Advantages Light, easy to use, flexible, reasonably priced
Disadvantages No fast motor drive, didn't come with a bag.
A year or two ago, when I was on a family holiday, I started fooling around with my dad's old SLR (single-lens-reflex - where the viewfinder shows the actual image through the main lens, unlike 'point-and-click' cameras), and I realised how enjoyable photography is.So, after coming into a bit of cash on my 18th birthday, I went shopping for a nice camera. Wanting to avoid the bottom of the range stuff, but knowing I am nevertheless an amateur, I went for one range above the base price. By the way, this is a good shopping philosophy....you know you aren't getting the absolute dog ends of the production lines and therefore the worst product. The camera that caught my eye was the Canon EOS-500 N. Here's a quick rundown of the features which I will explain later:
28-80mm zoom lens.
Auto or Manual focus - three focus points.
Layover/Multiple frame option.
Red Eye reduction.
Adjustable Frame rate and Aperture.
Creative and Programmed Image Control Zones
Automatic depth of field.
Built in Flash.
Unlike older SLRs, pretty much all new ones have some form of adjustable zoom lens, as opposed to have to change the actual lens unit for different zoom levels. The EOS-500 N has a 28-80mm unit. Many cheaper SLRs have a 35-70mm one. The difference? Sounds small, but 28mm is far superior. It allows a considerably wider picture at close range, so if you want to be able to take decent close-ups, 35mm is simply not good enough. The extra 10mm at the long distance end is also useful. Wider ranges, and telephoto lens of course can be purchased separately and easily attached.
Auto or Manual FocusHaving learnt to take pictures on an old style focus lens, I was a bit hostile towards autofocus. Now I see why they bothered to invent it. You simply choose the zoom level you want, and align the focus points (visible through the viewfinder as three small rectangles) to the target. I'll explain more about the focus points later. Anyway, then you just hold the shutter button half down, and it focuses perfectly - and I mean better and faster than you could manually (The EOS-500 N has a very fast autofocus for its price). This is useful from a lazy point of view, but is also practical - when photographing fast moving objects, you can focus very accurately. But if you don't want this new-fangled technology, you can always turn it off and do it yourself the same as on an old SLR.
TimerUseful for taking pictures of yourself when there's no-one around!
Multiple ExposuresThis is for those arty shots! The EOS-500 N lets you take up to 9 shots on one frame. I haven't actually used this yet, I have to admit, but its another feature!
Red Eye ReductionAnother handy feature for avoiding making your subjects look like devils.
Adjustable Shutter Speed and ApetureRightio. A quick lesson in shutter speeds and apertures. The shutter speed is how long the camera allows light onto the film. For a) bright or b) fast-moving objects, a fast speed would be used because a) it prevents the intense light from making the picture too bright as less light is allowed to reach the frame and b) it prevents blur.
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