on 7 March 2010
I am a retired professional photographer.
Despite the fact that I made my living with a camera I am still able to enjoy my photography.
The arrival of two new Grandchildren prompted me to update my photographic equipment and whilst I am not badly off in all honesty I didn't feel that I could justify the expense of professional cameras.
I have other interests and we have to eat.
I did a lot of reading and decided to invest in a Canon 500D together with 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses .A 430 EX Speed light completed the outfit.This flash is a super bit of kit.
By the time I had bought a spare battery,memory cards,filters and lens hoods etc., the "entry level" outfit cost wasn't far short of a thousand pounds.
Let me say at the outset that I don't begrudge a penny spent because I am pleased with my new gear.
The camera is intuitive in use,especially if you have had experience with earlier EOS models and the menus are clear and easy to read aided by the large bright LCD screen.
I am impressed by the two lenses.I sometimes wonder whether some of the so called professional reviewers ever abandon their MTF charts and get out into the real world with their cameras.Despite criticism from certain sources I found the resolution of these two lenses to be excellent.
Like many people I am unlikely to print anything larger at A4 but I can assure you that the combination of the 500d body and either of these two lenses is capable of producing much larger quality prints.
I try to ensure that my images are as perfect as possible "in camera" ( the result of working with reversal film for years.) but the bundled software is user friendly and quite capable without being too sophisticated.
One of the big advantages of the 500D is its ability to take HD movies (I think) Only time will as far as I am concerned.The quality is not in doubt but the whole procedure is cumbersome to say the least.
I have one or two reservations however. I wonder why it was necessary to increase the sensor size to 15.1 MB. I have an EOS 300D(6MB) and equipped with reasonable glass the images it produces are not so very far behind those of 500D.
Whilst I am not suggesting that they fully match the quality of those taken with the 500D I have wondered whether the cost of the higher resolution camera was justifiable in my case.
Another slight moan.Canon have gone to great length to expand the ISO range of the 500D which is great when one has to be discreet and not use flash,but it is hard to be discreet when the shutter release is loud enough to wake the dead.The focusing "Beep" sound can be turned off.Why not the shutter release sound Mr.Canon.
Recommendations. It rather depends on what sort of camera you have at the moment. If you have an earlier Canon EOS it may be more sensible to invest in the best glass that you can afford.If however you are looking for your first DSLR the Canon 500D is worth considering.It is a SUPER package and I am delighted with mine.
I hope these ramblings may be of some help.
on 4 August 2009
I bought this camera about 2 weeks ago and it has exceeded all expectations. Being my first DSLR I tried to make sure I bought the best camera for my money. Initially I was going to buy the 450D on price but the extra few megapixels and better screen (which is stunning) swayed me. I'll try not to repeat any previous reviews but my observations are as follows;
In many respects this camera does all of the work for you. You could quite happily use the basic zone modes (auto modes) and take great photos or just use them whilst you get to grips with the complexity of manual modes.
The camera is also stunning aesthetically. It is slightly more rounded than previous models but as a consequence is also a touch smaller, especially the grip. For someone like myself who has large hands it is still not too much of a problem but if you feel like this may be a problem then a battery grip should rectify this.
In 2 weeks I probably charged this camera once and took almost a thousand photos.. great battery life considering the performance.
The buttons on the 500D are cleverly thought out except in the live view where the '*' button serves as the AF button and when filming the 'live view' button is stop/start recording.
The HD video mode is very good - I didn't consider this feature when buying but it is a very useful one to have just in case.
The only problems I have had are with memory cards. I was initially using a 2Gb one I already had but this was way too small but have recently bought a new 8Gb one which holds about 1,100 JPEG images. When you buy a card don't go for the cheapest go for the fastest (class 6). A standard SanDisk one will take about 15-20 continuous shots then will slow down or stop.
All in all a fantastic DSLR that I would recommend to anyone, especially if you take pictures of sporting events or landscapes as the Canon really seems to capture vivid colours and action well. This is by far and away the best camera in this price bracket too when compared to a D90 for example.
on 3 July 2009
I have upgraded from a Canon 350D to this 500D. Why? a) More pixels so I can crop without worrying too much. b) Screen on the 350D is far too small for my eyesight. The 500 screen is marvellous even held high. c) Auto Sensor cleaning. d) better quality images. e) video is a bonus but not on my wish list but nice to have anyway and it works great. I also looked at the 50D but chose to instead spend the difference in price on buying a Speedlight 580EX ll which is really good.
I mainly use a Canon 18-200mm since I normally have a dog lead in one hand and a camera in the other and stopping to change lenses is not really an option.... and the lens is plenty good enough.
I have just taken photos at a private function, mainly indoors and the quality is great.
My only gripe with the 500D is that if you are like me and constantly switch the camera off and on you really need to be careful that in so doing you haven't moved the function wheel. I pretty much always have mine set to AV and I have been caught out a few times having knocked the wheel over to Manual.
All in all I am tickled pink with the 500D and can recommend it without hesitation.
on 26 April 2009
Having just got this latest addition to the Canon EOS range (to replace my ageing 10D), I just had to try it out, of course!
