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I know many people happily unwrapped a new dSLR this holiday.  And now after playing with it for a bit, you may be discovering that there is a bit of a learning curve to learning all the features and functions of your camera.  So if your are eager to learn how to use your new T3i, D5100, 60D, D7000, or whichever Canon or Nikon dSLR you received, be sure to have a look around my blog at the various articles discussing how to use your autofocus system, metering system, and other functions, plus photography techniques once you have started to get a hang of the controls.

Have a look at the front page of this blog to see these different categories and find the articles about Canons, Nikons, Photography Techniques, Lenses, Accessories, Books, and more.

And to quickly learn the ins and outs of your camera, also be sure to have a look at my e-book camera guides, which will not only teach you the functions and controls of your dSLR, but when and why to use them.

full stop dslr photo photography camera manual guide for dummies canon nikon

Happy shooting, and let me know if you have any questions.

In a previous post I wrote an in-depth comparison of the dSLR cameras in the current Canon line-up, the Canon 7D vs 60D vs T3i / 600D.  To sum up that practical, subjective comparison, here is a brief and somewhat serious synopsis to help you make your camera decision based on your photography experience and needs:

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D vs 60D vs 7D vs T2i
Canon Rebel T2i, T3i, 60D, and 7D – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Get a Canon 600D / Rebel T3i (or older Canon 550D / Rebel T2i) if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography, or want to upgrade from an older Rebel because you want higher image quality and more mega-pixels (or HD video). If you have been happy with the features and controls of your previous dSLR camera and have not discovered the need, in your extensive use of it, for any specific additional features, there is no need to look beyond the T3i / 600D. See the T3i on Amazon.

Get a Canon 60D if you have outgrown the capabilities of an older Rebel like an XTi or T1i due to your greater experience and more demanding shooting needs which require more direct or sophisticated controls, faster shooting speed, more precise autofocus system, and more complex customization options. Or you have been pretty pleased with your 20D or 40D and its features but wish to upgrade for the increased image quality and megapixels (or HD video). And/ or you need a more rugged camera for your frequent and demanding shooting and off-the-beaten-path traveling needs. Or if you need the increased 5.3 frames per second continuous rate to shoot sports or action. Or you really like swiveling LCD screens (the T3i has this too). If you typically shoot on Auto or Program mode, you probably do not need a 60D. If you do not manually select your own focus point and have never used exposure compensation you probably do not need a 60D. If you have never used the AE-Lock [*] button to lock exposure you most likely do not need a 60D. If you don’t understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO you may not really need a 60D. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this more advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens. See the 60D on Amazon.

Get a Canon 7D if you have extensive experience with a Rebel like an XTi or T1i (also called the xxxD series like the 350D or 500D) or with an older xxD series (20D, 40D) camera, and you know and understand most of the 7D’s controls and advanced custom features, and you specifically need some of them for your demanding shooting needs. If you haven’t passed the above “criteria” for a 60D, you most likely really don’t need a 7D. If you have never used Av aperture priority mode or M manual mode, you should probably gain more dSLR experience before investing in a 7D. If you have never used autofocus tracking settings to track a moving subject across your frame and worried how an interfering object would affect your focus you don’t need the sophisticated AF system of the 7D. If you have never used spot metering to determine a critical exposure level or experimented with back-button focusing you probably will do just fine with a camera less advanced and less expensive than the 7D. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this very advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens. However, if you often need to take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second, you do need the 7D. Immediately. Even if you just sometimes need that. Totally worth it. That’s 15.75 seconds of continuous shooting. Who doesn’t need that? You’d make Eadweard Muybridge proud. See the 7D on Amazon.

(Please note, the T3i/600D, T2i/550D, 60D and 7D all have most of these advanced features I just listed: manually selected focus points, exposure compensation, AE-Lock, auto-focus tracking, spot metering, and back-button focusing. All of these cameras are fully capable of advanced dSLR shooting techniques and are capable of shooting professional quality images. I’m just using the above features as a determination of your experience level and equipment needs.)

The Canon 5D Mark II is in a separate league than the other cameras, being a full frame professional camera, and thus I’m not going to compare it to the others in this context. As I said in a previous post:

If the 5D Mk II fits your expanding and demanding needs as a photographer, you would already pretty much know that you needed a 5D after your extensive time using a Rebel or a 20D, 40D, etc. Otherwise, getting a 5D means most likely you’d be investing in far more camera than you will actually need or use.

If you truly need a 5D MkII, you are most likely already in that phase where you are fully aware that you need it and you are merely saving up and/ or agonizing over when to go ahead and spend (or inform the spouse that you need to spend) that $2500.

If you don’t already know that you need a 5D Mk II and specifically why you need it, you probably don’t need a 5D. Plus, as is often the case, many of those who could really take full advantage of a 5D Mk II are those who can’t afford one. (I’m thinking about the talented photographers I come across on Flickr, etc. who are making amazing images with entry-level Rebels.) Feel free to spend $2,500 on a 5D Mk II if you want, but unless you have extensive experience with photography and with a digital SLR, using a 5D is completely unnecessary and is unlikely to help you take “better” pictures than you will be able to with a T3i/600D. If you don’t already know how to use an advanced dSLR camera and why a photographer needs one, buying a 5D Mk II is sort of like buying a washing machine with the buttons, dials, and writing all in Swahili. You know what a washing machine can do and is supposed to do, and you can sort of figure out the Swahili one. But until you properly learn how to use it, if you start turning the dials and pressing some buttons you could really screw things up. And even though the Swahili buttons all look really cool and impress your friends and the other clothes-washers who see it, and the salesman told you it is a “better” washing machine and has a bigger drum, it probably won’t help you clean your clothes better, especially if you don’t know how to use it. Until you learn how, when, and why to use the controls, features, menus, and custom functions of a 5D Mk II or even a 7D, you may be taking worse pictures! At best you won’t be taking advantage of most of the features and capabilities you paid a lot more for. And besides, the 5D Mk II is becoming old technology. You should wait for the 5D Mark III :) Plus, the large, high resolution sensor of the 5D Mk II pretty much requires that you use Canon’s best L-series lenses, so be sure to take that into account. See the Canon 5D Mk II on Amazon.

Whichever Canon you choose, learn to take control of your camera and the images you create with one of my Full Stop e-book guides!

full stop dslr photo photography camera manual guide for dummies canon nikon

 

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This article mostly applies to the 9 point autofocus system of the Canon 60D and the Rebels including the T5i / 700D and T4i / EOS 650D (and their predecessors), as well as to the new Canon 6D and its 11 AF points.  The Canon EOS 7D also shares the same Autofocus Modes discussed below, but it adds Autofocus Area Modes to the mix as well as additional Custom Functions affecting the AF system, so I will have to address those additional capabilities in the future (or you can learn all about them now in my Canon 7D Experience e-book).  I have written a separate post that addresses the AF system of the Canon 5D Mark III.

You can learn much more about using these cameras with my Full Stop e-book camera guides for Canon dSLR cameras.

Using Auto Focus
One of the essential steps in taking a successful photo is controlling where the camera focuses.  If you allow the camera to auto focus by choosing its own focus point(s), it typically focuses on the closest object.  This may or may not be what you want to focus on, so you should select where the camera focuses using the Auto Focus Points.  This does not mean you have to manually focus the camera, it means you tell the camera exactly where to autofocus.  For example, you often want to focus on a subject’s eyes, but if you allow the camera to choose the autofocus point itself, it may select another part of the face, or somewhere else on the body, or even a raised hand that is nearer to the camera than the face to focus most sharply on.  If you are capturing an image of a bird in a tree, the camera has no idea you want the autofocus system to zero-in on the bird so that it is in sharp focus and not the branches or leaves near it, or the leaves closest to you.

Autofocus works by looking for contrast, so try to focus (place your AF Point) on a detail with a strong line or strong contrast between light and dark.  It may not be able to focus on a large area of consistent color – such as a white wall or blue sky or even an evenly colored and lit shirt – or on a subject that is too dark.  It can be disrupted by regular patterns or confused when looking through close objects to objects farther away, such as looking through a fence.  And it sometimes fails to work as well in dim light, though the AF-Assist Beam can assist in this situation.  When photographing people, always try to focus somewhere on the face, ideally on the eyes or eyebrows, then recompose the framing of your image if necessary.

Select an Auto Focus Point, or AF Point, using the Multi-Controller or using the AF Point Selection Button and the Cross Keys (depending on your camera).  If you have a model with the Multi-Controller (such as the 60D with the thumb-pad or the 7D or 5DII with the thumb-joystick), be sure to set the Custom Function setting for AF Point Selection Method so that you can directly change the AF Point without pressing the AF Button first.

Canon 60D T3i 600D autofocus system AF point select choose set setting
Figure 1 – The selected AF Point is located over the subject’s eye in order to ensure the camera autofocuses where desired.  (Canon 60D viewfinder shown, T3i/600D viewfinder similar)

To see how autofocus point selection works, make sure the switch on your lens it set to AF and your Autofocus Mode, as seen on the top LCD Panel or rear LCD screen, is set to One Shot, then:

•    Tap the Shutter Button with a half-press to wake up the camera.
•    Looking through the viewfinder, use the Multi-Controller or Cross Keys to select the focus point that is nearest to where you want to focus.
•    Place that point over your intended subject.
•    Press and hold the Shutter Button halfway down and see that point blink red.  The Focus Confirmation Light should light up in your viewfinder.  You have locked the focus.
•    Keeping the Shutter Button pressed halfway, recompose if necessary, and take the shot by fully pressing the Shutter Button.

There are reasons to use the outer focus points and not just the center one all the time.  First, if you are taking several shots of the same subject and framing, you will not have to re-focus with the center point and recompose between each shot.  And by controlling exactly where you focus, you then have greater, more precise control over the use of dramatic depth of field.  Also, if you use the center point and recompose, you have swept the camera in an arc to recompose, and are thus always focusing at a distance behind the subject (think of an arc that is your focus distance, and the tangent line off that arc that is the focus plane which now runs behind the subject after re-composing).  This may not be as noticeable when the subject is further away, but for a close subject – especially when using shallow depth of field – the difference is critical.

It may sound difficult to select the focus point each time, but it is actually very quickly done and should become instinctive.  You may even start to set your focus point as you approach a scene before even bringing your camera to your eye.

Focus Modes
The 60D and T3i (and 5D/ 5DII and 7D) have different focus modes to choose from, typically depending if your subject is still or moving, or if you wish to track its movement.

One-Shot AF
Use this mode when your subject is still and not going to move, or if your subject is not going to move very much, or if the distance between you and the subject is not going to change between the time you lock focus, recompose, and take the shot.  Lock focus on the subject and recompose if necessary.  This mode can even be used for moving people or objects if you quickly take the shot after establishing or locking focus.

Focus on your subject by pressing the Shutter Button halfway.  The active or selected AF Point will be displayed or will illuminate, and the Focus Confirmation Light at the lower right in the Viewfinder will illuminate as well.  Continue to press the Shutter Button all the way to take the shot.  If you half-press the Shutter Button to lock focus on your subject, the camera will remain focused at that distance as long as you keep half-pressing the Shutter Button.  You can recompose the shot as you wish and then full press the Shutter Button to take the photo.

As just noted, if the Focus Confirmation Light does not light up and the camera does not take the photo, the camera may not be finding enough contrast to focus on, you may be too close to your subject for the lens to focus, or the lighting may be too dim for the AF system to work properly.

However, if you are photographing a subject that is approaching or receding from view at a relatively constant rate, or photographing fast or erratic or unpredictably moving subjects, or photographing sports, action, or wildlife you will usually want to use AI Servo Focus Mode.

