Tuesday, May 07, 2013

102/365: A second retirement

This is my Canon Rebel XTi/400D. The XTi was introduced by Canon in mid-2006 and produced through early 2008. I bought mine in March 2008--the first SLR style camera I ever purchased. What's more, I purchased it with the intent to learn how to use it and take competent photographs. This was during a period in our lives when finances were incredibly strapped (a brief phase that lasted roughly from 1996-2011) so I financed this massive purchase by selling off my Doctor Demento Show CD collection via Ebay. True story.

The real significance of this little entry-level camera, though, is that it finally convinced The Wife that the quality of digital imaging sensors had matured enough to be a viable alternative to film. Realize that she learned photography in the journalism program at Texas A&M circa 1992, and the years before we met as a working photojournalist. She was a dyed-in-the-wool film snob, and scoffed at the pixellation visible in photos taken by digital point-and-shoot cameras. One day, after a derisive comment too many, I pushed the XTi on her and insisted she just go out and shoot with it for the weekend. She came back impressed. Within a month, The Wife had a Canon 50D of her own. Her love of photography rekindled, she started taking the wild idea of starting her own photography business seriously, and today a thriving Lisa On Location is the result. Success didn't come overnight, and she used my XTi as her backup body on many early jobs. I used it to assist her as a second shooter just as often. Eventually, she added a full-frame Canon 5D mark II to her arsenal, then a Mark III. Then she surprised me with a 7D.

Obsolete for all of our regular uses, nearly two years ago The Wife sent the XTi off to LifePixel for conversion to infrared. I love infrared, and experimented much by using thread-in filters over the lenses. Conversion proved a revelation, as I could now compose and shoot hand-held rather than being restricted to a tripod and 10-20 second exposure times. Infrared photography became a unique part of her wedding packages. I learned to take amazing landscapes with it. But... there's always a but. It's an old camera. It's been banged up over the years and I estimate it's got more than 60,000 shutter actuations on it. The 10.1 megapixel sensor is terrible noisy above 400 ISO, and file sizes are on the small side for the large, impressive prints we like to make of the best showcase images. It's captured many, many images for us over the years, and opened up the amazing world of infrared photography for me. But all good things come to an end. We've replace the XTi, and unlike the Elan 7ne, the little Rebel is redundant and outclassed in every way. In the coming weeks I expect to put it up for sale, a bargain for anyone who wants to experiment with infrared photography. It's got a lot of shots left in it, but those won't be taken by me. Sentimentality only takes you so far, and it'd be a waste of a good camera to put it on the shelf, unused. I will always have a soft spot for it, though. A whole lot of good things started with this little XTi.

macro, Canon Rebel XTi 400D, 365, Lisa On Location Photography, New Braunfels, San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Tamron 28-75mm 2.8
Lisa On Location

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