This is a welcome upgrade, with the Digic 4 processor living up to expectations. Using the Custom Function7 (Auto Lighting Optimiser), you'll be hard-pressed to come up with a badly-exposed pic! However, remember that it only works for under-exposed photos, and over-exposed still remain so - there's never been much you can do about a bright sky with an otherwise dull landscape, unless you take multiple separately-exposed photos and manipulate with Photoshop trickery, or else manipulate the RAW photo! However, the overexposed highlights are of course monitored and pointed out to you in the playback monitor immediately afterwards.
The highlight tone priority is quite a good function (CF6), but then any CF2 use to expand the highest ISO from 3200 to 12800 is lost, as the two don't work together! Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, as the higher ISO's are mainly used for concerts and otherwise dimly-lit shots, but you'll do as well to remember the limitation.
The LiveView - not available in Basic Zone modes, but that's fair enough! - is not bad at all, and the vastly improved screen resolution helps a lot. However, the screen tends to get smudged easily, as with all cameras with the eyepiece so close to a large monitor. Nevertheless, the brightness is not bad, although viewing on a brighly-lit day tends to mute the colours you see. The biggest gripe is the choice of LiveView settings - the Quick mode functions well, but the Live Mode and Live Mode with Face detection feature a particularly annoying pause while the mirror flips for focusing. And why oh why did Canon decide that you would have to press an entirely separate button (the AE/FE lock "*" on the back) to establish focus? Surely it would have been better to use the shutter-release button?
Same goes for starting and stopping a video recording - you have to press the Live View shooting mode button to the right of the monitor to start/stop it!
Hovever, the gripes are only cosmetic, as are some of these features. Serious photographers won't be using them much at all, although they're nice to have "in an emergency"!
The camera body itself is light, although as usual adding a lens and Speedlite tend to vastly add to the weight. But individually the body sits naturally in the hand, with the slightly-better grip contributing to ease-of-handling and a firm grip.
Overall, a superb piece of kit, with the results exceeding expectations. Certainly comparable with the Nikon D90, but of course a must-have for a snapper having a range of Canon lenses already!
on 24 August 2009
First of all, I'm more of a camcorder guy, so I'm coming at this from the point of view of a still-photography newbie. This has been my first purchase into DSLR territory & I'm blown away by this great piece of kit. You can quite happily shoot away in the auto & scene modes & get great pictures, but there's a lot of fun to be had by playing around with the settings. The camera comes with a fairly chunky user manual which does have hints & tips about how to use the settings. I'm ploughing my way through this at the moment and I'd recommend any 'beginners' do this to get maximum benefit from their kit.
Stuff I really like about this camera - it feels solid, stable & has quality build. The battery is really impressive. The camera comes with its own battery & charger. The battery still has some power left after a couple of days taking about 400 photos and about 20 (short) clips of HD footage. Very impressed! The display on the back is extremely clear & detailed. You really get an informed idea of whether or not you've taken a decent picture. You will need to puchase an SDHC card separately. With a 4GB card the camera can take about 530 pictures in highest quality mode jpeg setting (you can go for 'RAW' mode, but I don't know much about that) - though this will obviously vary depending on lighting conditions & modes. With the software provided you can connect the camera to a laptop & operate the camera hands-free. Great for indoor studio work, you can see your pictures cleary on your computer with all the settings & take pictures by clicking your mouse. FUN!!
The ability to shoot HD video clips is just the icing on the cake. Choices are 1080p/20fps or 720p/30fps. That's a bizarre combination, but Canon don't want to make the video features too good, lest we stop buying their camcorders! Shooting video is a little awkward - you have to press the live view button on the back & you will need to use manual focus (AF just loses the plot with video). But the HD video is just FAB!!! The onboard mic is fairly crappy mono & there are no mic inputs, but I will definitely be using this with professional mics & an external field recorder in the near future; the picture is THAT good. It's fantastic to get shallow depth of field HD footage which has that film feel to it. Oh yeah, and you can take great pictures too!
on 7 July 2009
I am about to attempt a DSLR course so guess what.... I needed a camera. My old Canon digital compact didn't cut it! This camera exceeds my expectations. It is easy to set up & use. My wife is an avid user of the point & click function & I use the rest. The 15m pixels & added ability to video in HD made the difference in selecting this camera over the Nikon equiv with the swivel screen (it was a close race).
I am over the moon with this purchase, but unfortunatly I have become very snap happy! I recommend you buy protective film for the camera display & a cheap UV filter to protect your expensive lens. I bought an 8gb HD-SD card & then had to get a USB adaptor as my old laptop SD card reader was not compatible.
Don't forget - your decision to by a brand name DSLR is for life, not just for one purchase. Your future Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR Camera (incl. EF 18-55mm IS Lens Kit)accessories tie you to the brand.
on 24 January 2010
When you read reviews like this, you're deciding between models and wondering which one to buy. It's therefore frustrating when so many reviews seem to be wildly contradictory. I guess the reason for this is because many (maybe most), are from people not being very subjective, and many from people who have no wide knowledge of the item type, so their comments have to be taken with "a pinch of salt" !
