Canon Rebel XSI 450D Field Guide

Canon Rebel XSi - Live View Shooting ModeCanon Rebel XSi - Live View Shooting ModeNew: Canon EOS 7D Field Guide

The Rebel XSI is a wonderful camera. At the price tag of just under $900 $700 it includes a 12.2 Megapixel Camera capable of recording professional grade photographs and an image stabilized lens. With the weak dollar I am not expecting this price to come down, so if you are thinking about a great new camera, now is as good a time as any.

The Rebel XSI has a huge LCD screen. It is the first Canon Camera of its kind that features Live View. Live View is showing the picture on your LCD for composition. Until recently this was not available in SLR cameras, as the Mirror (or Prism) got in the way. When you enable Live View, the mirror inside the camera flips up, exposing the sensor. I am convinced that this will come in handy in crowds or when shooting high or low.

Rebel XSI RGB histogramThe XSi also has a RGB histogram! This is a great value, as a combined histogram (as my 20D has) sometimes makes it hard to judge over exposure. Since blue skies show up mostly on the blue channel, it will show a much brighter exposure for some outside shots. The combined (brightness) histogram would always under estimate the over exposure if it was mostly confined to a single channel.

Having a full RGB histogram in a camera in this price range is fantastic.
I am not a big fan of the Canon Kit lenses, but this one boasts image stabilization. The Camera without the lens (body only) costs only $100 less. Having an image stabilized lens for $100 was a no brainer for me. I just got the lens and I am going to do some more testing on it later.


I have the feeling that the Rebel XSI has more trouble focusing than my 20D. Especially with my ultra wide Tokina lens at the 12mm wide end the Rebel seems to have some problems. It should not come as a surprise for two reasons. At 12mm, the depth of field will be extremely large, so the focus sensors may have difficulties finding a maximum sharpness, as it does not vary much throughout the focus range. Even my 20D sometimes will not focus this lens correctly. This is not a big deal, because of the large depth of field.

Secondly, the xxD series is built to a higher standard and has more accurate focusing.

I also noticed that I can acquire focus on an object some distance away and when I re-acquire focus, it will be at a slightly different focus distance than before, even though I did not move. The variation is not great and the shots are probably going to turn out good, but since I got curious, I will investigate this a little more.

14-bit Sensor

One of the biggest selling points to me is the 14-bit dynamic range of the sensor. This means that the 450D has much finer steps between the different brightness levels.

In theory, this should come in handy for sunsets, which used to lead to posterization effects or for local contrast enhancements.

I tried the contrast enhancement on a picture I shot last week in Portland Oregon. Since I am also evaluating a new RAW converter I may have gone a little overboard on the effect, but it shows nicely what you can do with the XSI.

Portland Skyline with Mt. Hood

I pulled the skyline of Portland and Mt. Hood together with the long focal length of my 70-200mm lens. Since Mt. Hood was many miles away, it seemed somewhat washed out by the haze of the late afternoon smog and the bad weather. I boosted the contrast around the highlights for the mountain and was able to do so without any adverse effects. Despite the very strong local contrast enhancements, I could not make out any posterization. That is a huge plus for the Rebel XSI.


Unfortunately the 450D does not use the same battery type that the previous models used. This is usually not a big deal, but when I am on a trip with Dani, we always had a stock of charged batteries that we could both use. Every evening we used to charge those from a single charger. That kept travel weight down. Unfortunately we now have to carry two chargers and we each have to have our own battery stock.

Feeling the Camera

The Camera feels great. I am having a really good time with it. The shutter sounds smooth and not as loud as on the 20D which is a huge advantage when shooting people. The missing thumb wheel of the xxD series is not a big deal. Although I got used to it a lot on my 20D, it turns out I can live well without it.

Memory Card

Unfortunately the 450D uses SD and SDHC. At first I didn't notice that SD cards of 4GB or more are actually a different standard (SD-High Capacity or SDHC). My old Digital Partner Image tank does not support it and I also had to buy a new card reader.

Auto ISO

One of the biggest selling ponit of Nikon was their Auto ISO function. Finally Canon also has an Auto ISO on their SLR cameras (at least on the 450D). This means that you can work comfortably in those changing light conditions without worrying about ISO.

Long Exposure Noise

I love taking photographs at night. The colors are vivid and since our eyes don't see colors as well during the night, we usually perceive those pictures as more vivid than they are. I feel that the 450D generates more noise in the shadows during long exposures (worst case) than my 20D did. This is not surprising, considering that the pixel sites get smaller with incrased resolution. Even at ISO 100 some post processing is necessary. I have gotten extremely good results taking several shots and stacking them for noise reduction.


At first the small size was somewhat odd to me, as I was used larger cameras, but over time I adapted quite favorably to the smaller size of the camera. Now it feels just right.

Shutter Sound

The sound is much more silent than the violent snap of the 20D. Its great if you are shooting wildlife or shooting people, but it also means its slower and a bit more flimsy.


So far I have taken almost 3000 photographs with the 450D. Its working great and I love the automatic sensor cleaning feature. I haven't had to brush my sensor (yet) to keep dust particles from showing up in the picture (this was an issue with previous cameras).


Because the camera is so cheap, it paid for itself very quickly. Thats great, since I can put the extra money towards traveling expenses and better lenses.

Example Galleries

Some images I shot with the 450D:

Fall in the Sierra Nevada

Bryce Canyon National Park

Quebec City

Chicago, IL

Also check out the Canon 7D Field Guide

help on Live View

How do I enable Live View on the EOS 450D please?

Enable Live View

To enable live view, you need to go to Menu -> Second Setup Icon (the yellow ones) -> Live View Settings -> Enable.
Once enabled, you can use it by pressing the set button when the camera is turned on. The set button is the one in the middle of the up/down left/right buttons.

I just purchased this

I just purchased this camera. It is my first SLR, I have been using Canon point and shoots for a few years now so some of the features and menus are familiar to me but the world of lenses has left me with a lot of questions. Will the kit lens that comes with the camera be enough for a trip to Hawaii or do I need to invest in some other lenses? If so what would you recommend for a beginner?


Hello Maureen,
Congratulations on your purchase. You made an excellent decision. You are guaranteed to have a lot of fun with your new camera.
I bought this Sigma 18-200mm lens for Dani. Its performing very well for a lens with such a tremendous zoom range (11x). On top of that I would also get a 72mm circular polarizing filter. Trust me, you will thank me after you did compare some pictures with polarizer and without it. I probably wouldn't spend too much money on it. Although the quality can vary, I don't think it is justified to pay hundreds for a filter. Here is a cheap one:
Digital Concepts 72mm filter
To answer your question: I believe that the Kit Lens is enough for a beginning Photographer. It is a lot of fun to play with and at the wide end 18mm is quite sufficient. There will always be cases when you wish you could zoom in closer (craters of Haleakala or dancers at a Luau), so there is no question that the Sigma Lens can be very useful to you, but I am going to state here that 70%-80% of your shots will probably be in the 18-55mm range anyways.
If you want to come back with extraordinary photographs, go for the Sigma. You can isolate your subjects better.
Personally I am using 5-6 Zoom Lenses, none of which have this kind of zoom range and one prime lens, but most people do not like to change lenses. Dirt gets into your sensor system and even though the XSi has a self cleaning mechanism, you cannot expect too much of it. On my 20D I used to clean my sensor every couple of months (basically forfeiting my warranty). So the Sigma is a sensible choice for its range.
If you decide to go with the Kit Lens alone, get a circular polarizer for that one:
58mm quality polarizer

help pls

hi! i saw your galleries and loved your pictures. I am an absolute newbiein phototaking and would like to know how to maximise my 450D. I unfotunately have only started reading up on RGB and ISO but I am still pretty lost on other technicalities. I hope you can help. Thanks :)


Hello Nur,
start by practicing as much as you can. You will become more familiar with your camera and over time your pictures will improve too. A good starting point to better photographs is my article on photography mistakes (I am composing this on my phone. I will ad links later). The manual and leaflet that came with your camera is a good resource too, esp. with respect to learning about your camera. Finally check my tutorial on exposure for a better understanding in the involved tradeoffs between parameters. Don't hesitate to post more questions and remember to practice a lot.
Don't get caught up with technical stuff. Set your camera to full auto and focus on the composition. Most of the time, the camera will do a good job. A lot of people focus all their attention on the technical stuff recording poorly composed pictures that are technically perfect but poorly composed.

Hi, I am looking at

I am looking at purchasing the canon rebel xsi. I am wondering what kind of telephoto lens to purchase. Is it a good idea to get one with the image stabilization or not?? I am going from a Minolta 35 mm and also use a sigma 100-200mm lens. Is it safe to assume that the sigma lens will not fit the canon? (it is an auto focus lens.)

