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 Post subject: Canon EOS 450D
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:03 pm 
First impressions:

Note: This is my first DSLR. Link - here http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2682 - to my A640 review and compact fatigue.

1. For my hands (medium sized Asian), the 450D has great ergonomics. The grip somehow feels nicer than the 400D and especially when compared to the 350D. The bigger screen pushes buttons around, mainly to the right of the device, which I find great. Dedicated ISO button, good tactile response. Sturdier construction, still plastic but no creaks and the kind that would survive moderate drops.

2. Surprisingly light. Combined with the relatively small overall size it makes for a very -take me with you- vibe, unlike the heavier 40D and 5D.

3. Live View works, as long as you don't expect compact style shooting. Quick mode, which flips the mirror up, accomplishes faster AF. Live mode (similar to compact shooting) is slow - approx. 2-3 seconds. May be useful for shooting objects, scenes and landscapes from unique vantage points, where looking through the viewfinder would be impossible. As far as I see it, not useful for portraits.

4. Menus are good if you're used to Canon, but are a bit crowded for those used to Sony. Great graphics on the LCD for the normal info mode, I set a blueish theme.

5. Chroma noise starting from ISO 800 if High ISO noise reduction is turned off. When turned on, seemingly impressive results( tested outside, inside, macro), especially knowing they crammed 12.2 MP on that APS-C sensor. Otherwise stellar image quality. Paired up with an L-lens and lower ISO settings I'd reckon the 450D has the best APS-C image quality in the field.

6. The IS kitlens is a great starter lens. IS works - could go as low as 0"3 shutter speed and still get noticeable advantage from the IS. Everything over 1/15 seems shake-safe. Excellent sharpness, even reasonable in the corners. Little vignetting. Fast and silent (knowing its non-USM) AF, hunting in dark conditions. All in all, a big step up from the old kitlens.

7. Big screen is good. Sharp, sufficient for focus check without zoom (although the scroll wheel allows you to quickly browse images in the same preview zoom setting - I loved this). Good hue (unlike 30D, 5D). Viewing angle good for off-angle shooting using Live View. Swivel is missed. Nose/face smudging, a screen protector is very recommended.

8. I always use continuous shooting, a habit from the A640, so I never miss a shot or scene. On the 450D it's reasonable, but the 40D's performance is in another league. Sufficient for framing or bracketing, perhaps a tad too slow for sports.

Images to follow (on elective, not much time).

Preliminary conclusion:

The 450D is a baby 40D. It has Live View, the big screen and better ergonomics. Retains Rebel size, but is beefier in looks and feel. Based on first 30-40 shots impressive image quality from the sensor and the IS kit lens. Highly recommended entry-level camera. Competition mostly is the Sony A300/A350 (swivel screen, larger physical size, better Live View). Nikon D60 is feature crippled.


Last edited by Shonen84 on Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:07 pm 
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Hi Shonen84,

Thanks for the review - some really good feedback there. Looking forward to the imagery. 8)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Hi Shonen84, ditto - thanks for the review.

The 450D does share a surprising amount with the 40D including Highlight Tone Protection and an almost identical Live View implementation, which I'm pleased to say includes the PC remote control software discussed in the 40D review.

Of course the 450D also has it's Live mode contrast-based live view option.

Which live view system do you prefer to use on the 450D?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:24 pm 
Went out and took some more shots in Hong Kong.

Notes:

1. The 40D's custom settings are missed. My Menu doesn't replace the genuine usefulness of an on-dial available custom setting.

2. In low light (restaurants, eg) the 18-55 IS cannot achieve autofocus lock. Otherwise very fast and quiet for a non-USM lens. Softness occurs at selected focal lengths, seemingly in the middle ones (24-35mm) haven't tested this thoroughly. But even on pixel-peeping level it's very reasonable for a kitlens, and should improve with software or in-camera sharpening.
Btw, the bokeh is very nice - creamy and buttery. Don't know how many blades the aperture is made of, but the proof of the pudding tastes very good indeed.

3. Manual focus is better than you think, paired with the 3" screen and Live View. In very low light it can even save the day. You just need to get over yourself and don't expect a lush, dampened focus ring on a 160$ IS kit lens. I prefer Quick Mode because it focuses quickly (using the preview zoom-out button) and reliably. From startup, you can get a Live View Quick shot in 3-4 seconds with just a few flicks of your thumb and index finger. The contrast based mode I find a bit more awkward.

4. The 450D also tends to slightly underexpose, but not like I've read on numerous forums regarding the 400D. This is actually good in highlighted scenes, or where there's a broad dynamic range. The latter is by the way good. On a daylight overcast shot, there is still some grading in the sky visible, and dark foliage is still visible. All this without Highlight Priority.

