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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Canon EOS 400D review

The Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi digital SLR is the successor to the best-selling EOS 350D / Rebel XT. Announced in August 2006, it combines a number of anticipated improvements along with a few genuine surprises.

Most people won’t be surprised to learn the 400D / XTi now features a larger 2.5in screen and Canon’s Picture Styles, but following the earlier EOS 30D, many equally expected the new entry-level body to employ the same sensor as its predecessor.

But instead of re-using the 350D / XT’s 8 Megapixel sensor, Canon’s developed a brand new 10.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor for the 400D / XTi. This makes it Canon’s highest resolution digital SLR with an EF-S lens mount to date.


Improved Performance:

As well as the EOS Integrated Cleaning System, the EOS 400D incorporates a number of developments over the EOS 350D. Resolution increases from 8.0 to 10.1 Megapixels, using the superior hi-sensitivity, hi-speed, low-noise CMOS technology now found in all six EOS Digital models. At nearly twice the size of the EOS 350D display, the 2.5” hi-resolution LCD is the brightest in the EOS range and now displays all of key shooting and user interface information along with image playback. The AF system expands from 7 to 9-point, with a highly sensitive f/2.8 center point for exceptional performance in low light. Even with the image resolution increase, maximum frame burst almost doubles from 14 to 27 large JPEGs and from 5 to 10 RAW.

Dust reduction:

The EOS 400D is the first camera to incorporate the EOS Integrated Cleaning System. Based on significant research into the causes of dust in D-SLR cameras, the system combats dust in three important ways: Reduce, Repel and Remove.

  1. Reduce - Internal camera mechanisms are designed to minimise dust generation. The body cap is redesigned to prevent dust generation through wear on the cap itself.
  2. Repel - Anti-static technologies are applied to the low-pass filter covering the front of the sensor so as not to attract dust.
  3. Remove - A Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit uses hi-frequency vibrations to shake dust from the low pass filter for a period of approximately one second after each start up. For instant shooting after power up, this feature is disabled immediately the shutter release is depressed.

Canon has also developed an internal Dust Delete Data system, which can map the position of any visible dust on the sensor. This can then be deleted automatically after the shoot with the latest Digital Photo Professional software.

Viewfinder:

The EOS 400D viewfinder appears to be identical to the EOS 350D, at least that's what the specifications and our own experience tell us. Its 0.8x magnification means it's a smaller view than you'd have from an Nikon D80 (although about the same as the Sony DSLR-A100). Of course the main difference is the actual view because of the nine-point AF and new status bar.


LCD Monitor:

The EOS 400D features a new larger, brighter 2.5" LCD monitor. Not only is it bigger and has higher resolution (230K pixels) it also has a significantly better viewing angle, 160° horizontal and vertical, this most noticeable when looking down from above where the improvement is some 60° (important when you're using the main LCD for camera settings display). Canon's own white paper states that this display is brighter even than that of the EOS 30D and EOS 5D, and I can believe it. Despite the lack of an anti-reflective coating it proved bright enough to be seen even on a sunny day outdoors.


Camera setting display:

The diagram below summarizes all of the information available on the camera settings display.


Canon 400D specification:

Sensor
-
10.1 million effective pixels
-10.5 million total pixels
-22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS sensor
-RGB Color Filter Array
-Built-in low-pass filter
-3:2 aspect ratio

Dust reduction
-
Low-pass filter vibration at power-on (can be interrupted)
-Anti-static coating on sensor surfaces
-Software based dust-removal (camera maps dust, removed later)

Image sizes
-
3888 x 2592 (L)
-2816 x 1880 (M)
-1936 x 1288 (S)

Output formats
-RAW (.CR2)
-RAW (.CR2) + JPEG Large/Fine
-JPEG (EXIF 2.21) - Fine, Normal

Image processor
-DIGIC II

Lenses
-Canon EF / EF-S lens mount
-1.6x field of view crop

Focus modes
-Auto Focus
-Manual Focus (switch on lens)

Auto Focus
-9-point CMOS sensor
-AF working range: -0.5 to 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)

AF modes
-AI Focus
-One shot
-AI Servo

AF point selection
-Auto
-Manual

AF assist
-Flash strobe

Shooting modes
-Auto
-Program AE (P)
-Shutter priority AE (Tv)
-Aperture priority AE (Av)
-Manual (M)
-Auto depth-of-field
-Portrait
-Landscape
-Close-up
-Sports
-Night portrait
-Flash off

Metering
-TTL 35-zone SPC
-Metering range: EV 1.0 - 20 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100, 50 mm F1.4)

Metering modes
-Evaluative 35-zone
-Partial 9% at center
-Center-weighted average

AE Lock
-AE lock button

AE Bracketing

-+/- 2.0 EV
-0.5 or 0.3 EV increments

Exposure compensation
-+/- 2.0 EV
-0.5 or 0.3 EV increments

Sensitivity
-Auto (100 - 400)
-ISO 100
-ISO 200
-ISO 400
-ISO 800
- ISO 1600

Shutter
-Focal-plane shutter
-30 - 1/4000 sec (0.5 or 0.3 EV steps)
-Flash X-Sync: 1/200 sec
-Bulb