Great timing

Now thats what I call perfect timing. Your question came in the midst of me writing an extensive lens buying tutorial. Today I was working on the part about image stabilization.
Your Sigma lens will not work, since it does not have a Canon mount.
I do not know how much money you spent on the lens and if it is compatible with the later versions of the Minolta DSLR. If it is, you could stick with the Sony / Minolta Systems. Sony has leapfrogged in recent years and has introduced some nice camera systems. A quick google search came up with this website: Sony, Minolta Lens Database.
If that is the only lens and if it did not cost too much, you could still become a Canon shooter (like myself). In that case, the tips I gave Mark may work for you too.
I plan to upload the next piece (Image Stabilization) during the weekend or early next week.


I accidentally deleted the last comment when I was clearing the pipe if spam. I belief it was a question about the 450d and a Sigma lens. Could you please repost it?

Canon 450D +Sigma

Hi Andre. We're actually contemplating buying our first DSLR and are at crossroads. Would appreciate if you could share your views on the following :

1) Pairing the CAnon 450D with a Sigma lens (18-200mm)(Optical Stabilisation).. However, we also read from some forums that some Sigma lenses caused some error messages when paired with their Canon 450Ds. Not sure if you've encountered such problems?

2) Pairing the Canon 450D with a Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS lens (instead of buying the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm IS) as well as the EF-S 55 -250mm IS lens).

Question = which of the above would be a better option? Although we would mostly be photographing our kids, landscape, family occasions, there would be times when we anticipate using the telephoto lens, e.g. nature outings.

To add to our confusion, we also read some pretty good previews/reviews of the Nikon D90 which has apparently improved tremedously from the Nikon D80 and comes with a F3.5 - 5.6, 18 - 105 mm DX Nikkor VR AF-S lens .. So we're wondering which to get..Wonder if you've managed to try it out?


Thanks for posting again

Hello May,

thank you for your patience.

I had accidentally removed your question when I was hurrying through my menus. There is a first time for everything, but I am glad that you are so patient with me.

Congratulations on making your decision to buy a SLR camera. All the choices you outlined here are excellent choices. You could go either way and be perfectly happy.

1) I have not put this lens on my camera, but I can try it out and post the results here. I bought this lens for Dani and she is using it on her 20D without any issues.

2) This is probably a two-part question.
A) EF-S 18-200 IS vs. Sigma 18-200 OS
I think this Canon lens is new. You can never go wrong with a Canon Lens on a Canon Camera, but you can save money with a Third Party Lens on a Canon Camera (Sigma, Tokina, Tamron). I wrote a lot about this in my Lens Buying Guide, but basically it comes down to finding a store with an excellent return policy (B&H, Adorama, Amazon) and testing the lens. (Make sure to check out the lens articles.)
B) EF-S 18-55 + EF-S 55-200 vs. EF-S18-200
I would suggest the 18-200 over a two-lens system for first time buyers. This way you can focus on your picture taking instead of having to worry about switching lenses.
C) Although not part of your question, the new Tamron 18-270mm also got decent reviews and has the largest range of all lenses I have seen so far.

My personal opinion: Give the all in one solution a shot :-) The Sigma performs excellent on the 20D. I will try it on the 450D. Test your lens when you get it (here is a short section on lens testing) and send it back if you do not like it. The Canon lens should not show any problems, but it costs a little more.

The Nikon D90 is also an excellent camera. I am not sure if the Canon 450D should be considered the contender or rather the Canon 50D. I really cannot comment much on Nikon cameras, except that they are also excellent. I prefer not to comment on Nikon vs. Canon. Both make excellent products. Since most of my investment is in Lenses, I will probably stick with Canon for a long time.

All these cameras can take excellent pictures. You could go to a store and play around with the cameras. Find out which ones feel better and which ones you like better. Try to buy the camera there though, they offer a great service.

Also check out this article on gear.

Thank you

Dear Andre,

Thanks for the quick and informative reply. We have already tested these cameras and are now considering with your advice in mind.

Best regards,


The lens works

Hello May, I tested the Sigma lens on my Rebel 450D and everything worked fine. I took a couple of test shots and everything looks good. The Lens is relatively large but the Camera does not feel awkward with it.

Canon 450D with Sigma 18-200mm OS Lens

I think you could give the setup a shot ;-)

Canon Rebel XSi 450D

My pictures are coming out seemingly over-exposed. They lack sharpness in color as well as detail. I've seen photos showing what this camera is capable of and can only assume that it's the photographer and not the camera in this instance.

I've been using the Rebel now for a couple of weeks, prior to that was using a Canon PowerShot SD400. I could take pictures at any time of the day with the PowerShot and got incredible results in my photos.

Using the Rebel, I try to be careful not to take pictures between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and typically have been keeping it set on auto.

Any ideas as to what I can to do achieve the sharp colors and crisp details in my photos?

Thank you in advance for you help .

Email it to me

Hello Cheryl,

can you send me an email through my contact form. I will reply back and you can then email the picture to me.
Please set your camera to P not the green rectangle and record a RAW image AND a JPG image. Email both to me and let me check it out.
Make sure your exposure compensation is set to 0 and make sure the scene does not have too much dynamic range in it (bright sky and dark foreground).

I will check it out for you and let you know.


Thank you for your response, Andre.

I sent an email. =)


Taking Portrait Shots with the Canon XSi


I just purchased a Canon XSi. My former camera was a Panasonic Lumix. It was SLR like, but not a true SLR. This will be my first SLR. I was torn between the Nikon D80 and the Canon. I chose the Canon mainly because of the live view finder. I want to start taking professional looking photographs of my children. I love the look of the "blurred" background in portraits, and also the look of the soft focus that some photographers use for the entire photograph when the child is looking down, etc. Do I achieve the first look with a lens and the second look with a filter? Will the standard 18-55 mm lens work for this? I am a stay at home mom on a budget, so I want a good lens for these types of portraits that won't break the bank. :) What do you recommend?


Kit Lens

Hello Laura,

the standard lens will work just fine as long as you are not a sports or wildlife photographer.
In order to get the "out of focus" effect on the background, you should set your camera to aperture priority (Av), select a focus point that is right on your subject (preferably the feature closest to the camera like the nose) and dial in a wide aperture (small number on Av like 3.5). Then the background should be out of focus. Experiment as much as you can.
Here is some more information regarding Depth of Field.
The soft focus effect can be achieved in post processing. You want the hair to be sharp but the facial features more soft. This kind of selection is easier with software, but you can also do this with filters i presume.
A really good affordable software for photographers is Adobe Photoshop Elements .


Thank you for your tips! Photoshop Elements is on my Christmas List! :)

RE: Email it to me

Hi Andre, any update on this? I'm also a new 450d user and also encountered the same problem, I think. Getting washed out skies rather than thebright blue color.


Actually yes. We had a good conversation and I think we solved it. Thanks for the follow up, since I wanted to make a post about it.


I have this camera i love it but i cant change any settings like the brightness it says to hold down the AV+/- button then move the dial to the left or right to change the settings but i get nothing also what is the best way to clean the lenses and how do i get auto focus to work it never works i always haft to put it on manual focus and not by chose like the camera wont shoot at all when on auto focus please help...


Hello Blake,

The Exposure compensation only works in the creative zone modes (P, Tv, Av and A-DEP), it does not work in the fully automatic mode (square green rectangle), manual mode (M) or any of the other fully automatic modes (portrait, macro, sports ...). Those modes are completely automated. They are for worry free shooting, but they also limit your options. These modes don't exist on pro cameras for a reason, but they are good if you are starting out.
I used to clean my lenses with a special lens cleaning kit I bought on ebay, but recently I found that the same cloth I use for my driving glasses works best. You can get it at any optics store like Lenscrafters.
The focus point selection works only in the creative modes too. Sometimes it helps to select a focus point. You can also change the focus mode of your camera to spot focus, point the lens exactly to what you want in focus and half press your shutter, then compose the shot and take it. Use a focus point in the vicinity of your main subject instead of the center focus point, since recomposing the picture will slightly change your focus distance (if that is too ambiguous please let me know, I am always looking for ideas for tutorials).
The focus needs a contrast edge. If you try to focus on a white wall, you will have problems. Try to align an edge with one of your focus points.
If everything fails, you can always focus on another object at the same distance, switch your lens to manual focus and recompose.
Please let me know if you have more questions. I realize that my answers are sometimes too technical.
If I forgot something and you have tips, please post them too.

Taking night portraits with Canon Rebel Xsi

Hi Andre,

I have recently purchased the Rebel Xsi. I just wonder how can you shoot perfect night portraits (e.g. at a fashion show or at a club). Is it a must to use a tripod? I'm a newbie with these DSLR cameras and I truly need some help! Thanks!!

Night Portraits

Hello Ricky, keep in mind, I am not a portrait photographer. The only people shots I take are candid street photography shots.

The 450D has a night portrait scene mode. As I explained in my previous answer, I don't like the scene modes, since they tend to restrict our creative abilities in so many ways. I always shoot RAW (not possible in the scene modes) since the RAW files allow me to extract more dynamic range in post processing. I also like to select the focus points in some tough cases (in your case it should be on the face of the person).

The Night Portrait mode just pairs a long exposure and fires the flash (either at the beginning or the end of the exposure). This way your subject will be perfectly lit by the flash and the city lights will be visible due to the long exposure.

