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KELLNER: A successful test drive for Canon T2i

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This was supposed to be a column about a personal triumph: finding a spot along Chocorua Lake, located in the east-central New Hampshire town of Tamworth, and snapping off some wonderful shots of this glistening lake and its reflection of the sky and nearby Mount Chocorua.

It wasn't to be. My shots were horribly overexposed. I might find a way to fix them, but I'm not holding my breath. A return trip to the White Mountain watershed area is, clearly, in order.

Or not: ironically, my wife's iPhone 4 caught a great shot. Go figure.

My Chocorua misadventure aside, I've enjoyed much good photography during a swing through New England. From Newport, R.I., up along the Massachusetts coastal towns aside Cape Ann, on through Ipswich and into New Hampshire. Caught some interesting sights with the camera, and I learned a few things.

First, I learned how well, generally, the photos produced by the Canon EOS Rebel T2i can turn out. I bought the Canon at the end of 2010, ending about eight years of Nikon loyalty. (Canon has since brought out the Rebel T3i, which adds an "articulating," or fold-out, LCD display panel, among other features.)

The "kit" I purchased has two lenses, 18-55 mm and 55-250 mm, giving a great range of zoom options for the rank amateur that I am, picture-wise. The camera is also very fast, up to 3.7 frames per second, which is great in situations where one wants to take a bunch of photos for a particular need. Taking a whole bunch of pictures at, say, a speech or other public event, is a good way to ensure you end up with a range of usable shots from which to choose.

The camera shoots 18-megapixel images, at a resolution of 72 dots-per-inch. Though that latter number seems low, the image size this camera produces has been more than satisfactory for publication in a glossy-paper magazine.

For the money, about $749 at Amazon.com with just the 18-55 mm lens, the Rebel T2i represents an excellent value. If you really want the fold out LCD, spend an extra $100 and get the Rebel T3i. For now, Canon has won me over, something I expect to continue feeling as my studies in photography progress.

One important footnote: If you're going to do an extended amount of shooting, invest about $200 in an extra battery and the Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip, itself $133 at Amazon.com. The grip not only adds heft to the camera, it allows you to load two Canon batteries and has a holder for eight AA batteries if you're in a pinch. It's one of the most worthwhile accessories a dedicated photographer can have, in my opinion.

It also pays to have a good polarizing filter on your camera, especially when the sun is strong, the very helpful gentleman at the Camera Corner in Rockport, Mass., a charming fishing town still home to many lobstermen, said, and he was right. But not just any polarizer will do; the filter must be compatible with the optics and electronics of digital cameras. The Rodenstock HR Digital filter he suggested made an immediate difference in my shooting that sunny day, and even if the item retails for $135, it's worth it.

Once you've shot your pictures, Mac users will delight in Apple's iPhoto '11, the latest iteration of the firm's basic image manipulating and cataloging software, part of the iLife '11 suite, list price $49. iPhoto is supremely easy to use, has many editing tools as well as one-click features to allow you to quickly improve images, and offers uploading to Facebook, Flickr and MobileMe, the latter soon to become iCloud. This software has many likeable features and is a good beginner's package.

Email mkellner@washingtontimes.com

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