It is said that a good camera does not make you a good photographer. But good equipment does allow the photographer to obtain quality results once their technical and compositional skills are down pat. Then all that is required is artistic vision, creativity, and time.
- Canon 8.0 MP Digital Rebel XT
- Canon 17-40 L f4
- Canon 100mm EF f2.8 Macro
- Canon TC80N3 Timer remote (adapted for XT)
- Televue Telepod Tripod
The Canon 8.0 MP Digital Rebel XT is a marvelous camera. The images from the XT clearly match images from a good 35mm film camera using quality slide film. The camera is easy to use, and shooting digital has many benefits such as:
- You don't have to pay for expensive film and processing
- Greater dynamic range (vs. slide film)
- Can easily shoot a test image
- Excellent color rendition vs. film
- No visible film grain when printing
I started out shooting 35mm slide film with a Nikon body a few years ago.
Unfortunately my interest waned as the cost for film and processing accumulated.
But now with the Rebel XT, I can easily shoot 300 images a weekend with no added expense. The Rebel XT functions very similar to a film SLR, and includes many feature of its prosumer version, the 8.2 MP Canon 20D.
Ok, now for the bad news. Unlike shooting slides, there is a good amount of post processing that must be done for each image.
The Canon 17-40 L f4 is an excellent but expensive zoom lens. The 17-40 L functions just as a 35-65 on a 35 mm film body due to the Rebel XT's 1.6 X crop factor. Also, the 17-40 L can focus as close as 28 cm, allowing for some macro photography. Build quality of this lens is excellent. The 17-40 L actually weighs more then the Rebel XT!
The Canon 100 EF f2.8 Macro is a very sharp lens. I have been more then pleased with this lens. The 100 EF can produce macro shots down to one to one. The manual focus is excellent along with the autofocus. My only regret is when shooting shy insects that just will not let me get close enough to them. Many of the current macro shots on this website (i.e. Sulphur Butterfly, Saddleback Cat) have been obtained using the 100 EF Macro.
The Telvue Telepod is an astronomy based tripod that will accept a ball head type camera mount. To use photographically, I simply remove the Telepod upswing, flip around the center piece, and attached the camera to the ball head. This tripod is very stable. Not to mention it can easily do double duty as a tripod for my 80mm William Optics FD refracting telescope.
The Canon TC80N3 Timer Remote can be used to control the exposure length when shooting with the Rebel XT. The Rebel by itself will not allow for shots longer then 30 seconds. The timer remote allows for complete control of the length of an exposure, the time interval between shots, and the number of shots. I basically use the TC80N3 for astrophotography and sometimes for macro photography. The TC80N3 is currently sold by Canon only for the 20D/20Da DSLR. But an adapted version sold thru Hutech Astronomical Products can be used with the Rebel XT.