I would do this:

  • Turn off your Lens Image Stabilization and put your camera on a Tripod (the IS sometimes messes things up on tripods)
  • Meter off the background to get some idea about your exposure (read those numbers the camera gives you).
  • Manually set the camera to the exact same numbers
  • Turn down the flash exposure compensation (try -1 stop but keep adjusting it based on how close your subject is and how much light your person appears). It requires some experimentation to find the correct exposure
  • Use a shutter release cable and mirror lockup. Those cables area reasonably cheap and worth it. Mirror lockup will make sure that the camera has enough time to stabilize after the mirror flips up. (The mirror covers the sensor while you see through the viewfinder, it causes vibrations when it flips and thus some blur in long exposures).
  • Tell you subjects to stand perfectly still untill you tell them to move. Most peole move after the flash fired.
  • Try to have the people in the scene until the shot is complete and then tell them to get out of the picture as soon as the flas fired (movement won't be visible, but the city will shine through the person, I have no clue how that looks since I never tried it myself). What I am getting at: It takes a lot of experimentation to get the best shot, but it will be tons of fun.

Some more advanced tips:

  • Later on you may want to get a remote triggered (by the camera) flash on a second tripod. If the flash comes from somewhere else (not directly head on) it usually looks better (no red eye, shadows ..)
  • Make a poor mans flash diffuser by holding a sheet of thin white paper in front of the flash and cranking the flash output up a bit more. The lines will look softer.
  • Load the photo into photoshop, make a new layer, blur it a bit, make a layer mask and paint over the face to make it a bit blurry (soft focus effect).
  • Use a strong lamp and try to take the photo without flash

There are so many things you can try. The only limitaton you will experience is the patience of your model. Even family members have their limits. I am sure you will find the limits of your models :-)

Canon Rebel XS or XSi?

Hi Andre,

I am a newbie for SLR and am thinking to buy one as xmas is around the corner. Right now on BH there is this Rebel XS special deal:

EOS Rebel XS (a.k.a. 1000D) SLR Digital Camera Kit (Silver) with 18-55mm IS Lens & 75-300mm III Lens for about $540.0

ps: Rebel XSi body :$536.95

What's the difference between the two other than 10Meg and 12 Meg resolution? Is there a big improvement from XS to XSi?

Thanks in advance!

Rebel XS vs. XSi

One of the main selling points for me to buy the XSi was the 14-bit sensor. I have written a bit more about the benefits on my RAW HDR page.

From what I can gather online, the XS has the same 12-bit 10.1MP sensor the XTi had. Whether this is an issue for you or not depends on your intended usage.

Although the XS has a 10.1 MP sensor and the XSi has 12.2 I wouldn't give too much about the raw pixel count. I have been able to create amazingly large prints from my 20D which is 8 MP.

It depends a lot how clean the picture is (noise free) how large you can scale it up and quite frankly I find the XSi is noisier than my 20D was, so I am not sure if I could actually get larger prints from it. I assume that is the case, but in real life you should wonder how large you really want to print. Stop worrying about resolution. Worry about picking the right lenses instead.

A good lens on a 6 Megapixel camera is preferable to a crappy lens on a 12 Megapixel camera.

For the remainder of my answer, I am just going to comment on the comparison matrix found at dpreview since I am not intimately familiar with the XS:

-higher resolution is not so important

-7 point AF is fine as long as the focus points are just as accurate. F5.6 sounds to me like the focus in low light may be not so good (you won't get focus advantage from a really good lens that has a large aperture) -> I already find that the XSi focuses less accurate than my 20D did.

-Spot metering: I use it rarely but it helps in cases where the subject is not too close and you have trouble with auto focus or you want to focus on a very specific area in your picture, the XSi has it the XS not

-1.5fps in RAW mode is really slow. Forget action shots. You need to use JPG and even then the 3fps is not that great. To be honest the XSi is not a speed wonder either but still better. The frame buffer is even smaller than that of the XTi (cost down).

-DR extension modes: I don't use them since I only shoot raw but I guess they are kind of cool to have

-Remote release: So far I only used a cable release. I have no need for the wireless ones, you may

-Viewfinder: The XSi has a larger one which is important for framing your shot. Coverage is the same (100% means what you see is exactly what is in your picture, 95% means the camera will record a little bit more outside the edges)

-Smaller Monitor: Who cares. Its sufficient

Hope this helps. I recommend not to worry too much about technical things and focus more on the pleasure of taking great pictures. I recommend my series on becoming great photographers to get started.

Both cameras will be excellent choices, the XS seems to be a cost down version. If resolution is your only concern, the XS will do just fine.

for IJ and others with washed out colors

I have written a short tutorial regarding some of the problems you guys have:
why your pictures sometimes look dull

XS vs XSi

Thanks for your quick reply. Your analysis is very helpful for me!

Hello. I'm using the XSI for

I'm using the XSI for several months now with the 18-55 IS kit.
I've notice that the AF is most of the times less accurate than the live view contrast AF used with the zoom option. How come?
Also, I achieve sharper focus in manual focus using de zoom assistant than with the AF via viewfinder.

Not sure

Hello Mauro,

I am not certain what the cause is, since I rarely use live view or any of the assistants. I have noticed that the XSi isn't as accurate focusing as my 20D was, but I have always attributed this to the cost reduction for these entry level DSLR. I will investigate this some more. Maybe someone else will post the answer, if not I will see if I can find something out.


Thanks Andre! I've also notice that if you focus on an object, then press again de shutter half way, the camera re focus slightly different. So I can take 2 or even 3 pictures with different focuses, this is so not like my previous 20D and 400D.
Still, I find the camera to be great for an entry level.


I have tried the focus in live view, but I find it rather awkward. I usually use live view with wideangle lenses only and then I often focus manually.

But I will keep investigating and try it out with a medium zoom soon.

I noticed a similar re-focusing you did. I assume you didn't move or recompose?

I only noticed it with my wideangle lens (Tokina 12-24mm) and I have always attributed it to the extremely large depth of field of such lenses, which probably leads to a very shallow maximum in the focus sharpness curve, making it harder for the camera to achieve focus, especially when it is evaluating several focal points.

Wide Angle vs. Long Lens focus

This picture is how I envisioned this is happening. Lets say the lens is on point A. To get to the point of optimum focus, it will try one step towards B. On the wide lens, the change in sharpness (due to the wide dof) is so small, that the camera may not be able to notice it. Therefore it may have a harder time to find a shallow maximum. Thats always the case in optmization processes, but it also means that the lens has a very wide range of acceptable sharpness and you pictures should turn out fine. I often just set the lens to 2m and the camera to f/9 (the diffraction limit for this camera) and everything will be sharp (for this lens !!).

I may be wrong. I have to investigate this theory and try the lens on different cameras.

Are you using a wideangle lens when you see this phenomenon?


I think you nailed it. The

I think you nailed it. The problem appears with both my Canons 18-55 and 18-200. Above 55mm focus is rather sharp and I don't see the re-focusing problem, but going down 55 starts showing the problem.
It may be difficult to accept, but I'm starting to see where those extra dollars are in my 20D... Not to mention ISO noise.


Hi Andre,
I am a newcomer in the world of photography..
I just saw some pictures on the net where the photographer has taken excellent photographs with multiple exposure.
Could you tell me how do I do it with my new Rebel XSI? Is it possible with this camera? Iam still struggling with the manuals but still not able to figure out how to do it.

Exposure Bracketing

Hello Hiron,

The process you are refering to is called Exposure Bracketing. This picture was done in that fashion (with the Rebel XSi):

Picture of Horseshoe Bend

It consists of 3 exposures stacked together for a larger dynamic range. I have written a tutorial about HDR images that explains the process of stacking. The only difference is that you can get better result with Exposure Bracketing than from a single image.

For best results you should set your camera on a tripod, since you will take three separate pictures that must overlap perfectly to combine them.

On the XSi, simply press the menu button and select the second menu entry (second red camera icon). The first menu entry is a scale labeled AEB (automatic exposure bracketing). You can set it up to record three images with a maximum of +/- 2EV. Now you need to record a series of three imags. The first will be exposed normally, the second will be exposed darker (up to two stops shorter) and the third will be exposed brighter (up to two stops more).

Some pro tips:

  • Set your camera to aperture priority (Av) and your lens to manual after you focused on your scene. This will make sure, that the same pixels have the exact same sharpness (same focus point and same depth of field) and will generally give you better results.
  • You can still under- or overexpose (using the exposure compensation). So if you dial in 1 stop underexposure and use Automatic Exposure Bracketing you will get -3,-1,1 instead of -2,0,2. The total range is limited, but I find it more than sufficient.


This camera (450D) does not have a function for making multiple exposures.
To create images that look like they were created from multiple exposures, edit your images using commerical software.

Thanks for a great web site

Hi Andre,

Just want to thank you for all the effort you've put into this site to help amateur photographers like myself.

I first found your web site when looking for an image of Machu Picchu. Your 222 mega pixel image was amazing, it just blew me away with the resolution. As I looked around the rest of your site I found lots of great tutorials and info.

