Canon XSi Review

 
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Canon Rebel XSi Modes and Menus

The mode dial on the right side of the Canon Rebel XSi's top panel lets you select various exposure modes, with the same range of options presented as on the preceding Rebel XT and XTi. Canon divides the dial into "Basic" and "Creative" zones, the Basic range encompassing the Full Auto setting and the six scene modes in what Canon refers to as the "Image" zone. The Creative zone includes settings for Programmed exposure, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, full Manual control, and the Automatic Depth of Field mode.

 

Here's a description of each of the shooting modes:

Flash Off Mode: The first mode in the Image Zone, Flash Off mode disables both the internal flash head and any external flash unit connected. Focus is set to AI Focus mode, drive mode is set to Single, and metering is set to Evaluative. The camera controls ISO and Auto white balance as well.

Night Portrait Mode: This mode is for taking pictures of people at sunset or at night, letting the flash illuminate the subject, while the longer exposure provides a brighter view of the surroundings. The autofocus mode is automatically set to One Shot. Drive mode is set to Single Shot, and metering mode is set to Evaluative. Since slower shutter speeds will be used, a tripod is recommended to prevent movement from the camera. The built-in flash is automatically enabled and synched with the slower shutter speed, so subjects will need to remain still for a few moments after the flash fires to avoid ghost-like after-images. ISO is automatically adjusted by the camera. (For night exposures without the flash, Canon recommends shooting in Landscape mode.)

Sports Mode: This mode uses a faster shutter speed to capture fast-moving subjects. The autofocus mode is automatically set to AI Servo. Drive mode is set to Continuous Shooting, ISO is set to Auto, and metering mode is set to Evaluative. The onboard flash isn't available in this mode because it can't cycle fast enough to keep up with the continuous exposure mode.

Close-up Mode (Macro Mode): Turning the Mode dial to the macro flower symbol sets the camera for capturing smaller subjects such as flowers, jewelry, and other small details. The autofocus mode is automatically adjusted to One Shot, the drive mode is set to Single Shot, and the metering mode is set to Evaluative. ISO is set to Auto. Close-up mode takes advantage of the current lens's minimum focal distance. However, an EOS dedicated macro lens and the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX are recommended for better close-up photography. Also, note that unlike the macro mode on most consumer digicams, Macro mode on the XSi has no effect on lens focusing range, as that parameter is entirely determined by the lens being used.

Landscape Mode: Landscape mode combines slower shutter speeds with smaller aperture settings to increase the depth of field when shooting broad vistas and sweeping landscapes. This mode is also good for night scenes without people in them. The built-in flash is automatically disabled, even if it's already raised. Because this mode uses slower shutter speeds, a tripod may be needed in less-bright lighting conditions. Metering is again set to Evaluative and ISO to Auto.

Portrait Mode: This mode uses a large aperture setting to decrease the depth of field, which blurs the background to emphasize the subject. ISO is set to Auto, metering to Evaluative, and AF mode to One Shot. Drive mode is set to Continuous Shooting.

Full Automatic Mode: The final mode in the Basic Zone, Full Automatic is indicated on the Mode dial by a green rectangular outline. In this mode, the camera makes all exposure decisions with the exception of image quality. Autofocus mode is set to AI Focus. (AI Focus evaluates subject movement, sets either one-shot AF or AI Servo AF automatically.) Drive mode is set to Single Shot, ISO is set to Auto, and the metering mode is set to Evaluative.

Program AE: This is the first mode in the Creative Zone of the Mode Dial. Program AE works similarly to the Full Automatic exposure mode, but allows more control over the exposure variables. Aperture and shutter speed are automatically selected by the camera, but you can bias the exposure to larger or smaller apertures by turning the Main dial, which will change the combination of aperture and shutter speed so as to maintain the same exposure value, but with a different combination of aperture/shutter speed. (Personally, I find this sort of vari-program mode more useful than the usual shutter- or aperture-priority modes when I'm wanting to adjust the aperture or shutter speed to control depth of field or subject motion blur. The camera won't let you select a combination of exposure parameters that doesn't work, but you retain all the flexibility of shutter- or aperture-priority exposure modes.)

Shutter-Priority AE: This mode allows you to manually set the shutter speed anywhere from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, while the camera chooses the best corresponding aperture setting. You have control over all other exposure variables, including exposure compensation.

Aperture-Priority AE: The opposite of Shutter-Priority mode, Aperture-Priority AE allows you to set the lens aperture (with available apertures depending on the lens in use), while the camera selects the most appropriate shutter speed. Again, you have control over all other exposure variables, including exposure compensation.

