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Re: canon xti low lighting
In low light you need a high ISO setting, probably 1600.
You also could do with a lens with a low F number to let in lots of light. You can get a fixed focal length F1.8 cheap but might find the lack of zoom a problem.
A decent zoom with a low F number is going to be expensive.
The EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS for instance has a list price of around £800 / $1200 !!
You can get a non-Canon one which would be more affordable and you also won't need the IS at short focal lengths (although it always helps). Have a look at Sigma and Tamron in the F2.8 to F4.0 range but check the online reviews to make sure they are of reasonable quality.
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There is a minimal focusing distance for all lenses. If you move closer to the subject than that distance then the camera won't focus on it. Check you lens manual for minimal focusing distance. It is 11 inches for Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM, for example.
On the back of the camera to the Right of the LCD there is a up-down-left-right-center switch. push the up one. (Labeled ISO) then use the same selector switch to select the ISO you want and then press the shutter half way down. If you are shooting in a low light situation, the auto focus sometimes will not work. Change the switch on the lens from AF to MF and focus manually.
Could be the metering mode you are in. Could be the subject is too far away. Could be ISO is set wrong. Could be the lens aperture can't open up enough. Could be the exposure compensation isn't set correctly. Could be FE Lock is still on and the composition has changed. Does the <flash> icon continue to blink? Then you are too far away.
you will have to 'Play in Depth' with the help on the manual here to establish what it is you are doing that the camera not like.
For example if in load light conditions and you have set the camera to manual, then it could block if the manual setting does not suit the light condition prevailing.
So manual out and a good read through