I originally thought that doing a camera review on a cat blog is a bad idea but then I realized that my blog is just as much of a photo blog as it is cat blog and I am sure there are many other pet bloggers that are interested in photography.
My birthday is coming up in a couple of days and I am a hard person to buy for so my wife put it in my hands to find I gift that I would be happy with. So I decided it was time for a new DSLR camera. The camera that I had been using is a Canon EOS Rebel T1i. I got it for Christmas in 2009 and the way that technology advances it should be a dinosaur but, surprisingly, at 15.1 megapixels, it still takes better photos than any smart phone being sold today. Nevertheless, I think I could benefit from an upgrade.
I did somewhat upgrade my camera a couple of years ago. I bought a Canon EOS M1. It is a small, mirrorless, 18-megapixel camera that is not a DSLR but it does have interchangeable lenses. I like it because it takes excellent photos and because it is small, lightweight and much easier to carry around. I don’t like it because it takes way too long to focus. That is fine most of the time but try to get a cat to hold still for more than a second while the camera is focusing. There are several upgrades to the M series that probably corrected that problem and thought about upgrading that camera instead but chose the DSLR instead because it is more obsolete.
I looked around for a long time. I wanted a camera that was at least 24 megapixels but was also reasonably priced. I also wanted a Canon because I have lenses for it and because I have liked Canons since my dad gave me his Canon F1 in 1987.
It came down to the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 or the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. Both cameras had similar features and the T7i had some slight advantages but the SL2 was a bit smaller and lighter, which is helpful when you have to carry it around for a long time. It was also almost $200 less expensive which was a big plus for me.
I ordered the camera on Amazon and paid about $600 for it. The Rebel line is made for amateurs and is significantly less expensive than the pro version without much, if any, loss of picture quality. I think the main difference is in how rugged the camera is built but this will be my third Rebel since 2005 and I never once had a problem with any of the cameras.
It arrived Monday, too soon for my birthday but my wife didn’t care if I opened it, so I did.
Naturally, I wanted to test it out so I spied Frankie lying on the floor.
I always set the camera to shoot RAW + Jpeg. This takes up more room but allows me to view all my photos easily and the RAW format gives me more options when editing the photos. I want to say that I then erase any RAW file that I know Is not top quality to save room but I usually forget that step or I am rushed and don’t bother doing it. I didn’t look at the settings until after I took the above photo but it came set up for just Jpeg so I had to change it later.
The camera comes with several options for scene selections and other things but I won’t review those because I don’t use them. I use one of four settings:
- Program Auto Exposure – This sets the aperture and shutter speed automatically.
- Shutter Priority – Lets the Photographer select the shutter speed and the camera does the rest.
- Aperture Priority – This is like shutter priority except it is the aperture that is set by the Photographer.
- Manual – All settings are set by the Photographer.
My first Canon Rebel, the XT, was a fine camera but changing a setting was a laborious task. You had to fumble through various menus until you found what you were looking for. This camera has the main settings laid out on an easy to use touchscreen. In addition, the screen can be pulled out for viewing from different angles and then turned for protection when not in use.
I have had no opportunity to take this outside for a real-world test but I did take several photos of the cats. I was very impressed with how quickly it focused. There was no noticeable lag time between pushing the shutter release and hearing the sound of the mirror flipping up to take the photo. I’m sure it wasn’t instantaneous but it was fast. I also took several photos very quickly and had to wait for the camera to write them to the SD card. I was using a cheap, slow, memory card and was glad the camera had a large enough cache to accommodate it.
The photo below was taken in the morning before the sun came up so it was relatively low light. I had it set to fully programmable and it used a shutter speed of 1/13th of a second. Typically, I don’t like going below 1/30th of a second when hand holding a camera but, thanks to image stabilization, this photo is pretty sharp.
And thanks to the 24-megapixel sensor, I can zoom in on the eyes with much clarity.
The fast focus also allows me to capture Chris while he is rolling around. It would have been pure luck to get this photo with my M1.
