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 Post subject: 400 D XTi - LCD Screen
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:58 am 
Having owned every Digital Rebel since Canon announced them, and now the 350 XT since it came out, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the 400D. Having used many LCD screens ourdoors on my GPS units and past Digital Rebels as well as my Canon A700 (with the 2.5 inch screen) I was very concerned about only having the LCD for information. Even though the other LCD's I've used didn't have the resolution the 400D screen does, I was still concerned enough to wait before ordering one online.

My local Best Buy had an ad in the paper today so I went to one of their stores to check the 400D screen out. The salesman was nice enough to take it outside with me so we could see what the LCD did in the bright Arizona sun. He was as curious as I was.

What I saw was just what I expected, a very big disappointment. Even running the brightness up to full strength the LCD was very hard to read. It was "readable" but not as bright as I thought it would be after everything I have read to date. After seeing the LCD screen in the information mode, I went to the menu items to see a couple of the menu screens and that is where the quality went way down hill.

In the "information" mode (when depressing the shutter button 1/2 way) the screen uses a white background which made it a bit easier to read, but I still had to move the camera around to get the screen in a shadow to see the small objects on the screen, like the AF points (very small). But then when I went to the menu screen to change the camera settings Canon still uses the black screen background and even with the LCD set to the brightest level it was very very hard to read.

I wear glasses and am a bit older so I deferred to the salesman's opinion. He was much younger (like half my age) and he felt the same way. I thought for sure he would disagree with me since he wanted to sell a camera, but he totally agreed with me and was having just as hard a time as I was reading the readouts. He didn't hide the fact that he thought it was a very poor idea.

As I mentioned above, I could read the setting if the camera was aligned almost directly in front of my eyes (with the white background) but if you were in an action setting (sports, wildlife, etc) and wanted to change your settings in a hurry I am afraid it would be very difficult at best (my opinion anyway). Changing the camera settings (black screen) would be almost impossible.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I am in Arizona and today was a beautiful day, not a cloud anywhere. I would suggest that anyone buying this camera take it outside in the sunlight (on a bright day) and operate both screens (camera settings and menu change screens) before buying it. If the store or salesman won't go with you I would suggest you go to a store that will. I was not impressed, and I went there hoping to buy the 400 D. Inside or on a less than perfect day the LCD screen would probably function great but I was not at all impressed.

I would like to hear from others to see if it is just me (and the salesman) or if Canon made a big mistake by deleting the secondary LCD that it has on all the other cameras.

I love my Canon cameras. My 350 XT is with me whenever my A700 isn't. But using the A700's 2.5 in LCD (even though it has an automatic sunlight adjustment and is not the same resolution as the 400D) I still find it to be "totally" worthless in the daytime sun. When looking for a small walkaround camera I wouldn't buy one without a real viewfinder dispite everything I read from the manufacturers touting that their LCD's were usable in the bright sunlight and all the salesmen that said a viewfinder wasn't needed anymore. I am very glad I didn't listen to them.

I look forward to other comments on this issue to see if it is just me or the camera.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:03 am 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Chris, you make a very important point.

I agree with you. The 400D / XTi's main colour screen is not as easy to read in very bright conditions as a secondary LCD status screen. That said, it's no worse than the Sony A100, nor indeed any of the other increasing numbers of cameras to follow this design strategy.

We tested the 400D / XTi in bright New Zealand sunlight and found it was still readable, although at times we did have to shade the screen with our hands. Certainly if you predominantly photographed under very bright conditions, this could make it a deal-breaker. And certainly when we've visited Arizona before, it was very bright!

Given the choice between the Canon 400D / XTi, the Sony A100 and the Nikon D80, I suspect many would see the latter's secondary screen as a big selling-point.

It is of course also a great reason to stick with your 350D / XT. As we explained in our review, there may have been a big jump from the 300D to the 350D, but it's not a great leap from the 350D to the 400D. You're basically getting fractionally higher resolving power, a bigger screen (which you might not be able to see as easily in your environment), and anti-dust features which were far from 100% effective in our tests.

While I still think the 400D's a great camera, I'd advise any 350D owner to spend their money on a better lens instead. And given the fact the camera you already own is easier to use in your surroundings, I'd say you're in good shape!

If you're after a more significant upgrade, you may wish to consider the Canon 5D, or if you don't mind switching manufacturers, the Nikon D200. Check back soon for a feature discussing the pros and cons of such an upgrade...

In the meantime though, you've raised a very good point. We always recommend that people pick up their shortlisted cameras in person, but it's also well worth trying them outside the shop as you suggest to see for yourself how well single-screen models cope with direct sunlight.

Thanks again for your post,

Gordon


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:50 am 
This is what I am talking about.. This is an excerpt from another online forum talking about the 2.5 LCD screen.. It is about the 5D but the 5D uses the same 230,000 pixel, 2.5 screen as the 400D (see Canon's website for specs) but the 5D has the additional digital screen on top, the 400D does not.. read the second paragraph ! The link to the full article is at the bottom of this reply.

The following is quoted from an online forum..

When you first see a 5D you may initially not notice that it's somewhat larger than a 20D, but you definately won't miss the significantly larger rear LCD. This is a big size improvement over previous Canon screens, and is identical to the screen that Canon has put on the equally new 1Ds MK II. The larger screen not only makes image review superior, but because screen text is also commensurately larger that aspect of camera operation is also enhanced. Clearly (pun intended) this screen is going to become the norm for future Canon cameras.

But before it does so though Canon needs to do something about the screen's performance in bright conditions, such as in full daylight. While shooting with the 5D in the intense and almost cloudless daylight of Greece I was also taking snapshots with a Sony T7 ultra-thin pocket digicam, which features a transreflective screen, which is, by coincidence, the same size as that on the 5D. While the Sony screen actually remains visible even in direct sunlight, the Canon became so washed out as to be almost unusable. Canon needs to give their future cameras an LCD screen that provides photographers with state-of-the-art technology. The new screen on the 5D and the 1D MK IIn, while larger than on previous models, get a failing grade when it comes to usefulness outdoors.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/revie ... ield.shtml


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Chris, the 400D / XTi's screen is actually a bit better than the one on the 5D - it's noticeably brighter and has a wider viewing angle - but your point still remains: it can be hard to see under very bright conditions and this could be a problem for many people since there's no secondary screen to fall back on.

Interestingly, while the D80 does have a secondary screen though, some people have already complained some of its icons are so small, they're also very hard to read!

I should also add if you're shooting with the camera mounted high on a tripod, a rear-mounted screen is much easier to read than having to go onto tip-toes to peer at a top-mounted screen.

Which I suppose brings us back to the 350D / XTi being more practical than first thought with its secondary screen mounted on the back...

Gordon


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 Post subject: Rebel 400XTi Screen
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:08 pm 
I have had my Canon Rebel XTi for 3 weeks now after many visits to retailers to compare NIKON, SONY & CANON. It's just perfect for me. I don't have a problem with the screen, camera operation. I am waiting for Delkin to produce a matching display Shade but I have taken about 150 photos and it has been perfect. I also saved quite a lot of money over my next choice which was Nikon D80. I especially like the small light size of the rebel over the Nikon, Sony and Canon 30D. When you go out for the day with your camera hanging on your shoulder you will understand why. Its fine for me and my family is enjoying the cool full auto features.


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