back to article Canon EOS 400D digital SLR

DSLRs were once the province of the professional, with prices to match. But the cost has fallen, so for roughly twice the price of a mid-spec compact you can now pick up a decent digital SLR. A camera like the Canon EOS 400D for example. The EOS 400D has been around for quite a while now and Canon has since launched the EOS …

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  1. lasersage
    Thumb Down

    Canon stock lenses are gash

    Or for similar money you could have the Nikon d40x.

    Whilst I honestly prefer the canons operation the lens is shit. I know i know, this is an slr, the whole point it versatility and changing lenses, but when most lenses outprice the body you gotta seriously look at what stock lens comes with it.

    Nikon made lenses, then to sell their lenses started making cameras, a few years later they're pretty good at it. Nikon = awesome out of the box, Canon = shit out of box, but potential for being a nice camera with a new lens.

    All in all if you're on a budget opting for a samsung copy of a pentax slr (fully backwards compatible with their old manual lenses = cheap) is the way to go.

  2. Dave
    Stop

    Really?

    "It’s also a shame that there is no image stabilisation system and the best Canon can suggest is using a tripod"

    funny, I thought their suggestion was to use a lens with Image Stabilisation. This is an SLR, and they use optical stabilisation in the lens. My 450d came with an IS lens in the kit, and I assure you it is a very good system.

  3. Iain

    I (heart) my 400D

    Although it's technically a Digital Rebel XTi, which is what they call them in the US. Anyway, I'm really happy with it, particularly when I started using the longer lens off my old EOS 300 as an extra option.

    The bundled software is surprisingly good; I find myself using it instead of pay-for alternatives a lot of the time, because the simple stuff (cropping to particular custom ratios, RAW colour balance tweaking etc.) is far more intuitive than usual.

  4. Steven Raith

    Image stabilisation

    Image stabilisation is on the lenses, rather than the camera - the Canon L lenses have it.

    Image stabilisation is for pussies however.

    Steven "Loves his 300D too much" Raith

  5. John
    Thumb Up

    love mine

    Got one over the D40x partly due to the extra autofocus points. I don't need a DSLR, but I got rather annoyed with the sloth of most of the compact P&S cameras I'd used.

    Personally I use the landscape mode outdoors when I don't want the flash to fire and I can't be bothered to do Manual mode. There is a no-flash option, but it's one more click round. The flash is very powerful compared to most P&S. I tried putting my hand over it to see what would happen and the shot turned out orange and I could smell a tinge of burnt flesh (no actual injury though). A child and pets mode would be handy for having flash at half-brightness.

    I just need some lenses now.

  6. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    Image Stabilisation

    With Canon DSLR's, image stabilisation is a feature of the lens itself so indeed with the entry level kit you won't have image stabilisation. However, you can use the 400D with any EF or EF-S lens including any IS (Image Stabilised) lens. So just change the lens and you have IS.

    The 400D is a great first DSLR. As it will accept any lens in the current Canon range (as well as Sigma, Tamron and others), it is very easy to upgrade it or extend its capabilities by adding or replacing lenses. And even though it's an entry model, it may take you years before you feel the need to upgrade to a more advanced camera body.

  7. Raj Mistry

    Good but look at the EOS 450D

    I looked at this camera but decided to wait for the EOS 450D which I now have.

    The main difference is the 450D uses the new faster Digic III Processor and can be bought for around £535 from Uk stockists.

    I would reccomend the 450D!!

  8. Schultz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Single best improvement...

    Is to replace the EF 18-55 lens with something better. I combined the previous Canon model EOS 350D with a Sigma 17-70 zoom lens and the world never looked the same.

    Only problem with these cameras is the need to actually carry them. The phone is always there and has a camera too...

  9. Jeff

    Isn't this a bit late?

    I mean, this camera has been out and reviewed since late 2007...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Er, why review a superseded camera?

    All well and good, but the 400D has been replaced by the 450D.

    Paris, because she's always up to speed with new entries.

  11. Greg Allen

    450D

    hmmm... Someone has to say it: you've reviewed last year's model! The 450D is out now.

    400D is still a good deal, but for £77 more you can get the newer model with bigger screen, "live view" etc.

  12. BatCat
    Thumb Up

    Mine's great

    I almost went for a 30D instead of the 400D when I was looking. I'm glad I didn't. The 400D body is fine for my use and I was able to spend about £500 on a couple of good lenses instead of blowing all my budget on the 30D.