Manual Exposure: This mode provides the same range of exposure control as the other Creative Zone exposure modes (except for exposure compensation), but lets you control both shutter speed and lens aperture independently. The shutter speed range is extended to include a Bulb setting, allowing long exposures for as long as you hold the Shutter button down. (The rear display reports the elapsed time in minutes and seconds as the exposure progresses.) A display in the viewfinder reports whether the camera thinks your settings will result in under, over, or correctly exposed photos.

Automatic Depth of Field AE: This is the final mode in the Creative Zone, and is meant for taking pictures of large groups of people, landscapes with foreground detail, or any subject with elements of interest at varying distances from the camera. This mode puts the camera in control of both the shutter speed and aperture values, but you can adjust the other exposure variables. (This mode cannot be used if the lens focus mode is set to manual.) When shooting in Automatic Depth of Field AE, the camera sets both the lens aperture and focus distance to achieve a sharp focus over a wide depth of field. It uses the autofocus system to measure the distance to the subjects covered by each of the nine autofocus zones, and then attempts to set the focusing distance and lens aperture so as to render all subject areas in sharp focus.

Playback Mode: Activated by pressing the Play button on the back panel. Playback mode lets you erase images, protect them, or set them up for printing on DPOF and PictBridge-compatible devices. You can also view images in an index display, enlarge images to 10x, view a slide show of all captured images, or rotate an image. The DISP button activates an information display, which reports the exposure settings for the image; a second press graphs the exposure values on a small luminance histogram, and another press displays both the luminance and separate Red, Green, and Blue histograms.

 

Canon Rebel XSi Menu Layout

The Rebel XSi's menus are quite similar to those of the XTi, but there are a few changes. Since many readers may already be familiar with the XTi's menu system, we'll take a quick look at the primary differences.

Shooting Menu 1
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
Review time has been moved here from the Playback menu.

Shooting Menu 2
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
The position of Custom WB and White Balance Shift/Bracket have been swapped.

Playback Menu
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
Review time was moved to Shooting Menu 1, making room for the new Erase images function. Auto play was moved down.

Setup Menu 1
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
File numbering and format have changed positions, LCD brightness and Date/Time have moved to Setup Menu screen 2. The new Screen color setting has been added here.

Setup Menu 2
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
LCD brightness and Date/Time have moved here from Setup Menu screen 1. The XTi's two Sensor cleaning menus have been collapsed into one. Custom Functions (C.Fn), Clear settings and Firmware Version has moved to a third Setup Menu screen make room for Live View function settings and Flash control.

Setup Menu 3
Rebel XSi
This third Setup Menu page didn't exist on the XTi and contains function previously on Setup Menu screen 2.

Custom Function Menu
Rebel XSi Rebel XTi
Five new custom settings have been added for a total of 13 on the XSi. The new settings are:
  • High ISO speed noise reduction: You can now choose to have extra NR applied for JPEG images taken, particularly effective at higher ISOs.
  • Highlight tone priority: The XSi now has Canon's Highlight tone priority for better highlight detail retention in JPEGs, first found on the EOS 1D Mark III and 40D.
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer: This new feature automatically optimizes image brightness and contrast in JPEG images.
  • AF during Live View shooting: This menu lets you select the Live View autofocus mode.
  • Add original decision data is an option to append data to verify an original image.

Two flash related options have been moved to Flash control, while Magnified view options have been eliminated.



My Menu
Rebel XSi
My Menu, where you can define and access your own, most commonly used settings didn't exist on the XTi.



Canon Rebel XSi Menu Details

Record Menu 1:

Record Menu Options: Screen 1
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Quality
- 4272 x 2848, Fine
- 4272 x 2848, Normal
- 3088 x 2056, Fine
- 3088 x 2056, Normal
- 2256 x 1504, Fine
- 2256 x 1504, Normal
- RAW + L/F JPEG
- RAW
Select image size and quality combination.
Red-eye On/Off
- On
- Off
If On, Red-eye reduction lamp illuminates with every flash exposure.
Beep
- On
- Off
Turns camera beep sounds on or off.
Shoot w/o Card
- On
- Off
If On, the camera will fire the shutter even without a memory card installed.
Review Time
- Off
- 2 sec.
- 4 sec.
- 8 sec.
- Hold
Enables an automatic image review after each shot. "Hold" keeps the image displayed until you half-press the shutter button.