Canon 7D 5D mark II 60D T3i 600D autofocus system AF point choose select set setting
Figure 2 – Use One-Shot AF mode and select your desired AF Point to capture still or moderately moving subjects.  (Canon T3i viewfinder shown – 60D similar)

AI Servo
AI Servo mode is used for tracking and focusing on moving subjects, and is ideal for capturing sports and wildlife including birds.  If the subject is moving towards you or away from you the camera will keep evaluating the focus distance as long as the subject remains under the focus point that was originally active and the Shutter Button is kept half-pressed, and if the subject is moving from side to side or throughout the frame the camera will track it as it passes from one AF Point or Zone to the other ones (if you started tracking with the center AF point on the 60D and T3i or any selected AF point with the 7D).

If the subject is going to be moving across your field of view, set the camera to automatically select the focus point using all the AF points (this is one of the few times you will not be manually selecting the auto focus point), focus on the moving subject with the center focus point, and then as long as the Shutter Button remains half-pressed the camera will track the subject to the other focus points if it moves to them.  Thus when the image is taken, the subject is in focus.  This will even work in conjunction with continuous shooting.  If you keep the Shutter Button fully pressed and continue to take photos, the camera will keep focusing on the moving subject.  As you can imagine, this is ideal for tracking a player running across a field, a dog running toward you, or a bird moving across the fame.  Note that when shooting with Continuous Shooting Drive Mode not every shot may be in sharp focus as the camera sometimes can’t keep up and accurately predict the subject’s speed or location.  But you should be able to capture many sharp images with this technique.  The more sophisticated Canon 7D will allow you to start tracking moving subjects with any selected AF Point and not just the center AF Point.  These are the types of advanced capabilities you are paying for (and should take advantage of!) with a more expensive dSLR.

As you will see, when using AI Servo mode your compositions will be partially dictated by the positions of the autofocus points in your Viewfinder.  The subject needs to be at one of these AF Points in order for the camera to maintain focus on it.  This is why in some situations becoming skilled at quickly using One-Shot AF – even for action scenes – will give you much more ability to control your compositions.

AI Focus
This mode is a hybrid of the two other focus modes.  It starts in One-Shot AF mode then changes to AI Servo mode if your subject starts moving.  Why shouldn’t you use this all the time, then?  Well, it is typically not the best of both worlds.  If you are focusing and then recomposing, as you may often be doing, your movement of the camera may fool it into thinking that the subject is moving and then activate subject tracking AI Servo Mode, and your resulting focus may not be where you intend it to be or may not be as accurate as it could have been with One-Shot AF.  And in AI Focus Mode it may not be as quick to respond to a moving subject as it would in AI Servo Mode.  Typically you know if your subject is still or moving so it is better to select one of the other two AF Modes.  Plus that way you always know which AF Mode you are working in and can either lock focus where you want it or begin tracking a subject without wondering what mode the camera is in and if it will suddenly change.  But there may be situations that call for this combination mode such as a still bird or animal that may start moving unexpectedly, so keep it in mind.

How do you remember which mode is which since the terms “AI Servo” and “AI Focus” tell you nothing that makes sense?  Although I listed them in a different order above to explain them more easily, on your camera they are listed:

ONE SHOT
AI FOCUS
AI SERVO

Remember that One-Shot AF just focuses once and doesn’t change once you lock it in, and AI Servo AF is the other extreme – continuous focus used for moving objects. And AI Focus AF is listed in the middle, between the two, because it is the hybrid, combination of the two.

Checking Focus
You can review your images on the rear LCD Monitor of your camera to try to determine if they are in focus, especially by zooming in as close as possible.  But be aware that this screen has only about one million dots or pixels, while your actual image has about 18 million pixels.  That means that many images will appear to be in proper focus on your LCD screen, but you might discover that the actual images are not really so sharply in focus.

Before continuing, I want to mention that much of this text is excerpted from my dSLR guides for the Canon EOS 6D, Canon 70D, Rebel T5i / EOS 700D, Rebel T4i / EOS 650D, and the Canon EOS 7D. If you would like to learn more about the autofocus systems as well as all the other features of your camera including metering modes, Aperture and Shutter priority modes (Av and Tv), all the menus and Custom Function settings, and more, have a look at my Full Stop e-book camera guides. In addition to explaining the features and settings, the guides clearly explain when and why to use them in order to capture the images you desire.

Take control of your camera and the images you create!

Learn more about the e-books by clicking on the banner below:

full stop dslr photo photography camera manual guide for dummies canon nikon

 

To learn about another important reason why you need to take control of your autofocus system, and why the two example photos above actually weren’t my final compositions, see the next post:

Don’t Let the Locations of the AF Points Dictate Your Composition

What do you do when, with your desired framing, your subject is not located exactly under or near an AF point?  Even with the 19 or 39 points of an advanced Canon 7D or Nikon D7000, this will often be an issue.  For example in Figure 2 above, I actually wish to capture the entire window and more space around it within the image frame, but moving the camera and framing for that composition leaves me with no AF Point at the woman where I wish to focus.  Have a look at the above post to learn why this is an issue and how to resolve it.

Focus and Depth of Field

Many functions of dSLR cameras are related to some degree or another, and Focus and Depth of Field are two of these.  The depth of field, based on your aperture setting (and thus related to exposure…) expands forward and back from your point of focus.  Thus, one important aspect of controlling your depth of field begins with focusing exactly where you want to.  To begin learning more about depth of field, have a look at my post Depth of Field Simplified.

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When I got my first dSLR camera, I went through the manual and tried to absorb how and why to use all the buttons, controls, and menu items.  I was about to head off to Peru for three months and I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to use it properly and get the most out of it right from the start.

For some reason it seemed odd to me that when you pressed the shutter button half-way both the focus AND the exposure were locked in.  I had never used an auto-focus SLR before (I went from a Canon AE-1 to a digital point and shoot and missed the whole EOS film SLR era) and always thought of focusing and setting the exposure as two separate acts.  Based on my experience with a digital point and shoot, I knew I often focused on the subject with the static middle square (this was several years ago, before face detection and moving auto-focus areas) and then recomposed to take the final shot.  With a dSLR, I thought to myself, wouldn’t the exposure change between the framing where I locked in the focus and exposure, and the final framing?  Even if using the other focus points of the dSLR and not just the center focus point, I found that my subjects rarely sat right under a focus point and I was often recomposing in order to get the composition I wanted.

I asked a few dSLR users about this, and they looked at me as if I had a Rocket Blower growing out of my head.  They didn’t seen to encounter or consider this problem.  So I dug into the manual and the very helpful David Busch digital SLR guide and discovered I could overcome this issue with exposure lock.  Indeed, this was a real issue that was addressed by dSLR controls, and I wasn’t out of my mind!

Canon 7D 60D T3i exposure lock focus lock back button focus Nikon D5100 D7000 AE-L AF-L
The Exposure Lock (*) Button and AF-ON Button of the Canon 7D

There are typically a few different ways to separate exposure lock and focus lock with current dSLR camera.  As described above, you can use the exposure lock button to first lock exposure, and then deal with focusing.  With a Canon this is done by pressing the button marked “*”.  With a Nikon, you can set the AE-L/AF-L button for auto exposure lock (hence AE-L).  But since Nikons by default don’t typically lock exposure with a half-press of the shutter button, you really don’t have to worry about it for the same reasons that you do with a Canon (such as when you are recomposing a shot, since the Nikon only locks focus and not exposure with a shutter button half-press, and then determines exposure when the shot is taken, exposure should be correct).

For a Canon you can also set it so that the half-press of the shutter button will lock exposure but not focus, and then use the AF-ON button to lock focus (the T3i does not have this button, thus it is done differently).  This is one method of what is called back-button focusing.  This can also be done with a Nikon using the AE-L/AF-L button for auto focus lock (hence AF-L).  You typically have to dig into the custom function settings on any of the cameras to change these settings and button functions.  The terminology can be confusing, so you may want to have a look at any of my e-book user’s guides which all discuss how to accomplish exposure lock and focus lock with the specific cameras.  So far I have guides for the Canon 60D and Rebel T3i, and Nikon D5100 and D7000.  You can learn more about them all here on my Full Stop e-book website.

For example with the Canon 60D, I explain how you can go into the menus and set the Shutter Button to Metering+AF Start and the AF-ON Button to AF Stop.  This setup will allow you to use the camera as you always have, in the default manner of the Shutter Button locking focus and exposure when pressed halfway.  The “*” button functions as before, locking exposure at any time when pressed.  But this also gives you the option of locking focus independent of exposure metering.  It is the best of both worlds.

Learning to use back-button focus and even exposure lock can be awkward at first, and you may not fully understand why it is necessary.  But I highly recommend starting to experiment with it, then hopefully getting in the habit of using it all the time – especially if you shoot a lot of action scenes or situations where you are rapidly taking lots of photos (perhaps a wedding and reception).  You may soon find it indispensable and wonder how you once managed without it!

Canon has an article about back-button focusing which explains all the various options here:

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2286

It is not specific to any camera, so you may have to determine how to implement it on your camera.

Choosing between the Nikon D5100, D7000, D90, and D3100:

A few months ago I wrote a post comparing the Nikon D90 vs D7000 vs D300s. Now that the D5100 is available, I am updating the comparison and include this new model, the highly competent successor to the Nikon D5000.

Nikon D5100 vs d7000 vs d3100 manual book compare choose
Detail of the Nikon D5100 – photo by author – copyright 2011 – please do not use without permission!

In the Nikon lineup, the D5100 sits just above the D3100, a bit below the aging D90, and a few steps below the highly capable and immensely popular Nikon D7000. You may see some comparison charts that make the cameras appear somewhat (or very) similar at first, but those charts don’t tell the whole story.  They can even be deceptive.  You really need to take a closer look at not just the specifications, but the features and how they are used in real life, and determine which camera is the right tool for your photography.

The D5100 boasts a 16 megapixel image sensor just like the D7000, shoots 4 frames per second in continuous mode, has HD video capability at 24, 25, and 30 fps, and includes a fully adjustable side-mounted rotating screen more similar to the Canon T3i and 60D than to the bottom mounted limited angle screen on the D5000. It is closer in specifications and price to the Canon T3i than the entry level D3100 and should prove to be an excellent option for new dSLR users plus those experienced enthusiasts wishing to upgrade their D50, D60, or even their D3000 to gain additional megapixels, video, and an improved rear LCD screen.

side by side review compare Nikon D5100 vs D7000 vs D3100 vs D90
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Below I will spell out some of the differences in specifications and features, as well as what these differences mean and why they may or may not be important to you and your photography. Generally as the cameras increase in price and capability from the entry level model to the enthusiast pro-sumer model they gain more sophisticated autofocus and exposure metering systems, shoot faster (more frames per second) in continuous shooting mode, have more controls on the camera body for changing settings, have sturdier construction, and offer more menu and custom function options. As I always like to point out, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them. The latest cameras almost always have more impressive features and specifications than the preceding models, and the more expensive, higher-end models will offer more features and options than the lower-end models, but if your needs and shooting style don’t required those additional features and functions then it is possible that you can save some money and be completely happy with a less expensive model.

Sensor and Image Quality: The sensors of the D7000 and D5100 are greatly improved over the older D90 in a couple of ways (it is the same sensor in both cameras). The D7000 and D5100 have 16.2 megapixel sensors, where the D90 has 12.3 megapixels. The relatively new D3100 has a 14.2 MP sensor. This increase in resolution allows for more intrusive editing of the files in Photoshop, the ability to crop a picture and still obtain an image with high enough resolution for printing or display, and allows for larger prints. In addition, the improved sensor results in better performance at high ISO settings and in low light, better dynamic range, tonal range, and color sensitivity. Have a look at dxomark.com to compare the sensors – run your mouse along the red-to-green color bar to the right some of the graphs, such as Dynamic Range, to see how these differences affect images.

