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Canon EOS 350D Digital SLR Review
Many moons ago, ephotozine asked me if I would like to submit a user review on the Canon EOS 350D. I said yes, but then forgot, then I remembered again, right at the end of my time with my beloved 350D.
Having never written a user review before, aside from amazon, I know very little about how to structure one, so bare with me as this may seem completely random, but it makes sense to me and possibly to you too after reading this in its entirity, so here goes.
My camera history is a cliché, I began in 35mm with a Praktica MTL-5b, then made the move to Canon with the AV-1, then progressed onto a 1000fn, then my final full time 35mm camera, the EOS 300.
The 300 came out at a time when digital was beginning to seem like a viable option and not just some pipe dream. There had been apprehensions that the quality of digital would not be a match for silver halide, nor would it ever be. It was the devil incarnate, the end of photography as we know it.
Well, it certainly was the end of photography as we knew it, as we entered the new millennium mobile phones began sprouting camera's, poor ones at that, but a camera none the less. A camera on a phone? That didn't make much sense back then, now most of us buy a phone for the MP count, or am I imagining that?
I didnt take many images with the Canon EOS 300, the expense of 35mm was getting astronomical, and I know sooner or later digital camera's would become cheaper and better, and in 2003 I bought some tacky little HP compact digital camera, with 3mp, not 3.1mp, just 3mp.
I had a pc running windows 97, and an early version of Photoshop Elements, i think it was elements 3. I also bought a digital HP printer, it came with the camera as a bundle for the pricey sum of £200. That silly little camera got me hooked! I took an image and i could instantly see it before me on the back of the camera on a little telly, how cool was that?
The Canon EOS 300D came out. I didnt buy it, I guess it reminded me of the other 300 Canon I owned, psychologically it could have damaged me! So patiently did I wait until the beautiful 350D was released, in black! I saved up even before its release, I had seen it mentioned in all the magazines I used to buy at the time, and when it came out I bought it there and then, with it's 18-55mm kit lens.
Driving home, with that camera beside me, was tricky, of course I opened the box, looked at the shiny black camera while apparently driving, reckless I know, not something I would even be tempted to do now, but back then I was careless. I almost hit the kerb a few times, that scared me, so I had to pull over to have a proper look, and wished the battery was fully charged, just charge them for us please?
I digress. Now, the 350D!
It went everywhere with me, everywhere. I used it so much, I wore one out, and my dad gave me his 350D as a replacement. That was in 2009, so 4 years worth of usage, not really much is it? Though I must stress that I used my first 350D constantly, I have a very large section of cupboard space dedicated to back up CD's, with RAw images, JPegs, the lot, 1000's of them! Now i back it up with several USB drives and external HDD's.
The original 350D has been in sweaty nightclubs, windy beaches, dropped on many walks, basked while attached to my tripod, with tripod slung over my shoulder, not a good idea, really not good. It went through a lot, as did my second 350D. The second 350D was used with extra's added, like wireless triggers for flash, and radio triggers for remote capture, something I later took too with aplomb.
The 350D is an 8MP camera, with ISO100-1600, no video, no really special effects, no real thrills at all really, but it was superb in every way. Everything I needed it to do, it did it quite well, even in my hands, when I wasn't dropping it. Upon it's release it was a well respected entry level camera, very much sought after, indeed even now this model easily reaches £150 on certain auction websites. The preview screen, which is now tiny and inefficient compared to today alternatives, was a good enough size for me, I could see clearly back then, now age is catching up with me and I find myself squinting when viewing previous images, specially in bright sunlight. But that never bothered me too much.
And nothing did bother me about the camera until 2 years ago when I realized that it was a rather noisy little bugger, visually and audibly. Even though it went up to ISO 1600, I barely ever went that high simply because the noise was prominent, very much so, in fact it was evident at ISO 400, a sensitivity value which I often use, as we all do, in tight situations where light is less than desirable. Sometimes I needed to go higher and higher, but these images were never to my satisfaction and I rarely ever published those.
Once upon a time I could not see the point in HD video or any video on camera's, and scorned such devilment! Then I changed my mind, like I do. In fact the HD video was a big factor in deciding my next camera, as well as the noise handling. Video! Why not? Never mind camcorders with night vision, who uses night vision anyway apart from stalkers? Exactly! Digital camera's, DSLR's with video? Why the hell not? It is the perfect union. Stills and Motion.
How I would have loved to be able to take video on the 350D is folly to express, it didnt have it and that is that!
What it did do was take some very special images in its time with me, though most were rubbish, I enjoyed taking them, and treasure those of my family very dearly, they are plastered on many a wall within my family and extended family.
It also made me do thing's I would never have considered before, like glamour, fashion, fetish, people photography basically, aside from weddings. Even wildlife to a certain degree, though mostly easy to reach animals and birds.
Shockingly i never once used any of those scene modes, the sports mode, the macro mode, the portrait mode, i guess because i already knew what settings i needed for each of those genres anyway.
My 350D still has a lot of life in it yet, and i will not be putting it to rest just yet, it makes an amazing second camera, though for years it made the perfect first body, and fully deserves its place in the history books.
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