Upgrading from a Basic Canon Rebel DSLR

I’ve been focusing a lot on photography lately. I learned how to use my camera in manual mode as part of my Thirty Before 30 list, and then I improved my skills with a Photo 101 course. I finally feel like I know what I’m doing, but I’ve realized that I’ve reached my camera’s limitations.

My trusty Canon Rebel XT (350D) has been good to me. Yes, there have been a million improvements on it since mine came out in 2005, but I never felt the need to upgrade until now. My camera is only 8 megapixels, and I can’t go above ISO 400 without noticeable noise (not that the camera goes above 1600 anyway). Our bungalow is dark and taking photos inside has been challenging, so I’m looking for better ISO performance (and better quality overall).

It seems like every blogger with a fancy camera is using a Canon 5D, and I assumed I would upgrade to one as well. Except the more I did my research, the more the Canon 7D started to sound really good. It even does some things better than the 5D (a faster frame rate, and 19 focus points instead of 9, to name a few). Yes, the 5D is a full-frame camera, and it performs exceedingly well in low-light situations, but I think I’m going to be very happy with the 7D for years to come. I may upgrade further to a 5D eventually, but in the meantime I can invest in lenses.

Speaking of lenses, I have the nifty fifty, and I also have a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens. The Tamron was purchased a few months ago as an upgrade to my Rebel’s kit lens while I save for a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF. (I think.) The Tamron is a great, inexpensive lens, and I’m excited about using it with my 7D.

I have a post planned for later this month about taking photos of your home, so I’ll take a little time to get to know my new camera before then and I’ll let you know how it is. Now, I’d love to hear from all of you… Are you using a point and shoot, or do you have a DSLR? I’m not a pro (yet), but I can try to answer any questions you may have. I feel like I’ve learned so much even though I used to find all of the information overwhelming, and I want others to know that they can learn it too.

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  • Rebecca
    May 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I have a Nikon D40, but I’d like to upgrade to a Nikon D90. Besides the kit lens and the zoom lens I have, I also have a 50mm which I love, but it does not have auto focus with the D40, which it would with the D90. I love that lens, but I ruin a lot of shots because I can’t focus fast enough!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      I remember Jules had the same problem (she has a D60).

      • Jules
        May 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm


    • Jana
      May 10, 2011 at 1:07 am

      Rebecca, I am in the exact same boat as you…D40 with a 50mm that does not auto focus…and like Nicole, I get way too much noise with it. Would LOVE a d7000, but am going to get a D3100 to save a little. I’m ok with auto focusing, but I need a camera that turns out better pictures in low light situations.

      It’s a slippery slope…you think you are going to have a fun photography hobby, but then you really get into it and find out about the expense…it’s dangerous ;)

  • Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life
    May 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I’m finally able to shoot in any setting (including manual!) on my husbands’ Canon 20D. He’s more of a pro with tons of training and experience but I’m happy just knowing how to use manual mode if he hands it to me (probably to hold). He’s got all sorts of lenses – including a giant paparazzi one!

  • donaville
    May 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    your pictures are coming out marvelously as of late :)

    i started out with a nikon d40x about four years ago and then upgraded to a d90 two years ago. i’m contemplating going full-frame sometime in the future, but can’t justify the price for a full frame right now unless i *really* need a full-frame (i.e. for potraits, photo styling, etc.) in your case, if the 7D suits you and looks like the benefits are better, i’d go with it and save $ for a solid prime lens.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you! I’ve noticed a big improvement lately too.

  • Katie | GoodLife Eats
    May 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I purchased the Canon 50D a little over a year ago. It’s been great, but now that I’ve heard more about the 7D I wish that I had purchased that instead. At the time it was a little overwhelming purchasing a DSLR for the first time, but I would love more focus points. In my food photography I find that I often have to rearrange either myself or the food to get it to focus at the point I want, so more would definitely be nice!

    I have the canon 24-70 lens and it’s pretty amazing, and not just for food! I love it for photographing my kids because it isn’t fixed so I’m not having to chase them down to get the shot I want. I’m considering selling my 50 mm now because I don’t really ever use it.

