Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi Body Only Digital Camera
Ease of Use
Look and Feel
ReviewGist Report for Canon EOS 400D
In August 2006, Canon has released an upgrade to the famed EOS 350D - the EOS 400D. The report will comprise of an analysis of its chief functions and attractions. We will then gather important reviews from sites like PC World, Camera Labs, Digital Camera Resource Page, Imaging Resource and NeoCamera for some significant observations they have made. Lastly, we offer you some buying advice.
What the Manufacturer Says
After releasing the world's first consumer D-SLR, Canon introduced yet another model, which boasts a 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and Integrated Cleaning System. The CMOS technology, exclusive only to Canon, is claimed to enhance image resolution with its noise-reduction properties. A far-cry from the CCD technology employed by other manufacturers, the CMOS sensors purportedly possess energy-saving characteristics which in turn, prevents the battery from draining easily.
Furthermore, the EOS 400D takes a big leap ahead of its competitors for being the first of its kind to have an Integrated Dust Cleaning System. Built with the same DIGIC II processor common to all EOS digital models, it guarantees color accuracy and quick response time. This speedy processor is claimed to have a start-up time of 0.2 second.
More features included in the EOS 400D are:
1) 2.5-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 230k
2) 9-point Auto-Focus system with a highly sensitive f/2.8 center point
4) Picture Style Image Processing Parameters, which includes six presets namely Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome
5) Compatibility with Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites
6) Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Software, for full control over RAW images
What the Reviews Say
Majority of the experts remarked that the photos captured by the EOS 400D turned out excellent, especially in color accuracy and exposure. Computer Shopper hailed the EOS 400D as a champion in image quality among DSLRs of the same price bracket. DigitalCameraInfo particularly commended the utmost color precision of pictures shot in Faithful Style. However GoodGearGuide found conspicuous blue and red halos in high contrast images at lower ISO levels.
As compared to the previous XT technology, the EOS 400D was lauded for a far better resolution. The seemingly slight increase from 8 to 10 megapixels was found to make a huge difference in terms of effective noise reduction.
The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens performed very well, according to most reviews. The long zoom range was claimed to offer more shooting flexibility. Plus, the integrated Image Stabilization set off outstanding autofocus capabilities, even in low light conditions. Using an external compact flash didn't slow down its performance either as DigitalCameraResourcePage claimed it can sync as rapidly as 1/200 sec.
And although at a wide-angle aperture of f/3.5, CNet observed that the light it could accommodate wasn't enough for their preferred depth of field, GoodGearGuide pointed out that investing in another set of lens can be a good remedy.
The EOS 400D can specialize in Portraiture with its 9-point Autofocus System which the experts have attested to greatly enhance focusing, thereby resulting in sharper subjects.
All reviewers gave high ratings for the EOS 400D's interface. Operability was claimed to be way better than the XT technology with the former's organized menu system and distinct four-way buttons. CameraLab made note of the new dedicated buttons for Metering Mode, White Balance, AF and ISO.
The black finish EOS 400D was claimed to be convenient to use with its light weight and compactness. PopPhoto notes that its rubber thumb grip greatly improved handling.
According to NeoCamera, a single charge is good for hundreds of shots, hence a long battery life. ImagingResource and ITReviews both remarked about the additional ease brought about by the EOS 400D's compatibility with a battery-grip.
At ISO 100-200, the images were said to be flawless. However, NeoCamera noted that at ISO 1600, noise levels increase, particularly over dark and mid-tone areas as added by Trusted Reviews. CameraLabs had the same observations but considered it too minute a detail to outweigh its entire image impact.
The EOS 400D captures superior quality images, with remarkable color precision and well balanced exposures. Although noise becomes apparent at higher ISO levels, the photos are still impressive nonetheless. Alsothere were minor discrepancies in light accommodation at maximum aperture f/3.5 but a simple lens upgrade can help achieve that perfection.
The Canon EOS 400D should satisfy both the highly developed hobbyists and professional photographers and is an excellent choice for your first foray into the DSLR world.
However, the 400D faces some serious competition in the entry level DSLR's in the 10 megapixel range. Notable among them are the Nikon D80 and the Sony DSLR-A100. The Sony DSLR-A100 runs a lot cheaper but is as good as the EOS 400D in almost all counts. The D80 though does report superior performance across the board - and particularly in low light phtography. The Nikon D80 also has twice the battery life of the EOS 400D, reaching 600 shots on a single charge.