Exposure Metering: The D5100, while sharing a similar sensor to the D7000, does not have the same advanced metering system. It shares the less sophisticated 420 pixel RGB metering sensor of the D3100 and offers matrix metering, non-adjustable center-weighted, and spot metering modes. This system may be more than sufficient for many users, especially those not intending to adjust their exposure settings and dig into their menus in reaction to complex lighting situations. But if your shooting demands require more precise exposure metering and control over the size of the areas being metered, you need to consider the D90 or D7000. The 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor of the D7000 is also improved compared to the D90, and will result in more accurate metering performance of straightforward and complex lighting scenes and situations. Both these cameras offer matrix metering, center-weighted, and spot metering modes. With center-weighted metering on the D90, you can select the size of the center-weighted area to be a 6, 8, or 10mm center circle, and the D7000 adds a 13mm circle option to those.  (If you don’t understand what this means or why you may need it, you probably don’t need it!)

Autofocus: The autofocus systems of the D3100, D5100, and D90 all have 11 autofocus (AF) points with the center one being a more accurate cross-type. These AF systems may be more than sufficient for most users, and they can successfully track moving objects in the frame such as athletes, performers, or animals. However, if you specialize in sports, action, wildlife, or bird photography, you are going to want to consider the much more sophisticated, accurate, and customizable AF system of the D7000. The D7000 boasts a significantly improved AF system of 39 AF points with 9 of them (in the center) being cross type. The AF system of the D7000 allows for you to use these points in various ways including automatic AF point selection, single point AF, and dynamic area AF using your choice of 9 points, 21 points, all points, or all points with 3D-tracking. With the D7000 you can also use a custom function to limit the AF system to 11 points, which may be more manageable for someone who wishes to manually select their AF points.  (Have a look at this article for an in-depth explanation of the D7000 AF system and its capabilities)

review compare Nikon D5100 vs D3100 vs D7000 vs D90 side by side
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Body, Construction and Size/ Weight: The D5100 is just slightly larger and a tiny bit heavier than the D3100, both weighing just over one pound. Both have plastic bodies and more limited buttons and controls that the higher end models. The D90 and D7000 appear very similar at first glance, but the plastic body of the D90 has been upgraded to the partially magnesium alloy body (top and rear) of the D7000. This adds slightly to the weight: 1.5 lbs for the D90 vs. 1.7 lbs for the D7000. The sturdier construction of the D7000 versus the D90 – including its nicer rubber gripping surfaces – creates the impression and feel of a more professional body. The D7000 also has weather sealing at the memory card and battery doors.

The higher end D7000 includes not only the 3″ rear LCD screen but also a top LCD panel for viewing and changing your settings. This is essential for photographers who are constantly changing their settings to deal with various shooting situations. It is worth noting that the magnesium alloy body of the D7000 does not fully extend around the front, and thus the area surrounding the lens mount is plastic. See this image of a D7000 skeleton next to one of a 7D for details. For most users, including even those using the camera daily or in rugged travel situations, the non-magnesium construction of the D5100 should be far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.

Please know that the size and weight of these bodies is a result of their build, features, and capabilities.  Those are the criteria that should be compared first, not the resulting size and weight.  (Also be sure to read this post of Why How it “Feels” is not a valid Criterion for Choosing an dSLR.)

ISO: As mentioned in the Sensor and Image Quality section above, the high ISO performance of the D7000 is greatly improved over the D90. The tests at dxomark.com tell this story, along with the fact that the native ISO range of the D7000 is 100-6400 expandable up to 25,600. The D5100 shares these specifications, and should offer similar results. The D3100 has a native ISO range of 100-3200 expandable to 12800, and the range of the D90 is 200-3200. This means that with the D7000 and D5100 you can use higher ISO settings when required, such as in low light situations, and not have as much difficulty with digital noise, particularly in the shadow areas of images.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary with these cameras. The D3100 and D5100 offer limited, basic controls on the exterior of the camera. However you can use the rear LCD screen to quickly change many settings, or else go into the menus. The D7000 offers an extensive array of controls on the camera body, allowing one to quickly change a large number of settings as they work, including focus mode and focus area settings, shooting mode, and exposure mode. The controls of the D7000 are similar to the D90 with some changes including the addition of the shooting mode ring under the mode dial (to change from single shot to high speed continuous to self timer, etc.), and the live-view switch with movie record button inside it. The top AF button of the D90 is incorporated into the AF switch and button at the base of the lens on the D7000. The D7000 also offers more white balance options than the other cameras, plus 2 customizable user settings (U1, U2) on the mode dial, and you can assign functions of your choice to buttons such as the Fn Button.

Menus and Custom Settings: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The D5100 has less Menu and Custom Settings options than the D90 and the highly customizable D7000, and more than the D3100 (which offers no custom settings). These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, Live View options, tweaking how the autofocus system operates, setting more precise white balance settings, and customizing which button does what. There are ebooks such as my Nikon D7000 Experience and Nikon D5100 Experience which walk you through all of the Menu settings and Custom Settings so that you can set up your camera to work best for how you photograph, and also begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR cameras.

 

Brief commercial interruption: I would like to mention that I have written an eBook user’s guide for the Nikon D7000, and one for the Nikon D5100. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing these cameras, I decided to put some that knowledge into eBook form! The guides covers all the Shooting, Setup, and Playback Menu settings and every Custom Function setting – with recommended settings – plus discussions of how, when, and why to use the cameras’ settings and features, (metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, advanced autofocus use, focus lock, exposure lock, and more) for everyday and travel use, to help you take better photos.

Click HERE to learn more about Nikon D7000 Experience – and to view a preview, or purchase it!

And see HERE to learn about, preview, and purchase my ebook guide Nikon D5100 Experience.

Wireless Flash: The D7000 includes the feature of advanced wireless lighting using the built in flash as a commander for off-camera Nikon Speedlights. However, the D5100 and D3100 do not have this capability. With the D7000, you can set up one or more Speedlights in remote mode, then trigger them wirelessly with the built in flash of the camera.

Viewfinder: The D5100 has a pentamirror viewfinder with approximately 95% coverage of the actual resulting image, just like the D3100. The higher quality pentaprism viewfinder of the D90 gives 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, while the D7000 has a larger, brighter pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage. While in-and-of-itself, a 95% viewfinder works just fine, when you compare it side-by-side with the large, clear view of the D7000, you can see and understand the advantages of a clearer view of your entire scene with a 100% view, pentaprism viewfinder.

Processor: The Nikon D5100 and D3100 use the fast Expeed 2 image processor just like the D7000. This allows for more video options including full 1080p HD at 24fps, overall faster processing of stills and video files, and the ability to maintain fast continuous speed shooting for numerous frames. The D90 has the older Nikon Expeed processor, which is also fast enough to handle its processing needs.

review compare D7000 vs Nikon D5100 vs D3100 vs D90 size
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Continuous Shooting Speed: As you work your way up the Nikon dSLR line-up the cameras’ continuous shooting speed and maximum shots at that rate increases. The D3100 shoots 3 frames per second (fps) in continuous shooting mode, the D5100 shoots 4 fps, and the D7000 shoots 6 fps for up to 100 shots. The D90 can shoot 4.5 fps up to 100 images. If you often capture action and really need the higher frame rate, such as for sports, action, or wildlife shooting, you are going to have to seriously consider the D7000 over the other cameras. Paired with its advanced autofocus system, this fast frame rate can sharply capture moving objects is all types of situations. A nice feature of the D7000 is that you can adjust the low speed continuous mode to shoot anywhere from 1 to 5 fps, using the custom settings.

Memory Card: The D5100, D3100, and D90 all use a single SD memory card. The D7000 accepts 2 SD cards, where the second card can be used in a variety of ways: overflow when the first card fills up, JPEG on one / RAW on the other, or mirrored backup of the first card. The second card can come in handy as well if one is shooting video files, and one card can be designated for stills and the other video.

Battery and Battery Grip: The D5100 and D3100 both use the EN-EL14 battery, and the D7000 uses the new, higher capacity EN-EL15 battery, which will last for over 1000 shots. The D7000 accepts the optional MB-D11 battery pack/ vertical grip which is constructed of magnesium alloy. The D90 uses the EN-EL3e battery and its optional battery pack/ vertical grip is the MB-D80. The D5100 and D3100 don’t accept a battery grip. The battery pack /grip is handy for providing the ability to use a second battery and thus prolonging shooting time, and also creates a larger camera body which some users find more comfortable, especially when shooting in portrait orientation.

Full HD video: The D5100 shoots 1080p and 720p video at 24, 25, and 30 fps. The D3100 shoots 1080p at 24 fps and 720p at 24, 25, and 30 fps. The D7000 also shoots 1080p at 24 fps only and 720p at 24, 25, and 30 fps, up to 20 minutes with full-time continuous autofocus. The D90 offers 720p video at 24 fps, with a 5 minute shooting time.

Ease of Operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the menus and controls of the D5100 and D3100 are pretty basic and simple to learn for a dedicated user. The additional controls and menus of the D7000 and D90 are all quite intelligently designed and will become intuitive and straightforward for the more advanced user once they are learned and understood. Again, have a look at helpful guides such as my Nikon D7000 Experience and Nikon D5100 Experience to begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR cameras.

If you are interested in comparing the D5100 or D7000 to the comparable Canon models, have a look at these articles:

Nikon D5100 vs. Canon T3i

Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 60D (and 7D)

Purchasing these cameras: If you plan to buy any of these cameras, accessories, or anything else through Amazon.com or Amazon.com UK, I would appreciate it if you use my referral links. Your price will be the same, and they will give me a little something for referring you, which will help support my blog. Thanks! In the USA, use the links throughout this post or use this referral link to Amazon. And for those of you across the pond, click here for my referral link to Amazon UK. Thank you for supporting my efforts!

See the Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon $899

See the Nikon D5100 – Body Only on Amazon $799

See the Nikon D7000 – Body Only on Amazon $1199

See the Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm Lens on Amazon $1499

See the Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

See the D90 on Amazon $739 body only or $1049 with 18-105mm lens

Purchasing from the UK? Use my Amazon UK referral link here. If you wish to purchase from B&H Photo, Adorama, or direct from Canon, please click on their logos on the left side of this page or on the Gear page. Thanks!

Accessories and Books: Now that you are on your way to deciding on a camera, you should also start looking into photography gear, accessories, and books. Check out these links, dSLR Photography Gear, Accessories, and Books, which discusses essential gear plus accessories specific to Nikon cameras; Equipment for Travel Photography, which discusses useful and practical photo accessories and equipment for both everyday and travel photography.