    I’d recommend to rent lenses before purchasing. They have really good deals and for lenses that run at over $1,000 it’s nice to try them out before plunking down all that cash.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      My Rebel only has seven focus points, and I find it to be so limiting. I’m looking forward to having more.

      And thanks for the rental tip!

  • Jenny G
    May 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I just upgraded to a 7D as well, with the same concerns with the 5D that you voiced here. Makes me feel like I really made the right decision! You’re going to love it, it’s night and day compared to the rebel!

  • Adventures in Dressmaking
    May 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Looking forward to the post about taking pics of a house!

    I just bought a Cannon Rebel, actually… just took the first pics with it yesterday. So I don’t know yet if it is a huge improvement from my crappy old point-and-shoot or not!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      It takes some practice, but shooting with a DSLR is great. Good luck!

  • Jenae
    May 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve got a Nikon D3000, which is a basic dslr, but I love it. I got an amazing 35mm 1.8 prime lens with great bokeh. I never take my kids into photo places anymore to get their picture taken. Taking pictures of my house has proven more difficult, as I imagine a better lens would help with that. I have just been using the stock lens for that. I’ve heard the D90 is the way to go if you are a Nikon lover.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Yes, I’ve heard good things about the Nikon D90 too.

  • Giulia
    May 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I’m a Nikon girl and love my D200, however I would like to upgrade to a D7000 to capture low light situations better and if I won the lottery I’d go for the D700. I also like the now integrated video features – makes life easier. I shoot mostly with my 50 lens, except to capture larger areas of a room. I rent fancy lenses for special events, allowing me to use something I could never afford.

  • Megan
    May 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve going through the exact same thing (I’ve had my rebel for about 5 years as well). I’ve been reading and asking for suggestions every moment possible. I’ve finally decided to do a test: I’m renting each camera for a week and testing them out to see what really fits me. I’ll rent the 5d one week and the 7d the next week to really get a feel for them both. It might be an option for you, too :)

    btw, LOVE your blog!

  • Funnelcloud Rachel
    May 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    So funny – we must be on the same camera schedule, except I’m a Nikon girl. I’ve had my beloved Nikon D40 for 3 1/2 years and learned to shoot on a DSLR with this camera. An upgrade wasn’t really in the budget, but the D40 DIED last week! Did you know that the shutter can wear out?!

    I was contemplating whether I should get it repaired or fork over the money to upgrade. I went out of town for the weekend, and when I returned, my boyfriend had surprised me with a Nikon D7000! (He also told me not to look in our checking account! Ha!) The new camera is bigger, heavier, and has a lot more complicated features and buttons, but so far I LOVE it! The photo quality is amazing and I can’t see needing any more camera than this one!

    Have fun with your new toy!

  • Jennifer
    May 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I have a Nikon D70 which I really like. I do not know the half of how to use it but I manage to get some really good pictures. In order to get a great picture though, I usually need adequate natural light, and usually I need to use my zoom lense so I get that nice blurred background. Is there a way to get that without using a zoom lense from way across the room? Also, any tricks to getting non blurry kid photos (because they tend to move a lot those little monkeys!) in indoor lighting?
    Thanks! I am considering getting that book you mentioned but the shipping to Canada bumps the price up a bit and I’m just not sure.)

  • Kirsten @ Triple Max Tons
    May 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I want a fancy camera so badly, but the price tag is such a hard pill for me to swallow…any of you buy a used one and had good results?

  • Jennifer
    May 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Great choice with the 7D. My plan is to move forward with the 5D when they get it up to speed. Looking forward to what you have to say! Congrats!

  • Claire
    May 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I have both a 7D and a 5D MkII and I have to say the 7D is a fabulous body. I’m a dog/pet photographer and the Autofocus system on the 7D is markedly superior to the 5Ds (which you need if you shoot pets — or kids!).

    Is there a reason you’re choosing the 24-105 over the 24-70 2.8L? Since I imagine you’ll be doing a lot of interior natural light photography, I’d think that you would want a wider aperture than 4, to keep your ISO low and your shutter speeds up to capture those kiddos ;) For longer focal lengths there’s also the 70-200 2.8L which is equally fantastic.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      My Tamron is a 28-75 2.8, so that’s pretty similar to the Canon 24-70 2.8. I do love the wide aperture though, and maybe someday I’ll get a Canon version as well.

