canon rebel xt series camera
Navigating the Menus
There are several menus in the Canon Rebel camera. The scope of this tutorial is for basic photographers just learning the camera, so we will only show some key features in the menu system.
There are several buttons on the back of the camera. For a basic user, only about four of them are really important to know about.
- Main menu - This button activates the main menu as described below
- Playback - This button will show you pictures that are on the memory card. Use left and right to scroll the images.
- Erase pictures - This button will allow you to erase certain pictures. Use the playback button to choose an image, then press this trash button.
- Shooting mode - This will change the shooting mode from single shot to continuous shot to self-timer. Careful, if you accidentally switch to self-timer mode, there will be a 10 second delay before the camera takes a picture.
To activate the menu, press the menu button on the back of the camera while the unit is on. This camera has two main menus: one for advanced users, and a basic menu for beginners. The menu that displays will depend on which mode you're in on the main dial. If you are in the green rectangle or below (basic modes), you will see a different menu than if you were in the P mode or above (advanced modes).
The image on top is a basic menu, and the image below it is an advanced menu with more options and more ability to customize the camera. Also notice that each menu mode can have different settings that do not affect the operations of the other camera mode.
Quality and Size Settings
The main option in the main menu we want to focus on is the Quality/Size setting. In the basic camera operation, there are six quality/size settings to choose from.
Quality is denoted by the curved shape to the immediate left of each letter. The three options on the left side with a smooth curve indicate high quality, while the three rough curves on the right side indicate medium quality.
Size is indicated by each letter. "L" for large, "M" for medium and "S" for small. The exact pixel dimensions will also be displayed on the right side of the screen.
In general, if you plan to ever print out your pictures on paper, we recommend only using the high quality large setting. If you plan to only shoot for the Web, and you are absolutely certain that you will never need to print out these images, then you have the option to use either high quality small, or medium quality small. The reason is that the Web doesn't need very large images. In fact, the majority of images on the web are less than 600 pixels, and even with the small setting the Canon Rebel captures images that are over 1,700 pixels!
This table will give an estimate of how many photos you should expect to store on a 512 megabyte card (small by today's standards).
|Image storage capacity for 512 MB CF card|
|L format 3456 x 2304||Fine||137|
|L format 3456 x 2304||Medium||277|
|M format 2496 x 1664||Fine||237|
|M format 2496 x 1664||Medium||452|
|S format 1728 x 1152||Fine||410|
|S format 1728 x 1152||Medium||780|
|RAW @ 3456 x 2304||None||57|
Formatting the Card
If you ever wish to erase your memory card completely, you should format the card using the camera menus. Formatting is a way to completely erase your card. You should be careful, because sometimes formatting the card may prevent recovery of pictures (which sometimes can be done when accidentally deleting an image).
In the menu system, go to the very top and scroll over to the tools menu one. (Icon of an adjustable wrench and mallet.) Scroll down to Format and press the set button.
It will ask you to confirm format.
There is another option we recommend setting, and that is Shoot w/o card. This prevents the camera from being able to take a picture without a memory card. If you allow the camera to take pictures without a memory card, you risk the chance of going out in the field an photographing without a memory card (similar to shooting pictures without film in the camera). Turn this setting to off.
The back display has lots of information, most of which doesn't really concern a basic user. This tutorial will cover a few quick aspects of the menu.
- Shots left - This tells you how many pictures you can take before filling up the memory card
- Exposure meter - How the camera evaluates the frame for correct lighting
- Quality/Size - The current setting for quality or size
- Shooting mode - Specifies if the camera will shoot single images, or continuously if the button is held down
- Focus mode - One shot means the camera will lock focus on a single subject; AI Servo means the camera will continuously focus and follow subjects (good for action); AI Focus means the camera will choose the best focus option given the situation it sees in the frame
- Battery - Battery charge left indicator
- Exposure - Specifies the current exposure (will almost always be in the center for automatic modes)
- White balance - Specifies the current white balance setting. AWB means "auto white balance"