5. Just collected some images on PC: ISO 1600 pictures are genuinely useable at all times. Chroma noise is visibly present, but can be largely removed with in-camera NR or software NR. The noise is of film-like appearance - ie, visible but non obtrusive, and non-detail-demolishing. No NR smudging. For daylight, ISO 400 or below is recommended. Night time or indoors, ISO 800 or ISO 1600.

6. I've found the 3,5 fps sufficient for framing. Still need to get used to AI Servo though, I prefer One Shot, but have made a few successful candid shots with Servo.

7. High ISO NR reduces burst speed. It cuts out at 2 jpegs and then needs to "think" for a moment. Could be a problem in low light sports.

Tip: Use Av, the lowest possible aperture (3.5-5.6) and continuous shooting. It instantly makes your pictures look better (fully utilizing the APS-C sensor's inherent, shallower depth of field). You'd be surprised how much better a simple photo of you and your aunt posing in a busy street at F4.0 (and due to IS, high ISO and continuous shooting there'll definitely be a good shot in there) as opposed to one in green/P mode or from a compact.

You may think many of these comments are relatively positive. That's because I'm fully aware of the huge jump an APS-C device is, coming from a (good!) compact. The small, pocketable size (fits easily in a backpack or shoulder bag) makes the Rebel a trusty and capable sidekick, and with almost no feature-penalty when compared to the 40D, the 450D is a nice proposition indeed (especially around Xmas 2008, when I expect the price to plummet to current 400D levels, unless Canon decide to create a seperate market-niche for the 450D as an advanced entry-level camera).

Still no pictures, can you guys suggest a full size image host?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:40 am 
photobucket.com

great reviews,I probably will propose to buy Canon Xsi / 450D
for my college next year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:34 pm 
Thanks Shonen

I'm right on the cusp of my first DSLR and I am almost positive it's the 450D. (the Olly E-510 and the a300 are still here somewhere but fading fast).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Hi John, if it helps, we've compared the A350 to the XSi in the verdict page of the latter

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_ ... dict.shtml


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:33 am 
Am saving up some nice shots to upload later, wasn't able to find full size image file hosting yet though. May resort to rapidshare or consorts, or use flickr for some 1024x768 previews.

John, thanks for reading my thoughts on the 450D. As Gordon says, the Sony A300/350 is probably the Xsi's main rival. They are in the same price range and appeal to the same kind of user (first time users who want a bit of feature-oomph in the equation, upgraders from 300D/350D/Alpha 100, people who liked the 40D/A700 but worried about size). I went for the Rebel due to my past positive experiences with Canon, and the simple fact that I loved handling it even more than the 40D in the store. Also tried the Sonys, found the Eye-Start focusing to be particularly fun. However, I prefered in-lens image stabilisation (steadying of the viewfinder), don't like how Sony sets up NR so early in the image processing path, and thought the Sonys were really chunky. The Olympus I didn't like because of the handling and menu system.

Perhaps the strongest argument is this: when I was at a dorm jam 2 days ago, I took 200-odd shots and simply forgot I was using a camera. I used Live View to shoot over the crowd, and instead of worrying over my tech, I simply concentrated on where and when I wanted to have my shot.

Personally I think that once you stop babysitting your tech, stop browsing forums and featurelists and start actually doing photography, you're probably using a good camera.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:20 pm 
1024x683 previews: http://s287.photobucket.com/albums/ll127/Shonen84/

All images are taken with the 18-55 IS kitlens, are jpegs, no image processing and standard picture styles. Annoyed a couple of people because of candid photography - lol, I need to get a 55-250 or 70-200 soon ^^

Note that above images represent situations a compact usually can't cope with: night time, poorly lit indoors, shallower depth of field in portraiture and macro. However, in situations in which a good compact shines (daytime, panoramic, buildings) you'll notice that the dslr doesn't deliver better results: due to more conservative sharpening, contrast, saturation, lens limitations and poor photographer's skill, a compact would deliver more pleasing results.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:27 am 
The quality of those pictures is very good. The part about it being a "Mini 40D" has gotten me to look into this camera more since I still have not bought the 40D.

How would you say the overall build quality is compared to the XTi (feels more like a toy then a camera because of cheap plastic).

Also how is the battery life on the camera? I understand that Canon released a new battery especially for this camera for longer life.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:36 am 
I always found the Rebel series to be a better fit for my hands, but indeed I too have always been put off by the somewhat cheaper build. The 450D felt great from the first time I picked it up. Stickier rubber, meatier feel, while being surprisingly lightweight. The 40D also feels great, but I'm sure I'd notice or even get annoyed by the added weight if I lugged it around. What I especially didn't like of the 40D was the on/off button. Call it a strange observation, but I was wholly annoyed by the stiffness and placement of it on the 40D, 5D and 1D. The Rebel series' on/off switch lies much more conveniently and flicks happily and easily.

