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Canon has for a long time been renowned for its high quality cameras with superb image quality and good value for money.
The Canon EOS 450D is no exception: rugged build, high quality images from Canon's renowned CMOS sensor, and good battery life and usability all contribute to the making of an excellent entry lever DSLR camera.
In terms of picture quality, I feel Canon is unrivalled, and the 450D upholds this reputation. The 12.2MP and CMOS sensor produce excellent results in all light conditions. In bright light, the Canon has no issues sensoring quickly and almost always producing a result in auto and manual modes. The meter is swift and reliable, producing results that are frequently bettered by knowledge of the manual mode and histogram, but nevertheless excellent. The images from low light situations are also very good, but with the 450D, noise can prove an issue for the serious photographer in darker patches of a photo, but only at the very highest ISO settings (800 and 1600) In 'moody lighting' (storms, etc) the camera excels, with Canon delivering the mood contained in the tiniest details of the photo, perfect for landscape or any fine art photographer, as well as the enthusiastic amateur. The lenses that come with the bundled version of the camera also perform well, with the Canon 18-35mm lens returning pin sharp photos while light enough to swing around anywhere. (I have walked for a full day with it in a bustling city, and had no problems.)
Another excellent feature of the camera is its excellent range of features. The camera has more than most in its field, and all perform and are uselful, but in this lies a downside: the menu system is complicated and tricky when trying to act fast, based around a set of tabs for different types of feature, but to combat searching through menus, Canon have included a special 'My Menu' which is customisable for easy access to the features you use the most.
The camera is a joy to hold and navigate on the exterior, however. Unlike heavy Pentax cameras or the 'too light to be serious' Sony's, the 450D combines rugged, solid design with light-weight, making it an excellent all-rounder. It simply feels great in the hand (something which must contribute to creativity!) and the design is ergonomic and well thought out. Buttons are in easy reach even when the eye is in the viewfinder, with the only annoyance being the lack of a second control wheel (users have to hold exposure compensation to change the second manual option), but little clever things like a physical exposure-lock buttton and an eye sensor on the screen to save battery life all contribute to the one element of this that I can fault the least, and is worth buying just for its design and usability.
The camera is also very reasonably priced in its field, and while it seems expensive at first, most stores of £50 cashback, and the kit bundles are cheap, considering the quality of the lenses.
The EOS 450D is also very good looking as cameras go, trouncing Nikon, and adding to its appeal. Battery life is also excellent (a whole day of non-stop snapping proves no problem) and transfer is quick and easy.
The Canon EOS 450D is the ultimate all-round entry DSLR, but is also so good that is is considered by many as semi-professional, and is certainly the leader of its field. Its ergonomic, thoughful design, feature packed menus, and high image quality all contribute to making it a truly superb little camera.