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As we've discussed, one of the great advantages of an SLR is that you actually look through the same lens that exposes the sensor. This gives you a very accurate viewfinder and it allows you to have a very bright clear view of your scene. Your Viewfinder also provides you with a tremendous amount of status information as we'll see. Now in the Rebel, the viewfinder eyepiece cover here is removable. You just squeeze the edges and pull it out like this. This allows you easier access for cleaning the viewfinder eyepiece and it allows you to swap in other covers.
You can get an eyepiece cover that comes out farther to give you a more shaded viewfinder, you can also get a right-angle eyepiece which can be useful if you're doing macro work, down low, things like that. To put it back on, you just slide it back into place here. Now, on the top of the Viewfinder is the diopter control. If you wear glasses, you might be able to adjust the diopter to compensate for your prescription which will let you shoot without your glasses on. Now, I say might, because if your eyes are too bad, you won't be able to adjust the diopter far enough to get the Viewfinder back to full sharpness.
Note that it's possible to bump the diopter control. So if you ever think, well, my camera just really isn't auto-focusing very well, check the diopter and make sure that it's set to No Correction. You can tell when it's set this way, because there's this extra flat part on the edge of the knob. You want that to line up with the middle line between the +/-. Now, when you look through the Viewfinder, you'll see a number of focusing spots superimposed over your images. These spots light up when you auto- focus to indicate where the auto-focus mechanism has chosen to focus.
The big circle here in the middle of the Viewfinder shows the size of the spot meter. Now below the Viewfinder are a lot of status readouts. These let you know certain things about the camera state such as when you've locked in focus. But more importantly, they let you keep track of your current Exposure Settings. So from left to right, you'll find the AE Lock Light, That's Auto Exposure Lock Light which lets you know when you've locked the exposure using the Exposure Lock button. The Flash Ready Light indicates when the flash is charged and ready to fire, and flash charging begins as soon as the flash pops up.
The High-Speed Flash Sync Light shows when you're set for high-speed syncing with your flash, while the FE Lock Light shows when you've locked flash exposure. Flash Exposure Compensation lights up when you've dialed in any amount of Flash Exposure Compensation. Next comes the shutter speed readout. Now normally this will only show a single number which represent the denominator of the shutter speed. So if you're shooting at say 1 1/25th of a second, you'll see 125 here, a 4 will indicate 1/4th of a second.
But once you drop below a quarter-of-a -second, the display will change to a seconds and fractions of a second readout. So if you see this, then you're shooting at 1 and 1/3rd seconds. If you see this, then you're shooting a 15-second exposure. To the right of the shutter speed readout is the aperture display. This is simply the current F number. The Exposure Level Indicator serves a few functions. In most modes, it shows the amount of exposure compensation that you've dialed in. Each of the numbers represents one full stop, and by default, the lines between each number are a third of a stop.
Positive Exposure Compensation is to the right, negative is to the left. Note that you can actually dial in more than two stops of exposure compensation than the display shows. When you do, the Compensation Indicator will scroll up the scale, and a little arrow will appear to indicate that your compensation has gone beyond two stops. As you change Exposure Compensation, the shutter speed and aperture displays will update to show the new exposure values that your Exposure Compensation has defined. When you're shooting in Manual mode, that same exposure level readout works more like a light meter.
when the indicator is at 0, then the camera is telling you that you've got a good exposure. If the indicator goes above or below 0, then the camera is indicating that you have over or under-exposure. Now you're still free to use any settings that you want. The readout is just there to let you know that the camera thinks that the metering is off. Next comes the ISO Indicator, which simply gives you a readout of your current ISO Settings. If you're coming to digital directly from film, you may wonder why in the world would you want to have a constant display of ISO? But remember with a digital camera, you can change ISO on every shot which makes it a third exposure parameter that you have control over.
Directly beneath the ISO label is an indicator that shows that you activated Highlight Tone Priority which you'll learn about in the Custom Functions chapter. Next comes an indicator that shows if you've dialed in any White Balance Shift and below that is an indicator that shows whether you've activated the Monochrome Picture Style. The Max Burst indicator just shows you a number, and that number tells you how many pictures the buffer can hold. As you shoot quickly, that number will go down, indicating that the buffer is filling up. If the number gets to 0, the camera will stop shooting until it's had time to empty out the buffer, at which point the number will slowly go up as the buffer empties.
The buffer can hold more JPEGs than RAWs, so the maximum number will vary depending on which format you're using. Finally, on the very right side is the Focus Confirmation Light. When you half press the shutter button to focus, this circle will light up to indicate that the camera has metered and locked focus. Now, please don't worry about remembering all of this stuff right now. Exposure Settings are the critical readouts that you need to understand right now. The other status options and lights will become obvious as you learn about those specific features.
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