Record Menu 2:

Record Menu Options: Screen 2
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing)
- Select EV variable
+/-2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps.
Flash Exposure Compensation
- Select from -2 to +2 EV
Custom WB
- Choose image for reference, then set white balance
White Balance SHIFT/BKT
- Set the color shift on a 2-dimensional grid (Green/Magenta, Blue/Amber)

- Choose bracket (+/-3 Magenta and Green, +/-3 Blue and Amber)
One level of correction is equal to 5 mireds of a color temperature conversion filter.
Color Space
- sRGB
- Adobe RGB
Picture Style
- Standard
- Portrait
- Landscape
- Neutral
- Faithful
- Monochrome
- User Def. 1
- User Def. 2
- User Def. 3
- Sharpness (arbitrary units from 0 to 7)
- Contrast (9 units from - to +)
- Saturation (9 units from - to +)
- Color Tone (9 units from - to +)
Dust Delete Data
- Cancel
- OK

Captures a reference image for the dust reduction system, showing where dust is present on the sensor. Dust shadows can then be automatically removed from the images when they're processed through Canon's software.



Playback Menu:

Playback Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Protect images
- Set
Sets or removes protection mark. Protected images can only be deleted by reformatting the memory card.
Rotate
- Set
Rotates selected image clockwise, either 90 or 270 degrees.
Erase images
- Select and erase images
- All images on card
Print Order
- Order
- Setup
- All
Order:
- Select image
- Set number of copies

Setup:
- Print Type (Standard, Index, Both)
- Date (On, Off)
- File No. (On, Off)

All:
- Cancel
- Mark All
- Clear All

Marks images on the memory card for later printing on a DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatible printer.
Transfer Order
- Sel. Image
- All image
Sel. Image:
- Mark/unmark images for transfer

All image:
- Mark all on card
- Clear all on card

For transferring images to a computer. (Computer must be running Canon's EOS Utility software.)
Histogram
- Brightness
- RGB

RGB option displays individual histograms for each color channel, brightness shows only a single graph.
Auto Play
- Start
- Press set to start/pause
Automatically plays back captured images on SD card. (No options for time per picture or transitions, each image is shown for about 4 seconds.)



Setup 1:

Setup Menu Options: Screen 1
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Auto Power Off

- 30 sec.
- 1 min.
- 2 min.
- 4 min.
- 8 min.
- 15 min.
- Off

Amount of time to wait before automatically turning off to save power.

File Numbering
- Continuous
- Auto Reset
- Manual Reset

Continuous numbers image files sequentially.

Auto Reset resets the numbering every time a card is formatted or a new card inserted.

Manual Reset resets numbering at any time to 0001.

Auto Rotate
- On (Record, Display)
- On (Display)
- Off
Record, Display - vertical images are rotated on both the camera's LCD and on the computer. (In applications that understand "Rotate" tags in the files' EXIF headers.)

Display - vertical images are only rotated on the computer.
Format
- Cancel
- OK
- option for Low level format
Erases all files on card, even protected ones.
LCD Auto Off
- Enable
- Disable
Controls the sensor that turns off the LCD display when you bring the camera up to your eye.
Screen color
- Select from 4 screen color schemes
- OK



Setup 2:

Setup Menu Options: Screen 2
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
LCD Brightness
- Set brightness level from darkest to brightest
Seven brightness settings.
Date/Time
- Set Date
- Set Time
- Set Display Format
Language

- English
- German
- French
- Dutch
- Danish
- Portuguese
- Finnish
- Italian
- Norwegian
- Swedish
- Spanish
- Greek
- Russian
- Polish
- Hungarian
- Czech
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese
- Korean
- Japanese

Video System
- NTSC
- PAL
Sensor Cleaning:
- Auto cleaning
- Clean now
- Clean manually
Auto cleaning:
- Enable
- Disable

Clean now:
- Cancel
- OK

Clean manually:
- Cancel
- OK

Auto cleaning options determines if sensor cleaning occurs automatically when power switch is turned off or on.

Clean manually: OK triggers mirror to lock up so you can clean the sensor manually.

Live View function settings
- Live View shoot.
- Grid display
- Metering timer
Live View shoot.:
- Disable
- Enable

Grid display:
- Off
- On

Metering timer:
- 4 sec
- 16 sec
- 30 sec
- 1 min.
- 10 min.
- 30 min.