  • Elena
    May 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I have been lusting over the 7D since January and finally have the money to get it, but it’s out of stock everywhere unless I want to pay hundreds more on Amazon! Have you bought it yet? I love that it is just as good (even better, some might say) than the 5D.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

      I bought one from B&H photo w/ a lens because it was just about the same price as the body-only from Amazon. I don’t have any lenses with Image Stabilization, so I thought that might be good for using the camera for videos.

  • Heidi S.
    May 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    We have the Canon 5D with the 24-105 and I LOVE IT! My husband uses it for work (including shooting HD movies) and it has been a work horse for him the last couple of years. It is pretty amazing in low light (great for the house but also taking candid pictures of the kids). I can’t say that I use it in manual very often, but its capabilities go far above my photo skills. Now if I can just find the time to take the Photo 101 class (which sounds perfect for me).

  • Amy
    May 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    My husband has a Canon 5D and I got his hand-me-down 20D. I’ve been wanting to take that online photo class you posted about so I can learn how to use the thing! The 7D sounds really good! Maybe I can upgrade to that once I learn how to use the 20D. My husband won’t share is 5D with me. :(

  • Paula
    May 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I love the Tamron lenses; I have two from my old Pentax. Can’t wait to read your posts about photography :)

  • Tina Riddell
    May 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I have the 7D and I love it. It does everything I need it too and so much more. I thought about the 5D but the 7D had to so to offer at a better price. I would buy the 7D and get a really good lens, you will be happy. Happy camera shopping.

  • Gennia
    May 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I’m a professional wedding/event photographer and I love my 5D Mark II. But I started out with the 20D back when I did sports photography. I’ve heard good things about the 7D as well as the 60D. I’m sure you’ll love the 7D! Have fun exploring! I would definitely recommend getting the 85mm 1.8 lens. It is my absolute favorite. :)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:00 am

      Thanks, I’ve heard other people love that lens too! I wonder if it might be too zoomed in on a crop sensor though.

      • Marisa
        May 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

        Yup, I’d skip the 85mm unless you’ve got a full-frame to work with. We have a 5D and a 20D, and the difference is really noticeable. I can’t use the 85mm on the 20D.

  • Sarah
    May 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Right now I use my work’s Nikon D60. I know NOTHING about it. I have only shot in auto mode. This is also one of my 30 before 30 things, and the classes you posted look amazing. Just as soon as the husband graduates from school, I’ll be doing one (along with about a thousand other things we say we will do when we “have money again”!)

  • James
    May 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Have you looked into lenses? a 35mm 1.4 would probably be a good investment, rather than dumping the money into a new body.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Yes, I’ve been looking into better lenses, but I definitely needed a better body too. But that’s why I bought the 7D over the 5D – to save a little money and invest in lenses.

  • Camille
    May 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Last summer I upgraded from my Canon 450D, to the 5D. (You can get excellent deals on refurbished, I did not go that route, but my friend did, and she’s had no problems with it). I have to say, the full frame makes a HUGE difference.

    I have the 50mm 1.4, a 35mm L, and the 24-70mm. The 50mm is AMAZING on the 5D, and the 24-70 is incredibly versatile and rarely leaves my camera. (I’m by no means a pro either, I just have 3 young active kids who I always take photos of, and I’ve done a few family photo shoots, nothing serious though). Have you joined clickinmoms yet? If you haven’t, do it now! You’ll love it, and you’ll probably recognize a lot of other moms/designers/bloggers on the site.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

      I thought about clickin moms and almost signed up. Maybe I should go for it.

  • Cate
    May 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    And the video the 7D shoots is beautiful, glorious HD. Be sure to check it out – you won’t believe how great it looks, even in really low light. Suddenly your little videos of your kids are going to look fantastic. Here’s a link to a short film I cut that was shot on a 7D – looks pretty great!