And to sum it all up, here is a brief, mostly serious synopsis to help you make the camera decision:

Get a Nikon D3100 if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a camera because you might only be using it on Auto mode, or if you don’t plan to really “get into” photography beyond taking better photos than you are able to with your compact point-and-shoot and having the ability to use various lenses.  The D3100 is a camera one could outgrow in time if they work at their photography and advance. See the Nikon D3100 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D5100 if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography and think you will want to experiment beyond Auto mode, or want to upgrade from an older entry level model because you want higher image quality and more mega-pixels, or HD video. If you have been happy with the features and controls of your previous basic dSLR camera and have not discovered the need, in your use of it, for any specific additional advanced features, there may be no need to look beyond the D5100.  The D5100 is a camera one can grow with, but it is also one a user could outgrow if they are dedicated to their photography and start to require more advanced capabilities. See the Nikon D5100 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D90 if you have outgrown the capabilities of an older Nikon like a D3000 or D40 through D60 due to your greater experience and more demanding shooting needs which require more direct or sophisticated controls and customization options. Or you have been pretty pleased with your D70 or D80 and its features but wish to upgrade for the increased image quality and mega pixels (or HD video). And/ or you need a more rugged camera for your frequent and demanding shooting and off-the-beaten-path traveling needs. Or if you need the increased 4.5 frames per second continuous rate to shoot sports or action. If you typically shoot on Auto or Program mode, you may not need a D90. If you do not manually select your own focus point and have never used exposure compensation you may not need a D90. If you have never used the AE-Lock [AE-L] button to lock exposure you may not need a D90. If you don’t understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and don’t intend to learn more about it, you may not need a D90. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this more advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens.  The D90 is a camera one would not outgrow as it has advanced features and capabilities, but its drawback is that it is now outdated. See the Nikon D90 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D7000 if you have extensive experience with a D3000, D40 through 60, or D70 through D90 camera, and you know and understand most of the D7000’s advanced features and customization options, and you specifically need some of them for your demanding shooting needs. If you haven’t passed the above “criteria” for a D90, you probably don’t need a D7000. If you have never used A aperture priority mode or M manual mode, you probably don’t need a D7000. If you have never used autofocus tracking settings to track a moving subject across your frame and worried how an interfering object would affect your focus you might not need a D7000. If you have never used spot metering to determine a critical exposure level you may not need a D7000. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this very advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens. However, if you often need to take 100 consecutive photos at the rate of 6 frames per second, you do need the D7000. Immediately. Even if you just sometimes need that. Totally worth it. That’s 16.67 seconds of continuous shooting. Who doesn’t need that? You’d make Eadweard Muybridge proud.  The D7000 is not a camera one would outgrow for a long time, and in fact will meet many of the demands of a professional.  See the Nikon D7000 on Amazon.

(Please note, the D3100, D5100, D90, and D7000 all have these features and capabilities I just listed: manually selected focus points, exposure compensation, AE-Lock, auto-focus tracking, and spot metering. I’m just using them as a determination of your experience level and needs.)

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The latest addition to the Nikon dSLR line-up is the versatile Nikon D5100, which replaces the D5000. It sits just above the D3100 in the Nikon consumer offerings, and a bit below the D90 and D7000 – both sturdier and more sophisticated cameras. The D5100 boasts a 16 megapixel sensor (like the D7000), and a swivel screen more like the one on the Canon T3i and 60D, attached at the left side, rather than the less convenient bottom swivel of the previous D5000. (see my post comparing several of the latest Canon dSLR cameras here, and one comparing the Nikons here.)

Nikon D5100 book manual how to instruction download vs Canon T3i
Nikon D5100 – photo by author – copyright 2011 – please do not use without permission!

The D5100 shoots 4 frames per second, faster than the 3 fps of the D3100, and of course has 1080p HD video with all the frame rate options. The D5100 now has in-camera processing filters like those of the 60D and T3i (including miniature, high or low key, and selective color in the Nikon). And it has the 11 point AF system, with one cross type sensor, like the D3100.

Canon T3i vs Nikon D5100 compare side by side
Canon Rebel T3i on left, Nikon D5100 on right

First, a Comparison of the Nikon D5100 vs. the Canon Rebel T3i specs, to see how they stack up “on paper”:

Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D

  • 18 megapixels
  • Articulating rear LCD screen
  • 1080p HD video with all the frame rate options
  • 9 point autofocus system with 1 cross-type sensor
  • 3.7 frames per second continuous shooting for a maximum 34 JPEG burst
  • 63 zone dual layer exposure metering system – the same as the one in the 60D and 7D
  • In-camera image processing filters plus RAW to JPEG, cropping, and other options
  • Some scene modes
  • ISO range 100-6400
  • 95% viewfinder with .85 magnification
  • 1.26 lbs with battery
  • Accepts optional battery pack / vertical grip – the Canon BG-E8
  • Wireless flash control of external Speedlites with built-in flash
  • Compatible with and autofocuses with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses
  • Depth of Field preview button
  • Full manual video exposure control
  • Exposure Simulation of approximate image exposure and histogram in all Live View shooting modes

Canon T3i vs Nikon D5100 compare side by side
Canon Rebel T3i on left, Nikon D5100 on right

Nikon D5100

  • 16 megapixels
  • Articulating rear LCD screen
  • 1080p HD video with all the frame rate options
  • 11 point autofocus system with 1 cross-type sensor
  • 4 frames per second continuous shooting for a maximum 100 JPEG burst
  • 420 pixel RGB metering sensor like the one in the D3100, not the 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor found in the D7000.
  • In-camera image processing filters
  • A lot of scene modes
  • ISO range 100-6400
  • 95% viewfinder with .78 magnification
  • 1.2 lbs with battery
  • Does not offer an official Nikon optional battery pack-vertical grip (3rd party grip now available)
  • No wireless flash control of external Speedlights with the built-in flash
  • No autofocus motor in body, and will not autofocus with non-AF-S lenses, such as the 50mm f/1.8
  • No Depth of Field preview button
  • Also an auto HDR feature where the camera combines 2 images to create an image with extended tonal range.
  • NO full manual video exposure control
  • Exposure Simulation of approximate exposure in P, A, S Live View shooting modes.  NO Exposure Simulation in M mode.  NO histogram in any Live View mode.

Canon T3i vs Nikon D5100 compare side by side
Canon Rebel T3i on left, Nikon D5100 on right

As you can see, both cameras are incredibly similar as far as specifications, and it looks as if the price may even be nearly the same.  The wireless flash capability, better exposure metering system, and ability to autofocus with all compatible lenses are all definite advantages for the Canon T3i.  But the D5100 offers in-camera Auto Distortion Correction (such as when using a wide-angle lens) and a faster rate and higher number of continuous shots in a single burst.  (But with any camera, consider if you ever really need to take a 100 shot burst, much less a 34 shot burst.  If you shoot like that, you should probably be looking at a Canon 7D or Nikon D7000!)  Another deciding factor may be which camera feels more comfortable in your hands as you are using it and accessing the typical buttons and controls (not simply holding it and and checking its weight and general “feel”), which controls and menus seem better placed and easier to navigate for you (though either are equally easy to learn and to become used to using), and which system you want to invest in for the long term (lenses, flashes, etc.).  The Canon T3i is a slightly larger camera, plus allows for the optional battery grip.  The D5100 is not compatible with an optional Nikon vertical grip (edit:  a 3rd party has now made an optional battery grip for the D5100).  A look at the image quality here seems to show that the Canon’s JPEG images straight out of the camera are sharper, have more clarity, and more color “punch,” but these types of settings are widely adjustable with the Picture Settings or Picture Controls.

Also, while the specs look similar on paper, there are numerous small differences that are encountered in actual use, which begin to add up and become significant if they affect the features and controls you will be using.  For example, one important one is how the settings are changed using the “i” or “Q” buttons and the rear LCD screen. If you change your settings often, you will see on the D5100 Information Display Screen how you have to navigate down the line through each setting to get to the one you want then enter a second menu to change it.  On the T3i Quick Control screen, you can jump quickly to the setting you want then simply turn the Main Dial to quickly change it without opening up a second menu.  So that is a speed and convenience issue that would be noticeable if you are one to change your settings often, on the fly.  And while the rear LCD screens appear nearly similar, the 3:2 aspect ration of the screen on the T3i matches its sensor ratio, so images viewed during playback are seen larger on the Canon screen than on the Nikon Screen, possibly allowing you to inspect the focus and details slightly better.

There are other small but potentially important differences between the two cameras that are worth considering if you have specific needs (especially full manual control of exposure in video mode – see below).  For example, while in Live View, both cameras have Exposure Simulation so that as you change your exposure or exposure compensation settings, you will see the approximate resulting exposure on the image on your rear LCD screen.  However, with the D5100, Exposure Simulation does not function while in Manual M shooting mode.  This could be a deal-breaker if you use and need that feature.  Using the T3i in Live View you can optionally view the histogram to help determine proper exposure, however the histogram is not available on the D5100 when using Live View in any shooting mode.

Also, do you make use of Spot Metering mode?  You may prefer the viewfinder of the T3i, as it indicates the Spot Metering area with a circle, while the D5100 does not.  But, there is a very good reason the D5100 doesn’t have the center spot, and that is because in the Nikon, Spot Metering is linked to the selected AF point, and so not necessarily to the center AF point and center of the frame.  This is obviously a very useful feature and maybe you’d prefer that your camera’s Spot Metering works that way.


Canon Rebel T3i viewfinder with 9 autofocus points and Spot Metering area indicated in center


Nikon D5100 viewfinder with 11 autofocus points but Spot Metering area not visually indicated because it is linked to the active AF point

As mentioned, it is not possible to see actual exposure simulation with the Nikon D5100 in Live View while in Manual M shooting mode. However, in the P, A, or S shooting modes, the live view image will lighten or darken to simulate the exposure settings or the exp. compensation that you set. And to add insult to injury, there is no exposure meter displayed on the Live View screen, so to check your exposure you will need to temporarily leave Live View and switch to the control panel view by pressing the [i] Button.  The Canon 60D and Canon Rebel T3i both have Exposure Simulation in all modes during Live View. On the 60D you can turn this feature off and on. On the T3i it is on automatically while in Live View.

Manual Control of Exposure in Video Mode: It was quickly discovered by D5100 users that the camera does not offer full manual control of exposure in video mode.  The T3i offers this ability.  This is pretty important if you are serious about shooting video.  However, there is a “work-around” for this deficiency.  To manually set your shutter speed, you must set the camera on Shutter-Priority Auto Mode (S) and set your desired shutter speed before going into Live View mode, use exposure compensation to obtain the aperture setting you want, and use the AE-L/AF-L Button to lock that exposure (set Custom Setting f2 for AE-Lock Hold).  If you wish to first set the aperture setting, you must set the camera on Aperture-Priority Auto Mode (A) and set your desired aperture before going into Live View mode, use exposure compensation to obtain the shutter speed setting you want, and use the AE-L/AF-L Button to lock that exposure (set Custom Setting f2 for AE-Lock Hold).

The Canon T3i comes with a much more comprehensive and user friendly user’s manual than the small brochure size user’s manual of the Nikon D5100, although the more detailed D5100 Reference Manual is available as a file on the included Reference CD.

To gain further understanding of what the specs, features, controls, and functions of these cameras mean in relation to real life shooting and camera use, have a look at the articles that compare the various current Canon dSLR models and Nikon dSLR models.

If you decide on the Canon T3i, please be sure to check out my ebook, Canon T3i Experience, and if you choose the Nikon D5100, have a look at my ebook Nikon D5100 Experience.  Each of these guides will help you to take control of your camera in order to consistently capture better images!

See and purchase the Canon T3i with 18-55mm lens on Amazon

See and purchase the Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm lens on Amazon

Was this post helpful?  Please let others know about it by clicking the Facebook or Twitter sharing buttons below, linking to it from your blog or website, or mentioning it on a forum.  Thanks! 

Want to help support this blog with no cost or effort?  Simply click on the Amazon and B&H Photo logos on the left side of this page to purchase from their sites, or click on the links throughout this post to view and purchase those products on Amazon.  They will then give me a little referral bonus!

I have updated this post for the Canon Rebel T5i / EOS 700D and the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D, which you can now view on this blog here:

Top Ten Accessories for the Canon T5i / EOS 700D

All of the accessories still apply to the T3i and the T2i (EOS 600D, 550D).

 

Since several of the current Canon dSLR cameras – such as the T4i/650D (and T3i/600D), 60D, and 7D – share similar features and an 18 megapixel sensor, it can make it difficult and confusing to decide which one is best for you.  But each one is designed for different levels of photographers with specific needs, and there are significant differences that may or may not be important to how and what you photograph.

Obviously as you pay more, you get more, and this article will explain what that “more” is and help you decide if you need it.  If you are new to dSLR cameras, know that things like 9 cross-type AF points and dual Digic IV processors aren’t feature-bloated “bells and whistles” or marketing hype, but are important features for how advanced photographers work and they provide the capabilities that some demand from their equipment.  If your needs don’t demand them, don’t be swayed to invest more in a camera that provides far more than you require.  It won’t help you take better photos, and in fact may cause you to take worse photos until you figure out how to properly take control of a more advanced camera!

