I suppose that, if you want to get to know me as a macro photographer, you should get to know my equipment. At least, that’s the premise I’m sticking to for this article. And the natural place to start is with the camera body I use.
But wait! Before we go any further, I need to insert a huge disclaimer here. The photos you see here of my camera were taken with my cell phone. I am not a good cell phone photographer. I may not be a great macro photographer either, but I’m definitely worse with a cell phone. So, when you look at the pictures on this page, remember that and excuse the awful contrast, the overexposure, and the out of focus.
Now, on with our show.
My camera a Canon T2i, or more completely, a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Or more precisely, a Canon 550D. Unless you’re in Japan where it’s called the EOS Kiss X4. Why Canon felt the need for all these names, I dunno. I can’t even find anything in its specs related to the number 550. I assume it was just a higher number than the previous model. I’ll most often refer to it as my T2i.
Why do I have a Canon camera instead of a Nikon or some other brand? I have no idea. I bought my T2i in used condition many years ago on Ebay. Since Ebay only lets you search your purchase history for about 3 years, I can’t even tell you exactly when I bought it. All I know is that it was more than 3 years ago – a more likely guess is about 5 to 7 years ago. It first came out in 2010, so it’s for sure less than 10 years old. Canon discontinued it in 2012 after both the T3i and T4i were already available.
The Red Dot and the White Square
I like my T2i a lot, but there’s one feature (or is it a hardware bug?) that has always puzzled me. Why do lenses come with either a red dot or a white square that you have to align with the corresponding colored shape on the body of the camera?
Now, this isn’t really a big deal, but it really makes me wonder what they were thinking back in the day. Without trying to look up the history (if that’s even available), my best guess is that there were already two types of lenses available before the T2i (and other similar models) came onto the market. The “red dot” type worked with one style of camera and the “white square” type worked with another. Canon wanted users to be able to attach both styles of lenses to cameras in their EOS series, so they compromised…sorta…and came up with a design that could handle both but required the user to align the shapes so that the lens would attach properly to the body.
Even if all that is true, or remotely close to true, it doesn’t really make sense to me because a lens is round. If the problem is that they needed to line up the electrical contacts properly, would it really be that difficult to rotate them around the circumference of the lens just a bit so that those on the current red dot lenses matched the location of those on the white square lenses, or vice versa? I’m no engineer, but it just doesn’t seem that hard.
But I digressed.
Years of Use, But Not Daily
If you look closely at some of the pictures of my T2i, you’ll see signs of wear (and almost tear). This simply comes from years of use. I’ve used my camera the most over the past 3 years from 2018 through 2020, but I haven’t used it every day, as some of you might do with your equipment. This is a hobby for me, not a real job.
In 2018, I tried to take at least one (macro) picture every day. I didn’t quite make it, but I came close. Some days I simply forgot, and you can’t easily fool the EXIF data attached to your photos. It was some time during that year that I first noticed some of the fraying around the edges on certain parts of my camera.
The wear we see doesn’t mean that I’m going to get a new camera any time soon. It still works like new. I won’t consider getting a newer model until this one gives up the ghost. After all, it has all the features that I need. Anything a newer model has that this one doesn’t isn’t likely to be anything I’d use anyway.
Features of My Canon T2i
So what do all those buttons, wheels, and gizmos on my T2i do?
In some cases, I don’t know. That is, I’ve read about all of them, but since I don’t regularly use all of them, I don’t remember what all of them do.
I regularly use a handful of them, and it’s those that I’m going to briefly tell you about.
Besides, very obviously, the on/off switch and the shutter button, I normally only use one other feature of the camera body itself – the Q button. “Q” stands for “Quick” because it gives me quick access to the only two settings I usually need to change when taking macros – aperture and ISO speed.
And I rarely change the ISO speed. It’s usually set at 800.
Okay, I lied just above. I also use the settings adjustment dial just behind the shutter button. When I look inside my viewfinder and see (at the bottom) that the shutter speed isn’t optimal, I turn that dial to try to get the little arrow to move near the center of the horizontal line.
If I can’t get it centered without making the shutter stay open way too long – longer than I can hold the camera steady – I use the Q button to change the aperture setting. Usually this means opening the aperture wider so the shutter doesn’t have to stay open so long to let enough light in. (I hope I said that right. It’s easier to do than it is to describe.)
That’s about it!
I guess you could argue that I use other features sorta by default. I usually shoot my macros in Manual mode. Sometimes I’ll preview shots I’ve taken on the viewscreen and delete them if they’re really bad. But other than that, I don’t futz with any of the other buttons.
Why makes this more complicated than it already is?