  13. Scott Snowden, Reviews Editor (Written by Reg staff)

    A little clarification needed I feel

    As George clearly writes in his second paragraph, "...the EOS 400D has been around for quite a while now and Canon has since launched the EOS 450D. But the EOS 400D remains in the Canon range..."

    And any product...as we have pointed out repeatedly in the past, that is *still* current is eligible for review.

    The EOS 400D remains a potentially good choice for anyone who is using a DSLR for the first time.

    We are constantly increasing our digital camera review coverage...and this includes DSLRs. *All* DSLRs that are currently available to buy.

  14. Dave Harris Bronze badge
    Happy

    450D...

    ...apparently brings in a lot of features from the next-range-up 40D. Another advantage over the 400D is the default lens, the 18-55 IS, as opposed to the straight 18-55.

    Yeehaw, getting mine this week, should be a spit over 450 quid as well, depending on what goodies I opt out of (not UK).

  15. James

    IS, Kit Lens

    The 18-55 kit lens is the cheapest kit lens for the 400D. New owners may be better off with the EF-S 17-85mm IS f/4-f/5.6. The larger zoom range I have found to be very useful (I have that lens for my 40D) and the build quality is better on the 17-85. Naturally the price is higher but it's worth knowing the 18-55 isn't the only kit lens out there.

    Canon's view on image stabilisation is to put it in the lens and not the body (Nikon incidentally do the same) so to say the 400D has no image stabilisation is misleading. The 17-85 has IS and it works well. Don't forget that IS only helps with camera shake and will not affect blurring caused by subject motion and slow shutter speeds.

    Best advice to give potential DSLR buyers is to go and try the real thing in a shop. Different people react very differently to the feel of an SLR in the hand. I tried a 400D next to a 30D and immediately knew which camera was better *for me*.

    As with all things with DSLR's, YMMV...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Why only Digital?

    You might as well review Canon's EOS 1V from 2000, then - it's still currently available. Of course it takes that funny film stuff, but Canon claim it's full of " state-of-the-art technology". ;) More to the point, I suspect that although the 400D is still available, it's no longer being manufactured - no proof, of course.

    It's great that the digital camera coverage is increasing, but most of this "review" appears to be actually a listing of the spec, and not a lot of time spent on the relative (or indeed absolute) merits of the camera. Is that a problem with the review format, a problem with the perception of the target audience for this review, or a problem with the reviewer not being an expert in the topic? Whatever, the choice of 400D for review seems an odd one given that I would expect El Reg readers to no more buy an elderly entry-level DSLR than operate OS/2...

  17. bobbles31
    Coat

    Love mine

    Oh oh oh!!!!

    I have one of these and an awesome sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Planning on adding the aforementioned sigma 17-70mm to the line up also.

    Another thing worth mentioning is battery life. On the stock lens the custom battery can take ~500 shots. Which means that if you charge before you go the chances of it running out on at an annoying moment are minimal. I would recommend getting a spare though.

  18. Jared Earle
    Heart

    Valid review

    I bought a 400D a few weeks ago precisely because the 450D came out and this is now available everywhere for around £350 if you take the Canon rebate.

    Taken using a 400D:

    http://flickr.com/photos/jaredearle/2539970808/

    ps. I too love my 400D; Amazing camera. DSLRs are the new point-and-shoot. The review vastly under-rated the camera, in my opinion. There are better cameras, but for £350, you simply cannot do better.

  19. Stu
    Happy

    No mention of the image sensor cleaner!?

    I've had my 400D now since aroundabouts mid 2007, and I'm very impressed. I had originally bought the 350D, but I kept complaining to Jessops about dust marks on the image sensor. After repeated attempts at getting a decent 350D without marks on the sensor out of the box, I finally opted for the 400D upgrade.

    They even price matched it with WarehouseExpress website pricing and I paid only £20 more for it over the 350D!!

    The 400D comes with this image sensor cleaner, and it most certainly makes a vast difference! the 350Ds I owned kept getting dark blotches on the images, the 400 shakes the bigguns free every time! Its not perfect, some blotches are still there, but is well worthwhile.

    I'm surprised this particular feature wasn't mentioned in your review.

    Also the 350D used to appear to the installed software as a mass storage device to the CF card, this is no longer the case. Whilst this can be a major pain for downloading images off the camera for the 400D as you are forced into using their rather slow image transfer software, you can bypass all this by ejecting the card and putting it into a CF card reader on the PC.

    Other than that the included software is very powerful, and can glean great unseen detail from the RAW format.

    I opted to shell out for a 75-200mm sigma lens, and an 17-80 something Canon lens, both cheap-arsed but reasonable.