  • Peaches
    May 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I have a 2009 Rebel EOS…nearly upgraded to the 5D this spring but backed off after renting it for a weekend. It was real nice, but the margin of difference was not worth the cost, in my book. Maybe the 7D would be different? I don’t know, but I will say, now I am saving my pennies up for a mega lens. I will also say, for blogging purposes, the best lens I currently own was also the cheapest –Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 at $125ish. It’s like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of camera lenses.
    Can’t wait to hear your findings. Photography equipment is very intimidating to me. I’ll be anxious to hear from a non-expert-but-frequent-photo-taker :)

  • Amy @ Lovely Nest
    May 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I’m in the Nikon crowd, with a D40x. I’d love to upgrade, but haven’t felt the need quite yet. I’m getting there though. Photography is a hobby of mine and I’m starting to feel the limitations, like you, as I learn all the little quirks of my camera!

  • Emma
    May 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Nicole – I use a 30D and I love it, it’s my constant companion. I would like to save up for some new lenses though :) Can’t wait to see your posts on taking photos in the home, it’s something I’d like to get better at, especially in low light as our old house is a little lacking on the big windows!

  • Kathy
    May 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Nicole! Gosh, it seems you just bought that camera… But then again, it seems like just yesterday that you broke the news that you were expecting with August. Time flies and I admire that you make the most of each day.

    So I am curious to know how you decided on Canon vs. Nikon in the first place. I haven’t seen any discussion of that basic question and it’s the one that I can’t seem to get a straight answer to. I am not a very high-tech person and I find the Nikon to be a little intimidating to use. Nikon manuals give me a migraine and the layout of the camera controls and symbols are complicated. It’s been suggested that Canons are better for artistic types, and Nikons are better for techie types. AND if you are more comfortable with MAC computers, you’re more likely to want a Canon and vise versa, PC people like Nikons. I would love to have normal people here on your blog weigh in on this subject. It is a very controversial subject when around professioinal photographers! Thanks and good luck. Your photos have been beautiful.

    • Kim at Yellow Brick Home
      May 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Kathy! Just my 2 cents – it’s ALL personal preference. Funny, I love my Nikon because I think the controls are MUCH more user friendly than a Canon, and I also have an Apple laptop.

      I think you should play with both and don’t let others tell you what’s based on opinion alone :) That debate has always been a hot topic!

    • Danielle
      May 10, 2011 at 6:28 am

      Hi Kathy. I worked at a camera store 5 years ago. While I was there, Nikon had stopped making film cameras and devoted everything to digital. I think this was a smart move on their part. It was a sign of the times.

      It really is a personal preference. Both are great brands! A friend of mine who is a photo journalist uses Nikon and loves it. Other friends use Canon and love them. I think you need to play around with both and see which is more user friendly for you.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

      I went with a Canon Rebel originally because I used my sister-in-law’s and I really liked it. I think it’s just personal preference.

  • Christi
    May 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I upgraded from the Rebel XT to the 7D in February. It’s definitely a learning curve. All the buttons are different! I need to upgrade to a bigger SD card. The photo file size on the 7D is so much bigger.

    Isn’t the difference at a high ISO amazing? Hardly any noise. I love the focus system too.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

      I’m glad to hear that. I can’t wait to start playing around with the 7D.

  • Beth
    May 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    i recently purchased the 7D and it’s been magic ever since. i, too, struggled with purchasing another crop sensor vs. a full frame. BUT this baby is sharp, fast, has super rich color, and all those focus points make me swoon. i read somewhere it should have been named the 5D mark II junior. i’m also a sucker for the high ISOs and the low noise you get, and the 18 megapixels. my old DSLR was super noisy the higher you went. it goes to 6400 which is great! i usually only shoot with the 50mm f/1.4, but have been wanting the same tamron lens you have for awhile. maybe i will have to get it…

    if you want to see some sample shots of mine with the 7D you can see some here

    happy shooting, and may your love affair with the 7D be as beautiful as mine has been!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Beautiful indeed. I feel good about my decision, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that waffled between the two (and that you’re happy with the 7D!).

