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Feedback Requested Using the Canon T3 DSLR Camera

Updated on February 1, 2015
The Canon Rebel T3 DSLR
The Canon Rebel T3 DSLR

Requesting Feedback with Using the Canon T3

I realize Hubpages encourages their writers to produce informative articles. However, their format is just too temping to use as a blog by requesting input on using the Canon T3 DSLR camera. So, let me explain my situation and if you are a knowledgeable photographer, any feedback you have will be appreciated.


One of my objectives in purchasing the Canon Rebel T3 DSLR camera was to record video of tying flies and posting them on YouTube. I have done this in the past with fairly good results using a point-and-shoot Fuji WP33. I used this camera for both shooting video of tying flies and shooting video/photos while fly fishing. Being waterproof, it served both functions well. However, over time the video motor got too loud. It was practically all you heard on recorded video. So, I opted to purchase a DSLR camera for several purposes, shooting video of tying flies being one. I selected the Canon Rebel T3 due to reviews, budget, and being a very common camera. I have to confess, after shooting two fly tying videos, the videos using the Fuji WP33 look better. So, allow me to explain how I am shooting the videos and perhaps more experienced photographers, particularly those who have used a Canon T3, can help me produce better videos. One big question I have is, do I need another camera lens?

Lighting using two daylight fluorescent bulbs.
Lighting using two daylight fluorescent bulbs.
Typical camera set-up for shooting video
Typical camera set-up for shooting video

The Setting

With the Fuji WP33, I used to use natural light, either direct sunlight tying outside or from the dining room without direct sunlight, but next to large windows. After doing some research, I now use two daylight fluorescent bulbs at 800 lumens each with paper filters over them. I set them up in the garage so that they are the sole light source. I also mount the camera on a tripod. I wear a solid colored shirt for the background and make sure the shirt is in contrast color to the fly. I used this approach with both Canon videos.

The Camera

The video settings on the Canon are limited to 1280 x 720 at either 25 or 30 fps. I select 30 fps. The lens is the kit lens that comes with the camera, 18-55mm f/3.5-3.6 auto focus, image stabilization. While the lens specifications states the closest focus distance of 9.8 inches, I am more like two feet from the fly. Any closer and I cannot get the camera to focus. At this distance I don't have to worry about bumping the camera while tying. However, I would like to zoom in closer to the fly. I can accomplish this to some degree with the video software (Magix Movie Edit Pro 10). However, I can zoom in on the fly only so far with software until the video becomes pixelated. I have zoomed in with the software in the attached video except for the last eight seconds. The last eight seconds are directly from the camera with no manipulation by the software.

Questions For The Readers

I have a number of questions for the readers:

1. My fingers look over exposed, which isn't a real big deal since the exposure of the fly looks okay. Still, the overexposed fingers are distracting. Should I use another light source?

2. Does the color contrast from the background shirt affect exposure foreground? If so, how?

3. The big question is should I get another lens? I've looked into true macro lenses and one concern I have is that I need about a one foot working space around the fly while tying. Some of the macro lenses require practically getting on top of the subject. There are other lenses that can probably zoom in on the fly that are not macro. Do you have any lens recommendations?

Typical macro, still photograph.
Typical macro, still photograph.

Summary

I am a novice photographer and am learning much about photography through the use of the Canon T3. I am pleased with the still photographs. I sell the flies I tie on E-Bay. I use close-up stills of the flies in the auctions and the macro shots come out impressive. I can get closer to the subject with still photographs than with the video, although the stills also need to be zoomed in a bit with the software. The video comes out well for general use such as family events. They are clear and have no motor noise in the background. I must admit, however, that I am disappointed with the results of the videos taken with the subject being close-up. I wish they could be as detailed as the stills. There just seems to be a lack of crispness. If you can recommend any improvements, I would certainly appreciate it.

Recent Update

The second video came out better. I used natural light in my garage with the garage door open and no direct sunlight. Also, I work a shirt for background with less color contrast. I used manual focus. Of course the question soon became "How do I focus best. With or without bifocals?" Finally, I used video editing software to zoom in at different times.

While the color contrast came out better, the video is still not as crisp as I would like. I conclude that I need either a macro lens or telephoto lense.

Fly Tying the Yellow Teal Nymph With Canon T3 Rebel

Recent Update

I purchased some inexpensive extension tubes. They gave me the magnification with the kit lens that I desired.

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    • Tod Zechiel profile image
      Author

      Tod Zechiel 3 years ago from Florida, United States

      I thought the background might have too much contrast. Okay, lighter shirt.

    • photographyadvice profile image

      photographyadvice 3 years ago from UK

      Hi Tod

      It sounds like you might be a bit stuck on the exposure side if the video doesn't allow manual exposure control. The info I gave about moving the lights won't have much effect if the camera is automatically adjusting for the light levels anyway.

      Check to see if exposure compensation is available when in video mode. I would hope they did include that.

      Another idea is to use a lighter background (shirt) instead of the dark background (shirt). The general way the camera calculates exposure is to average all the tones over the whole scene and adjust the exposure so the average tone is gray. (Actually it's much more complicated than this in practice). If you wear a white shirt as the background then you will likely find that the camera chooses to use a darker exposure than it will if you wear a black shirt.

      Dave

    • Tod Zechiel profile image
      Author

      Tod Zechiel 3 years ago from Florida, United States

      Dave:

      I tried the manual focus preliminarily with movie mode. You are correct, I can get closer to the fly. I'll set-up another video setting and give it a try. The video mode is preset for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed - not much adjustment can be done. I'll look into exposure triangle for stills. Thanks for the advice!

    • photographyadvice profile image

      photographyadvice 3 years ago from UK

      Hi Tod

      It sounds like you are probably using the camera in automatic mode. I would suggest setting the lens to manual focus, then turn the lens' focus ring to the closest setting. Now move the camera to a position where the 'fly' is in focus. This should help you get a closer image. You can use the camera's live view mode and zoom in, then turn the focus ring on the lens to fine-tune the focus.

      Regarding the exposure (brightness) there are 3 different camera settings that affect this - ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. If you're using manual exposure mode, then you can control all 3 of these. In any of the automatic modes, you can only control one or two of these, but you can use the exposure compensation setting to tell the camera to create a darker exposure. If you do a search for 'photography exposure' or 'exposure triangle' that should give you lots of info - it's far too much to explain in a single comment.

      The other thing you can do to affect the brightness is by changing the lighting. If you move it closer it will make it brighter, or further away will make it dimmer. I see that you're already using some diffusion on the lights. Adding further layers of diffusion between the lights and the subject will also decrease the brightness of the lights. Or you can add a dimmer switch to the lights to control their brightness.

      One other thing you should be aware of is the white balance setting. Different lights have different color temperatures, and the wrong white balance setting will give the image / video a color cast. However, your sample video and photo look quite reasonable already in this regard.

      Hope that helps

      Regards

      Dave