|Canon EOS 400D digital SLR - Main switch
The main switch has an excellent position, and the Canon EOS 400D needs only a very short start-up time. Upon activating the camera, the sensor cleaning system will also become active, which takes approximately one second. Still, this will not cost you any valuable time, contrary to the system we've seen with Olympus. In fact, you are always ready to capture your first shot; as the shutter release button has the priority over everything else. In that case, the sensor cleaning will be interrupted, a remarkably handy feature! Upon deactivating the camera, the sensor will also be cleaned briefly. One would almost expect it to do the same when changing lenses. I can imagine this is something we might see in the future. After all, it is in particular when changing lenses that a large amount of dust can penetrate the mirror housing, and thus end up on the sensor. Frequent zooming could also prove to be a source of dust.
Canon 400D DSLR - Information on LCD monitor
When looking at the camera's back side, you notice that the second LCD screen has disappeared in favour of the large monitor. All photographic information is now displayed in a bigger size, which proves pleasant and easy to read. The user is offered plenty of information. You can, for instance, see whether the dust reduction system is active. Naturally, you will also find all appropriate information regarding the focus and other important functions. Contrary to most other cameras, the screen of the Canon EOS 400D is white with black letters. This simply makes it easier to read, and proves considerably less distracting. The eye sensor automatically deactivates the LCD when the camera is held in front of the eye, or whenever it is obstructed. It has to be said this could very well prove irksome if you carry the camera to your side; from the corner of your eye, you will constantly notice the camera switching on and off. The information screen on the Canon 400D can also be switched off entirely through the display button. Moreover, the menu allows you to set the camera in a way that remembers, when you switch the EOS 400D on, whether or not the LCD was switched off when you last deactivated the camera. With a deactivated LCD, the functions can still be altered and adjusted. Naturally, this does mean the LCD is switched on briefly.
Canon EOS 400D SLR camera - Viewfinder
There is, however, one important thing to point out as far as the viewfinder of the Canon EOS 400D is concerned. To cut a long story short: it is simply too small. That is, when we compare the viewfinder to that of the main rival of the Canon EOS 400D; the Nikon D80. The viewfinder is similar to those of other DSLR models with a 1.6x crop factor. We must say, however, that we really did expect more from a manufacturer like Canon, who have always managed to raise the bar that extra notch over the past years.
|We secretly hoped Canon would have succeeded in developing a larger viewfinder view. The information in the viewfinder is sufficient, yet not particularly extensive. Whilst it will provide you with all the exposure info, including the (flash) exposure lock and the white balance correction, you will not find the selected light metering system or the sensitivity. Not a major issue for this type of camera perhaps, yet still somewhat limited.
Canon EOS 400D reflex camera - Focussing
Apart from that, the Canon EOS 400D is simply a very enjoyable digital SLR camera to work with. The focus has noticeably improved. Logical in fact, as the camera features the same auto focus as its big brother; the EOS 30D. Changing focus points is done with reasonable ease, and the points themselves are properly divided across the surface. Especially if you opt to combine the camera with a USM lens, you will find the focussing is done at the speed of light, as well as pleasantly silent. Even the standard zoom already performs very well indeed. At least as important is the fact that the Canon 400D is well in control of the focussing; the camera only ran into the occasional hiccup when working with fast moving subjects. However, even in these cases the camera proved to recover very quickly. All in all, a remarkable performance.
Canon EOS 400D digital SLR - Action photography
The Canon 400D allows you to keep shooting at a pleasant pace. Although the image speed of three frames per second isn't particularly impressive, it will easily suffice for the camera's target group. Especially when photographing in JPEG, you will be able to keep shooting without encountering any hindrance. When working in RAW, you could run into the buffer, although it has to be said this would take a considerable amount of sequential shots. The combination of the writing speed and the fast auto focus ensures the Canon EOS 400D can also be used for regular action photography. Capturing images of your playful children and all their sudden, unexpected moves will no longer present a challenge; the Canon EOS 400D is quick enough to capture it all!
Canon EOS 400D - Adjust camera settings
When you wish to adjust a setting, you will find the four buttons located on the camera's back side play an important part. This applies both to the menu and the setting of other functions. Fortunately, you no longer need to press the SET button after making an adjustment. This is greatly beneficial to the operation of the Canon EOS 400D, and simply makes it a lot more enjoyable and direct to work with. The absence of a second mode dial, as seen on the EOS 30D, isn't really noticeable, although it would come in handy if you opt to set the exposure manually. Overall, the Canon 400D proves an excellent camera to work with in practice.