In addition to evaluating the pictures taken in practice, the Canon 500D is extensively tested in our DIWA Lab. DIWA Labs evaluates the image quality of the Canon EOS 500D among other things. This fully equipped up-to-date test lab works with the DxO Analyzer (version 3), worldwide considered the most advanced software to test the image quality of cameras. Testing the image quality is a complicated and time-consuming task. Artifacts in the optical design, imperfections of the image sensor and shortcomings of image processing algorithms, are main factors playing a role in delivering high-quality pictures. Certainly with today's technique, and small margins in the outcome, it is virtually impossible to judge a picture by the naked eye.
Canon EOS 500D test in practise
One of the features first measured in the DIWA Lab is the accuracy of the color reproduction. How consistent is the reproduction over the entire ISO range, and how much does it deviate from the calibrated Gretag Macbeth Color Checker? The colors of the Canon EOS 500D are vivid and come across as quite natural. The reproduction is fairly accurate and deviates only slightly from that of the Color Checker, almost invisible to the naked eye. The color sensitivity is high over the entire ISO range, a color depth of a min of 21.26 bits is reached with a top score of 23.07 (from 24 bits).
White balance test
The white balance of the Canon 500D passes the test with flying colors, except for one item; incandescent light. In the most difficult circumstances with an abundance of incandescent light, color cast becomes visible. Other than that, the auto white balance performs fine. If you want the perfect white balance, you have to go for the manual white balance of the Canon EOS 500D. This provides the best result, as expected. Especially in incandescent and fluorescent light situations, the Kelvin setting or the so-called Custom white balance will be preferred.
The specifications of the EOS 500D show an ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 3200 ISO. If the image sensor is measured for its actual effective sensitivity, we find up to and including 200 ISO is almost identical to the claimed values. However, from ISO 400 and higher, the actual sensitivity is higher with an average of 22%. It would not hurt for the JPEG photographer to use the exposure compensation at times. The signal/noise ratio of the Canon EOS 500D is superb. Up to and including ISO1600, there is no visible noise whatsoever. It's only at ISO 3200 that noise becomes somewhat visible. This makes the Canon 500D all-round applicable and the ideal camera for the amateur and enhanced photographer alike.
Signal / noise ratio
It is this flexible application of ISO, in all circumstances, that makes the photography experience a true joy. There are more than enough examples of where high ISO plays a role in either succeeding or failing to take a picture.
This feature makes the difference between the popular Megazoom cameras and a DSLR like the Canon 500D all too clear. The Megazoom has to give in when it comes to ISO and noise. If we look at the dynamic range of the 500D, we find it performs excellently. Over the entire ISO range, the camera is able to retain detail in dark and light areas in a picture without blown highlights and blocked shadows.
Canon EOS 500D zoom lens
In addition to testing the Canon EOS 500D body, we naturally do the same with the lens. We received an EOS 500D digital SLR including an 18-200 mm zoom lens from Canon. This type of all-round zoom lens is popular thanks to its large range, and the fact of not having to change one lens for the other all the time. The construction of the zoom lens requires many lens parts, which usually means a lot of concessions have to be made.
Canon EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS lens
The sharpness of the Canon EF-S 18-200/3.5-5.6 IS lens is optimal at aperture f/8-f11. Larger aperture shows blur, especially towards the edges. In the center, it is quieter and only at telephoto and maximum aperture (f/5.6) slight degree of blur is visible. Apertures of f/16 and higher, suffer from increasing blur mainly in telephoto and wide angle. Distortion of the lens is reasonable to good. It's only the wide angle that suffers from some distortion (+1.4%).
The Canon 18-200mm zoom lens performs poorly when it comes to chromatic aberration. Purple fringing pops up in every situation it possibly can. In particular the telephoto mode performs poorly and you can't get around photo editing afterwards. It seems Canon did not prefer to correct chromatic aberration thoroughly inside the camera. The advantage is that the file will be less touched and will come out of the camera in a more pure way. On the other hand, a consumer DSLR such as the Canon EOS 500D should really be offering something more like a ready-made-picture.