Getting the Lay of the Land

In This Chapter

Attaching and using an SLR lens Working with camera memory cards Getting acquainted with external camera controls Decoding viewfinder and monitor information Selecting options from menus

Using the Shooting Settings and Quick Control displays Customizing basic camera operations

m still remember the day that I bought my first SLR film camera. I was excited to finally move up from my point-and-shoot camera, but I was a little anxious, too. My new pride and joy sported several unfamiliar buttons and dials, and the explanations in the camera manual clearly were written for someone with an engineering degree. And there was the whole business of attaching the lens to the camera, an entirely new task for me. I saved my pennies a long time for that camera — what if my inexperience caused me to damage the thing before I even shot my first pictures?

You may be feeling similarly insecure if your Rebel T1i/500D is your first SLR, although some of the buttons on the camera back may look familiar if you've previously used a digital point-and-shoot camera. If your Rebel is both your first SLR and first digital camera, you may be doubly intimidated.

Trust me, though, that your camera isn't nearly as complicated as its exterior makes it appear. With a little practice and the help of this chapter, which introduces you to each external control, you'll quickly become as comfortable with your camera's buttons and dials as you are with the ones on your car's dashboard.

This chapter also guides you through the process of mounting and using an SLR lens, working with digital memory cards, and navigating your camera's internal menus. Finally, the end of the chapter walks you through options that enable you to customize many aspects of your camera's basic operation.

Before you start exploring this chapter, be sure that you fully charge your camera battery and then install it into the battery chamber on the bottom of the camera. I'm guessing that you already took this step, but if not and you need help, the front part of the camera manual provides details.

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