Another great feature is the Canon app that allows you to control the camera with your phone. The app lets you see what the camera sees and you can change settings or take the shot remotely. This is useful for group photos or maybe even for catching your pets being naughty.
Here is the photo of Floki that I took remotely.
The app has a couple of other features that I find even more useful. Since the camera does not have GPS, it can take GPS information from your phone and include it in your photos. It also allows you to download photos to your phone so you don’t have to wait until you get home to share your photos on social media.
I plan on taking this camera with me when we go away for my birthday. We are going to the east coast of Florida to visit my wife’s father. We booked a hotel on the beach and we hope to see nesting sea turtles. If we do, I can’t use a flash or other form of light to photograph them and since they only lay their eggs at night it could be a challenge.
What do you think? Do any pet bloggers use a DSLR for your photos? Would anyone be interested in a blog post on basic photography?
You know your stuff when it comes to cameras and photography and I’m at the polar opposite I think. I have used my little digital Nikon Coolpix 3100 for YEARS now – never having learned about 80% of the options available – I leave it on AUTO all the time. That probably explains why my photos really aren’t well centered/lighted/focused but still, I do love this camera. It’s tiny and fits in a pocket or my purse – which means of course that I have to remember that I even HAVE it (I often miss photo ops because I forget!). Anyway, I’m sure there are a lot of bloggers who would love to read your thoughts on basic photography. Go for it.
The say that the best camera to use is the one you have, I run into that problem all the time. My good camera is in the closet, my phone takes too long to bring up the camera app and something cute or funny is about to end.
Nice camera! The mom needs a new one…but one that’s really easy to use, no programming and stuff like that because she’s such an amateur when it comes to cameras. Any suggestions?
I don’t have a specific recommendation but most cameras, including my new one, have auto settings that work pretty well. I like the DSLRs because the quality is better for a number of reasons such as the high-quality lenses and because the sensor is bigger. A larger sensor is better because the pixels are not packed as tightly together. I think I read that they can get closer together than the width of a wavelenth of light which is a problem.
Great camera ! We’ve got an easier one, a Nikon Coolpix P510 (2013), and we’re very happy with it. You’re right in your answer, the best camera is the one you have… and know how to use ! Purrs
I enjoy photography so the little things matter to me but nowadays most cameras are more than adequate.
My human loves the ability to take photos remotely using the iPhone app. That’s on her list now of features she wants for her next camera.
She does a lot of studio type photography so I think that would be great for her. I probably won’t use it much but I will use the geotagging feature and I will upload photos to my phone.
Wow this review was incredible! I wish I could afford a Canon. You know Glogirly, right? I think she uses a Canon as well…….she has had posts a few times about photography on her blog, and I think your idea of doing that is wonderful. I can always use tips. I mainly use my iphone for photos and then edit them online. I am not overly technical or mechanical. I did have a Sony (I think) point and shoot, but I never use it. It was too annoying and I don’t always have it with me. This was just great! Happy early birthday too!
I think a basic photography post will be fun to do. I use the program that canon provides for editing and it does a fine job. It’s not like Photoshop but it is useful for cropping, brightness and contrast adjustments, white balance, etc.
That looks like a great camera, way out of my price range though.
I know what you mean. I wanted a camera on my last birthday but had to wait until Christmas. When Christmas came around I had to wait again.
What a pawsum camera. We don’t have anythin’ this fancy. We’d luv too, but all we have is point n shoot. Enjoy your new toy. Big hugs
Dezi and Raena
Point and shoot is fine for blogging, I just love photography and am a bit of a perfectionist.
Yeah, mommy luvs fotography, but we can’t affurd a great camera and we don’t really go many places to take fotos of. Then of course there’s purrobably the most ‘purrtant factor, mommy’s not the bestest fotographer in the world. MOL Big hugs
Dezi and Raena
I find that having a camera is like having a dog. It’s a good reason to get out of the house.