  • Kim at Yellow Brick Home
    May 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    The fanciest camera I own is a Nikon D200, and I’ve shot many weddings and portrait sessions on it. I no longer shoot events, but I do have a degree in photography, so I love shooting almost every day for the blog! I have to admit, I’ve never needed anything more than what the D200 offers me, and typically, I use my Nikon D80 (I know, both are old – but great – cameras) for almost everything! It’s such a great, handy camera that has everything a “pro” would need.

    I know cameras will always be a debate, but just a recommendation… Put more of your money towards the lenses! I love my 12-24mm for shooting wide in the home, when I’m not using my 50 or 20 prime. I’d love more prime lenses, but dang – expensive!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:11 am

      I should have mentioned it above, but yes, I do want a wide angle lens for shooting the house too. Right now I’m leaning towards getting the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Lens, but I might rent it first to check it out. Plus I can’t afford it right now anyway!

  • Kim at Yellow Brick Home
    May 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Also, have fun shooting! I’ve enjoyed watching your photography evolve.

  • Connie
    May 9, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I recently decided to put my big girl panties on and purchased a Nikon D3100. I am an artist and needed to be able to take photos of my work that accurately portrayed them. It truly is a dream come true! I still need to take some photo classes to learn more, but this is a huge step for me. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Nick Klaus
    May 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I have the rebel XTI, which I absolutely love. At some point I’m upgrading to a 7d, but until then the one I have works fine.
    I never could like the nifty fifty because I kept believing that I was going to break it when I used it. I really want the 50 1.4. If you can find one on craigslist cheap, the 17-40 f4L is an amazing lens.

  • Katie Truelove
    May 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I’m looking forward to your photo posts:)! There’s always more to learn isn’t there! I’m still using a point and shoot but am hoping to upgrade soon!

  • Emily Peck
    May 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I have a Canon Powershot Point and Shoot and I REALLY want a DSLR and to be able to learn how to take pictures! Would love any suggestions for a good “starter” SLR camera – or thoughts between the Rebel and whatever the Nikon equivalent is. I took photography in college and completely forget all of it….still trying to grasp how to do manual and take pictures that aren’t on all the standard settings. :(

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:21 am

      I don’t have experience with Nikon, but my Canon Rebel was a great starter camera! I’ve been using it for six years and I’m only now upgrading.

  • Lizzie
    May 10, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I have had some serious stumbling blocks with our Nikon D3000. I researched it extensively and when I bought it, Best Buy had a lovely bundle on sale on Black Friday. I pretty much use it on Auto setting for everything but even the idiot-proof setting gives me grief. Pretty much everyonehas told me the D3000 is a very beginner SLR but I typically have to take 30-40 shots to get my money shot. The timer setting ALWAYS comes out blurry. I bought a remote control and have yet to figure out how to set it up. The most trouble I have is taking night/dark lighting shots. I must be immune to the awesomeness of Nikon. I also tend to have bad luck with most electronic gadgets, so go figure!
    Luckily, I can pick up some photography tips from Lovely Nicole. Looking forward to seeing how the new camera works for you.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Bummer. It took forever for me to start getting good shots from my camera too though. You’ll see… I’m going to contrast some of my older shots with new ones soon. It’s embarrassing how bad they are (and I thought they were pretty good at the time).

  • Jamie Lee
    May 10, 2011 at 3:24 am

    The hubby bought me a T2i for Christmas since I am a new Chicago area Realtor & I wanted superb house pictures (thus excited for you future posts!) I know my pics are coming out better but I know nothing of lenses, lighting, Iso, aperture, white balance etc… I desperately need a class… but I need to sell a house first to get the class – catch 22 <3

  • celeste
    May 10, 2011 at 8:20 am

    the autofocus on my nikon d100 just decided to retire, and we’re debating whether to get it fixed ($$$) or, le sigh, replace it. shopping for cameras makes me tired just thinking about it! my experience is, given two good options and all things being mostly equal, the *feel* of one camera in my hands over an other is the deciding factor. good luck with whatever you decide!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis
    May 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I’m so glad you did this post. I have been researching cameras for weeks now. I currently have a Canon Point and Shoot, but have wanted a SLR for years. We have recently moved 12 hours from our home, and my P/S is about to take it’s last breath. I’ve been saving, and am finally taking the plunge, but since I am a complete amateur, I want to spend under $1000. Trying to figure out the best camera for me. I will probably be doing a lot of indoor shots, since I refinish furniture and also sew, I have products to shoot. But now that I am a mom, I know I will be taking a ton of portraits and action shots as well.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Under $1000, I would go with a Rebel (the ones on the market today perform even better than mine from 2005) and get the nifty fifty (50mm 1.8) lens. The ISO isn’t great (one of the main reasons I’m upgrading), but it’s really not bad, especially compared to a point and shoot. And get a tripod too — that will help with your sewing and project shots.

      • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis
        May 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

        Man, I am loving reading all these comments here…so very helpful! Can I ask one more question? If going with the Rebel for a starting camera, which is better XS or Ti? As a beginner, entering the world of SLR’s can be so overwhelming and I have spent hours researching online. But it really helps to SEE someones pictures (as with yours here throughout your blog) and here personal likes and dislikes. Thanks for taking the time to reply to all these comments!

      • Making it Lovely
        May 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

        It looks like the differences are pretty minute. The Ti has a slightly faster frame rate (but very slightly), and a better metering system. If it were me? For a beginning camera, I’d probably save my pennies and get the XS. But that’s just based on a quick comparison on Canon’s site. I would look into some reviews before deciding.

      • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis
        May 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

        THANKS SO MUCH! You da bomb:)

  • Kayla
    May 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

    My wonderful boyfriend just gave me the Nikon D3100 for my birthday last week. I know absolutely nothing about cameras, lenses, aperture, or the rest jargon but I am excited to learn! You’re pictures always look great (especially of the kids!) and I love that you wrote this post. As a new blogger, I have quickly realized that taking good photographs counts for a lot. Good luck with your decision to upgrade, and keep the photography posts coming!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Thanks! I didn’t know any of that for a long time either. You’ll get there!

  • jen {fuzzy sushi}
    May 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I’m so ispired by your photography progress. I know my shop photos need so much work, but learning how to go beyond the basics just seems so daunting. I think I need to check out this Photo 101 course…

  • Catherine
    May 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I use a Canon G10 and enjoy it, but it’s time for an upgrade since the arrival of our triplets. The G10 does not seem to do well in low lighting …. thanks for the post since I’ll be reviewing the comments for other reccos!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

      I have a G10 too, but I love mine! It’s almost on par with the old Rebel I have, and it’s much easier for Brandon to use than the DSLR.

  • Erika
    May 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    This is a topic that REALLY interests me. I feel like my pictures look like CSI photos most of the time and I need all the help I can get. I have a Canon Rebel and I like it a lot, but still I am basically a pointer and shooter. I haven’t a clue and when I read the manual I seem to get things backwards and still screw up my shots. Like you said, it’s all so overwhelming. I think I may check out the 101 class you took and see if that can help me get on the right track. I feel so lost and my poor Little Guy’s baby book is suffering from it. ;0)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:37 am

      It’s totally overwhelming. I didn’t really start to understand it all until recently, and then it just clicked! I wish I knew what I was doing sooner because I feel like I could have taken better pictures of Eleanor when she was a baby, but at least I’m doing better from this point forward. And honestly, the motivation of taking better photos of E is what helped me get to where I am today.

  • Miss B.
    May 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I would love a camera that I could dial up the iso, I have horrible noise problems as well. I am excited to hear that the 7D has some pluses, because 2k+ is a lot for a hobby camera, but I am sure you shall be pro in no time;)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:39 am

      I really debated between the 7D and the 5D (because yeah, the 7D is still a lot of money), but I feel good about my decision!

  • Mike @HA
    May 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Your photography looks really good with your current camera so I’m excited to see how great it will be with a better body! Upgrading the body really does make a difference, we went from a Nikon D70 to a D7000 a few months ago. It’s crazy how much better the pictures come out using the same techniques. We recently had a professoinal photographer write a guest post about photographing interiors, it might be right up your alley:

  • kc
    May 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I recently upgraded from a Nikon d50 to a d7000 and just signed up for the June session of the photography course you mentioned. Really enjoying your photography posts and watching your progress!

  • Corrin
    May 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Holy expensive cameras! I have a Canon T2i and love it, though I’ll probably upgrade eventually.