Along with two types of autofocus ("Quick" mode uses the dedicated phase-detect AF module, while "Live" mode using contrast-detect AF from image sensor data), you can manually focus in Live View mode. Up to 10x magnification is available to assist in critical manual focusing.
Flash control
- Flash firing
- Built-in flash func. setting
- External flash func. setting
- External flash C.Fn setting
- Clear ext. flash C.Fn set.
Flash firing:
- Enable
- Disable

Built-in flash func. setting:
- Flash mode (E-TTL II)
- Shutter sync. (1st or 2nd curtain)
- Flash exp. comp
(-2 to +2 EV)
- E-TTL II (Evaluative, Average)

External flash func. setting:
- Flash Mode
- Shutter Sync
- FEB
- Flash Exp. Comp.
- E-TTL II
- Zoom

External flash C.Fn setting:
depends on flash connected

Clear ext. flash C.Fn set:
- Enable
- Disable

Controls a vast array of flash settings for both the internal flash and any attached external flash unit.



Setup 3:

Setup Menu Options: Screen 3
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Custom Functions
- Goes to Custom Function menu (See Below)
Clear Settings
- Clear all camera settings
- Clear all Custom Func. (C.Fn)
- Cancel
Firmware Version
- Update firmware version

Updates firmware version if a properly-prepared SD card is in place.



Custom Functions Sub-Menu:

Custom Functions
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
C.Fn I: Exposure
1: Exposure level increments
- 0: 1/3 stop
- 1: 1/2 stop
C.Fn I: Exposure
2: Flash sync. speed in AV mode
- 0: Auto
- 1: 1/200 sec. (fixed)
Auto: Shutter speed may vary from 30 to 1/200 second.

1/200: Shutter speed is fixed at this setting.

C.Fn II: Image
3: Long exp. noise reduction
- 0: Off
- 1: Auto
- 2: On
Controls additional noise-reduction processing for exposures 1 second and longer.
C.Fn II: Image
4: High ISO speed noise reduct'n
- 0: Off
- 1: On
Enables additional noise-reduction. Applied at all ISOs, but particularly effective at reducing chroma noise at higher ISOs, or shadow noise at lower ISOs.
C.Fn II: Image
5: Highlight tone priority
- 0: Disable
- 1: Enable
Enables Highlight tone priority, which helps retain highlight detail in JPEGs. ISO range is 200-1600.
C.Fn II: Image
6: Auto Lighting Optimizer
- 0: Enable
- 1: Disable
Enables Auto Lighting Optimizer which optimizes brightness and contrast for JPEGs automatically.
C.Fn III: Auto focus / Drive
7: AF assist beam firing
- 0: Enables
- 1: Disable
- 2: Only external flash emits
Turns AF assist beam on or off, determines whether it comes from the built-in flash or from an external strobe unit.
C.Fn III: Auto focus / Drive
8: AF during Live View shooting
- 0: Disable
- 1: Quick mode
- 2: Live mode
Quick mode uses the dedicated phase-detect AF module, while Live mode uses slower contrast-detect AF from image sensor data.
C.Fn III: Auto focus / Drive
9: Mirror lockup
- 0: Disable
- 1: Enable

Raises the mirror with the first press of the shutter button, releases the shutter with the second. (Useful for reducing mirror shake when using a tripod and remote release with a long telephoto or macro lens.)
C.Fn IV: Operation / Others
10: Shutter/AE lock button
- 0: AF/AE lock
- 1: AE lock/AF
- 2: AF/AF lock, no AE lock
- 3: AE/AF, no AE lock
Determines the effect of the Shutter and AE lock buttons:

0: * button locks AF and exposure.

1: * button autofocuses, shutter half-press locks exposure.

2: * button stops AF operation momentarily in AI Servo mode, exposure set when the shutter is released.

3: * button stops/starts AI Servo operation in AI Servo mode, exposure set when the shutter is released.

C.Fn IV: Operation / Others
11: SET button when shooting

- 0: Normal (disabled)
- 1: Change quality
- 2: Flash exposure comp.
- 3: LCD monitor On/Off
- 4: Menu display

Controls the functions of the SET button in record mode.

C.Fn IV: Operation / Others
12: LCD display when power on
- 0: Display
- 1: Retain power OFF status

Controls whether the LCD active state is remembered or forces it on when camera is powered-up.
C.Fn IV: Operation / Others
13: Add original decision data
- 0: Off
- 1: On

Add original decision data On option appends data to verify an original image. Original Data Security Kit (OSK-E3) required to verify image is original is sold separately



My Menu:

My Menu Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Third-Level
Notes
Register
- (Full list of options that can exist in My Menu)
Register your own frequently used menu items and custom functions to appear in My Menu.
Sort
Changes the order of registered items in My Menu.
Delete
Delete all items
Display from My Menu
- Enable
- Disable
When Enabled, the My Menu tab is displayed first when pressing the Menu button.

 

 

 

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