Advantages see review
Disadvantages see review
|Range & Quality of Features|
|Ease of Use|
My interest in phography started when my children were born. Like many parents I wanted to record those important moments of childhood for all time. At first a basic point and shoot was sufficient but I quickly found I wanted to be able to obtain better results.A few years ago we went on holiday to the States. I wanted a camera that would enable me to photograph wildlife and knew a zoom lens would be essential. My local Jessops recommended I buy a cannon powershot s3 1s as it has a great zoom lens and is easy to use. This camera is known as a bridge camera-between a point and shoot and a full DSLR. I was very happy with my choice and have some great pictures. However as my interest has grown I had increasingly found the camera wanting. I wanted to start being more creative with my shots and this bridge camera just wasn’t up to the job.
Last summer I started to research buying a DSLR. I looked at numerous models and tread acres of reviews before making a decision. I found it hard to choose between the Nikon D70 and the canon EOS 400D. In the end the canon won because it felt comfortable in my hands and I was already familiar with the lay out of the controls. I was also impressed with the Canon EOS integrated cleaning system, basically a self-cleaning system that prevents dust and dirt getting onto the sensor unit. I have been using my camera since last June so now feel able to give you my opinion; I hope it will be useful!What you get for your money.
The camera arrived a few days after I placed my order. I also ordered a copy of the Canon EOS 400D guide for dummies and suggest you do the same if like me you are new to the world of the DSLR.Inside the box was the camera body.
An 18-55 mm lens (more about the lens later) and lens cap.An instruction booklet.
USB cable and software on a CD-ROM.I was disappointed that there was no compact flash card included as this meant I would be unable to try my camera out until I purchased one. I suggest you get a 4 GB card on sale for around £20.I bought a sanDisk and have had no problems.
This camera has 10.1 megapixels. This means that you can enlarge your photos to a good size with excellent results.The camera body is fairly lightweight at 509 grams but feels well built and sturdy. It is possible to adjust the viewfinder focus to your eyesight by turning a small wheel to the right of the viewfinder.
There is a 9-point automatic focusing system. These are seen as a series of dots when you look through the viewfinder. The dot that lights up in red shows you where your focus point is. The camera also bleeps to confirm that the picture is in focus.There is a large 2.5-inch LCD screen with 230K pixels, at the back of the camera. The menu settings are shown on the screen and I find it bright and easy to read. I do wish that the screen could be turned inwards as with the powershot S3 1S. However despite my concerns the screen has not become scratched despite constant use!
The camera can be used in fully automatic mode or you can chose 1 of the 6 pre set automatic modes by turning the dial on the top of the camera. I tend to use these pre sets often and find the portrait mode gives excellent results and is great for taking portraits of my children. In this mode the background is blurred allowing the focus to be on your subject. There is also a landscape mode, a close up mode, a sports mode for taking pictures of fast moving objects, a night mode and a mode to allow you to disable the flash. All these automatic modes give excellent results and are fine to start off with. Images can be viewed via the LCD screen. However when you fell like being a bit more creative the camera really comes into its own!The advanced shooting modes are also accesses on the dial on the top on the camera. In the P or programmes mode the camera selects both the aperture and shutter speed but you can choose different combinations of the two. I use this mode regularly.
TV or shutter priority auto exposure. This allows you to set the shutter speed. I love taking pictures of flowing water and by using a slow shutter speed I can get a lovely soft effect. Setting a fast shutter speed is useful to freeze the action of a running child or animal. To set the shutter speed all you do is turn the dial to the TV setting and then select the speed you want by turning the wheel located at the front of the camera.AV or aperture value is used to change the depth of field. Basically the higher the aperture value the sharper the picture will look. Controlling the aperture allows you to blur the background for example when taking portraits. The aperture value is shown as an F-number and is accessed via same wheel as for the shutter speed.
The ISO can be set from 100 to 1600.I tend to use ISO100 .The ISO makes the image sensor more reactive to light and at 1600 you will experience noise (speckled looking images) This camera produces good images up to IS0 800.I am not going to explain how ISO, aperture value and shutter speed work together as I am still learning and not yet in a position to teach anyone!The camera can of course, be used in fully manual mode. In this mode you are in full control and set both the aperture and shutter speed.
I am impressed by the quick start up time of this camera, at under 0.2 seconds! It can also shoot 3 frames per second with a 27-frame burst. I have taken many shots of my children running and been able to capture their changing facial expressions. I also have some great shots of my son winning his high jump event in mid air!It is possible to set the image size from small to large. A 512 MB CF card can hold 100 shots in the large image size. I tend to use large, as I often like to print to A3 size. The camera can also take RAW images .RAW images require processing with a computer using the software provided. Raw is basically a raw image that allows you to make image changes.
It is possible to select a picture style via the menu. You can select from taking a picture in black and white to portrait to help give flattering skintones. I like to take black and white images and have a great shot of a fishing boat on a beach.The built in flash will be automatically activated in the more advanced shooting modes. In the automatic modes you can manually active the flash by pressing a button. Although the flash does the job it is fairly basic and I am saving up for a better flash unit!
One of the reasons I choose this camera was for the canon self cleaning system. Each time you turn of the camera the cleaning system is activated cleaning any dust and dirt from the sensor. If you are going to be changing your lens often this is important as dust on the sensor means ruined photos and a bill for cleaning! I have no evidence that this actually works but I can say I have experienced no dust specks on my pictures to date!The camera has the canon Cmos sensor for those who like a bit of technical detail, and Digic 11 image processor. For me, the camera takes superb images with great colour reproduction!
I have recently learnt how to set the white balance to help make the white areas of my pictures in certain situations stay looking white. This is done by a dial to the right of the LCD screen.I should mention that the battery life of this camera is excellent! I have taken hundreds of pictures before the battery indicator starts to tell me it needs charging.
The software supplied with the camera is Ok and lets me correct basic problems such as red eye. However I would like to invest in better software such as Photoshop. Images can be downloaded directing to your computer using the USB cable supplied or you can print with pictbridge.The lens.
As you can guess I really love this camera. There are many pros such as the great picture quality and colour reproduction.
The battery life is excellent. I have taken literally hundreds of pictures before having to re-charge it. It would be best to carry a spare if you are a serious photographer!I am impressed by the lack of noise even at high ISO settings.
The menu is really well designed and easy to access. I like the way all the automatic modes are on one side of a dial with the more creative modes on the other. Like any sophisticated piece, this camera does take a bit of getting used to but it really is fairly easy to use!I really like the look of this camera too; it makes me feel like a pro!
I think for the price a CF card could have been included! Even a small one to get you started would have been a nice gesture from Canon! It would also be good to have a bag supplied but I guess that’s asking too much!
The camera is heavy when you have a big lens attached! It is not something you can pop into your bag or pocket but then it produces the results! If you want to take pictures with a slow shutter speed you will also need to think about carrying a tripod. My husband comes in useful here!I would have liked an LCD screen that you could turn inwards .My old Canon had this feature and 9I thought it was an excellent design.
Before you buy any camera I recommend that you go to a shop and actually try the camera in your hand to ensure it feels comfortable. This sounds obvious but I think it’s important. The 400D feels very comfortable and solid in my hands.I paid £350 FROM Amazon but with my Dooyoo vouchers the price was considerably reduced. I see that Amazon is now selling this camera for £479. I still think it is worth every penny!
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