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Canon have this to
say about the camera:
"The EOS 450D blends
uncompromising performance with ease of use in a lightweight, ergonomic
body. Capture your world with a 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and the very
latest Canon technologies. Featuring a 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, EOS
Integrated Cleaning System, 3.0" LCD with Live View mode and a new
9-point AF system, the model presents consumers with an unprecedented
level of image quality and versatility at this end of the market."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: a
visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Panasonic
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Average box contents - A memory card supplied as standard would be nice, and I highly recommend getting a case (eg Semi-hard Case EH19-L) as one is not supplied as standard.
The menu system is logical and very easy to use. It doesn't take long
to get used to the way the menu system works. The function button gives
(along with the buttons on the back of the camera) quick access to the
most commonly used options with just one press of the button. There is
direct access to 'picture style presets' which have individual settings
that change between different pre-sets - ideal to switch between more
high contrast, sharp settings to a more subtle tone. The central 'setting'
button provides another way to access the usual options that you may need
to change as well as the more advanced ones (such as flash compensation).
The playback menu gives you a collection of picture reviewing screens
as well as more advanced options such as rotating, protecting and printing
Picture Size / Quality: The camera lets you choose the image size (Large, Medium and Small), and how much compression is applied to the images (represented as either 'smooth' for larger files or 'blocks' for smaller files). In addition, Large images can be recorded as JPEG only, RAW only and JPEG + RAW combined. Higher quality images take a large amount of memory, so a high capacity memory card is definitely recommended, unless you're prepared to sacrifice image size or compression to fit more pictures in memory. There is a good choice of image sizes and compression options but no obvious choice regarding aspect ratios. Note that in burst mode, in all image sizes and all qualities except the highest quality settings (& RAW modes), the burst mode can be used continuously until the card is full.
Battery usage: Battery life is rated at 500 shots (according to CIPA standards, with supplied LP-E5 battery pack) - I was able to take around 590 shots with battery life still showing as full, this is very good for a digital camera and slightly better than average for a Digital SLR. Battery life will be dependent on the kind of use you make of the camera. It won't be a problem obtaining additional Canon LP-E5 batteries, Canon make a battery grip and provide two options of battery magazine, one that lets you use two Canon LP-E5 batteries and the other allows you to use the camera with AA batteries.
Memory cards: The highest quality large images take over 4 megabytes. Typically then an 1gb memory card would provide room for about 200 images, which I would recommend as a bare minimum. If you intend to use the camera's RAW mode (and included software) a 2gb or larger memory card is better. You can use SD, and SDHC memory cards - I tend to use Sandisk Ultra II Plus USB SD memory cards as these let you plug the memory card straight into a USB socket making it easy to transfer images onto any computer, they are currently available as 1GB, 2GB, 4GB SD cards. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Canon EOS 450D:
Find the latest
prices for SD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 1gb (1000mb): £4,
2gb (2000mb): £6,
4gb (4000mb SDHC): £8,
8gb (8000mb SDHC): £12
Speed: The camera can take its first photo from 'off' in under 1 second (without flash), which is faster than you can say 'you forgot to take the lens cap off'. Focusing seemed very quick and precise too. The camera shutter response seems instant when pre-focused, responding immediately - and shot to shot time was fairly quick, with a delay of around 0.4 seconds without flash. The flash recharge time was quite quick allowing a shot to be taken every 0.9 seconds, flash is also available in the continuous shooting mode. Continuous shooting is very good, at roughly 3.5fps at the highest quality setting until the card is full. In highest jpeg quality, the burst mode should allow 50 images before things slow down. The playback and menus are also very quick.
Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, particularly in the AUTO mode and has a number of scene modes that help get good results. The controls on the back of the camera are straightforward and the menus are responsive and easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The scene modes are easy to access, mainly thanks to the large dial at the top right of the camera and a lot of the commonly used options can be accessed using the buttons on the back. It's easy to see when photos are in focus and I didn't have any difficulty using the manual focus. The image stabilisation means that more of your shots will be blur-free.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The layout and size of the buttons and controls are good, with the most commonly used options reachable with your right thumb. The supplied canon kit lens is light and smooth to use and shutter release works well. I thought the camera felt very light, good ergonomically and it feels well built (although the focus ring was lighter than I am used to) and the shape of the body is very comfortable.
Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Canon EOS 450D DSLR Sample Photo Gallery!
Inside: The camera has very good colour - It took a very good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is no red-eye in the photo. On wide angle, the flash falls off in the top corners, and the rest of the image appears slightly overexposed . Otherwise it is very good, coping well with group photos, and for the most part red-eye is quite low. On AUTO ISO, the ISO setting was quite low, and noise was acceptable. The camera did a good job at focusing even in low-light where the focus assist lamp kicks in. Colour is quite richly saturated, though lacking in contrast however this can be improved using My Colours "Vivid" or "Custom Colour" setting.
ISO Noise Test: Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it fragments detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as it is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise and is most noticeable in darker areas. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (ranging from ISO 100 - ISO1600), and manual ISO settings (ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600).
ISO Noise Test Photos - Flash is off. Nikon D40x on the left, Canon EOS 450D in the middle, Olympus EVOLT E-420 on the right. Any tonal difference is due to white balance or lighting / metering differences.
Noise results: Noise is very acceptable up to ISO800 - with ISO1600 images also usable. The Canon shows more noise than the Nikon D40x, but also slightly less noise than the Olympus E-420. It's a shame there isn't an ISO3200 mode available with the Canon - however this may have pushed the sensor too far and produced overly noisy (and potentially unusable) images.
Image Stabilisation: The Canon EOS 450D kit comes with a 18 - 55mm kit lens with built in optical image stabilisation - this feature helps reduce image blur due to low light or long zoom photography. Examples showing this feature switched on and off can be seen below.
With image stabilisation switched on the images are much sharper and clearer, and are much more likely to come out blur free, especially in low light, when using the zoom or when using slow shutter speeds. The camera's systems appears to work well, and it's good to see that this feature is becoming the norm with digital cameras and Digital SLRs.
The camera has good rich, saturated colours. There was very good
detail, and the camera took a number of very pleasing images outside [see
flowers], with good contrast, and although the kit lens has some chromatic
aberrations [on the clock tower] this is well within expected range for
this kind of lens. In general jpeg artifacts are not easily seen at 'lower'
quality setting, however areas with strong contrasts benefit from use
of the highest quality setting.
Zoom: The kit lens provided zooms from 18 to 55mm (equivalent to 28 - 88mm). I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of. There is no digital zoom.
The photos of the clock tower are exposed well with detail in the dark
areas as well as the lighter areas - exposure in other photos was generally
very good. Vignetting was not noticed in these photos. It can be useful
to under expose images with bright backgrounds (eg; sky) with use of exposure
compensation. There are various options to help provide a wider dynamic
range if necessary.
Lens noise and
zoom: The shutter makes a little noise and the lens is very quiet
and gives you very good control over how you frame your subject. Canon
provide plenty of other lens options to give you a wider or narrower field
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing / Chromatic aberration was slightly visible on strong contrasts at the edges of images (as red blue halos).
Macro Lens Performance:
The camera can take macro photos where the subject is roughly 15cm away from the lens in macro mode using the telephoto zoom. Colour and detail is very good, and there appears to be very little noise at ISO200. The camera has manual white balance which can help get better shots in artificial lighting.
Video mode: The cameras does not come with a video mode.
The Canon EOS450D is a robust lightweight SLR camera that provides an
impressive 12.2 mega pixels with image stabilising lens. Image quality
is generally excellent and images are useable up to ISO1600 and tend to
maintain good detail. The camera's screen works well and battery life
is excellent. Overall this is an appealing camera offering excellent value
for money, and a number of features that should suit experienced amateurs
as well as experts. An area where this camera could be seen as lacking
is in the lens region, however there are a huge range of other lenses
that will work.. these will increase the initial cost. If you want a genuinely
excellent SLR camera with full manual controls and image stabilization,
then this is highly recommended!
What I like:
What I don't like:
Additional Test Images are viewable in the Canon EOS 450D DSLR Sample Photo Gallery.