This comparison post has grown organically as new models have been released, so please be sure to look through the entire post to find the section that best applies to you, such as T2i vs T3i, or 60D vs 50D, the Canon 5D Mk II, or the overall Canon EOS 7D vs. 60D vs. 600D / Rebel T3i comparison which is the main point of this post.  Don’t miss the Which Canon dSLR is Right for You summary at the end of this article!

Rather than add the T4i into this post, I have written a new post to introduce and explain the features of the latest Rebel, the T4i – Introduction to the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D. The additional features of the T4i make the decision between the T4i vs. 60D more challenging than ever, and so I wrote more about that in Canon Rebel T4i vs EOS 60D.

I know there is a lot to read, but you are preparing to spend a lot of money, and this post will thoroughly explain the differences of these cameras and help you decide which one if right for you! Even if some of these models become outdated, the majority of the information and comparison factors remain similar, and it is still worthwhile to read this article before heading over to the T4i articles.

If you haven’t yet committed to Canon and are interested in comparing the Canon 60D vs. Nikon D7000 , or the Canon T3i vs Nikon D5100, or the entire Nikon line-up, have a look at those posts next.

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book guide manual tutorial how to instruction
The new Canon Rebel T3i / 600D (all photos by the author, some equipment courtesy of Newtonville Camera)

Review / Comparison of Canon EOS 7D vs. 60D vs. 600D / Rebel T3i:

Sensor and Image Quality: As I said above, all three cameras share a very similar sensor with 18 megapixels, and so their image quality and low light performance will be virtually the same. All are capable of taking professional quality images.

Exposure Metering: The threecameras all share the latest 63-zone, dual-layer exposure metering system and 4 metering modes. That means they will all determine the exposure virtually identically and enable you to take properly exposed photos in most every situation, including difficult back-lit scenes. The size of the areas metered for Partial and Spot metering vary slightly between the cameras, but that isn’t anything critical.

Autofocus: The 60D shares a similar autofocus system to the T3i and the previous 50D, with 9 focus points and three auto focusing modes. However the 9 AF points of the 60D are more sensitive/ accurate than those of the T3i: all are cross-type in the 60D, only the center is cross-type in the T3i. This means that the outer focus points of the 60D will do a better job, in difficult focusing situations, of quickly and accurately focusing on the subject.  This may include, for example, lower light situations or tracking moving subjects.  The T3i does a stellar job of focusing, but if you are highly demanding or are going to be primarily shooting action and motion, this is an important difference to consider.

The 60D autofocus system in turn is much less complex than the sophisticated AF system of the 7D with its 19 AF point system and its additional Zone, Spot, and Expansion area modes.  If you shoot serious sports, action, birds, wildlife, etc., then you are going to want to consider the highly capable autofocus system of the 7D.  With its additional AF points and the ability to group them in various ways (Autofocus Area Modes), as well as the multiple Custom Functions that allow you to customize exactly how the AF system works, it is ideal for sports and action.  These Custom Functions can dictate how it tracks subjects, how it deals with objects that come between you and your initial subject, how quickly it responds to these changes of possible subjects that are at different distances from you, etc.   The entire AF system of the 7D is a bit complex, and will take some studying and experimentation if you wish to fully understand and take advantage of it.  However, if you are not an avid sports photographer, a wildlife shooter, or someone who understands, needs, and will use the elaborate features of the 7D AF system, then this shouldn’t dissuade you from the 60D.

I have written an additional post about Taking Control of Your Canon Autofocus System.

Canon EOS 7D compare 60D T3i
Detail of the Canon 7D

Construction: As you can probably figure out from the prices, each camera is not built the same. The 60D has relatively strong construction of an aluminum frame and polycarbonate body. It is better built than the stainless steel frame with polycarbonate body of the T3i/ 600D but not as strong as the 7D’s magnesium alloy construction. The 60D also has some amount of weather sealing – more than the 600D/T3i, less than the 7D. But for most users, including even those using the camera daily or in travel situations, the construction of any of these cameras is far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.  But if you are going to be working extensively in dusty or moisture-heavy areas or situations, you will want to seriously consider the extensive weather sealing of the 7D.  While the strong magnesium construction of the 7D is impressive, that is not really needed by many people other than pros who intensively use their cameras in photo-journalist or constant-travel type situations.

ISO: Since they all share a very similar sensor, the ISO sensitivity and performance at high ISO settings is virtually the same for these three cameras. But don’t take my word for it, don’t be swayed by pixel peepers on forums, instead check out the camera sensor tests at dxomark to verify this. As you can see, they all share the exact same overall score, and show very similar performance.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary significantly with these cameras. Unlike the T3i, the more advanced 60D and 7D have nearly every control an advanced photographer needs on the exterior of the camera and they also have the top LCD panel and rear Quick Control Dial that are not on the 600D/T3i. Do you find yourself constantly changing the ISO, the metering mode, or the autofocus mode to adapt to changing situations?  Then you will want direct access to these controls and the ability to more easily monitor them on the top LCD panel.  Or do you generally work in one of the more automatic modes and not need to deal with these settings?  With all the cameras, any controls can also be easily accessed with the Q button and Q menu or in the other menus on the rear LCD monitor. The top buttons of the 60D set only one setting each, so this is less complicated (but thus less versatile) than the multiple-setting buttons of the 7D. Canon has removed the white balance (WB) button on the 60D that the 7D and 50D have, but that isn’t a big deal – use the Q Menu. Another change on the 60D is that the Multi-controller has been moved from the thumb joystick like the 7D and 50D and placed in the middle of the rear Quick-control dial. This doesn’t change how it functions, and should just be a matter of getting used to the difference. (Unfortunately, I still really do prefer the old design and location, though I find it is easier to quickly and accurately click on the diagonal directions with the new 60D Multi-controller design).  If you plan on using your camera on Auto or Program most of the time, then the controls of the T3i are more than sufficient for your needs. If you work in Av, Tv, or M modes and need quicker and more direct access to your controls and the additional top LCD screen to view and change your current settings, then you need to look at the 60D or 7D over the T3i.

Brief commercial interruption:  I want to mention that I have written e-book user’s guides for the Canon 7D, Canon 60D, Canon Rebel T3i, and Rebel T2i. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing these cameras, I decided to put all that knowledge into e-book form! Each of these user’s guides cover all the features, settings, and controls – but more importantly when and why to use them in your photography.  This includes metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes (Av and Tv), advanced autofocus use, and more.  They also describe all the Menu settings and Custom Function settings – with recommended settings.  Take control of your camera and the images you create!  Canon 7D Experience, Canon T3i Experience, Your World 60D and T2i Experience. Learn more about the e-books by clicking on their titles or on the covers below.

canon eos 7d book ebook firmware 2 2.0 how to manual dummies field guide instruction Canon T3i book Canon 600D book Canon T3i Experience book guide manual tutorial how to instruction by Douglas Klostermann

Canon 60D book Your World 60D by Douglas Klostermann Canon T2i book Canon 550D book T2i Experience by Douglas Klostermann

Menus and Custom Functions: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The 60D has many more Menu and Custom Function options than the 600D/T3i and nearly as many as the 7D. These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, peripheral illuminations correction for lenses (fixes dark corners), tweaking how the autofocus system operates, setting more precise white balance settings, and customizing which button does what. These settings are very important to advanced users who wish to customize their camera to work exactly how they need it too, but aren’t nearly as critical to others who don’t have such intensive demands.  (Since many of the Menu and Custom Function settings can be complicated and confusing, my e-books on the 60D, the 7D, and on the T3i/600D cover all of these options along with my recommended settings to get you up and running quickly!)

Wireless Flash: Like the 7D, the 60D and the T3i both incorporate wireless flash triggering. It allows you to trigger multiple off camera flashes at different output levels. The  older 550D/T2i does not have this feature.

Articulating LCD Screen: The big new feature that the 60D and T3i have that the 7D and T2i do not is the articulating rear LCD screen. This may prove useful for videographers, as well as for setting up compositions while the camera is on a tripod, for macro use, or for using it from unusually low or high vantage points. Some users will be able to avoid buying an expensive angle finder because of this feature. There is also an electronic level in the 7D and 60D, visible in the viewfinder, rear LCD, or top LCD.

Viewfinder: The 60D has a large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, better than the pentamirror and 95% coverage of the 600D/T3i, but not quite as nice as the nearly 100% view of the 7D pentaprism.

Processor:
The 60D shares the same Digic 4 processor as the 600D/T3i. The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors. However, if you don’t need to shoot dozens of continuous images, you probably won’t notice any processing speed issues.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The 7D can shoot a blazing 8 frames per second, in which the photos barely change from frame to frame. The 60D can shoot a respectable 5.3 fps which is actually a more useful rate, and is a higher rate than the 600D/T3i rate of 3.7 fps. If you need the extremely high fps for sports, wildlife, or other action shooting, consider the 7D. If not, don’t be swayed by this excessive feature that is designed for people like pro sports or dedicated wildlife shooters.  However, if you are shooting any type of sports, action, birds, dance, etc., the 5.3 fps of the 60D is much more useful than the slower T3i.

Canon EOS 7D compare vs 60D T3i
Detail of the Canon 7D

Memory Card: The 60D uses the SD memory card like the 600D/T3i, not the CF card of the 7D and 50D.  This doesn’t really mean too much other than the CF cards are larger and more rugged, yet prone to bending the camera’s internal connection pins.  Handle either of them with care and it shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Battery: The 60D uses the LP-E6 battery like the 7D and 5D, which is a nice feature as this battery can often last through a full day of shooting. The T3i and T2i use the smaller LP-E8 battery with less capacity.  In any case you should have an extra battery or two.

Size and Weight:
The T3i is smaller and lighter (18.2 oz/515 g) than the 60D (23.8 oz/675 g), which in turn is smaller and lighter than the 7D (28.9 oz/820 g). Go to the store and hold them to get a better feel for their size and weight. HOWEVER, please know that the size and weight of these bodies is a result of their build, features, and capabilities.  Those are the criteria that should be compared first, not the resulting size and weight.  (Also be sure to read this post of Why How it “Feels” is not a valid Criterion for Choosing an dSLR.)  But, I do realize that size and weight is important to some, perhaps many, due to physical limitations or just simple comfort and enjoyment.  So take my dramatic proclamation with a grain of salt!  The 60D and 7D “feel” like the more substantial cameras that they are. A nice improvement of the T3i is that its hand grip area has been modified, and has a different feel than that of the T2i – the area where the thumb rests is contoured differently and has a nice channel for the thumb, which allows for a much more secure one-hand-grip of the camera.

AF Microadjustment: The 7D has this feature, the 60D and T3i and T2i do not. Many are disappointed that the 60D does not include the ability to micro-adjust the focus so that each of your lenses focuses extremely accurately. However, if you have a major focus issue, send your camera and/ or lenses to Canon while under warranty and ask them to calibrate them. Bad bodies and lenses are rare, but they do exist.  Doing AF microadjustment yourself is often a maddening undertaking. You may make a good calibration under controlled conditions, but this really doesn’t replicate real life shooting.  And due to manufacturing tolerances of both cameras and lenses, there is a relatively wide range of what is considered acceptable.  If you need your camera and lens to be perfectly sharp, you are going to need to buy a $6000 pro body and a $1500 lens.  See this article This Lens is Soft and Other Myths, its follow up article, and the follow up controlled tests to learn more about this.

Locking Mode Dial: This is a new feature for a Canon dSLR, only on the 60D, that keeps the Mode dial from accidentally rotating. A nice touch, and not at all difficult to change quickly with one hand, as some people have claimed: just push the center button with your left index finger, rotate dial with thumb and middle finger.  I actually wish my 50D had this. If you wish to retrofit your 7D or 5D Mk II with this feature, Canon will do it for $100.