    Interesting tip – I took several photography classes at the local art school and the professor actually has us reprogram our camera to a single spot focus and then compose our pictures accordingly. Too may focal points and the camera chooses where to focus, not you.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

      I do manually choose my focus points a lot. The problem I run into most often is when I’m trying to do my monthly photo shoots, I don’t have a focus point where I need it, but I also can’t stay with the camera to focus and readjust for each shot. I have to be able to swoop in and set August upright since he’s too little to be in the chair unassisted. With the 7D’s 19 focus points, I’ll be able to choose one that’s in just the right spot.

  • Naomi
    May 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I work with a Canon Rebel and a few (two) lenses…cameras are like cars for me: I drive them into the ground before I buy another one. I’ve found that once you get comfortable with Manual Mode on your camera, it’s pretty hard to outgrow it. Enjoy the learning! :o)

  • yvonne
    May 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    how ironic, I am also retiring my xsi and planning on getting the T3i which came out this year which is a lot cheaper then the 7D. I just recently been reading a lot about shooting in manual mode but still not fully comfortable yet. cant wait to see your new photos then!

  • Gail
    May 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    As a professional photographer, I have to say I LOVE Canon — the color quality just can’t be beat! Nicole, I love hearing you’re doing your homework in all of this and educating your followers as you go along!

    Smart choice to save a bit on the body and invest in better glass. I recommend starting a wish jar to save up for the Canon 24-70 lens. With kiddos, it’s a GREAT zoom to have in your arsenal and will blow you away with the quality.

    No doubt you’re discovering that, like so many hobbies, photography can get expensive!!!

  • kelsey
    May 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    We got a DSLR in January. My husband takes my outfit photos every day with the Canon T1i. We are really happy with it! Will probably upgrade (like you are) down the road!

  • yvette
    May 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve been debating between the two as well – I really, really want that full frame, but like you, have found the 7D to be the fan favorite these days…

  • Andrea B
    May 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I want a DSLR so badly! Fortunately, my hubby has a good Canon point-and-shoot that actually has manual settings that we can “fake it” with to take pictures.

    I have no formal photography training and pretty much know next to nothing other than my background as an art minor to give me a good foundation for composition, color, etc. I’m kicking myself for not taking photography classes in college.

    (Side Note: I did just sign up for, however. I’m using it primarily to beef up my knowledge of design software, but if any other bloggers are in my beginner photographer shoes, I highly recommend it for photography lessons, too. For around $25/month it has video classes that walk you through the tricks of the trade.)

    I’m bookmarking this post for future reference for the day when I’ve saved up enough to buy a Big Girl camera. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dariela
    May 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Congrats! It feels good to invest in a tool that will help you get higher places!!

  • Jennifer
    May 19, 2011 at 1:00 am

    I love my 7D!!!! i hope you do too=)

  • Brooke
    June 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I learned on a Rebel XT and last fall upgraded to the 7D. A world of change for the better!! It’s so much simpler to use with that wheel on the back! You’ll fall in love instantly. I know you will!

  • Happy Weekend | the paper pony
    October 16, 2012 at 12:08 am

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  • Stephanie
    December 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    This is exactly what I am spending HOURS at night researching trying to decide! I know this post was awhile back. Have you been happy? I have a rebel from 2006 and I love it, but like you have used it to it’s limit. My home is dark and I am taking photos of my little ones in here most days. I can’t go above ISO 800, so I am ready for a higher option! I feel like since I am investing so much, I should just go ahead and get the full frame, but have some hesitations of the jump. I think a 7D sounds like the good next step. Just wanted to know if you have been happy with this decision :) Thanks for sharing all this.

    • Making it Lovely
      December 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      I’ve been really happy with my 7D! It’s so much better than my old Rebel was.

      Full disclosure though: I still sort of long for the 5D.

  • My Essential Photography Gear | Making it Lovely
    March 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    […] no longer have that camera or any of those lenses. I sold the Rebel with its kit lens on eBay when I upgraded to a better camera body, and later sold the Tamron as well. I sent the 50mm back to Tristan so she can pass it on to her […]