I've been using Canon digital pocket cameras for years and been happy with the results. Even doing panoramics on my PowerShot SD630 when traveling in Europe.
I've wanted to move up to a Canon digital SLR for some time.

I bought the Rebel XSi last October after reading your review. The kit price for the XSi with the 18-55 IS lens was too good to resist. I have not had any regrets, the image quality is so much better, even using the camera in full auto. I've been reading your lens buying guide, thanks for explaining crop factor, and looking at low cost telephotos. I will probably settle on the Canon EFs 55-250 with IS, I don't mind changing lenses, it makes me look like I know what I'm doing.

Again, thanks for all your effort


Hello Sotan, the post just above yours describes how to take multiple exposures (exposure bracketing). Is this not what you were looking for?

Hello Shep, thank you for the positive feedback. This is exactly why I put this information up here. Please don't hesitate to post any questions you may have. I will try my best to find an answer.

Blurring background

Hi, I tried setting the aperture on the AV seting to a small number like 3.5 but the camera is not allowing me to set it below 5.0. I do have it on AV. What other settings do I need to change in order for it to allow me to get a lower aperture setting? I too bought the XSI recently so that I could take photos of my grandchildren and the blurred background shot is one of the top priorities for me as well as the multiple shot function. Thanks.


Hello Kathleen,

the limitation comes from your lens. You need a "faster" lens, which usually costs a bit more. You can read all about Aperture in my Lens Aperture Tutorial.

Scroll half way down the page to the heading: "How do you read maximum lens aperture" to find out how to determine the maximum aperture of your lens.

If you want a cheap but excellent and fast lens, read this:

Lens Recommendations

Scroll down to the heading: "Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II – The plastic fantastic"

It's a 50mm prime lens that will behave like a 80mm on the Rebel XSi (it has a 1.6x crop factor). Simply set your Kit lens to about 50mm focal length and look through the viewfinder to find out what field of view this lens will give you (how far it's zoomed in).

I know thats a lot of information to digest and may be a bit technical, so don't hesitate to ask if something is unclear.

The easiest answer is: "Invest in the plastic fantastic to get an amazing portrait lens for an umbelievable price".

Hello Andre, I have been

Hello Andre,

I have been trying to find out the best lens for portraits. The lens that u mentioned above(50mm f/1.8) seems to be pretty right for the purpose. I just wanted to know what difference it makes with 50mm f/1.4 lens. Is the difference of .4 so noticeable which justifies the latter's high price?

My budget is under 100$, however, if you could tell me how better the latter is then I could wait a little longer and save some money for it.


Flash Not Working on XSi

Hello, Andre-

I've had my Rebel Xsi since Christmas time, and just recently I noticed that when I'm taking pictures in any mode, the flash isn't coming on. Even in A/F, the exposure time is lengthened (in the evening time) to compensate for the lack of flash. The flash is just not working in any situation. Pushing the flash button in the manual settings doesn't work. Do you have any idea what might be going on? Thanks very much one way or the other-I've learned a lot from reading all of your posts.


Lens and flash

Hiron: The 1.4 is probably worth it's money, but the 1.8 gives you the best bang for your buck. As with everything in life just figure out how much is good enough. I can vouch for the excellent pictures the 1.8 takes.
Sherry: The flash on my 20D was stuck once. I think it became unstuck at some point. Make sure you are in either of the manual modes (P, Tv, Av, M, A-Dep) and try to open the flash manually. If it won't open, call Canon, get a support number and send it in. It's a painless process, I did it twice. If your camera is less than 1 year old, they won't charge you.

Thanks very much for taking

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my question, Andre! I'll call Canon, as I've tried to get the flash to work in the manual settings with no luck. It is good to know that it's not such a big deal to send it back if necessary. Thanks again for your help.


RAW images or rather the lack of them

I set the camera to M and the quality to the L symbol for RAW and Jpeg but I only appear to be creating a JPG FILE can you help please as I need to work in RAW rather than jpeg for astrophography
thanks Rod


Hello Rod,

setting the camera to L does not mean you are getting RAW. You need to select RAW+L or RAW. Just L does not automatically give you RAW.


I tried to download definite RAW only files from the camera but they downloaded as jpeg with no indication of RAW files in the folder? Any suggestions?


How do you download them? Are you using a simple card reader or do you connect the camera to your computer and let Windows handle the transfer? The files may be there, but you may not download them correctly.
Go to the first menu tab on your camera. Under Quality, does it say RAW or RAW+L? If it does, your camera records them.
Since you need special software to read RAW, you may just not display them correctly.
What Operating System are you using and what version? What image editing program?
Try this: Copy the ENTIRE content of your SD card to your computer. Download the Silkypix Developer Studio Software and try opening the RAW files with that software.
The file extension of the RAW files is .CR2

Thanks your advice has

Thanks your advice has resulted in success.I have downloaded a plugin for photoshop which enables me to work with the NOW downloaded RAW images.


Andre, thanks for your great site. did you ever get around to making a post about the over exposure problem with the canon 450d camera as ive had the same problem and its really getting me down!


I am not exactly sure what you mean, Joseph.
First you have to determine if your pictures are actually "overexposed" or just washed out.
I wrote an article about washed out pictures.
Did you mean that?
How do you determine if a picture is over-exposed. Did you look at the histogram?
Exposing pictures "to the right" is often wanted. If the dynamic range of a picture is limited, I often intentionally expose brighter. As long as nothing gets clipped (your camera will show the blinkies if it clipped, you have to turn this on), its better to slightly over-expose and do some curve adjusting in a photo editor.
I think the camera has some automatic settings to "recover shadows and highlights" but automatic settings are never as smart as a human with a computer. If you like I can look those up for you.

Cannon XSi

My camera won't download the pictures. It doesn't trigger the computer. I tried several USB cords and different computers, but it won't work. Any suggestions? I bought this only in September and it worked fine until last week. I love this camera....takes great pictures, but I can't download them.

Card Reader

Hello Debbie,

have you tried using a USB memory card reader (not the camera). Does it work?
You could try to uninstall the driver in windows and connect it again to see if it works after Windows re-installs them.
Franky, I think it is much more likely that something went wrong on the Windows/Computer side than the camera.
Do you have another computer you could try?

Having some problems with blurred pictures indoor (XSI)

Would like to send you a picture of my experience so that you can kindly advise.

Your email

Please send me a message through my contact form or enter your email when you send a comment. This way I can email you.

Fireworks or lighting photos

What is the setting to be able to shoot night photos of either fireworks or lighting? I would like to do this with tha flash in the off setting. I have the rebel xsi.
Thanks for the great web site.

Fireworks and Lightings

Hello Kurt,

I shot this photograph of Fireworks in Boise with the XSi:
Rebel XSi Fireworks Photograph
There are some compression artifacts, but overall the picture is flawless. I followed the steps I outlined in this tutorial:
How to photograph Fireworks
Basically much comes down to the choice of a good tripod
I wasn't quite as lucky with lightnings, maybe because they are not as easy to plan for. Here is a lightning strike taken with the Rebel XSi.
Shooting lightnings is very simple. Set your camera to expose the scene correctly, even without lightning (e.g. in that picture I believe it was either 20s or 30s). You can also use Bulb exposure (one more turn of the knob after 30s). During Bulb, you need to press the shutter as long as you want to expose your photograph.
Then aim the camera in the direction of the lightnings and start shooting. When the shutter is open, a lightning will register. It does not matter if you expose 10s or 10minutes, since the lightning itself only lasts very short. This will automatically become your lightning exposure time.
This also works well to capture multiple lightnings in one shot.
Use Mirror Lockup (Custom Functions) to ensure you eliminate camera shake when you shoot fireworks and keep shooting until the end. Sort the good from the bad later.

i can't see the picture taken on A-dep mode on my computer...

i took a lot of picture on A-dep mode coz i am new user of this camera i didn't knew anything abt it the pictures looked fine on automatic mode as i playbacked them on the camera but when i came back home and try to find the picure on my computer i can't even see them on the folder of canon i mean on the folder of the camera.....but other picture whom i took on AV mode and P mode and landscape mode are there please help me i am new kid on photography................

Hello PJ

when you shoot in the automatic modes, your camera will automatically record jpg files. When you shoot in the professional modes (P,Av,Tv,A-dep), your camera lets you shoot RAW. Those files are named .CR2 and require a special software (included with your camera).
Can you put the card into a card reader (not your camera) and browse there with Windows Explorer or Mac Finder and see if you can find the pictures? They will be in the folder called DCIM together with the others.
If the camera can see the pictures, you should see them there.


Hi Andre,

I'm a passionate photographer, i love to take pictures, and i am very particular with how they come out... please HELP me with some of your tips to make me a better photographer... if not one of the best there is.. please?? im 22 years old and currently have a Canon EOS 450D as a body and have a 50mm f/1.8II and an 18-55mm lens... i want you to give me some tips or even teach me to maximize and optimize my photographic skills using my new WEAPON of choice... thanks a lot and God Bless, hope to hear from you soon.