    In time I want to get an image stabilisor and/or high quality Canon optics lens with deep telephoto. These are surprising expensive, but very very good, so look at adding a grand to the package for deep telephoto and good optics, or aroundabouts £500 for 'good' optics at medium range.

    The same, though, can be said of the Nikon range.

    One real annoyance is the screen on-off sensor, its the little gadget that switches the back-screen on and off depending on whether your eyes are up to the viewfinder. A good idea in theory, bad idea in practise, just imagine how much of a total pain it is switching on and off a bright display right under your eyeball during night shots - I've been slowly perfecting the art of moon shots for a while now. The sensor just doesnt work well in such circumstances.

    A good camera in my opinion though - but will somebody explain to me why I keep having pangs of jealousy towards Nikon D80 owners!? ;-) As far as I can work out they're much of a much-ness except maybe for this unimportant auto-ISO thing.

  20. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Who designed this camera???

    The grip on the 4xx range of cameras is just too small to be comfortable for anything other than a few minutes. The ones on the x0 range are much chunkier and nicer to hold.

    Great mechanicals and sensor though.

    But I wouldn't swap my Sigma SD-14 for one.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Was this review meant to appear a couple of year ago?

    Even Jessops and Currys sell this camera for under £400 now. From a proper camera shop, the current £45 cashback offer on it means it'll cost no more than £305.

    But the 450D has been out for a couple of months now and is already down to under £500, including an image stabilised lens with better optics. If you like to gamble (like Lemmy once 'sang'), you can get it from Dixons Duty Free for £425, which is more or less what you reckon the old 400D costs!

    Even the 450D body is now £450 from good shops, and that £50 saving can go toward a better lens such as the superb EF-S 17-55mm. Frankly, I don't think the 17-85mm is worth its price. You're better off spending the extra £50 for the kit lens when you get the camera and then focus on other lenses such as telephoto or wide lenses. Or even some filters etc.

    If you're in no rush, wait for a few months. The current cashback offers expire at the end of this month, after which the prices will drop in time for new Christmas cachback offers to start around October. The 450D won't be a new model anymore by then so it might also be subject to a £40 cashback offer (or thereabouts).

    Or better still, just don't bother at all. What are you going to do with a camera anyway? You sure as hell can't take photos in public anymore otherwise a militia force will pounce on you and drag you off under the terrorism act or sommat. I *dare* any one of you to go and take photos of the ducks in Hyde Park with the biggest most humongous SLR and zoom lens your disposable income can buy (you know, the ones spies use due to the inherent discretionary nature of using them instead of a tiny P&S you can slyly whip out of your jeans pocket) whilst wearing a Transformers T-shirt or a Che Guevara baseball cap whilst listening to the Sex Pistols Greatest Hits on your iPod. If you do, please come back in the 20s (when you get out) and post the pics on Flickr for us. I like ducks, they're cute!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Fine -- but what I want...

    Is a decent, light-weight manual-focus DSLR.

    All these AF servos just make cameras a b*gg*r to carry. Give me a digital SLR with a decent (think Praktika BC1) prism in the viewfinder and I'll be happy as a porcine coprophiliac in a swimming pool of faeces.

  23. J
    Dead Vulture

    OK, but...

    Gee, you guys are getting extra ripped-off there or what? 430 quid for that camera, no way... My sister just bought one (body only though) for $550 (XTi).

    Anyway, as someone said above, nearly mere listing of specs. Want real reviews, then go to dpreviews.com or steves-digicams.com or something like that.

    My DSLR has Shake Reduction or whatever you call it with any lens made since the 1960's though... :-)

  24. James

    @ Who designed this camera???

    Probably someone with similar size hands to my mother. She takes excellent photos with her 400D but find the 40D too big and heavy. Personally I find the 400D to feel like a plastic toy but different strokes for different folks....

    @ Fine -- but what I want...

    Depending on the lens the 400D has full time manual focus if you want it. Modern ring type AF servos are light, quiet and fast. You simply won't find one of the old film type split prism focus aids on a DSLR. The best you can hope for is the live view feature on the 450D/40D but bring a tripod...

    Any/All the above applies to Canon, I know jack about Nikon simply because I don't own one....

  25. Matthew Malthouse
    Thumb Up

    Gotchas...

    Being a pathological upgrader I looked at the 450D.

    Having the 350D and this 400D which share: battery format; CompactFlash cards and add-on battery pack.

    The 450D has moved to SD card and changed the battery format. The improvements, while real, are not significant enough to warrant carrying around 2 types of whatevers to feed the thing.

