Canon pretty much invented the digital SLR market and its 350D proved wildly popular, winning awards left, right and centre. The Canon EOS 400D is well on its way to doing the same, with its 10.1Mp Cmos sensor and excellent, almost totally noise-free shots. Updated, with price cut: 5 November 2007

The Canon EOS 400D is a great choice for those looking for their first digital SLR camera, as well as being suitable for those with a passion for photography and a grounding in composition and photographic tricks.

However, not everything about the Canon EOS 400D is ideal. For example, we can understand why Canon chose to add a proximity detector to the 2.6in LCD viewfinder, but this makes the camera less suitable than some for spontaneous point-and-shoot photography. You need to bring your eye up to the viewfinder before it springs into action.

What we do like about the Canon 400D is how easy it is to achieve excellent results with hardly any effort. Plenty of focus points are visible as you peer through the viewfinder, which gives you a fair idea of how your shot will come out even before you depress the shutter to lock the focus.

Exposure lock and white balance information is helpfully displayed onscreen, too.

A dust-prevention feature helps ensure no grime is introduced when you switch lenses. While it's got some stiff competition, anyone receiving a Canon EOS 400D as gift is sure to be delighted.

Verdict


The 400D is a fully featured camera that yields excellent image quality at a very reasonable price. But we'd recommend getting your hands on a model before committing to a purchase, to check you like the size and feel.

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Canon pretty much created the entry-level digital SLR (single-lens reflex) market in 2003 with the release of the Canon EOS 300D. So how does the 400D, the latest addition to its range, shape up against the current competition?

The 400D has a 10.1Mp (megapixel) sensor, a larger LCD screen and a smattering of new features, and at £525 (including an 18-55mm lens) it's right in line with its chief rivals, the Sony Alpha DSLR A100K and the Nikon D80.

A look at the back of the camera reveals the most significant cosmetic changes from its predecessor. Canon has increased the size of the screen to 2.5in, and a proximity detector automatically activates and deactivates the screen as you move your eye up to and away from the viewfinder. However, Canon has eliminated the dedicated status LCD. The 400D now shows flash exposure lock and white-balance adjustment in the viewfinder’s status bar.

All critical shooting functions are easily reachable via the four-way buttons and LCD screen on the back of the camera. Exposure compensation, program shift, drive mode, exposure lock and focus point all have dedicated buttons – an impressive control setup.

Under the hood, the camera now has a 10.1Mp sensor, matching those of its competitors. Canon has also implemented a three-tiered sensor-cleaning system to keep your shots clear of dust – you can even create a reference shot to digitally remove spots later.

As with the 300D, the 400D produces excellent image quality, with minimal noise even at the maximum ISO rating. Canon has managed to increase the resolution without increasing the noise. As such, the extra 2Mp are welcome, providing far more output and cropping flexibility.

Canon EOS 400D: Specs

  • 10.1Mp CCD
  • ISO range 100-1,600
  • max image resolution 3,888x2,592
  • shutter speed 30-1/4,000th sec
  • 3x zoom
  • 2.5in 235k LCD
  • CompactFlash I/II
  • Jpeg/Raw
  • lithium-ion battery
  • 127x94x65mm
  • 510g (with batteries)
  • 10.1Mp CCD
  • ISO range 100-1,600
  • max image resolution 3,888x2,592
  • shutter speed 30-1/4,000th sec
  • 3x zoom
  • 2.5in 235k LCD
  • CompactFlash I/II
  • Jpeg/Raw
  • lithium-ion battery
  • 127x94x65mm
  • 510g (with batteries)

OUR VERDICT

The 400D is a fully featured camera that yields excellent image quality at a very reasonable price. But we'd recommend getting your hands on a model before committing to a purchase, to check you like the size and feel.

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