Full HD video: Of course they all offer this capability. Note that this is not video for your kids’ parties and soccer games. It does not have continuous autofocus while shooting, as a camcorder does. It is not designed for that kind of use, but rather for serious videographers who typically manually focus. You can adjust autofocus while shooting by pressing the shutter button or the AF button, but it may have a less than desired looking result and unless you are using an external microphone, the autofocusing sound will be picked up. The T3i has the digital zoom feature in video, which allows for nice smooth zooms while filming.

Flash Sync: A Note to Strobists -the 60D and T3i do not have a PC sync flash socket to plug in PC sync cords. The 7D has this.

Ease of operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the additional controls and menus of the 7D and 60D are all quite intelligently designed, intuitive, and straightforward for the more advanced user. The menus and controls of the T3i and T2i are also pretty basic and simple to learn.  There is certainly a “price of admission” to learning and getting the most from any dSLR, and you will need to invest time and effort into both reading and using/ experimenting with your camera.  Start with the manual, then perhaps have a look at my e-book camera guides, then practice, practice, practice!

Remember that all of these comparisons and features are relative. Of course the fact that the 7D can take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second makes it “better” than the other models.  Advanced features like that differentiate it from the other cameras and are also why it costs more. But is it actually “better” for you and how you plan to photograph?  Do you ever need to take 15.75 seconds of continuous photos? Ever? (Look at your watch for 15.75 seconds right now and act like you are taking continuous photos. Now what are you going to do with all those nearly identical 126 imaginary photos?!)

Purchasing:  If you plan to purchase any of these cameras, please see the Purchasing section below.

*****

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book guide manual tutorial how to instruction
Mode dial of the Canon Rebel T3i

T3i vs T2i

Review / Comparison of Canon Rebel T3i vs T2i (600D vs 550D):  If you are trying to decide between the Canon T2i or T3i, the previous model, the T2i, already shared many important features with the 60D (and even features of the semi-pro 7D) including the 18 MP sensor, 63-zone exposure metering system, high ISO performance, HD movie capabilities, and Digic 4 image processor. Now with the addition of the vari-angle articulating rear LCD screen (aka rotating screen), remote flash capabilities, creative filters, additional movie options, and in-camera image processing features, the new Canon T3i is even closer in specifications to the 60D, which may make your choice harder. But there are some important differences, and this post will hopefully help you decide which features are important to you and the way you photograph, which ones may be unnecessary, and thus which model fits you best. As I’ve said before, you need to choose which camera is best for you based on your needs and experience as a photographer and based on how the advanced features, controls, and customization options fit those needs and serve the way you work – not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them.

The Rebel T3i is replacing the T2i at the entry level end of the Canon line-up. (There is also the T3 in the most basic, entry level position.)  The differences are minor but possibly significant depending on your needs. Since both cameras share the same 18 megapixel sensor and Digic 4 processor, both the T2i and T3i will create images with exactly the same image quality, produce the same low light-high ISO performance, shoot at 3.7 frames per second, and have nearly the same size and build quality. They are both offered with the same 18-55mm kit lens (with some minor cosmetic differences on the new T3i kit lens). The T3i is very slightly larger and heavier due to the addition of the rotating rear LCD monitor. And that is one of the biggest differences between the two cameras: do you want and need a vari-angle rear screen or not? The other major difference is the ability of the T3i to remotely control multiple off-camera flashes. Like the 60D and 7D, you can use the built-in flash of the T3i to trigger other Canon Speedlites. This could be an important reason for choosing the T3i. However, if you don’t use or plan to use one or more off-camera flashes, this shouldn’t be important to you.

Some other minor additions to the T3i include the Scene Intelligent Auto Mode, which is a feature borrowed from point and shoot cameras. When in Auto mode, the T3i will make a determination of what type of scene you are shooting – close-up, portrait, landscape, etc. – and automatically configure the camera settings accordingly. However, if you want to use a powerful and costly digital SLR as a point and shoot, you should probably save the money and just buy a nice, high quality point and shoot like the Canon S95. Other additional but not very important upgrades include the in-camera processing Creative Filters like Grainy Black and White or Fisheye, and the ability to choose different image size ratios and to rate your images. However, this type of processing is best done on your computer with software like Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements. There is also a marginally helpful Feature Guide which gives brief descriptions of various settings and some additional video features like digital video zoom (for nice smooth zooms) and Video Snapshot, which you can use to shoot short video clips that are automatically joined together into a video, with music. Again, this is pretty easily done on your computer, and with much more control, with basic video editing software.

So if you need any of these new features, get the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D. If not, buy whichever one if offered at a cheaper price. However, if you still wish to compare the Rebel T3i to the 60D and 7D, see below. If you wish to compare the Canon T3i to the Nikon D5100, check out this post Nikon D5100 vs. Canon T3i.

see the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) on Amazon
see the Canon EOS Rebel T3i with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

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Review of Canon EOS 60D vs. 50D: Since the Canon EOS 60D basically replaces the Canon 50D (well, replacement isn’t exactly the right word because the 60D doesn’t really follow the 20D to 50D progression of improvements…), the 60D or 50D decision is an easy one. The 50D shouldn’t really be considered anymore. While the Canon 50D does hold a couple interesting advantages over the 60D (faster frame per second (fps) burst rate in continuous mode, stronger construction, more comprehensive buttons and controls, complete lack of fun filters like “grainy black and white”), the sensor and exposure metering system have been greatly improved in all the newer cameras (such as the 7D or 60D or 600D/ T3i or 500D/ T2i) and I feel these features, along with the increase in megapixels, outweigh any other 50D advantages. I would definitely choose a 60D instead of a 50D. This is coming from experience, as I use a 50D professionally and on a weekly basis. Or choose a 7D instead of a 50D if your needs require it and budget allows it. (Find out below if your needs require it!) If you still wish to learn more about the differences of these two models, I write in more detail about the 50D vs. 60D comparison here from a camera features and operation point of view.

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D vs Canon 60D
Canon Rebel T3i / 600D and the Canon 60D

 

Purchasing: If you plan to purchase cameras, photo equipment, books, or anything else from the retailers below I encourage you to do so through these referral links. While your price will be the same, they will give me a little something for the referral, which helps to support my blog and my work – thanks!  I appreciate your support!

Amazon

If you are in the UK, please click here for the UK Amazon referral link.

And if you are in Canada, please click here to use my Canada Amazon.ca referral link.

For those interested in purchasing through B&H Photo, Adorama, or directly from Canon, I have set up affiliate links with them as well. Just click on the logos below to start shopping:
BandH Photo   

These are all retailers that I have purchased equipment from (excluding Amazon UK/Canada), and I recommend them based on my good experiences, their extensive selection, competitive prices, great customer service and responsiveness, and fair return policies.

or use one of these direct links to Amazon:

See and buy the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) on Amazon
See and buy the Canon EOS Rebel T3i with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

See and buy the T2i on Amazon.

See and buy the 60D on Amazon.
See and buy the 7D on Amazon.
See and buy the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D vs 60D vs 7D vs T2i
Canon Rebel T2i, T3i, 60D, and 7D – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

 

Which Canon dSLR is Right for You?

This section of the article, which can help you decide on a camera based on your photography experience and needs (and also includes the discussion of the Canon 5D Mk II),  has been moved to its own post here:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2011/10/14/which-canon-dslr-is-right-for-you/

 

*****

Related Posts:

Comparing and Choosing Canon Lenses
Equipment for Digital Photography
Essential Books for Digital Photography

As I said above, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around. Here is a post I wrote which discusses this, titled

How to Choose a New dSLR Camera

 

Was this post helpful?  Please let others know about it by clicking the Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ sharing buttons below, or linking to it from your blog or website, or mentioning it on a forum.  Thanks! 

Want to help support this blog with no cost or effort?  Simply click on the Amazon and B&H Photo logos on the left side of this page to go to those sites and make your purchases.  They will then give me a little referral bonus!

Go beyond the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D manual with my new book, now available!

T3i Experience – The Still Photographer’s Guide to Operation and Image Creation – an eBook user’s guide and tutorial for the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D.

Learn to use your Rebel T3i / EOS 600D, quickly and competently, to create the types of images you want to capture. The T3i / 600D is an advanced tool, and this guide explains how to use it to its full potential. Take control of your camera, the image taking process, and the photos you create.

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book manual download for dummies Canon T3i Experience Douglas Klostermann book guide tutorial how to instruction

This instant download Canon T3i / 600D book is for those who wish to get more out of their camera and to go beyond Full Auto and Program modes and shoot in Av mode and Tv mode. To get you started, it includes explanations and recommended settings for all Menu settings, Movie Mode Menu settings, and Custom Function settings of the T3i/600D. It covers basic dSLR camera functions and exposure concepts for those new to digital SLR photography, and explains more advanced camera controls and operation, such as using the various metering modes and exposure compensation for correct exposure of every image, controlling autofocus modes and focus points for sharp focus of still or moving subjects, and utilizing dramatic depth of field for professional looking photographs.

You can preview T3i Experience at the following link. The preview shows the Table of Contents and Introduction, a sample T3i/600D Menu Settings page, a sample Custom Functions Settings page, and a sample text page.

http://www.dojoklo.com/writing/Canon_T3i_Experience-Preview.pdf

Canon T3i Experience not only covers the various settings, functions and controls of this digital SLR, but it also explains when and why to use them for your photography. And it describes every T3i / 600D Menu setting and Custom Function setting, with recommended settings to get you started quickly, including Movie Mode menu settings. Note that it focuses on still-photography and not video except for a brief introduction to video menus and settings to get you up and running. Sections include:

  • Setting Up Your Camera – All of the Menu settings and Custom Function settings for the T3i / 600D, including movie mode menus, with brief descriptions and recommended settings for practical, everyday use. Set up and customize the advanced features of this dSLR to work best for the way you photograph.
  • Aperture Priority Mode (Av) and Shutter Priority Mode (Tv) – How and when to use them to create dramatic depth of field or to freeze or express motion.
  • Auto Focusing Modes and Drive Modes – How they differ, how and when to use them to capture sharp images of both still and moving subjects. Also how and when to use focus lock and back-button focusing.
  • Exposure Metering Modes of the Canon T3i / 600D – How they differ, how and when to use them for correct exposures in every situation. Also how to make use of exposure lock.
  • Histograms, Exposure Compensation, Bracketing, and White Balance – Understanding and using these features for adjusting to the proper exposure in challenging lighting situations.
  • Composition – Brief tips, techniques, and explanations, including the creative use of depth of field.
  • The Image Taking Process – A descriptive tutorial for using the settings and controls you just learned to take photos.
  • Lenses – Explanation of Canon lenses and choosing your next lens.
  • Photography Accessories – The most useful accessories for day-to-day and travel photography including those specific to this camera, plus recommended photography books.
  • Introduction to Video Settings – Some basic settings to get you started.

This digital field guide to the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D is a 60 page, illustrated PDF document that builds upon the information found in the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D manual, and will help one begin to master their dSLR and learn to use it to its full capabilities!

Author: Douglas Klostermann
Format:
PDF – Instant Download – can be read on your computer, printed on your printer, transferred to your iPad, Android or other tablet, Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader (see here for iPad/ iPhone transfer instructions).
Page Count:
60 pages, illustrated
Price: $9.99 Available Now!
(plus 6.25% sales tax for residents of Massachusetts)
Secure payment with PayPal or Credit card

Buy Now with PayPal! or Buy Now

 

Other versions of Canon T3i Experience e-book available for purchase:

The Kindle version is available on Amazon.com
The Nook version is available at BarnesandNoble.com
The iPad and iPhone version is available through Apple’s iTunes or through the iBooks App.

