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Canon EOS 350D - He He !!!

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06.12.2005 Diamond review

Advantages:
Compact, fast, quality images

Disadvantages:
Poor screen view in sunlight

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Picture Quality

Range & Quality of Features

Ease of Use

Durability

Value for Money

ReliabilityExcellent

SizeSmall

WeightVery Light

Overall Look & DesignExcellent

Instruction ManualExcellent

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Canon EOS 350D
*******************
The time had come to bite the bullet and go completely digital. No, not me - just my camera. Out went film and folders. Out went my trusty old Canon EOS 50E, which had served me well for many years, and in came the latest toy.
Already having a Canon S9000 photo printer (prints A3 size photo poster prints) and another compact digital camera, I was geared up for the change. That, and it *was* a new toy 

There were 2 incidents that made me want to switch:
(1) I returned from Hawaii a couple of years ago armed with 25 or so films ready for processing. After a £200+ Jessops bill to process, print and digitise these, just to see which ones I liked, it seemed like an expensive way to go forward.
(2) At my wedding last year, we engaged an excellent professional photographer (Stuart Boreham) who was entirely digital based. The day went well and it was very clear that the ability to instantly review pictures, retake if not perfect, and even show the odd one to us during the day, made a compelling case over traditional film.
The icing on the cake (forgive the pun) was the album, where we were able to work with Stuart producing a book of pictures (overlaying, cropping, fading for background shots, etc.) - we could never have done that with traditional pictures. Roll on digital.

After saving the pennies hard, I bought the EOS 350D (body only) for £539 from Park Cameras (www.parkcameras.co.uk) back in June 2005. At the time, this was a highly competitive price compared with other internet sources and they had the advantage of having two local stores where I could try the camera and trade in my old 50E (for a paultry £50).

So far the 350D has been to Brussels, and had the usual assortment of home, friends and family use - and I am really pleased with the results.

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Using the Camera
********************
This camera is really small and light. If you use a small zoom lens, it is easy to hold to the eye and use. It feels reasonably robust (but not quite as sturdy as the higher end Canon cameras). The switches all move solidly and feel positive in their action. Some are a little plasticky - evidence of cost cutting, but reflected in the price.

The on switch is easily to hand, the camera starts up and is ready to shoot in less than a second (a big improvement over the older 300D). The Canon autofocus lens (28-80mm) I use for general shots is light and well balanced to the camera.

Press the shutter gently to focus and measure the light. It focuses on the target in a second using 7 autofocus points.
Adjust the framing (view) of the shot and press the shutter harder to take the picture. It really is that simple for the easiest of shots. In automatic mode, it offers excellent
Pictures of Canon EOS 350D
Canon EOS 350D Picture 2284491 tb
EOS 350D Picture 1
pictures with minimal input.

In automatic mode, if needed, the built in flash will pop up and the camera will adjust the exposure accordingly.

As you develop more confidence, extra 'modes' can be access by the dial on the top of the camera - these allow pre-set features to be automatically selected to suit the scene - action, portrait, landscape and more. You can make more adjustments when needed. Rapid shot mode allows the camera to keep on shooting as you keep your finger on the shutter button. Great for action pictures like races.

Having taken the picture, you can view the results immediately on the 2.5" colour screen on the rear of the camera. Buttons allow you to flick through your shots, zoom in and, worst case, delete those disasters that you will never want to see again.

The pictures are stored on a removable memory card (Compact Flash type) - the camera can handle quite large capacity cards (or even micro hard disk drives). You will need plenty of storage for a long holiday.

** TIP: Buy several memory cards rather than one big one - if one ever gets damaged, all is not lost. So far I have never had a failure on a Compact Flash card, but you never know.**

As you learn more about the features, you can access the extensive parameters from buttons on the back of the camera. The most used funcions are quickly accessed by a separate group of 4 buttons. These allow items like the ISO (speed) rating to be adjusted (makes sensor more light sensitive and so allows shots on lower light). You can also adjust the white balance to adjust for pitcures under different light sources (there is an automatic mode for this too).

Even more parameters lurk with a graphical menu visible on the rear screen of the camera. This allows all settings to be tweaked and more advanced features pre-set.
Perhaps my favourite is the exposure bracketing feature - this allows the camera to take 3 successive pictures at slightly different exposures to ensure you get one that is accurate in difficult light conditions.

There are loads more details - a good manual is included which is small enough to be carried around in your camera bag.

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Why Canon?
***************
The main reason, apart from being really happy with the brand, was the lenses.
I was able to take my two existing lenses I had used on my old 50E and they worked perfectly on the new 350D. This saved much expense that would have been necessary if I had switched to a new brand.
Had I had free reign, I would probably have considered the Nikon D50/D70 as alternatives.

************
Why 350D?
************
At the time, this was the latest release of Canon, boasting some impressive technical improvements over the older 300D. As semi-pro / serious amateur cameras, these are priced reasonably. The quality of the images is now even better (I have a friend with a 300D).
To move up the Canon range to the 20D or other higher models would have required a much higher cost (nearly double).

*****************
Film vs. Digital
*****************
The arguments still rage, but a good indication of how the world is changing comes from Dixons who are no longer going to stock film cameras. Kodak have also completely re-organised their camera/film division to move to a digital platform.

Digital cameras are now the norm for most except professional photogrpahers, and even they are making the switch. The quality is now sufficient that even small, cheap compact digital cameras can give excellent standard sized prints (if desired).

I do not miss fiddling about with loads of paper, negatives, and albums. Now I can pick the pictures I like, arrange them on my computer and print out on my own printer, a completely unique picture, album or collage as needed.