50mm f/1.8 II – The plastic fantastic" vs sigma 80-200mm teleph

Hi Andre',
Love your articles. First time on your site.
Re the blur background. How is the plastic fantastic compared to the sigma 80 -20mm telephoto zoom lens?
Can the plastic fantastic assist in getting good shots of sports action, etc?



The 50mm lens is great for portrait work, still life, street photography and possibly landscape, but I think it will be too short for sports photography unless you are part of the action (e.g. from the players perspective).

The 18-200mm may be a bit too slow in terms of autofocus and light.

Check out the 70-200mm f/4 L which is a very affordable zoom L lens (L is the highest quality Canon makes). It will be good for sports. If you have some more money to spend, have a look at the 100-400 L lens. It has image stabilization and enough range for sports and action photography.

The best bang for your buck in terms of reach are the Sigma 50-500mm superzoom lens (no optical stablization) or the Sigma 150-500mm (optical stabilization). If you want something affordable with very large range, check out the Tamron 28-300mm. Generally, the more you spend the better the lens will be.

Also check out my article on how to pick the right lens.

50mm plastic fantastic

Thanks for your insight
I just ordered on of the 50mm lens from Amazon on 2 day shipping. All the reviews I have read and the pics that are taken through this lens that are posted on Amazon are great for this low price Canon lens.
As soon has more funds become available i will invest in one of the sigma as you have stated.

Great work. Keep it up

Not able to set aperture at 3.5 sometimes

I had bought myself a Canon 450d a couple of months ago. I experience one problem when shooting in AV or M mode for night photography. Many times, i am not able to set the aperture at 3.5, the f number wont go any lower than 4.5 and when it does go to 3.5, i cant seem to understand how it happens. Are there any conditions for setting the aperture at a lower number as 3.5?

Maximum aperture

Sorry for the brief answer, I am typing this on my cellphone.
It depends on your lens. The kit lens is rated 3.5-5.6. The aperture is basically proprtional to the lens opening divided by focal length. This means many lenses have smaller max aperture (larger f number) at longer focal
length. If you "zoom out" you can go to a wider aperture.

washed out and blurry images


Can you let me know what the solution to your issues was? I am having the same problem.



Hi Shawn. I made a post

Hi Shawn. I made a post about the solution over here: Solution to dull pictures. I did the same on my recent fall color gallery of Yosemite, but I am afraid I went overboard.

Good not to expensive lens for sports pictures

I am trying to find a len for my Canon XSI, that I can use to take Soccer and Basketball pictures of my son. Something that is not real expensive? Have any suggestions?

Thank you,


Hello Sharon, if you follow

Hello Sharon,

if you follow the discussion in this article, I already outlined a few candidates and linked to my lens article.
Since you want to photograph fast moving action (Soccer), you need to use short exposure times (1/250s is a good start). This means you do not really need a lens with image stabilization. You can shoot hand-held photographs with a focal length up up to 200mm on the XSi at that exposure time. You may need to boost your ISO.
Longer focal lengths usually require shorter exposure times.
If your primary use is for sports photography, consider getting a lens without IS to save money. Fixed focal length lens can be cheaper too.
I am going to sell my used Tokina 24-200mm zoom lens for $150. If you want it, contact me. Its not the fastest lens (autofocus), but if you practice and prefocus (most action will be practically at infinity distance), it should work for you.

Thanks! I will let you

Thanks! I will let you know.


Flash Diffuser


I use my camera (Canon 450D) mostly to take pictures of my daughter (now 11 months old). I try not to use the flash with her so as not to damage her eyes, but I think my pictures would turn out better if I did. I cannot afford an external flash right now, but I thought a flash diffuser for the built in flash might help. Does this sound right? If so, what is the best flash diffuser for around $20?

Thanks for your help!

Flash diffuser

I have never heard of a camera flash being harmful for a persons (even a very small persons) eyes.

I generally prefer natural light shots anyways. Flash images tend to look flat and dull. At ISO1600 with a fast lens such as the 50mm f/1.8 you should be able to get great results. I used this lens with my 20D and shot some candid wedding photos that turned out really nice.

You could try to wrap a paper handkerchief with a rubber band around your flash. This should work like a diffuser. If the result is satisfying, you could go for something like this really affordable diffuser on Amazon.

Cleaning Canon XSI

I recently purchased a Canon XSI along with a Giottos Rocket-Air Blower Professional + Lenspen to clean the camera/lens. I then read somewhere (not sure where) that Air Blowers are not a good idea because they can blow dirt INTO the camera. Do you have any thoughts on the best cleaning method for the Canon XSI?



You cannot blow dirt into the camera when you clean the lens. I think they mean that you should not use a blower to clean your camera sensor (inside the camera) with an Air Blower. You can use the blower to get rid of dust (not smudges) on the lens surface. I frequently clean my lens and I use a blower too. I never had an issue with that.

I have used the copperhill brush and blower many times without a problem on the 20D to clean the sensor itself. However I do not use the blower directly on the sensor, only on the brush. Don't use compressed air cans, since they have condensation.

If you still have a warranty on the camera, send it to Canon for sensor cleaning. Canon claims that the warranty expires should you attempt to clean the camera sensor and they request that you send it in. I believe that is bogus, but you should be aware of their objections.

The XSi has a anti dust feature that you can enable in the settings (it is enabled by default). When you turn the camera off, it shakes the sensor in an attempt to remove dust. Since the static charge of the sensor attracts dust, there may still be a need to clean the sensor.

I have never had to clean mine despite lots of use and frequent lens switching. I recommend that you test for spots first (set the camera to a very narrow aperture and photograph a perfectly white surface, then boost contrast). If you don't find any significant amount of dust, I wouldn't even clean it in the first place.

There are no objections to cleaning the outside of the lens. There is no way dust can get into the camera, unless you take off the lens and don't cover the camera. Hence dust makes it into the camera whenever you change lenses. Therefore I have developed a technique to swap my lenses very quickly and I avoid doing it altogether in a dusty environment.

Tokina 12-24mm

Hi Andre, I've read that you also have the tokina wide angle lens, just like you, I love this lens. Ive read your guide and saw something about chromatic aberrations? Anymore info on how to correct that on post processing? thanks.

Chromatic Abberations

Removing CA is easy during the RAW conversion process. I recommend that you shoot in RAW anyways for several other reasons like the possibility to recover more dynamic range from your shot.
Open the picture in your RAW converter and zoom into the picture (200% or 400%) to a high contrast edge (e.g. tree or building with sky in the background). Now you can see the CA very strong.
In the RAW converter under lens you usually have two sliders (In Adobe products it's usually under Lens):
Red/Cyan Fringe and Blue/Yellow Fringe.
If memory serves right, at 12mm a good starting point is -20 .. -24 for the Red/Cyan slider and +12 .. +14 for the Blue/Yellow.
Change the sliders and observe the RAW file. Then zoom into other high contrast edges in your picture to make sure you got the optimum setting.


Can I use CS2 for that?

Oh and also, I invested in a CPL for the tokina, which is very expensive btw :[ and I've read somewhere that the XSI has trouble focusing/maximing sharpness. Any suggestions to prevent this? Oh and I shall start shooting in RAW+Jpg :] thanks a lot, awesome site btw. I've learned a lot by skimming through your site.


Unfortunately Adobe is not very accommodating towards newer Camera models. CS2 does not support RAW files for the XSi. CS3/CS4 and Lightroom 2 do.

However you can download the free DNG converter, convert your CR2 (Canon RAW) files to DNG (digital negative) and use those in the CS2 RAW converter.

I believe ACR3 that comes with CS2 has those sliders too.

In my comment about focusing wide angle lenses above, I made some assumptions about reasons for focus issues. Surely more expensive cameras have less issues with that, but overall the depth of field even at f/4 is still so large, that the camera will have trouble finding the point of maximum sharpness. I usually don't mind much. I did some testing and found that I can set the lens to 2m and get sharp pictures from a few cm to infinity at apertures smaller or equal to f/9 (small means larger numbers).

I don't think you can prevent it, just deal with it. I see the same.

I think you should start experimenting with RAW. Until you are ready to switch completely to RAW it may not be a bad idea to have RAW+JPG, despite the memory requirements. Eventually you will learn enough to switch over to RAW only. You can always work out a script that does a basic automatic conversion which is equal or better to what the camera does when it creates JPG from RAW in its own Digital Signal Processor. This means you copy the RAW files, start your script and the computer will generate JPG. Then you can pick some of your favorite shots and give them some more attention.

For instance you can extract more dynamic range you can

Manual focusing

for the tokina 12-24, would 2m to infinity be my best bet? If I keep it at a constant 2m, it shouldnt be out of focus, right?


That's only true if you use an aperture smaller or equal to f/9 (f/11, f/16). Otherwise you may be better off using the A-dep mode and switching the lens to auto. It will find a suitable focus point between the nearest and farthest object and automatically adjust the aperture for the correct depth.

However I think it is crucial that you put the camera on a tripod or table, manually focus to different distances, vary the apertures and take note of the settings. Then review the pictures at 100% - 200% magnification. I know its a lot of work, but it pays off. Depth of field is very much dependent on your vision, the size you want to print and what you generally consider as sharp.

