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A familiar friend
on 21 January 2008
Given a growing interest in photographing wildlife added to the desire to shoot in continuous frame mode more often than not (vs the cost of film) I realised it was time to "give digital a go".
I've been a long time fan of Canon film SLRs due to fast and reliable focusing, generally consistent metering, common sense ergonomics, and intuitive menuing. And so I expected these brand qualities to be found in the Canon EOS 400D. (Yes a 40D would have been nice, but it was the 400D that fitted my budget.)
I wasn't disappointed. All the usual controls were located in the usual places, e.g. exposure mode selection dial, command wheel, single frame vs continuous, focus mode etc. If you can find your way through the average mobile phone menu then you will be able to navigate your way through the various software menu tabs, even if some of the options are somewhat unfamiliar. Even though I had never before used a digital camera of any sort, let alone a DSLR, I managed to work out what most of the menu options did. That said, there is no substitute for a read through the manual and I only really found out how to get the best out of the 400D after a read though the manual.
My first time of using the 400D was at the London Wetlands Centre, attached to a Canon 70-200 F4 IS. I was genuinely amazed at the image quality that the 400D's APS-C sized CMOS sensor is capable of delivering. Viewing the images later on my laptop I could resolve feather filaments on birds, hairs on squirrels. I was gobsmacked. I found it incredible that this much detail could be captured on a CMOS sensor approximately 22x15mm in size.
So why buy the 400D body rather than one of the 400D kits? Simply because the standard zoom lenses supplied in the 400D kits do not do justice to the high quality of the image sensor in the 400D. Sharp lenses they are not - anything but.
1) Buy the 400D body
2) Attach a really sharp lens of your choice (not a std kit lens)
I'm very pleased indeed that I bought a 400D. I'm especially pleased that I bought a 400D body and handpicked my own choice of razor sharp lenses lenses (Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Canon 70-200 F4L IS).
The 400D is a cracker. I can't recommend it highly enough. Just make sure you choose a lens that does it justice.
PS: Please vote for my review if you found it helpful. :-)