So I'll start by blowing my trumpet and say that I've been "doing" photography for nearly 50 years. Processing, film, SLRs the whole nine yards.
After dozens of 35mm and Medium format film cameras, I've had about a dozen digital, and a couple of "bridge" (fixed lens" SLRSs). This is my first interchangeable lens digital camera, now that they have come down to a reasonable price.
I've had the 500D for just over a month now, and I'm very pleased with it. I now have the versatility of my Pentax SLR system back, coupled with the convenience and economy, and now quality of digital rather than film. I can't review it in comparison to other digital SLRs, because I have no experience of them, but I'm certainly very pleased with it, with no negatives so far.
I bought it with the 28-55 "kit" (so called cheapo) lens, but find that excellent, especially with the image stabilisation as well.
"Old" photographers may not realise that they can easily and cheaply use most of the classic prime lenses (pentax, nikon, olympus etc), by buying a cheap adapter ring, which can also incorporate an electronic chip to retain the "auto focus" beep, which is very useful as DSLRs no longer have split and micro-prism focusing screens. Using say, an old Olympus 50mm f1.8, which can be bought SH as cheaply as around £20, the quality is as good as an "L" series professional Canon lens, albeit having to be focused and apertures set manually.
An all-round very versatile and high build quality DSLR which actually takes HD movies as well !
on 25 May 2010
After extensive researching on the internet I concluded that the 500D would be the best option for my needs.
The other contenders were the Nikon 5000D and Sony Alpha 380 + other higher Alpha variants around a similar price tag.
Having never before owned an SLR / DSLR I wanted something that would be easy to use in point and shoot mode yet still have the scope to allow me to expand my knowledge and skills. The Canon looks like it will do all this and more.
Whilst I'm sure the other brands would have achieved similar results in my beginners hands, the Canon looks like it will provide greater scope before needing to upgrade to a higher model (if ever), Expert opinion and reviews seem to show the Canon generally producing better like for like results. This comes at a slightly heavier price tag but not so heavy as to pursued me to opt for one of the other models,
In some ways the Canon has less features than its rivals - a particularly nice feature of some of the Sonys is the tilt and swivel LCD screen that would make awkward angle shots a breeze. Having said that, from experience of laptops, the connection wires to the screen always seem to fail way before the rest of the equipment - I've not heard of any such failures yet on these cameras but I didn't fancy paying out so much cash only to find it useless in a relatively short space of time.
The 500D has now been surpassed by the 550 model which, although offering yet more in the way of features, retails for significantly more money,
To summarise my review, the Canon 500D offers far more that most beginners will ever need but, in doing so, will cater for many different needs. The picture output, even when just taking snaps, can be stunning and I already feel more like a photographer. The price is not cheap but not so high that it is out of reach. The kit lens produces good results even though not highly rated by the pro's. It offers a moderate degree of zoom, is fast to focus and is light weight.
My only negatives about this camera are, having purchased a 'kit' that is aimed at entry level users, the inclusion of a polarizing filter would have been nice and a small memory card would allow you to use the camera straight out of the box. Other than these minor points, I cannot recommend the camera highly enough.
This is a superb budget D-SLR camera at the cheap end of the market.
I bought as a replacement for my 350D mainly as the 350D is now mostly used for time lapse and remote shooting so needed a new SLR for my main work.
I assumed it would just be a case of having more pixels but this really is a generation or two advanced over the 350D.
The build quality is excellent but the screen is the most striking, it's huge , 3 inches and I like the ability to change colors, the green mode is fantastic for night time.
Is very light and well balanced and it handles very well.
Live view is a useful addition (which I doubt I'd use a lot as it does slow operation down) but it uses a lot of energy.
Image quality is much better than the 350D. Less noise and with the extra pixels it appears much sharper, ideal for me as I shoot with a fish eye a lot and so need to crop in sometimes.
Another addition over the 350D is sensor cleaning which I hope will reduce the dust issues creeping into my 350D. Overall, very pleased so far.
on 7 March 2010
I bought this as my first DSLR. I wanted a fairly decent camera that would allow me to learn as I go and this camera seems to fit the bill. You can use it in full Auto or any of the 'scene' modes (some of which are fairly good) or you can choose full Manual mode which allows you to play around with the settings. It is easy to change settings in Manual mode and I find the camera in general easy to use. It is just the right size for me and all the buttons are in the right place. I had considered a Nikon as well however I found that it didn't feel as good to hold and some of the buttons were in awkward places (for me). The camera feels sturdy and well built. It also isn't as heavy as some others I looked at, as a fairly feeble girl this was important for me!
I've found that the camera produces excellent pictures even with the kit lens. I can't wait to buy a new and better lens and an external flash to see what it can really do. The battery life is great also.
Haven't tried video yet, not something I'm particularly bothered about but it might come in useful at some point!
I really can't think of anything bad to say about the camera! I can't wait to use it more and get some great pictures! Recommended.