For that reason it is not trivial to say what is sharp to you and what is not. You can learn more about this subject in my Depth of Field article. In general I leave my lens on 2m for most landscape photos where I can afford small apertures (daylight). On the lens 2m and infinity are very close already since it is so wide. I switch to auto when I photograph an object that is very close, since the camera can better distinguish in this range. In low light outdoors I sometimes turn to infinity or auto focus if I use wider apertures. Often you can get away with auto focus, sometimes it seems to be hunting too much and then I go with the numbers in my head, the ones I extracted.

Flash won't work...

Hi Andre,
I've got a canon 450d..I've had it for not quite a year..I went to use my flash last night and noticed it isn't working..I don't use the flash that often, it keeps coming up on the screen that it's busy?????....everything else on the camera is working perfectly...Please help!!!!!!!!....I haven't changed any of the settings either..I'm sure the flash was working perfectly about a week or 2 ago, and now it won't pops up to use...


The only Issue I once had was that the flash on my 20D didn't pop up. I got an Error code. After a while it was working again. I believe it was an issue with the extreme cold weather.
Since you don't have the camera for a year yet, you can still send it to Canon for repair. I have done that twice. You only have to pay for shipping to them, everything else is free to you.
Even if you don't have warranty, you can send it to Canon, but they charge something like $190 for looking at it (they did on my 20D once) which I find outrageous.
Check your sales receipt and call them up to get the information to send it in. I know it sucks losing your baby over the holidays, but it may be your best bet to get this sorted out.
Before you send it, check that the battery is fully charged and still holds plenty of charge. Busy is usually what shows up when the Camera is charging the Flash (a big capacitor that needs to be charged from the battery before it can discharge quickly). It may be just an issue with juice.

Washed out

I am trying to keep up with my daughter who just learned to crawl. I'm taking most pictures lately indoors, in low light, and she's moving so I need the flash (I think). I'm frustrated beacuse the flash is washing out the pictures. They are coming out too light on my subject even when I put somedistance between us. I also really like the look of shooting without the flash, but indoor light is just too low for me during the winter.

I'm also shooting her in front of the lit Christmas tree and can't seem to get the glowy effect without blurring her as well because she's always moving.

I've enjoyed reading all your posts here and learned a lot. I value any shooting advice or purchasing suggestions you may have.

Flash photography

Hello Kori,

the internal flash unit isn't really very useful. The flash comes from the same direction as you are shooting, which means it won't create any shadows. No shadows means flat looking photographs. That is the reason why studio photographers usually have multiple flashes from the side and why wedding photographers always work with an assistant holding the flash, standing to the side.

So what can you do.

I recommend that you set your camera to ISO1600. Don't worry, a little grain doesn't really make a bad picture. Try shooting without a flash first, but keep an eye on your exposure time. Don't let it get too long. Read more about exposure time here.

If you still need the flash, go into the menu and turn down flash exposure compensation. This way, the flash will only brighten up the picture slightly, while the higher sensitivity and the natural light will take care of the rest. This is called fill flash and can look very appealing. If you still have problems, try using a handkerchief with a rubber band tied around your flash. It acts as a flash diffuser that scatters the light from the flash. Leave it on and turn up the flash exposure a bit until you are satisfied.

If you get a fast lens such as the 50mm f/1.8 from Canon, you may be able to get away without using flash. The wide aperture of f/1.8 looks very cool for portraits (background out of focus).

How about a more obvious solution of getting a brighter light bulb and turning on more lights? Do me a favor and use energy efficient bulbs :-)

Did you turn on the highlight priority setting in the camera? It should optimize your exposure and bring back overexposed somewhat.

Action Shots and Starry Nights

Hey Andre, I got a few questions. I'm new to DSLR cameras and I'm not completely sold on the XSI. It seems to be the best entry level DSLR for the buck, buy I'm not sure. Can this camera can get a decent capture of the night sky with stars and all? Can it take decent action shots like sports shots of soccer? And if so what lens does it use? I like this camera, but it looks like I might have to get the EOS-ID Mark III to get the shots I want. Need advice... please?


Hello Mia,

in today's market you get what you pay for. The 1DMIII and 1DMIV are obviously better cameras, there is no question about it. The XSi offers the most for your money, that's also true.

I have never tried starlight shooting, but the XSi should do o.k. there. If you wish to get star trails, you need to have very long exposures and you can use a low ISO setting. If you wish to shoot the milky-way or the moon, you need to keep exposure times short to see the features and thus you need to use higher ISO settings. The 5DMII and the 1DMIV as well as the Nikon D3x are currently the lowest high ISO noise high resolution cameras on the market of which the 5DMII is the cheapest (yet still many times more expensive than the XSi).

So ask yourself the question if you really need to get the shot of the moon and if you can make the money back you spend on these cameras. If you are a pro shooter, that is most likely the case. Missing a shot can mean a loss of a lot of money.

For the rest of us that may not be the case though.

For sports you need speed and autofocus accuracy. I also own a Canon 7D which can shoot 8fps and has one of the best focusing systems around. The defacto standard is once again the 1DMIV (and the previous 1DMIII) series. The XSi can shoot 3.5fps and the later T1i slightly less. If you learn how to pre-focus, use the focus tracking while selecting a signle focus point and practice a lot, you can take decent photographs with the XSi. If you don't practice, even the 1D and 7D Cameras will give you crap results. In the hands of an expert, those will definitely yield better results, but again you need to ask how much money you are willing to spend.

In terms of lenses I encourage you to look at my Lens Guide. I think the Canon 100-400mm L lens may be a good choice if your subjects are really far away and for wildlife. Use the 70-200mm L lens for your kids soccer match, car races etc.. .


Hey Andre,
Thanks for the advice.

sports mode

I just bought the Canon Rebel XSI and I really like it except I can not get sharp indoor pictures (basketball game) when on sports mode. I tried to take pictures with IS on and off.
Any advice?

EXIF data

Can you send me the shooting information or the original picture? I want to review the shooting settings (Aperture, Exposure speed, ISO) to determine if you have a focus problem or more likely motion blur (too long of an exposure). IS won't help you if your subject is moving fast.
I suspect that your exposure time is too long. I wrote a Guide about Exposure time and Motion which is worth reviewing. Use the contact form to send me an email.

Auto focus on Live view


Ok, so my Division purchased this camera per the suggestion of many people, Best Buy employees and professors of mine. We wanted, I guess, the capabilities of a DSLR and that of a point-and-shoot camera, something that would be easy to use by everyone here. So that's that story.

Now I'm just trying to figrue out if there's a way to Auto Focus while in Live View. I think my employers were hoping it would be exactly like a point-and-shoot camera in that they could view the picture they were taking in the LCD monitor, not the viewfinder. But whenever you aim the camera at something close or far and press the shutter button half way down, it doesn't automatically focus. You have to press all these different buttons to focus it, which would be confusing to explain to all these people whenever they wanted to use the camera.

Does that make sense? And is there a solution?

Live View Focusing

Hello Morgan,

you can use autofocus in live view mode.
-First select where you want to focus, by moving the square triangle to that part in your frame (use the arrow buttons)
-Focus by pressing the (*) button upper right side on the back of the camera.

However the focusing is always more precise and faster when you use the viewfinder. In general, I think that the viewfinder is one of the greatest advantages of a DSLR. Shooting at arms length peeking at the LCD is a way of shooting that developed due to cheap digital point and shoot cameras that do not have a viewfinder.
On the DSLR you have the luxury and believe me, once you get used to it again, its the real way to shoot. It is easier to frame your shot precisely, you can hold the camera steadier, you don't get distracted as easily and you can see everything even in full sunlight. The liveview mode is useful too, if you want to shoot over your head, hold to camera out from a ledge or do any other kind of shooting where you really cannot get your head behind it. Otherwise I advice against using it altogether.

I totally agree. But it'll

I totally agree. But it'll probably take a while for the people I work with to get use to it. They're not professional photographers so they're use to point and shoot.

Thanks a bunch :D,

XS vs. XSi, kit vs. 50mmf/1.8II

Hello Andre!

I have been scouring the webs for days, reading anything I can find about the XS and XSi, and I have to say your site is amazing! I've been marking tons of tutorials for later reading, and you've given so much thoughtful & clear advice already. (I've read through all of the comments on the page, and it is no wonder they have spanned so much time!)

So ~ here is my situation. Both the XS and XSi are in my budget range, and I initially debated whether the features on the XSi were worth the extra money. Once I decided to go with the XSi, I started noticing all of the complaints of focus issues ~ partially from the default 'low sharpening' levels on the scene modes (they bumped the sharpening back up for the XS), and partially from auto-focus issues.

Now, from all of my reading, it seems like the low sharpening is easy enough to bump up by changing them in the Picture Styles ~ assuming the Pictures Styles are always on? (I never could find that out.) And it is not something you'd have to deal with when shooting RAW, and maybe not in the creative modes either, which I'm sure I'll be using more & more anyway.

