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4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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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.

My advice?..,
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. :-)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2006
I've 'graduated' from a Canon Ixus, through a Canon Pro1 fixed lens 'prosumer', to the EOS 400D. They're all very different and it takes a while to get the best from a new camera when you jump to a new level.

I almost bought the 400D's predecessor, the 350D, but guessed it wouldn't be long before there was a new one with a bigger screen, and here it is. Worth waiting for for that alone. I'm happy too to have the dust reduction stuff, and apparently it focusses better than the old one too - I can't comment.

You hear people on the net moan that the 400D is too small. But if you're moving up from a compact camera you'll be thankful it isn't any bigger than it is! I find it comfortable enough to hold, and all the buttons are in the right place. After a delicate little compact, everything feels tonka-toy chunky and business-like. It feels pretty tough. There are grippy textures where your fingers fall, so you don't feel like you're going to drop it. You get a wide neck strap that has a built in viewfinder cover for self-timer shots (apparently, if your eye isn't up to the lens, stray light can get in through the viewfinder.)

People have mixed feelings about the lack of a separate LCD to show settings, but having used the camera, I can see why Canon did it. The info displays are superb, and since you're not framing the shot with the LCD, why not? The screen goes blank when you look through the viewfinder so it doesn't distract.

I was worried by what some people have said about the viewfinder being a small tunnel. Maybe, compared to more expensive cameras, but coming from a smaller camera, the viewfinder seems to me to be very good indeed. Except that I find the info display in the viewfinder (tells you shutter speed, aperture etc) is just slightly below my eyeline so I have to peer a little.

Focusing will be a revelation to anyone who's used a 'slow' compact camera. The 400D snaps into focus almost instantly in a very satisfying and positive way. There's no shutter lag if you pre-focus.

One thing you have to get used to though is that SLRs don't have the same depth of field (things near and far being in focus) as compact cameras. This is a good thing because you can get those nice blurry backgrounds in portraits, but for general photography, you may at first find things out of focus when you didn't expect it. The 400D helps with its auto depth of field mode that sets the aperture according to what its nine focus points see.

Even so, if you're new to SLRs, this may frustrate you at first. You really need to learn about the effect of aperture on depth of field.

You need to learn an awful lot more to get the best out of this camera. The main functions are brilliantly simple to use and access. Delve into the menus and there's a bewildering range of things to change and customise.

At least one read through of the chunky 180-page manual is essential (or you won't know what the unmarked button below the lens is for...). It's all in English and clear enough if not particularly friendly. You get a tiny 'quick guide' to the camera too that's quite good.

If you register with Canon Gateway (I think it's free, haven't done it yet), they'll send you a 256Mb CF card. There are other offers in the box too, like a book of vouchers for money off lenses and flashguns (you'll surely want accessories for this camera). All in all, it's a nice package. and of course includes all cables and two leads for the charger - one for the UK, and a 2-pin for Europe. There's the usual Canon ImageBrowser software, plus Digital Photo Professional for processing RAW images when you're ready.

So what about the pictures the 400D takes? If you have a compact camera and find it's too grainy when you set it to ISO 400, the 400D will be a dream, because even ISO 1600 is very usable and it makes a big difference to the shutter speed. It's such an important factor in the exposure equation that it's a bit odd it's not displayed in the viewfinder. It could do with its own dial, that's how much you'll use it.

So the 400D can take good photos at any ISO. I'm pretty happy so far, but it depends so much on your lens choice and expertise. There are websites that have plenty of samples from the 400D if you want to have a look.

I feel I've still a lot to learn. But I'm looking forward to every minute with this great camera.
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on 19 April 2007
Have got both this camera and it's predecessor the 350D , for ease of use the 400D is a lot better . Though some of that might be down to knowing what the menus do as they are essentially the same . It's difficult to see any difference in image quality unless you are making big big enlargements , I've had some 20x30inch prints done that came out very well . Hopefully the sensor cleaning will prove it's capability as I'm forever changing lenses and dust build up did become noticeable on the 350D .