What Readers are Saying about Doug’s Previous Guide, T2i Experience:

Best Guide to using a T2i – I don’t know how I could fully take advantage of all the features the T2i has to offer without this publication! It’s well-organized, easy to understand, and succinct enough to keep your attention while still containing a wealth of tips and tricks to get the most out of your camera. I’m very happy that I found this guide.
-Nathan K.

Essential Travel Companion – Alas, a comprehensive and concise guide for hobbyists who desire to enhance their photography experiences. I highly recommend this guide to anyone who wants to ease out of auto mode and learn how to take high-quality photos. It brilliantly explains how to apply advanced techniques and tips, walks you through the daunting task of menu settings, and smoothly guides you through the image-taking process. The instructions and brief explanations are easy to follow and well organized. The guide is a portable class on digital photography! A must-have if you want to learn how to use your camera to its fullest advantage.
-Elizabeth J.

A Fantastic Book For Beginning T2i Users – This book has exactly the no frills condensed practical advice on camera settings that I was looking for. The author has a gift for separating the wheat from the chaff. I didn’t have a clue how to operate a digital camera, let alone know the definition of the technical terms. After reading this book, I now understand all the critical functions of the Canon T2i and how to take advantage of them. This is a book I plan to keep handy for years to come.
-TP

What Readers are Saying about Doug’s other dSLR User’s Guides:

This book, together with the manual that came with your camera, is all you need to start discovering all the potential of this camera.
-Max M.

It’s the first guide I’ve read which has taken me through all the settings in an understandable way. I now feel that I have control over the camera.
-Peter S.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a quick start to using their camera. Manuals are nice, but this eBook highlights the important information and gives a quick easy to understand explanation of most all of the functions and controls.
-Ray M.

I found the (camera’s) manual good for understanding how to set things up but not much on the why – this book really focuses on the “why.” Prior to reading the book I was setting up my metering on Spot Metering thinking it was much better than Matrix (Evaluative) – the guide helped me understand why to use specific settings for specific needs. The Custom Settings sections helps to make firm decisions on how to apply settings by understanding the usage of each in addition to knowing how to set them up. I would like to thank you for saving me time – now I’m confident that my camera is well tuned!
-Benoit A.

This manual is a clearly written, concise and useful explanation of the rationale for the seemingly infinite and often confusing settings options. Used in conjunction with the (camera’s) manual I feel a bit more confident in understanding how to at last proceed in getting better photographs.
WLS

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book guide manual tutorial how to instruction

In my e-book user’s guide for digital SLRs I include a list of accessories and books, complete with links to purchase these products on Amazon or from the manufacturer. However, the links don’t always work with some e-book formats, so I am posting the list here too. Some accessories may have been updated since this list was last modified, such as the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight replacing the SB-910, or the Canon 600 EX II-RT Speedlite replacing the 600 EX-RT, so be sure to check for the latest versions of the various accessories.

Below are some accessories that are handy for general and travel photography use with any dSLR camera, plus some of my favorite photography books, and camera-specific accessories mentioned in the texts of my Full Stop camera guides. Click on the links to go to the product or category pages on Amazon.com or the manufacturer’s website. Please note that these are my referral links, and I will receive a small referral fee if you use these links to make your purchases, which helps to support my blog and my work. Thanks!

Contents:

dSLR Photography Accessories
Digital Photography Books

Nikon D500 Accessories
Nikon D750 Accessories
Nikon D810 Accessories
Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories
Nikon D7000 Accessories
Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories
Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories
Nikon Df Accessories
Nikon D3300 Accessories

Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and 5DS / 5DS R Accessories
Canon 7D Mark II Accessories
Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories
Canon 7D Accessories
Canon 60D Accessories
Canon T5i, T4i, T3i and T2i (EOS 700D, 650D, 600D and 550D) Accessories
Canon 5D Mark III Accessories
Canon 6D Accessories

 


dSLR Photography Accessories

UV Filters – Clear, protective filters for the lenses.  You should have these on at all times to protect your lenses.  Get high quality coated ones, such as B+W, especially for higher quality lenses.   Consider the MRC multi-coated versions for highest quality lenses.  While some argue that any filter may degrade image quality, a high-quality filter will show little effect, and most know that it is cheaper to replace a $100 filter than to repair a $1500 lens.  Use the slim filters for wide angle lenses to avoid vignetting.

Circular Polarizing Filter: Use this outdoors in sunlight to darken the sky, cut through haze and reflections, and increase contrast. Do not use on a wide angle lens as it will cause the sky to change from light to dark and back again across the frame. You have to turn the second ring of the filter to create the amount of lightness or darkness in the sky that you desire, or to reduce or eliminate reflections. It works best when the sun is to your left or right, but does not have any polarizing effect if the sun is directly in front or behind you. Do not use an older linear polarizing filter with a digital camera, as it will interfere with the metering and autofocus systems.

Neutral Density (ND) Filter: If shooting video in bright lighting, you will need to use a dark neutral density (ND) filter on the lens to block light in order to be able to use dramatic wide aperture settings (such as f/ 2.8 or f/4.0). These are also useful with still photography for allowing slow shutter speeds in bright light, such as for photographing waterfalls. They are available in a variety of densities to block out the amount of light to enable you to increase your exposure settings by a certain number of stops, such as 3 stops (0.9), 6 stops (1.8), 10 stops (3.0), etc. For example, when working in M or S mode and the exposure meter reads 1/30s, f/8, ISO 100, but you wish to use and aperture setting of f/2.8 while “holding” the other settings – you can use a 3-stop ND filter and the exposure meter will now read 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 100, allowing you to obtain the wide aperture setting and resulting shallow depth of field. There are also variable ND filters, where you can adjust one of the filter’s rings to vary the amount of density, as well as the Cokin filter system that makes use of a filter holder that attaches to the front of the lens, which then holds square filters. These are useful to landscape photographers using graduated or split neutral density filters that either gradually or sharply transition from dark to light. Using the square filter in front of the lens, you can then vary the angle and location of the transition to align with the horizon.

Nikon Lens Hoods or Canon Lens Hoods: Use a lens hood on your lens to both prevent flare and to protect the front of the lens when it inevitable bangs against something or drops. Some nicer lenses typically come with a lens hood. With other lenses, buy the corresponding optional hood.

BlackRapid R-Strap: A different, more comfortable way to carry your camera, especially one with a larger or heavier lens. The RS-7 version has a nice curved shoulder strap, the RS-4 is not curved at the shoulder but does have a handy little pocket for memory cards, and the RS-W1 R-Strap is designed for women.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs and Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head:  This is an excellent “starter” combination of tripod legs and head for the beginner or enthusiast.  They are sturdy, durable, and well built.  If you know you will be doing a lot of tripod work, such as for studio, landscape, or travel photography, it is best to invest in more advanced (expensive) versions, including lighter carbon fiber legs and a head with additional features.

Insurance: Make sure your equipment is covered by insurance. When I worked in a camera store, people came in on a weekly basis to replace the equipment that was stolen from their car, trunk, luggage, while traveling, or was in a fire. You may need special insurance or a rider if your homeowner or renter’s insurance does not cover it. I use the policy available through NANPA, though you have to join NANPA to get it. This insurance is primarily for the equipment only, so you are not paying for liability coverage geared toward a business as you are with many other photo equipment insurance plans. Please note that the NANPA membership fee covers you annually from July – they don’t pro-rate, so you will not get a full year if you join at any other time. (If you happen to join NANPA to get their insurance, mention my name as a referrer, and I save on my next membership renewal!)

Silica Packs: Keep these in your camera bags to absorb moisture. Consider using real ones that you buy in solid cases instead of the little packs that you found in your new pants pocket that may break open over time.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser: Works great on the optional external flash units (note some Nikon flashes come with a diffuser like this). Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder. I know you see lots of people doing it. They didn’t bother reading how to use it. Don’t imitate them. Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors. These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so. Not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster: Always have this manual air blower handy for getting dust off lenses in a hurry, because blowing on them with your mouth – no matter how careful – inevitably leads to spittle on the lenses. Also use for manually cleaning the sensor, carefully following sensor cleaning instructions.

Dust-Aid Platinum dSLR Sensor Filter Cleaner: If the Air Blaster does not remove all the dust during sensor cleaning, you can move to a “silicon stamp,” such as this one. This is slightly more invasive, as you will be touching the sensor with the cleaning device. Be sure to carefully read and follow the Dust-Aid instructions, as well as the manual’s sensor cleaning instructions, particularly the correct way to raise the mirror and access the sensor.

Lens Pen Cleaning System: Works great for cleaning off mysterious spots and smudges that appear on the lens. Blow dust off the lens first with the Rocket Air Blaster, brush it with the Lens Pen brush, and then follow the instructions for using the Lens Pen.

Digital Grey Card: Used to measure and set accurate custom white balance.

Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels: Use these to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene. Tape them in place or use the LumiQuest Gel Holder which attaches to your flash with the Honl Speed Strap, an overpriced strip of Velcro.

M Rock Holster Bag: Carry and protect your camera and walk-around lens in a holster style bag from M Rock. I used the Yellowstone style extensively in my travels throughout South America, and I love its durability and extra little features like a built-in rain cover, micro-fiber cleaning cloth, zippered interior pocket, adjustable interior, and extra strap. Be sure to get the model that fits your body and lens.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards (CompactFlash for Canon 7D, Canon 5D Mk II, 5D Mk III):  I suggest getting a couple 16 GB or 32 GB CF cards to store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III (or the 7D) to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst (7D rates are 130 JPEG / 25 RAW).

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB (class 10), or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – or more cards if traveling. Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. The Extreme SD cards are currently available in the 45 MB/s speed and the faster 80 MB/s speed.

Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards: To take full advantage of the Continuous Shooting Drive Mode of the 70D and capture up to the maximum 65 continuous JPEG images or 16 RAW images in a single burst, you will need one of the fast Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards (or similar card from another brand), which saves at 95MB/s.

Eye-Fi Wireless Flash Memory Card: This SD memory card can be used to automatically upload photos wirelessly via Wi-Fi to your computer during shooting or afterwards.

Card Reader: Use this to transfer image files from the memory cards to your computer if your computer does not have a card reader built in. They may be faster than the camera’s USB cable and will save camera batteries.

Stereo Microphones: The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

Camera’s USB Cable: Always have the included camera USB cable when traveling, as a back-up method of transferring image files to your computer.

Lens and Body Caps: Don’t forget to have these in your camera bag, to protect lenses and camera body when switching and storing them.

Camera Wrap: For protecting your camera while carrying it around in dusty, misty, or sandy situations, or for protection when storing it.

Rainhood or Rainsleeve: For protecting your camera while using it in dusty, misty, rainy, or sandy situations.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 or new Adobe C.C., and/ or Adobe Lightroom 5: These software programs are essential for editing, processing, retouching, and manipulating your photographs, especially if you are shooting in RAW. Lightroom is designed specifically for photographers and is the processing program of choice for many of them, but it does not have the manipulation capabilities of Photoshop. Take advantage of Adobe’s significant student and teacher discounts if applicable.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

Camera Bags and Travel Gear: For additional gear that is helpful for travel situations, including various camera bags for different situations, have a look at my travel gear blog post:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2009/12/01/assignment-guatemala-gear/


Digital Photography Books

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photos with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson

Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

Available Light: Photographic Techniques for Using Existing Light Sources by Don Marr

On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography by Neil van Niekerk

Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites by Syl Arena

Digital Photographer’s Complete Guide to HD Video by Rob Sheppard and Michael Gunchen.

Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide by Michael Corsentino

Nikon Speedlight Handbook: Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Stephanie Zettl

The New Complete Guide to Digital Photography by Michael Freeman – a comprehensive general reference guide with brief explanations of nearly every aspect of digital photography.

New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing by Rob Sheppard.