As for the auto-focus problems... it is harder to tell. It sounds like those mostly happen when someone is using the setting that uses all of the points (it picks the wrong spot), and there is probably a small percentages of 'dud' cameras out there that actually need to be sent back. It also seemed like there may be some problems with the cameras not always working with the kit lens ~ their kit lens on another camera worked fine, other lenses on their XSi worked fine, focusing was only a problem with the XSi + kit.

So, all of this has lead me to think that, if it is still in my budget, the best option might be to buy the XSi body only and get the 50mm f/1.8II lens. Do you think I would ever miss the kit lens? I mostly shoot still-lifes and candid portraits, with the need for a little speed for pets and a baby on the way. (If I did buy the XSi with the kit lens, I would buy the other lens later one, but it might be a while! And I don't want to miss baby shots.) I'm still a little concerned about the potential focusing problems, but figured I can always return the camera for a 2nd one, and maybe even go to an XS instead, if needed. I know plenty of people have not had the trouble, but it is still a worry ~ it's a big purchase!

What do you think?

Hello Tiffany

You won't have to adjust any settings when you shoot RAW. All those just tell the camera how to process the data into JPG files.
As you can see from my answers, I'd rather make those decisions later. This lets me optimize settings for each scene and adjust them to my liking later on. I may change my opinion later or new techniques may become available. With RAW files I can always revisit old edits and change them to my new taste. It also preserves more dynamic range.
So far, I haven't found a single shred of evidence that there is anything wrong with the XSi. According to Malcom Gladwell, who wrote the fantastic book "Outliers", it takes about 10,000 hours to be a true master of something. I am working on getting there myself, but I can already tell you that nobody should expect to pick up a camera and shoot perfect pictures, just like that. Most "camera issues" are actually "user issues". That doesn't mean cameras don't break or that some cameras may really have a problem, only that its not the usual case.
The kit lens is worth it's money. The flexibility of a zoom is worth it. The XSi comes with an image stabilized lens, which is worth the price difference of the kit. I am not sure about the XS. I also don't know if it uses a 14-bit CMOS sensor like the XSi, which is a big plus over 12-bit.
However, I can honestly say that you can take excellent photographs with both cameras, provided that you are willing to climb the steep learning curve.
If you absolutely cannot afford the XSi with Kit lens and 50mm, I would go for the XS. More issues reported on the XSi probably just means that Canon sold more of those cameras and thus more people unwilling to learn complained.

Destination Wedding Photography

This body is really good on most situations like wedding, sports, and nature.

Confused- is it the lens or the settings that make action shots?

I have been reading all of the posts and just when I think I get a handle on this subject, I read something else and I'm back at square one.

I just purchased my XSi and have just started really getting to use it. I had a Sony Cybershot H2 before that. With the Sony, any action shot I took was perfect! Nothing was too fast and I didn't have one blurred photo. Plus the 12x zoom was heavenly. I even shot macro and portraits in the action setting because it looked better than the other settings. The reason I purchased a more professional camera was because the flash on the Sony would often take 6 plus seconds to recycle when indoors. it drove me insane! Changing the iso helped a bit, but the pictures were bad.

I read everything and finally decided on the XSi. Of course, being spoiled, I thought I'd just set it to action mode and shoot away. What a rude surprise. Everything was blurry! I had less blur shooting in automatic mode! My question is, how can I take action shots with no blur (what settings, iso, etc...) and is it the camera setting that will fix the blur, or do I need the lens to get the best shots? I am new to the lens world as well because the Sony had everything built in.

Thank you in advance and thank you for sharing such great information!



Hello Maria,
The answer you are looking for is in this article:
Motion and Shutter Speed
The short answer:
You need to keep your exposure time short, because the subjects are moving fast.
Set your camera to Exposure Priority (Tv) and set the ISO to Auto. If the aperture starts blinking, try setting ISO to 1600 (highest Setting for the XSI) to gain one more stop. The pictures will be grainy at this setting, but you can get away with faster exposure times.
Depending on your subject, I suggested exposure times in the article. Remember: The camera does not know what your subject is. Even in the sports section, it just assumes some general things, but it has no idea if you are trying to photograph a fast moving race car at close distance or your child running towards you. The settings will be very different in both scenarios.
Don't give up. If you are willing to learn this right, you will never want to go back to the simple mode. A SLR gives you a lot more creative control, but like any complicated tool, it has a steeper learning curve.

noisy, colourless pictures is what I get! :(

I purchased this camera a week back, and it does not take pictures even clodse to as good as those I see in your galleries. God knoweth thou maketh me jealous.
I understand I still need practice but what one does expect out of a INR30,000 worth SLR is that atleast the clarity would be great.I'm not getting much of that at the moment.
For the night shots, or even for low light indoor shots I have to pus up the ISO sensitivity to about 800, and consequently the photographs come out to be much more noisy than I should like them to be. I haven't dared try ISO 1600 for the very same reason.
Suggest me a remedy please?

I am Aditya Majumdar, from

I am Aditya Majumdar, from New Delhi, India. Sorry I forgot to mention my name in the prevu=ious post.

Awesome site

I am totally new to photograhy and I just bought my Canon 450d, although I really like taking pictures ever since I had my Sony T700 (although I lost it :(). Anyway, I am not yet done reading the whole manual though...but i read one of the answers that you had for one reader, 'twas like 2008...that it is best to stay focus first on "Auto" and deal with the technicalities later.

I think I am more in to landscaping, seascaping, cityscaping and the likes...any quick newbie tips that you could advise? Because it's killing me to read more about advance photography, but of course I would really want to go through the basics first. I really feel envious with the pictures that you have...

Basic tips

Hm. Easy solutions are hard to come by in photography. Here are a few of the top of my head:
-Shoot as many pictures as you can. Since we entered the digital age, there is no cost associated with shooting many images. Change your point of view between each shot (move around a log, climb on a stone, crouch down, lie down), change your focal length between each shot and vary the subject placement.
-Use your histogram. It shows a distribution of pixels. The further to the right, the brighter. If it is chopped off right, you overexposed. Use exposure compensation to correct.
-Invest in Adobe Photoshop Elements and learn the techniques to enhance colors. Try shooting RAW and editing it. Even a used version of Elements will do.
-Forget about the camera and concentrate on composition, light, framing, distractions ....
-Sweep your viewfinder for obstructions and move your position slightly to leave them out of the picture.
-Get out and shoot, shoot, shoot. Stop reading, close the browser and spend a weekend taking 500 shots. Repeat this every weekend for the next two months.

Thank you so much

Now I'm hyped. Thank you so much. I will continue reading your threads to learn more. Shoot shoot shoot! =D


Ive just got my first DSLR and its a Cannon 450D, Im just bumbling along getting confident with it. A friend has asked me to come to their wedding and just snap guests having a good time, as there will be a formal photographer doing all the pose shots etc. However he is a bit of a techno bod and said to me "Dont worry about developing or anything I have the software, just shoot in RAW". I now know what this is, but I cant seem to get my camera in that mode? Please could you help?


Hello Bif

RAW is the data as it comes from the sensor. Unprocessed and not usable until you process it. It has several advantages, to perform your own image processing, vs letting the camera software make all decisions for you.
However it requires skill. I have written several tutorials about RAW on this website, in case you need to learn more. You will find it in the same menu where you select the image quality and resolution.
Your friends attitude is dangerous and wrong though. With RAW you have to worry just as much about your photography. The file format won't help you if the pictures are blurry, due to low light, flat due to flash use or out of focus. You still need to be able to handle your camera well.
I recommend you get a fast 50mm prime lens (see above for recommendations), set exposure time to 1/80s and Auto ISO and hope your friend doesn't expect too much. He picked a difficult task for you.

Help pls

I have the same problem could you also help me? just like what you did to Cheryl? Please reply in my email. Thanks. I'll be waiting. Thank you very much

A little for night shooting

Thanks for the tips before and really this website is awesome. I am learning a lot. Now I am used to day shooting, rule of thirds, seascaping & landscaping, (although i don't have a wide lens yet)...but I am having issues with night shooting. I barely have a good shot for night shooting, 90% of the time it turns out blurry even with the stabilizer turned on. Any quick tips? Thanks again in advance


I have two good posts for you and a quick answer.
1. Causes of blurry pictures - a new series I am working on that should help you figure out why your pictures are blurry.
2. Tripod review - my opinion on tripods together with a silly photo of myself
3. My best guess is that you need to use a tripod. Once you use a tripod, you actually need to turn off image stabilization!!!! Use a remote to trigger the shutter release or use the timer and don't forget to learn about the mirror lockup setting. All those are crucial.
With a tripod you should always use ISO 100. With some light, you may be able to get away with ISO1600 and image stabilization, but keep watching your exposure time and compare it to what I wrote in the article linked in point 1

Glamour Photography

Hi again there Andre, I was just invited by a friend of mine for a photoshoot session, and it's going to be a glamour photoshoot. I still have the kit lens 18-55mm IS for my 450d, would that be good enough? And any quick tips that would help a newbie like me? Thanks again!


