Canon EOS 400D digital reflex camera
In a mere three years time, Canon have already managed to introduce the third entry-level digital SLR camera. Each camera seems to come with small, yet important improvements. The significance of the actual developments clearly becomes apparent when putting the Canon EOS 400D next to the EOS 300D. The camera has evolved from a stripped down model, of which a price breakthrough was a main asset, to a full-fledged 10 Megapixel camera. We say full-fledged because we consider the Canon EOS 400D to be much more than a simpler version of the EOS 30D. It truly is a digital SLR camera that stands it's own, and forms a new Megapixel segment for Canon.
Canon EOS 400D SLR camera - Dust reduction
One of the most striking features, in addition to the increase of resolution over that of the more expensive EOS 30D model, is the camera's dust reduction system. With the EOS 400D, Canon put an end to dust on the sensor in a thorough and efficient way. Dust is the main enemy of a DSLR camera, and will surely affect the fun of reviewing or printing your images if not dealt with carefully. Where other brands merely opt to use vibrations, Canon take a more serious approach. Firstly, by using special materials in the mirror housing that attracts less dust and is less likely to wear out. The key thought behind all of this is: what isn't around in the first place, can't get to the sensor either. Secondly, we have the vibrating low pass filter, not a separate filter, but just the regular, low pass filter one would need in any case. This undoubtedly saves money as well. Prioritising the shutter release button means you will never have to miss another moment when activating the camera. Moreover, the fact that the filter is activated both when switching the camera on and off, dust simply gets less of a chance to attach itself. Should you still find dust on the sensor, a Dust Delete Data map will help remove the remainders through software. All in all, it is safe to say the Canon EOS 400D ensures dust in your image will finally be a thing of the past!
Canon 400D digital SLR - 2.5 inch LCD screen
There's more, however. The screen on the camera's back side has undergone a revolution. Not only is the small Canon now equipped with a large 2.5-inch LCD display, it also proves of terrific quality. In fact, it is even better than those found on the EOS 5D and the EOS 1D Mark II N; this screen is bound to spark the jealousy of many a professional DSLR owner! The value of a good monitor can simply not be underestimated, after all, you will be dealing with it all of the time. The LCD now also shows the photographic settings, which is very pleasant to work with in practice. Although we must admit we find the eye sensor a rather irksome piece of work - but to each his own!
Canon EOS 400D DSLR camera - Small viewfinder
Contrary to the screen, the viewfinder of the Canon 400D is still small. Too small in fact, when keeping in mind that Nikon have been able to equip their entry-level model with a large viewfinder view. We hope that the Canon EOS 450D, or whatever the name of a potential successor will turn out to be, will feature a decent viewfinder. It would also be an improvement if it displayed the ISO setting, or -better yet- the selected light metering system, especially as this really is essential information to the photographer. Despite the occasional negative point, the Canon EOS 400D is a truly fantastic camera to work with. It reacts very rapidly indeed, and both the auto focus and the light metering perform very well. The large buffer and the fast image processing ensure you will not encounter any delays. You can simply focus all of your attention on the capturing of your image, just like it's supposed to be. If you wish to adjust a thing or two, there'll be no need to search. Everything on the Canon EOS 400D is clear and well-arranged.
Canon EOS 400D reflex camera - Image quality
The image quality is excellent, and the Picture Styles in particular are a welcome addition, which allow the user to tune the results entirely to his or her personal taste. In our opinion, the sharpening is just a tad too high. The in-camera conversion to JPEG is impressive. It is almost of the same quality as a RAW file, although this of course does not include the correction options. The Canon EOS 400D even performs very well indeed when working with high sensitivities, despite the smaller pixels on the image sensor. Although it doesn't quite make it to the level of the EOS 30D, even ISO 1600 can easily be used. An excellent performance, which is equally excellent to use in practice. However, it would be recommendable to invest in a decent lens. During the practice tests, we employed the standard EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and the higher quality EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. The difference was very clear indeed. Less distortion, a better contrast rendition and less vignetting. If you opt to work with the built-in flash, a certain amount of caution is required in the wide-angle mode, which shows a certain degree of loss of light. Consequently, the purchase of an external 430EX flash would be well worth considering.
Canon EOS 400D digital SLR - Truly recommended!
With the EOS 400D, Canon deliver an excellent digital SLR camera. It truly offers value for money, especially when considering the remarkable software that comes with the camera: a proper, extensive version, not one of those light editions. The Canon EOS 400D is an excellent first step into the world of DSLR cameras, as well as a great back-up camera. It is a genuinely versatile model, that remains user-friendly, offers comprehensible features and a clear operation. Although we do not doubt the success the Canon 400D will enjoy, we know the competition is rarely far behind. Canon have their rivals breathing down their neck, and the gap of differences between them is becoming increasingly smaller. We would genuinely recommend the Canon EOS 400D to all of those who have lost their heart to photography, whether it is the snapshot photographer that wants to capture his images in a simple, yet high quality manner, or the enthusiastic hobby photographer that wants to unleash his creativity. The extensive options and the camera's user-friendly operation ensure the Canon EOS 400D is perfectly suitable for a large group of photographers. Truly recommended!
Canon 400D - CompactFlash memory card
The Canon EOS 400D is the latest 10 Megapixel DSLR in the Canon assortment, and is able to deal with all types of CompactFlash memory cards, both fast and slow, as well as with all capacities. Although this may seem obvious, there are still quite a few (older) models that are not (yet) able to fully employ the newest, high capacity memory cards. Naturally, Microdrive, the small mini hard disk, can also be used, although there aren't many people who still work with it. This storage medium should in fact no longer be regarded as a serious alternative for a memory card. It is its instability in particular (not shockproof) that has caused many photographers a headache or two.
2GB SanDisk Extreme IV memory card
A disadvantage, albeit a small one, of a high amount of Megapixels is that the file size easily increases. Especially when shooting in RAW or RAW+JPEG, the Megabytes pile up rapidly! It is therefore wise to purchase a large memory card at the same time as the camera. A 1GB CompactFlash card has to be the absolute minimum; 2GB will give you plenty of room to work with. To enable the quickest possible finish, an Extreme III card would be recommendable. Although you may not always notice the benefits of an Extreme IV, the fastest memory card in the world, you will certainly become aware of the advantages when transferring your images to the computer. Especially when working with the fast Extreme card reader by SanDisk, which can also be employed with FireWire 800. When using a fast card, the buffer will be emptied very quickly indeed, whilst an Extreme III or Extreme IV card allows you to fill a 2GB sequentially in the highest JPEG mode. The following table shows the amount of images that fit onto a 1GB CompactFlash card.
Considering 1GB of storage capacity:
3888 x 2592 pixels - RAW - 9,8MB - 72 images
3888 x 2592 pixels - RAW+JPEG - 100 images
3888 x 2592 pixels - JPEG - Large - Fine - 3.8MB - 260 images
3888 x 2592 pixels - JPEG - Large - Normal - 2.0MB - 498 images
2816 x 1880 pixels - JPEG - Medium - Fine - 2.3MB - 432 images
2816 x 1880 pixels - JPEG - Medium - Normal - 1.2MB - 820 images
1936 x 1288 pixels - JPEG - Small - Fine - 1.3MB - 752 images
1936 x 1288 pixels - JPEG - Small - Normal - 0.7MB - 1418 images