Review and the reviews at Fred Miranda were extremely helpful as I narrowed down my lens choices.

You can look forward to (or dread, as the case may be) more images being posted as I learn my way around my new camera.


Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I almost did the digi-rebel rebate thing myself, but ended up going for the 20d instead. Just got it last week and it’s completely wonderful. Currently I only have the 50mm f1.8 (how do you like yours?). If you’re only going to have one lens it’s a good one to have.

What other lens did you get? I hope to get the 70-200 f4, and the Tamron 17-35 Di later this year to round things out. Also, I concur that the Fred Mirada Reviews are probably the best place on the web to research equipment.

Sorry for geeking out a bit in your comments but I’ve been camera-less for years and the whole thing has me giddy.

Posted by: Xian on February 3, 2005 02:37 PM

Hey Xian,

No problem on the geeking out bit! Someday I’d love to upgrade to a 20d, or whatever they’ll have when I am ready. But for now, I am taking things slow, and this being my first SLR I have a lot to learn!

My other lens is a 28-135 f3.5-5.6 with the image stabilization. As for the 50mm 1.8, I haven’t had enough time to play with it to get a good feel for what it (and I) can do. What I’ve seen others do with it is what made me go for it. I’m really looking forward to being able to spend some time learning how to put all of this to good use!

I also ordered a 420ex speedlight—another learning curve to climb…

Posted by: Mark Newhouse on February 3, 2005 03:19 PM

Hi Mark, bit late to this one… the 28-135 IS is a sweet lens, I have been using mine for several years now - just watch out for barrel creep (the weight of the lens tends to extend it to 135 if it is hanging downwards) If you haven’t already got one, get the matching Canon lens hood. It can be reversed on the lens when carrying or storing. The stabilizer can be a battery hog so only use it when you need it (and turn it off when on a tripod! It is only good for the minor jitters of hand-holding so don’t rest it against the window of a moving car etc)

Yes, flash photography can be a learning curve! Don’t forget that a flash is most useful during daylight. Flash photos at night will always have limitations but don’t overlook using a flash to “fill-in” shadows in day-time photography.

Also, don’t forget that your camera uses the selected focus point to help determine the exposure. Be careful of getting a reading of a selected focus point and then recomposing without re-metering - it can throw off the flash’s ETTL.

More than you need to know can be found here:

Posted by: gavin on February 7, 2005 05:46 PM

Hey Gavin:

Thanks for the info and the link! I’ve decided to take at least a week with each component (lens, flash, the RAW format, etc.) to get a feel for what they can and can’t do. And I know that I’ll be barely scratching the surface, but I am really enjoying the learning process thus far…

Posted by: Mark Newhouse on February 9, 2005 02:04 PM

gavin, thanks for the great information. I found it very helpful…

Posted by: Jessica Lopez on February 24, 2005 09:04 AM

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In which Mark discusses his new camera...

February 2, 2005 | digital photography

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