Surprisingly, very little was leaked about the Canon EOS 400D until the day before the camera's announcement. Plenty of speculative guesses were made as to what the specification would be, with some websites reporting that it will be a full frame camera. Gary Wolstenholme managed to get his hands on Canon's latest release and here he will go through the main features of the camera.
Features and controls
- 10.1 megapixels
- Built-in sensor cleaning system
- 1.6x field-of-view crop factor
- 9 area AF
- Evaluative, partial and centre-weighted metering modes
- Sensitivity range - ISO100 to ISO1600
- Shutter speeds of 1/4000sec to 30secs and bulb
- 2.5inch LCD screen
- Flash synch up to 1/200sec
- Up to 3fps continuous shooting
- RRP £649.99 body only
- Flash System
The EOS 400D is compatible with the same E-TTL II system as previous Canon digital SLRs, which means the full range of EX series flashguns will be compatible.
- Exposure mode dial
Apart from a circle of shiny material placed in the centre of the exposure mode dial, it features the same mix of creative manual and program exposure modes, including portrait, landscape, etc.
- Ergonomic detail
A hard rubber material covers the main finger grip, and a thumb rest area on the rear of the camera. This helps to improve the handling slightly when compared to its predecessor.
- Large 2.5inch LCD screen
Unlike the dual screen display of the EOS 350D, the EOS 400D has only the 2.5inch colour display for exposure information and reviewing pictures. Canon have also added a proximity sensor just below the viewfinder, which switches off the screen when you bring your eye to the viewfinder. The screen on the sample I saw was very bright and sharp.
- Picture style/OK button
Pressing the OK button when not in a menu displays the picture style menu, where choices from monochrome and other effects can be selected. Anything that makes controls more accessible has to be an improvement.
- Memory Card
Canon continue to resist the advance of SD cards in their SLRs. The EOS 400D is compatible with CompactFlash the same as all other digital EOS models.
A 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor lies at the heart of the EOS 400D, which is 2 million more than it's predecessor. The difference between eight and 10 megapixels is not that great, hopefully other more subtle improvements to the image processing will add to the difference.
The EOS 400D also debuts Canon's new CCD cleaning solution, which works in three stages. The first stage reduces the static build-up which attracts dust. The camera also has a built-in system which vibrates the low-pass filter in front of the sensor to shake any debris loose. The third stage uses a reference image so that the bundled software can clone-out the marks.
- Built-in flash
A tall pop-up flash provides illumination to assist focusing as well as valuable fill light in high contrast situations.
- EFS lens mount
Those who hoped for a budget full-frame camera will have to continue wishing. The EFS lens mount allows Canon's specially designed lenses to be used.
During my time with the EOS400D, I also had the privilege of handling two new lenses that are to be released soon. These were:
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
|Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM
Both lenses were pre-production samples.
The 50mm f/1.2L will share the mantle of being Canon's fastest lens with their 85mm f/1.2L. This particular lens is huge, for a 50mm and will have an equally massive price tag of £1149.99. Images produced by this lens were wonderfully sharp, and the circular aperture produces very pleasing background blur. This lens will be available from November.
The second lens, the 70-200mm f/4L IS USM which includes image stabilisation for sharp images taken with a shutter speed up to four stops lower than normal. I found it to be very lightweight, easy to handle and the focusing is lightening quick. This lens will be available in September for an RRP of £989.
Unfortunately, because the sample I used was a pre-production model, I cannot comment on the image-quality produced by the camera.
Those who already own a Canon EOS 350D will find little difference between this new offering, and their current camera. The control layout is the same and the body is the same size. The camera sports subtle changes such as the improved grip surface, and the 30D-like diamond shaped AF arrangement.
Those looking for an entry-level introduction to SLR photography have yet another 10 million pixel model to choose from, as soon as we can get hold of a production model we will post a review here to help you decide.