I think the 50mm prime lens is a better choice, due to it's wider aperture of f/1.8. Shallow depth of field a an evenly smooth background, combined with sharp subject is what you need. I have a link to this lens in a previous reply.
You may also investigate if a remote flash is in your budget, since the camera flash will give you flat looking pictures, because it comes from the same direction you are shooting from.
Also the lighting is very important. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, you need to have several lights from different directions. An easier way is to use your garage. Open the door and let the light flood it. Then control the background with some cloth. Entire books have been written on this subject, I have read none of them.


I need to know how to shoot in RAW+JPEG. Help!?


Sorry....forgot to mention, I have a canon rebel XSi and need to know how to shoot in RAW+JPEG.


Hello Dawn,
It's in the menu, where you can select file size and compression. There is also an option RAW+JPG

CANON 450D do not produce .CR2 files.produces only jpg

i have a specific issue with my CANON 450D , bought 2 months back. I'm not getting any raw file from camera while i download from camera. I had set the file as L or RAW + L mostly. and had taken almost 2000 pics
1. Using Canon EOS utility using cable and direct from camera. the files are stored as JPG with same file name with an addition of _1 in one file.for ex. IMG_1694_1.JPG and IMG_1694.JPG.Both are same size.
No .CR2 file is formed.
2. i used zoom browser for down load.the same problem appears.
3. i used the card port from computer avoiding camera. no .CR2 file is formed.
4.When i search the card for RAW files with supplied software of canon , no file is identified.
5.i tried RAW plugin from canon site after being unable to solve the issue. the issue still remains..No .CR2 files are being produced.
I do not understand this issue whether a software issue or camera issue.
some one who had this issue or familiar may please advice.

Creative Mode

Hello Jay,

the camera does not produce RAW files unless you are in one of these modes:
P,Ts,Av,M or A-DEP.
The fully automatic modes (sport, landscape, green mode ...) do not produce RAW files.
My Canon 7D doesn't even have these modes.
Make sure you are using these modes and then use a card reader to see if the CR2 files are located on your SD card. They should be in the same folder as the JPG images.
I always use Windows explorer to copy the files. When Windows asks you if you want to import pictures, select no and chose browse the card instead.
The Canon tools should work, but I think this is too much fuzz for copying some files.

what have i done to my camera

my lovely husband bought me a 450d for my birthday plus 55-200 canon kens I went out yesterday to play shootng and played with the set up a bit here and rgere. Now whatever i put the camra mode to it says this function not available in ths mode!!!! Help have i done something seriously silly?

More specific

Hello Deb,

Can you be a bit more specific? What function are you trying to set that is not available? Which modes have you tried this with?


I am new to photography for about 9 months now. I feel good about where I am and where I am heading. However, I was curious to know if there is/are ideal settings for my Canon 450D and where I may find them.

P setting

Go with full automatic (P) and pay attention to composition and light. The camera does a decent job, giving you the freedom to pay attention to other things.

Wide Angle Shots with the Rebel Xsi

Hi! I am an amateur photographer & got a Rebel Xsi as a present with the 18-55 kit lens. However, I like to shoot landscapes and am concerned about the camera's smaller image sensor limiting the field of view. I am currently looking for a lens that would compensate somewhat. (I already have an 0.34X WIDE ANGLE LENS - CANON EF 28-105MM F/3.5-4.5 II ) But I am wondering, should i get an Ultra Wide Zoom or Tilt/Shift lens? Thanks!

Absolutely. I have the

Absolutely. I have the Tokina 12-24mm which is wonderful, despite some chromatic aberrations. Get the Canon 10-20mm if you have some more money to spend. The creative options for the wide-angle lenses is worth the investment.

Fixing the flash on the XSI

I have a rebel XSI and the flash unit burned out. To have it repair would cost too much. I want to buy the part and do it my self. Does anyone have instructions for the this.


How about going getting a used external flash unit. Those are much more flexible, and even the cheapest external flash will perform better than the internal one, since you can do so much more with it. The price may be the same to you.

its not working when i push

its not working when i push the set button. the live view soes not open. and i can't access the menu

UR a noob

Hi gian! So this is where u ask about ur camera. I'll call you today about this. >:) TC and God bless!

Stay fuzzy...

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus Lens

I would like to know if this lens will fit on my canon rebel eos 1000d camera before I purchase it. I and does this lens have good out door and in door qualities on photos Please let me know about this lens s soon as possible. I have several clients that wants me to take picture for them but im looking for a lens that gives a good shallow depth of field also..awaiting for a reply Thanks

The lens will work

The 1000d takes all EF and EF-S lenses. This one will work just fine. I have this lens and I love it.

camera not working?

Hi Andre,
Love all the info I can get on here.I am definately a newbie and know next to nothing about my new XSI.I tried taking some pictures of some of the seniors at the prom and my camera would not snap at all,it just made a sizzle sound,didn't matter what setting I had it on,it has done this several times before usually late evening and I have never been able to get a night shot.Could you help me out please? Also is there something I am suppose to change on my camera when I change the lens to? I have a EF S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS that was a wonderful gift.As you can see I know nothing,but really would like to learn.Thanks so much! HAve an awesome week.

Sizzling Sound

Hello Angelia,

sounds like the flash of the camera wants to come out but cannot. The sound you describe reminds me of that.
It happened to me before and I helped it by pulling it out while the camera made that sound. Don't apply too much force though or you could brake something off.
You can also use it without flash (use P,Av,Tv,M or A-Dep mode and turn flash off). You probably need to increase ISO speed in those situations.
If that doesn't work, try an external flash or send the camera to Canon.

Canon XSI - Getting a busy after taking a picture

Hi I just found your site. I own a Canon xsi and my problem is when I take pictures I get a busy and it ties up the camera for several seconds. I was taking pictures at a wedding and this kept happening and I missed shots because I couldn't take pictures. Any solution for this problem?

Double-clicking the shutter on 450d?

I am a new Canon user after dumping my HS10. I decided to get a Canon EOS 450D but there is one thing that I can't figure out on my camera.

Every time I take photos using Program/Manual mode, Shutter or Aperture Priority, it requires me click on the shutter twice before a photo could be taken.

But when I use the Auto modes, it seems like normal - one click & it's done. I am doing something wrong or there's a setting that needs to modify on my camera body?

Thanks for the help!

Double-clicking the shutter on 450d?

I am a new Canon user after dumping my HS10. I decided to get a Canon EOS 450D but there is one thing that I can't figure out on my camera.

Every time I take photos using Program/Manual mode, Shutter or Aperture Priority, it requires me click on the shutter twice before a photo could be taken.

But when I use the Auto modes, it seems like normal - one click & it's done. Am I doing something wrong or there's a setting that needs to be modified on my camera body?

If you have your camera set

If you have your camera set in continuous mode, it can take a few seconds to process the picture and save it to your memory card. This is because it saves it to the internal memory first then saves it to the memory card. This takes time. If you have your camera in single shooting mode, you can take pictures one right after the other fairly quickly with no busy signal. I have a Canon EOS Rebel T1i, not the xsi, so yours may possibly be different.

BUSY signal

When I attach my Xsi to my Macbook Pro the camera screen says "Busy." The red light flickers like it usually does but the photos, ultimately, are not imported and the laptop screen lists all the pics as IMG images and as noncompatible or something like that. Of 192 RAW shots, only 20 were imported. The camera battery is full.

The one change that has occurred is that that Mac's logic board was replaced last month. I realize this is a photography site but I am thinking the Busy signal and the logic board might be related.

Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated. : )

low light shots

when ever i try and click in a low light or at night without flash either it comes pitch dark or the camera doesnt clicks at all.i am newbee plz tel me what should be my sttings as to click it perfect.i do nt hav a tripod .
how to change the aperature and shutter as to get the right click?????

Hello, Andre- I've had my

Hello, Andre-

I've had my Rebel Xsi since Christmas time, and just recently I noticed that when I'm taking pictures in any mode, the flash isn't coming on. Even in A/F, the exposure time is lengthened (in the evening time) to compensate for the lack of flash. The flash is just not working in any situation. Pushing the flash button in the manual settings doesn't work. Do you have any idea what might be going on? Thanks very much one way or the other-I've learned a lot from reading all of your posts.


I am having the same problem. My camera was only bought 19 days ago. Did you figure out a solution for this problem?

blurry pictures when flash turned off

i have a canon rebel xsi and when i turn my flash off i always get blurry friend has a rebel t3 and in the same room same shot she turns her flash off and gets a perfect picture...not blurry at all...why is this and how can i get my camera to take shots that arent blurry when i have my flash off?


canon 450D


Cannot capture photos

I used my 450D in lowlight several times this day and suddenly its shutter is not working since then, what will I do? some says I need to put it in more light... what can u say about this...

Shutter won't work

we got the same shutter is not working from the moment I take some shots in low light...did you find any solutions to it?

450D and Sigma lens compatibility

I have bought a Sigma 18-50 2.8-4.5 DC OS lens for my 450D and for some reason when I attempt to fully open the aperture the indication on the screen stops at 4.0. Any thoughts on what the problem is please?

Andre Gunther Photography | Fine Art Travel Photography

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for augmenter
vue youtube