Merry and Bright – Part II

Yesterday I did a guest post on Mpix with a tutorial on how to take photos by your Christmas tree.  I had a couple of naysayers that said the only reason I was able to get the images was because of my equipment.  Yes, I am a professional photographer and I am lucky to have great equipment.  But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get great images with other camera bodies and lenses.

I dug out my very first DSLR camera.  A Canon Rebel XT… from 2005!  I bought that bad boy from Circuit City for 0% APR and it took me a full year to pay off.  I shot with that camera professionally for almost a year before I could afford to upgrade to the 20d.  I loved that little camera.

So to put those naysayers to rest I retook a couple of images with the 9 year old Rebel XT and my 28 1.8 lens, which is a $500 lens versus a $1500 lens.  I would have used a 50 1.8 lens, but I don’t have one.

Clearly there are differences between the pictures I posted yesterday and these images.  For one, they do have a lot of noise.  A better camera body can handle a higher ISO without getting as much digital grain.  And they aren’t quite as bright because I wasn’t able to stop down to F 1.2.  But, I don’t think they are horrible.  Especially for a camera body that is 9 years old and has seen better days.  And I don’t think that if you can’t afford the Canon 5D Mark II and a 50 1.2 lens that it should stop you from taking good pictures.  The thing is, you should be able to take great pictures with any camera if you understand your camera and lighting.  Of course a better camera and better glass are going to make things easier for you, but you don’t need it as long as you have a good understanding of how to shoot on manual.

F 1.8 , 1/100, ISO 1600

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F 1.8 , 1/100, ISO 1600

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I saw that I was getting a lot of noise so I lowered my ISO to 800 for this picture.  The Rebel has much less choices for your ISO than more expensive camera bodies do.  That’s one thing you will want to think about when choosing your camera body.

F 1.8 , 1/50, ISO 800

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Need help learning how to shoot on manual?  Check out the UNmanual2.


  1. Aimee says

    I always read the Mpix blogs and was surprised there were so many comments. I thought it’d be useful to look, but then ended up laughing that so many Uncle Bobs came out of the woodwork. Of course better glass means sharper images and a better digital sensor yields less noise. But the concept is all the same. “Concept” being the key word here. I know my rebel stops producing crisp images at an ISO of 400 – I just deal with it or know I need to go the extra mile in post processing (big pain). These are just fun kid holiday pics. I’m not printing them for a mural! No big deal. Just fun to do. Fun being another key word!

  2. DrewB says

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Aimee 🙂