More Essential Digital Photography Books are listed in this post.

 


Nikon D500 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event. Be sure to use the newer Li-Ion20 type of EN-EL15 battery for best results. Nikon will replace your older EN-EL15 Li-ion01 batteries with the newer version, for free. See this link for further information:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19541

Nikon MB-D17 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use an additional EN-EL15 battery, or eight alkaline, lithium, or Ni-MH AA batteries, or an EN-EL18 battery with the use of the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. This allows you to shoot longer without having to change batteries, and can allow you to share EN-EL18 batteries with the Nikon D5 body. It also increases the size of the D500 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-30 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-T10/ WR-R10 /WR-A10 Wireless Remote Controller, Transceiver, and Adapter: This wireless remote set will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-7A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images and videos to an FTP server, computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. It also offers a wired Ethernet port for a wired (tethered) connection. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection, which allows you to remotely change numerous camera settings. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission of full sized images.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Remember that you can also make use of the camera’s wireless capabilities to add time and location data from your smart phone to the images on the camera, and thus perform similar capabilities as a GPS device.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as one of the BeachTek Audio Adapters, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Lexar 64GB Professional 2933x XQD card: The maximum continuous burst capacity specifications given by Nikon for the D500 are based on the use of this card. When set for RAW L image files and DX Image Area, this XQD card can capture up to the maximum 200 14-bit lossless compressed or 12-bit uncompressed images, without filling the buffer and having to pause. Sony also offers numerous XQD cards that are compatible with the D500, as listed on page 385 of the Nikon D500 User’s Manual.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 280MBs SD: This is a very fast SD type card that appears to be working well with the D500. There have been issues reported with SD cards from Lexar and Transcend, which are caused by the card and not the camera. Nikon has released a firmware update that creates a workaround for errors when using a problematic UHS-II card, though it reverts to using it as a slower UHS-I card. The memory card manufacturers are working to resolve this issue.


Nikon D750 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D16 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use six AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D750 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP server via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D810 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D12 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use eight AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D810 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation. And its use with AA batteries will enable the maximum 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed when using DX Image Area. If you wish to use the larger EN-EL18 battery (used with the D4 body) with this MB-D12 battery grip, you can purchase the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover which accepts the EN-EL18 battery.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

MC-30A Remote Release Cord: Another basic corded remote release, with a larger thumb button that enables you to hold it down to keep the shutter open for Bulb shooting.

MC-36a Remote Shutter Release Cord: A multi-function corded remote for shutter release with an intervalometer, which attaches via the ten-pin connector.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP sever via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient and less expensive.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG, TIFF, or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Nikon D810 dSLR Filmmaker’s Kit: This package, costing about $5,000, includes the D810 camera plus everything one needs to get started with dSLR HD filmmaking. In addition to the body, the kit includes three prime lenses which are all f/1.8 (35mm, 50mm, 85mm), a video recorder with HDMI cable, the ME-1 Stereo microphone, variable ND filters so that you can take advantage of wide apertures even in brighter lighting, and two EN-EL15 batteries.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 32 GB or higher CompactFlash (CF) cards to store your photos – more if traveling. Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. This card’s speed is 120 MB/s, so to achieve the buffer rates of the D810 listed in the manual you will need to use the CF card listed just below.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UMDA 7 CF Memory Card: For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which is rated at 160 MB/s, higher than the 120 MB/s speed of the Extreme CF cards. This is the minimum card needed to achieve the buffer capacity rates listed in the D810 manual on page 489.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I SD Memory Cards: If you plan to use the camera’s SD card slot, I suggest getting a couple 32GB or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling. Review the various ways that the camera’s two memory card slots can be used with the Primary slot selection and Secondary slot function items of the Shooting Menu. Again, be sure to check the SanDisk site for current rebates. This card is rated at 95 MB/s speed, so you may need the above CF card to achieve the maximum the buffer capacity of the D810.


Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D15 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7100 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. Other options include the Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro, which are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

UT-1 Communication Unit: This unit is used with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly with the WT-5a Wireless Transmitter to connect to a network and transfer images to a computer or server, or to control the camera remotely from your computer. You can also purchase these two units, the UT-1 and WT-5a as a bundle.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D7000 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7000 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, or SB-600 Speedlight Flashes: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon WT-4A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer as you shoot. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D5600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Grip Base Extension: There is also a third-party non-battery-pack grip, or grip base extender that is designed to simply enlarge the size of the body in order to make the camera easier to hold for some users, but does not hold additional batteries.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: (Nikon D5200, D7100, D3200 and later cameras only) This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) (Not needed for D5300) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Using this accessory, you images will also be automatically located on a map, such as when uploaded to the Flickr photo website.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone or ME-W1 Wireless Microphone: External, stereo mics to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D5600 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.


Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D14 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the smart device to remotely release the shutter. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon Df Accessories

Nikon Df User’s Manual – For a PDF download of the Nikon Df manual, see the webpage below:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18767

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition Lens: This lens, with its silver ring, is specifically designed to match the retro-style of the Df – though it contains the same optics of the non-special AF-S 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

AR-3 Cable Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless. In keeping with the styling of the Df, it is a “retro” cable-release with a plunger.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This is also a straightforward corded remote used to trigger the shutter of the camera, and is plugged into the Accessory Terminal of the Df.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-400 Speedlight: This is a much smaller and less powerful flash than the versatile SB-910, and is closer to the strength of a typical built-in flash. However you can angle it for bounce-flash purposes.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely autofocus and release the camera’s shutter.

Wireless Mobile Utility: To get started with Wi-Fi, you will also need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This version is in the process of being replaced with Capture NX-D.

CF-DC6 Semi-Soft Case or CF-DC5 Semi-Soft Case: The CF-DC6 is a retro-styled leatherette case specially designed for the Df, and is available in Black or in light Brown. The CF-DC5 is of a more contemporary style and materials.

Leather Strap in Black or in Brown: You can pair the retro-styled CF-DC6 case with a leather strap, available in similar colors.

Gariz Leather Half-Case: There is also a very nice looking leather half-case by a third-party named Gariz. It is available in black and brown, and covers the grip area and lower part of the Df body, but also allows you to open and access the battery/ memory card compartment and the side terminal covers, without removing the case. It lengthens the body of the camera in order to provide a replacement tripod socket (since the camera’s is used for attaching the case), and perhaps to enlarge the camera to offer a better grip.

Screen Protectors: This pair of screen protectors is specifically sized for the LCD screens of the Df. While I have not personally used them, and thus cannot vouch for their quality or usefulness, previous versions of this brand have gained good reviews.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the Df to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D3300 Accessories

Nikon D3300 Manuals: The D3300 Reference Manual can be obtained as a PDF file from the Nikon website at this link:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18824

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, to share your images, or even to use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app.

Wireless Mobile Utility:To get started with Wi-Fi, you will first need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D3300 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

DK-5 Eyepiece Cap:When using any of the Release Modes such as Self-Timer or Remote, where your eye is not at the Viewfinder, be sure to cover the Viewfinder with a piece of tape or this optional eyepiece cap in order to prevent stray light from entering the camera and modifying the exposure settings.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as remote flashes triggered by the built-in flash, and as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D3300 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.



Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and Canon 5DS / 5DS R Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip for the 5DIV will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mark IV body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT: This external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites, as well as continuous shooting support. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and includes a diffuser plus color filters for white balance. The 600EX II-RT also allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with the radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Compatible with the Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX II-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mark IV. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 5D Mark IV, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Speedlite 430EX III-RT or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will provide less flash power and control, and fewer features than the top of the line 600EX II-RT, however they may meet your needs if you don’t make extensive use of a flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 430EX III-RT allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with Canon’s radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT or a 600EX II-RT. The 430EX III-RT offers an optional bounce adapter and color filter. The 320EX has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 5D Mark IV to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function.


Canon 7D Mark II Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries or six AA/ LR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 7D Mark II body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 7D Mark II. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 7D Mark II, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section below.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 7D Mark II to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function. The device attaches to the base of the 7D Mark II, and is a similar size and shape as the optional battery grip.

Eh-S Super Precision Matte Focusing Screen: The 7D Mark II is able to accept this optional focusing screen, which is designed for manual focusing. However, you will need to be using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger, or else it will make the Viewfinder appear darker than the standard focusing screen. This screen will display the out-of-focus areas of the scene more dramatically out-of-focus, thus helping you to better view what is in-focus. Be sure to change the C.Fn 3 Custom Function item of the Focusing Screen for Eh-S, if you make use of this screen.

 


Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E14 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 70D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 70D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 70D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 70D to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Use the Canon AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV cable for non-HD TV sets.


Canon 7D Accessories (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E7 Battery Grip:   This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  It also increases the size of the 7D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories).

Canon WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.


Canon 60D Accessories (see also the 5D Mark III section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the 60D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the 60D and your right hand slips between it and the camera.

Canon EF-D Focusing Screen: This is the grid focusing screen to help you keep your compositions and horizons straight and level.


Canon Rebel T5i/700D, T4i/650D, T3i/600D, and T2i/550D Accessories

Canon LP-E8 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E8 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the camera’s body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the T4i. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the T4i, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap, used with or without the battery grip, provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the camera and your right hand slips between it and the camera.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III Accessories

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards:  I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity CompactFlash (CF) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards:  If you plan to use the camera’s second card slot, I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Review the various ways that the camera’s second card slot can be used.  Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Memory Cards:  For an even faster SD memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 95MB/s over 30 MB/s of the Extreme SD cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst.

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip:   This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mk III body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.  There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT:  This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites.  It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below).  The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.  The AF assist beam of the Canon 600EX-RT is the only current Speedlite designed to be compatible with the 61 point autofocus system of the 5D Mk III.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT:  Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required.  Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mk III.  If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 5D Mk III, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder:  This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlight and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set.  Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX:  These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EXII being the most powerful of the group.  They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash.  The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser for the Canon 580EXII or for the Canon 600EX-RT:  Works great on the optional external flash units like the Canon 580EX II Speedlite or the newer 600EX-RT Speedlite.  Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder.  I know you see lots of people doing it.  They didn’t bother reading how to use it – don’t imitate them!  Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors.  These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so, not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.


Canon EOS 6D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E13 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 6D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time. However the EOS 6D (WG) has built-in GPS, so this accessory is generally not necessary. Ironically, the GP-E2 is not compatible with the EOS 6D (N), the model that is sold in certain regions without built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 6D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 6D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Viewfinder Focusing Screens: The optional Canon Eg-S Super Precision Matte focusing screen is designed to assist with manual focusing, and the optional Canon Eg-D Precision Matte focusing screen provides a grid in the Viewfinder to help keep your compositions straight and level.

Canon just announced the replacement for the T2i called, as expected, the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D.  It has a few upgrades from the T2i, borrowed from the 60D, including the high resolution swivel rear LCD screen, remote flash capabilities, some additional menu options, and built in Creative Filters.  Canon also introduced a new 18-55mm image stabilized kit lens to pair with it.  Read more about it here at DPReview, and I will fill in more details about it soon.  As Canon’s own press release dramatically states, Canon Empowers The Masses To Take Better Photographs And Video With The New EOS Rebel T3i And EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Cameras.  Wow!

I’ve completed a Canon Rebel T3i e-book user’s guide, following in the footsteps of my popular e-books Your World 60D and T2i Experience, titled Canon T3i Experience.  See here for more info.

Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D

image from Canonusa.com

Order your Canon Rebel T3i (EOS 600D) from Amazon now:

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

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Canon T2i vs T3i (Canon 550D  vs 600D):  If you are trying to decide between these two cameras, or deciding between the T3i vs 60D vs 7D, please see the post I wrote that reviews and  compares the current cameras in the Canon dSLR consumer line-up:  Canon T3i vs T2i vs 60D vs 7D, etc.