Aperture values
-F1.0 - F91 (0.3 EV steps)
-Actual aperture range depends on lens used

White balance
-Auto
-Daylight
-Shade
-Cloudy
-Tungsten
-Fluorescent
-Custom

WB Bracketing
-+/-3 levels
-3 images
-Selectable Blue/Amber or Magenta/Green bias

WB fine-tuning
-Blue (-9) To Amber (+9)
-Magenta (-9) to Green (+9)

Color space
-sRGB
-Adobe RGB

Drive modes
-Single
-Continuous: 3.0 fps up to 27 JPEG / 10 RAW frames
-Self-timer 10 secs (2 sec with mirror lock-up)

Mirror lockup
-Yes (custom function)

Viewfinder
-Pentamirror
-95% frame coverage
-Magnification: 0.8x (-1 diopter with 50 mm lens at infinity)
-Eyepoint: 21 mm
-Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
-Fixed precision matte
-Proximity sensor disables LCD shooting mode information

DOF preview
-Yes, button

LCD monitor
-
2.5" TFT LCD
-230,000 pixels
-Wide viewing angle (160° horizontal and vertical)
-7 brightness levels
-Up to 10x zoom playback

Flash
-Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash
-Guide number approx 13
-Modes: Auto, Manual Flash On/ Off, Red-Eye Reduction
-X-Sync: 1/200 sec
-Flash exposure compensation: +/-2.0 EV (0.3 or 0.5 EV steps)
-Coverage up to 17 mm focal length (27 mm FOV equiv.)

External flash
-E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites
-Hot-shoe

Connectivity
-USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)
-Video out
-E3 type wired remote control

Storage
-Compact Flash Type I or II
-Microdrive supported
-FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
-No CF card supplied
-Up to 9999 images per folder

Power
-Lithium-Ion NB-2LH rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)
-CR2016 Lithium battery (date/time backup)
-Optional ACK-DC20/ACK-700 AC adapter kit

Direct printing
-Canon Selphy Printers
-Canon Bubble Jet Printers with direct print function
-Canon PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge
-PictBridge

Dimensions
-
127 x 94 x 65 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)

Weight
-
Body (no battery): 514 g (1.1 lb)
-Body (inc battery): 556 g (1.2 lb)

Conclusion:

PRO
  • Excellent 10.1 megapixel sensor with impressively low noise and superb detail
  • Small size is great for travel and all-day carry
  • High ISO shots are surprisingly good, easily useable at 8x10
  • Dust removal technology largely eliminates sensor cleaning chores
  • 2.5 inch LCD with a wide viewing angle for better image sharing
  • Larger folder size means less hassle with folders
  • Improved Mode dial and grip make for less hassle and greater control
  • Integrated status display includes more detail
  • IR detection turns off LCD to reduce glare and battery drain
  • Print/Share button enables quick and easy printing and image transfer
  • Fast image transfer eliminates the need for a card reader
  • Higher sensitivity AF system has more AF points and works faster and better in low light
  • Picture Styles makes choosing and customizing color modes fast and easy
  • Compatible with over 50 lenses and accessories
  • Uses CF cards like all other Canon digital SLRs
  • Selectable auto-rotation feature rotates on the camera or only in the computer
  • Fast autofocus
  • Improved buffer depth allows for more followup shots
  • Viewfinder magnification is very good at 97% accurate
  • New shutter button design allows followup shots without refocusing
  • Good macro performance
  • Excellent detail from the sensor
  • Images are sharp, but not oversharpened, and noise suppression is kept well under control
  • Color is very accurate, with only red being a little off, which consumers generally like
  • Auto white balance handles most situations very well
  • High ISO images are impressive, all the way up to ISO 1,600
  • Print quality is excellent, making tack sharp 13x19 inch prints
  • Great shot-to-shot, shutter lag, and cycle time numbers
  • Suitable for the inexperienced amateur, perfectly usable by the seasoned pro
CON
  • Kit lens is not quite matched to the camera's higher resolution
  • New interface has a few odd inconsistencies
  • AF assist lamp only works in flash-on mode, making available light photography more difficult (somewhat offset by the improved AF sensor)
  • Auto-rotation doesn't play well with all computer programs
  • Viewfinder is smaller than the competition, and its pentamirror is not as bright as the pentaprism in the 30D
  • Grip is still a little small and short for most hands
  • Kit lens produces somewhat high barrel distortion at wide angle
  • Kit lens chromatic aberration is pronounced at wide angle, and corners are pretty soft
  • Flash coverage is uneven, falling off in the corners
  • Indoor white balance is a little yellow
  • Battery capacity is reduced from the larger screen and dust off system

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Canon EOS 400D Review
Canon EOS 400D Review Digital SLR