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Book Review: Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D: From Snapshots To Great Shots by Jeff Revell

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Once you purchase a camera like the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D, you really need more than the manual that comes in the box. You really need something that will show you how to use the camera in a way that will have you taking great pictures and not just knowing what the functionality of the camera is.

The goal of Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D: From Snapshots To Great Shots is to provide the perfect blend of instruction about your camera and provide all those other things you will need to know that goes into generating a great photograph. Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D is 288 pages in length and is contained in ten chapters.

Chapter 1, “The T3i Top Ten List,” contains the top 10 things that you should know before you start shooting with your new camera. By studying this chapter you will not fall in to many of the ‘gotchas’ that come from not being familiar with the camera, but yet you don’t have to spend countless hours trying to figure these things out from the manual.

Chapter 2, “First Things First,” now takes you through the basics of your camera beginning by looking at your memory card and how to format it and then taking you though updating your firmware, cleaning the sensor, looking at shooting RAW vs. JPEG, lenses and focal length, exposure, depth of field, using video, and more.

Chapter 3, “The Basic Zone,” is the side of the dial that contains the icon-labeled modes that are set up for specific shooting situations. These include the Scene Intelligent Auto Mode, Portrait Mode, Landscape Mode, Night Portrait Mode, and more. There is even a section on why you may never want to use the basic modes again.

Chapter 4, “The Creative Zone,” now takes your skills up to the next level. These are the modes that provide the most control over your photography. These modes give you the ability to control aperture and shutter speed. The modes here include Program Mode, Shutter Priority Mode, Aperture Priority Mode, and Manual Mode.

Chapter 5, “Moving Target,” examines how you can capture the moment when the moment is moving fast. Through the use of shutter speed, you can learn how to freeze a moment in time. This chapter also looks at composition, lens selection, and other things that will help you get that great shot.

Chapter 6, “Say Cheese,” looks at what it takes to produce great portraits. This chapter will show you that while you cannot change how people look, you can control how you photograph them and put them into a better situation. Here you will look at camera techniques that will help you make better portraits.

Chapter 7, “Landscape Photography,” has always been something that draws people in. It has to do with being in the wide open spaces and working at the whims of Mother Nature. This chapter looks at some of the features that the T3i has that will improve your landscapes, but make it easier to take great shots.

Chapter 8, “Mood Lighting,” is what you take when the lights go down and you have an interesting scene to shoot. The T3i has some great features that let you work with low light situations as well as using the built in flash unit.

Chapter 9, “Creative Compositions,” now takes a look at composition and how it relates to creating a great photograph. To take your photos to the next level you must first learn how the elements in the frame create a pleasing image. Here you will examine a few methods that will help to add interest to your photograph.

Chapter 10, “Advanced Techniques,” finishes up by taking a look at some specific tools on your camera that will give you an added advantage in getting that great shot. These include the spot meter for better exposure control, how to work in manual mode, avoiding lens flare, bracketing exposures, and more.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D is an excellent introduction to working with the T3i especially for the total beginner as it provides them with all of the base information that they need to get started, but leads them down the path toward taking great images. I especially like how, it shows the basic modes, but quickly says “now let’s get to the real stuff.”

I also like the “Pouring over the Picture” at the start of each chapter (beginning with chapter 2) where a high quality photograph is analyzed for what makes it so good. I feel that this will allow the beginning/novice photographer to start asking questions about his or her own work.

I really liked Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D: From Snapshots To Great Shots. It is well written and very easy to understand and follow along for just about any level. Even though this is geared for the beginner/novice user, for someone a little more advanced who wants to get up to speed with this camera, they will find quite a few tips and tricks in this book and so therefore can very highly recommend it.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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