Amateur Birder New Camera Alert – Canon Rebel T3i

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Now that I am officially an amateur birder, I decided to up my photo game! I have been using my Samsung Galaxy to take pics but it had its limits; birds that were close still seemed far away and the sharpness wasn’t there. I want to see feathers!

So… I am now the proud owner of a Canon Rebel T3i and I am pretty impressed by the results! I have never owned a DSLR camera before and apparently this camera is a great introduction to the world of DSLR cameras even though it came out in 2011.

What does DSLR stand for? Give me one second while I Google it… ah, there we go… it is a digital single-lens reflex camera. It can be referred to as a digital SLR or DSLR. Basically it combines a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. Don’t ask me what a single-lens reflex camera is… we don’t need to go down that rabbit hole.

So! A new camera means new features and settings to learn about! This weekend I’ve been learning about things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Here is the quick rundown:

Aperture – This is the hole or opening that allows light to pass through and is represented by f-numbers (e.g. f6.3). The “f” stands for the focal length of the lens. The bigger the aperture number, the smaller the hole and less light. A lower number, means that the hole is larger and there is more light coming through. This would be ideal for low-light scenarios as I discovered this morning while trying to take a pic of a female cardinal that was perched in the shadows of a tree branch. A low aperture number also makes the background blurry which I think makes for some super neat effects.

Shutter Speed – This is the length of time the camera shutter is open. Basically it refers to how long it takes for your camera to take a photo. If you’re trying to catch something that moves quickly, a higher shutter number (e.g. 1/2000th of a second) is helpful. If you have a lower number, meaning it takes longer for your camera to take a photo, remember to do your best to have a steady hand! If it takes longer to take a photo, the chances of your photo coming out blurry increases. I recommend taking a deep breath and releasing it as you snap the photo… it helped me relax.

ISO – ISO stands for International Standards Organizations and refers to your camera’s ability to capture light. ISO numbers are 100, 200, 400, 800 etc. If it’s bright outside, a lower ISO number is better to avoid washing out your photo with light. A high ISO number means high sensitivity to light and should be used for darker scenarios.

OK, that was the Sunday Funday rundown of some of the main settings to play with!

Are you ready?

More to come as I continue to practice balancing all of these settings to capture the perfect bird images!

Happy Birding!


Image Credit: ME! 🙂 @birdhouselove