    So perhaps this review is timely: Get a rather good camera at an advantageous price. The more so for existing cannon users or anyone with a pile of CF cards.

  26. Neil

    I loved my 400D

    Then some bastard nicked it when my house was burgled. I upgraded to a 40D and the difference is staggering. Not in image quality (although it is improved), but in handling and operation.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What rubbish, why not review an old Athlon Barton CPU?

    This is the worst technical review I've ever EVER come across.

    Of course there are now some better cameras on the market......there are newer cameras out, including the 450D successor as you point out yourself!!!

    To give a highly regarded camera such a low score is pathetic, and a shame for any readers who don't know any better, as it might lead them to avoid the entire Canon line of cameras, which has consistently been the best for reliable image quality in all major categories for years, as proven by its sales and numerous positive reviews.

    Ultra portable = IXUS range

    Small = G Series

    SLRs basic 450D type, advanced: 40D type, professional: 1 series

    Admittedly the competition is picking up, especially from Nikon but this is an unfair and pointless review.

    The Athlon Barton processor was excellent in its day but of course is not as fast as a Core 2 Duo. Why don't you review one, and give it a 10% score?

  28. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Grip too small?

    Get the screw in battery grip, the BG-E3 - used a mates 400D with one and it turns it from feeling like a 'hobby' camera [in terms of feel, rather than feature-set] into something more substantial - much easier to hold it steady with a big lens in [like the Sigma 70-200 F2.8, which is fantastic].

    The other option, of course, is to buy an EOS 1D MkII, but for that sort of money, I'd rather have a used Impreza STi, and take pics of it on track and autocross days with the cheapo 300D.

    Oh, and if anyone has an EF-mount DSLR [300/350/400/5/10/30D etc] then do yourself a favour and have a look at the 50mm F1.8 Canon lens [which is light and a bit cheap feeling but takes great pictures for the low, low price] and the Tamron 28-75 DR XG GTi SR WRX STi Evo Tommy Makkinen Edition F2.8 - that's a really good lens for walking about and just grabbing stuff at random.

    Hmm, cars, computers and cameras. I think I have discovered the Elixer of Geek :-)

    Steven "Needs to get a-3 diopeter adustment thingy" Raith

  29. Richard Kilpatrick
    Thumb Down

    @Mike, plus bits.

    If thje Register is going to feature more camera reviews... let's get some skilled reviewers, eh?

    "You can get some very nice close-up shots with the EOS 400D"

    Yes. Being a DSLR, if you spent enough on lenses, you can get some nice far away ones, too. And indeed, better ones than the examples given here.

    I know that the camera reviews are as much about advertising as they are about providing new content for your readers, but surely the revenues are worth actually employing some skilled writers in the field? There are plenty out there. Your buying guides around Christmas totally ignored the existence of the Sony Alpha range (which has built-in stabilisation), you're very unlikely to cover the technically interesting Sigma DP-1 large-sensor compact... and I really suspect the subtleties of the 4/3rd system will be lost on your reviewers, so don't expect anything from Olympus/Samsung/Leica/Panasonic etc. to be covered well, unless it's a P&S.

    Mike: I use an SD10 and SD14 as well, and DP-1 - Foveon image quality is stunning. I also have a D3, which really emphasises just how far into professional territory I had to go to add capability to my kit. It's not that the other DSLRs aren 'as good' as the SD14, it's more that it's all about trading capability; resolution for colour accuracy/texture/sharpness/build/handling all the way along.

  30. Scott Earle
    Thumb Down

    Agree with those not seeing the point of this review

    I understand that it's still a 'current' model, in that they have not yet stopped selling it - but you use that as justification for the review in the first place, and then give it a 75% score!

    If you're going to review it as 'older tech' then the score should reflect the rest of its field, and not show how it compares against the newer models. Hell, even comparing it against the 450D and you would expect it to come a pretty poor second.

    On top of that, the reviewer does not seem that comfortable writing the review, as he does not seem familiar with the subject. But this is The Register, not DP Review - everyone who knows anything about digital cameras has already read the review (and that for the 450D) on DP Review anyway. So we would be expecting The Register to be taking the review from a different 'angle', and unfortunately they don't. It's a re-hash of some technical specs and some uninformed comment (as seen by the other comments in here).

    Reviews like this, we can frankly do without.

  31. Mister Cheese
    Coat

    Oooooh

    I can read the car numberplate in those photos. I thought by law you now had to blank out anything that might be used by a terrorist or paedophile to track down small children, plant bombs, etc, which car numberplates clearly do. Or is it can - kind of lost track of the grammar there.

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