What I'd recommend, is you stop by your favorite camera store and give the 450D a try. If you prefer it over the 40D, you'll miss out on: weather/dust sealing, 6fps, better autofocus and viewfinder, custom settings on the dial and twin dial control, better weight balance with heavier lenses (although I've tried installing a 70-200 IS 4.0L on the 450D and it was better than you'd think). The 450D in return gives you nearly all the 40D's features (Highlight Priority, High ISO NR, computer controlled remote shooting, Live View but now with 2 modes, IS kit lens, 3" screen, and snappier-than-you-think 3,5fps,...), smaller size, higher resolution with as far as I see it equal or better high ISO performance (especially with in camera NR and/or RAW). Also, the 300-500 dollars you save (if we compare the 450d kit to the 40d kit) would get you either a 50 1.4, 55-250 IS, 17-85 IS, 17-40 4.0L or get you closer to a 70-200L, 17-55 IS, etc.

The battery life by the way is excellent. Shot 200+ frames, many in continuous strings of 3-6 shots, and the battery indicator was still full. Other sources indicate even 400+ shots with no kick from the battery indicator. I'd reckon it'll last an entire day of intensive shooting. Looks like an impressive result from the Canon guys, considering all that Live View and 3" inch screen gimmickry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:52 pm 
These reviews are gold. Thanks for posting them Shonen!

Initially I was debating between getting the 400d and the 450d, but now, the focus has shifted to either the 450d or the 40d.
I will probably get the 40d, since i don't mind waiting till december for the massive sale we have in canada for boxing day. + I expect all camera prices to drop by december before the sale anyway.

Keep the pictures coming!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 7:07 am 
Just a short follow up: I went to a local electronics outlet (Saturn, Antwerp, Belgium) and went up to my usual DSLR playground. Surprisingly, they were not showcasing the 450D, instead promoting the 400D. They did have the Sony A300, though.

Comparing to the 400D, the grip is quite thoroughly improved. The rubberized texture helps a lot, and I also think the grip is a bit deeper. I found the left-right control layout of the 400D annoying, prefered how they shuffled things around in the 450D. The shutter sound is a bit squeakier but also a bit quieter in the 400D. The LCD but especially the change in menu structure is noted, and most of all, the 400D has no Live View.
The 18-55 II I didn't like at all. (Even) cheaper finish and uglier zoom ring.

Next up I took the 40D, mounted on a 17-85 IS. The first thing I was reminded of once again is the added weight. The grip was also a bit too big for my hands. The viewfinder was actually not that different from the 450D, I found the brightness and coverage relatively similar. Next, I was kinda annoyed by the joystick and second dial. This is probably because I'm already used to the 450D, but somehow I found myself fiddling more with the camera than I wanted. Most other differences I found to be improvements however: the AF-on button, 3 custom settings on the dial, upper screen.
Shooting performance was significantly better, though. AF was faster, and continuous shooting very rapid. The shutter sound was also very quiet, which I liked a lot.

Lastly, I briefly played with the Sony A300. The first thing I did was play with that tiltable screen. Although I could imagine it being very useful, I still found it a gimmick, and I was worried to break the mechanism whilst opening the screen up. The Live View mode works truly like that of a compact: point, half-press, let the AF green-light, and snap. However, since it uses all the DSLR's advantages of faster AF etc, I really think this Live View system is a winner for most people crossing over from compacts. The viewfinder however, I found to be cramped, although brightness was okay.
Although I liked the meaty grip on the Sony, I have the overall impression that the device is a built to a price. Somehow the materials feel a bit on the econ-side.

At the end, I had the unmistakable feeling that the 450D had been the right choice for me. It combines many advantages of above devices and puts that in an affordable entry level package. But more simply, it just felt right using it. Actually, after leaving the store, I immediately broke out the 450D and resumed shooting the beautiful spring day, and forgot about the bodies I tested.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:30 am 
Looks like my gallery link fell off. Repeat:

http://picasaweb.google.com/erwin.husin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:48 pm 
Quote:
Annoyed a couple of people because of candid photography - lol, I need to get a 55-250 or 70-200 soon ^^


If you're in Hong Kong some people, especially older ones, will be annoyed - they believe that a photo 'captures their spirit'! True elsewhere in the Far East, too.

Some nice shots there - made me feel quite nostalgic, as I lived in HK for well over 20 years.


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