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#6489

The T3 has four navigation buttons around the Set button.  The top navigation button is labelled ISO, I expect pressing it then turning the wheel by the shutter release would change ISO.  If you shoot Nikon, there is no expectation you would know how to change Canon settings.  As the owner of the camera, she should be able to change something as basic as ISO without having to think about it.

Her shot:  https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_YHJbJelj7c/URkiijwZGVI/AAAAAAAAApE/dU_jcQ8B-wI/s512/IMG_6045.jpg, is alright for sneaking a shot while someone else is the photographer the subject is paying attention to.  It could be better.  Small images hide noise but it still looks grainy.

Your photo is about a stop over exposed.  Once exposure is brought down, a little contrast is added and some sharpening done, it looks pretty good.  Mom has a couple of blemishes that could be fixed too, the over exposure hides them somewhat but the editor’s healing brush is a better choice.

Try under exposing the background about a stop then add flash to light your subject.  See if you like the look.

As far as lenses go, when I am just doing casual photography, I like Sigma’s 18-250 mm on a crop sensor body and Canon’s 28-300 mm on a full frame body, because you can take almost anything without changing lenses.  I had some CoolPIX cameras and I have a Nikon FM-10, but mostly I shoot Canon.  For anything requiring a shallow depth of field, faster glass is better, then the question of how much focal length is needed.  Sigma makes an 85 mm f/1.4 prime lens that is very nice and half the price of Canon’s 85 mm f/1.2 L lens.  Canon’s 70-200 mm f/2.8 L lens is nice.  There is a new version of that lens now, so I don’t know if you can still get the original version.  Either version should be good but the new version probably costs more.  If you want to take an entire room, Sigma makes a 10-20 mm for crop sensor bodies, and Canon’s 16-35 mm L lens is very good on a full frame body.  Sigma and Canon both make nice 50 mm lenses.  Canon’s 50 mm f/1.8 is plastic, and inexpensive but delivers reasonable photos and it is light to carry.  The f/1.4 and f/1.2 versions are heavier and several times more expensive.  Canon has a nice 28 mm f/1.8 lens and also the 24 mm f/1.4 L.  The challenge is always to determine how far away you will be and what you want to fit in the frame, then choose a focal length that is suitable.  Faster glass like zoom lenses that are a constant f/2.8 or prime lenses that are f/1.2 to f/1.8 provide good low light performance and shallow depth of field when wide open.

I’m surprised you are thinking of upgrading from a Nikon to a Canon or Sony.  Usually photographers stay with the same brand, mostly because of their investment in lenses.  This is less of an issue if you only have the kit lens.  Try to visit a well stocked store and hold everything in your price range, then hold some cameras a step or two above your price range, and try out the bigger and more expensive lenses too.  Get a feel for where you would go with each brand.  Once you have several thousand dollars invested in lenses, changing brands will not be an attractive option.  You might look at the flash options too.  I don’t know much about Sony, except people in other forms are moving away due to service issues.  Canon and Nikon are offering excellent flash options.  The latest Canon flash is the 600 EX RT which contains a radio, you can get several of them and a controller, then you can separate them into groups and adjust output per group from the camera — very convenient.  With some of the newer Canons and most Nikons, you can use the pop-up flash as a commander to control off camera flash via light pulses that are sent just before the shutter opens, this is also very attractive.  Usually one brand will speak to you.  It will feel better in your hands, you will like the button placement or find the menus more intuitive to use.