I can now also take backup copies and store them safely in case of loss. I can print copies at will for friends and relatives. I can publish pictures online so that distant relatives can see my 'snaps'. There are many free services that allow you to upload you pictures to the internet, and also offer a print purchase function for you and your friends and relatives.

True the ultimate quality of film is not yet surpassed without spending huge amounts of money, but most users will not see the difference in a reasonable sized picture. The only advice I would offer is pick a digital camera with a 'resolution' of at least 4 megapixels (preferably more) for good quality 6" * 4" prints / images.

***********************
What Was In the Box?
***********************
- The 350D Body and lens socket cover (I went for the black body - looks better than silver).
- A Canon branded strap (note - less good than the one with my old 50E, so I kept that)
- A shield for the eye piece (apparently used for certain shooting conditions)
- A Canon standard life battery (unique to this model I believe)
- Battery Charger and Power Cable
- PC software on CD and USB cable to attach camera to PC (or suitable printer)
- A voucher for a free SanDisk 256Mb Compact Flash Card (sent away to Canon and I received this very promptly - probably no longer on offer).
- Detailed manual and quick start guide

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What Have I Bought Since?
*****************************
2 additional Kingston 512Mb Compact Flash memory cards (£22 each from www.MyMemory.co.uk) - I already have a 256Mb card and the one free with the camera. They were not enough for a happy snapper like me :)

**********************************
What Might I Buy In The Future?
**********************************
- A second battery is a possibility - I have never run out of power even after hundreds of pictures but on a longer trek this could be useful.
- The power battery grip (pricey at £100) - it screws to the base and adds an additional hand grip width. When mounting larger lenses, the camera can become front heavy and would benefit from a larger grip area to aid stability.

********************************
Features For The Non-Techie
********************************
• The quality resolution of the camera (8 megapixels) is higher than most at this level. Certainly good enough for large prints.
• The camera body is quite small - ideally suited for smaller hands - and very light
• There is a built in flash which does a reasonable job for quick shots
• The standard battery has a good life - I have never yet run out of power.
• Plenty of adjustment features to enable difficult pictures
• A reliable and accurate automatic mode for the 'point-and-shoot' picture
• Can take rapid pictures and automatically adjust focus on moving targets
• 7 spot focus system that can be selected or left to automatically pick the best focus
• Comes with a comprehensive photo management software solution - top quality features.

*****************
For The Techie
*****************
• 8.0 MP
• 3 fps with up to 14 image burst
• E-TTL II flash system
• DIGIC II
• 7-point AF
• DPP RAW image processing software
• Separate RAW/JPEG image recording
• USB 2.0 Hi-speed/Video Out
• Compatible with EF/EF-S lenses/EX Speedlite flashes
• PictBridge compatible (connect directly to certain printers)

************
Strengths
************
• Small and light - probably one of the few SLR cameras that can be comfortably held be small handed folk (like me).
• Eye diaoptric adjustment (allows eye sight defect correction so you can use the camera without your glasses - additional correcting eye cups can be bought if the range of adjustment is not enough for your eye.
• Very fast startup and processing.
• Compehensive software suite with camera.
• Feature rich - boasts many advanced options allowing complete picture control.
• Can take standard Canon EOS lenses (note: the focal length is 1.8 times more on a digital compared to a standard film camera, but still eminently useable. This means you 28-80mm behaves like a 50-140mm lens).
• High 8 megapixel resolution giving very sharp quality pictures.

***************
Weaknesses
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• No memory card, remote control or case in the standard package. Cannot be used out of the box!
• Could be a little small for the larger male hand - the option (at £100) is to add the power grip which gives a sideways shutter release and extra battery capacity.
• A feature I really miss from my old 50E - eye focusing. I used to be able to look where I wanted the system to focus and hey-presto. Now the camera (or I manually) has to decide.
• The rear LCD screen is hard to see in bright sunlight - could do with better contrast.

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Conclusion
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Overall, I can recommend this excellent camera. One for the serious photographer or aspiring amateur.


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Comments about this review »

frozenace 19.07.2007 15:47

Great review :) The 400D has also come down in price and is a good successor to the 350D. The body feels a bit cheap though, which is why I went for the Eos 20D instead.

welsh_rescue 23.02.2007 17:02

Cheers for the review. I think its time tocount my pennnies! Take Care

bowker76 28.11.2006 16:39

I think Cannon are a good make of camera and I think this one would be worthy to buy. Good review!

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Switch to the future with the EOS 350D Digital and take your creativity to a new dimension. Compact, lightweight an...

General

MPN 0210B014AA, 0210B020, 0120B009AA, 0210B055, 0210B005, 0210B062, 0210B061AA, 0210B009AA, EOS350D, 0210B011, 0210B016, 0210B085, 0210B019, 0207B005AA, 0210B021, 0210B029, 0210B149, 0210B012, 0210B017, 0207B027, 0210B018, 0210B119AA, 0210B120AA, 0210B117AA
Product Type Digital camera - SLR
Lens Included EF-S 18-55mm lens, Body only, EF-S 18-55mm and EF 55-200mm lenses, EF-S 17-85mm IS lens

Exposure & white balance

Light Sensitivity ISO 100, ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 1600, ISO auto (100-400)
Exposure Metering Evaluative, partial (9%), centre-weighted
Exposure Metering Zones 35

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This review of Canon EOS 350D has been rated:

"exceptional" by (35%):

  1. pip_ku
  2. Jamal6008
  3. ambrosurvey

and 23 other members

"very helpful" by (59%):

  1. patel88
  2. Silverback
  3. frozenace

and 41 other members

"helpful" by (5%):

  1. joffinjjim
  2. nogbad
  3. TheChocolateLady

and a further member

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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