I always try to shoot RAW images in aperture or shutter priority mode and keep away from auto mode . But the best thing you can do for this camera is not buy the kit lens but instead invest some money in 'L' glass if you can afford it or look at some of the 3rd party lenses , Sigma , Tokina or Tamron . For good lens reviews of all makes try PhotoZone or Fred Miranda ( FM Reviews )
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on 18 September 2008
The 400D is an excellent slr for the price. If you combine the camera with good lenses pictures are sharp, well saturated and can be printed on A2 - I have several examples on my walls. It is extremely easy to use.

The only drawback I experienced of this camera is buffer speed. If you're not technical buffer speed is how fast the camera transfers your photos onto the CF card, in other words if you take 8 shots the buffer speed determines how long you have to wait to shoot again. The frames per second are more than adequate, however as I do a lot of portrait work I found having to wait to take another series of shots occasionally annoying.

On the whole the 400D is excellent however, I have done several semi-pro shoots with it and I never felt I was short changing customers as the results were excellent.

If the 400D fits your price range and you want a superb introductory camera or you're on a budget...buy it. Spend everything else you have on the best lenses you can afford. You won't regret it.

COUNTER to the "DISAPPOINTING" review
I found no under-exposure problems on my 400D, although I almost always shot in the more advanced modes. However this is what they are for. If your camera is under exposing the simple solution is to use the 'exposure compensation' which is utilised with the scroller wheel and the 'Av+/-' button next to the display.

Your photography will benefit from mastering the more advanced features of the camera :)
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on 9 September 2011
this is my second 400d (first one someone borrowed and broke it)
in case you are thinking its unreliable.
as far as slr's go this is excellent if you are just starting out in the slr world.
its easy to use, packed with features and now a days you can get it at a great price.

for those that arent to sure body only means just that, you dont get any lenses, they will need to bought separately

there are lots of lenses and tripods which work with this camera (practically any canon lens will go on this camera just make sure its eos compatible)
if in due course you upgrade to newer model eos camera then the lenses you bought for this camera will work on your new one!

all in all its a great camera, it does everything i need and ive take some great shots with it.
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on 24 October 2015
This camera provides the ideal platform for the begginer photographer to sart taking some great shots.
The lens selection is huge and not only Canon lenses fit this camera.
Tamron and Sigma to name a few.
The fact that your shots will benefit from a selection of lenses is part of the fun of using a Digital SLR like the 400D.
Yuo will be amazed at the quality of photos you can produce with the right lens and this 400D Canon.
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on 13 June 2013
Had this as replacementt for Canon 400D already owned so wanted to be able to use all existing bateries/cards.
It was in good condition for its age and has performed well on a recent holiday when I took many variable settings on it.
Saw no reason to upgrade when similar camera had done everything I asked of it.
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on 8 May 2008
This is a first class camera at a price i could afford which accepts the lenses from my old camera. It is also easy to pick up the basic handling and would recommend the camera and the provider to anyone to do business with.
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on 31 December 2013
Canon have failed to disappoint again with this camera. I have worked my way through the range for 25 years as it is advanced and can see why, together with Nikon, Canon are the market leaders in the field of digital photography.
Another surefire hit.
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VINE VOICEon 22 October 2008
I decided to get back into photography with an SLR, and did quite a lot of research. This lead me to buy this camera and lens (as well as a 18-55 & 70-300 zoom). This camera is a superb entry level camera, with preset picture style types such as portrait, landscape, sports etc. and a fully auto setting, so as easy to use as a point and shoot. For the more professional photographers amongst you, there are the manual setting options where you can adjust the ISO, aperture etc. and a fully manual option. A basic 18-55 lens will be fine when you are getting used to the camera, however the lenses will be the first thing you upgrade if you fall in love with photography! I recommend the USM IS range of lenses as reasonable priced good quality upgrades.
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