back to article Canon EOS 450D digital SLR

The EOS 450D is more like a step-up than a follow-on to the EOS 400D entry-level digital SLR we recently looked at. The question is, what does the extra 50 in the model number mean in terms of improvement? Well, quite a few things, both from a cosmetic and from a performance point of view. That said, this is no massive leap …

COMMENTS

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  1. Steve Foster
    Joke

    fast-moving?

    A scooter? Clearly this camera will be of no use to 100mph+ YouTubing drivers then.

  2. David

    Image Stabilisation

    A wee correction, it's the lens which does the stabilisation, not the camera. Canon make a number of IS and non-IS lenses, all of which work identically on the 450D as they do on the 400D.

  3. Stu
    Alert

    Lenses!?

    Its worthwhile mentioning that the Lenses are the real investment point when buying an SLR, not something immediately obvious to most, to me either before I bought my EOS 400D.

    Factor in the cost of the camera AND a good 300mm (aroundabouts) telephoto zoom lens just to allow you similar zoom range you'd expect from a reasonable digital compact.

    Unfortunately Canon charge a small fortune for their lenses. Sigma is a reasonable bet though.

    I looked at getting a lens nicknamed the Bigma, a 50 to 500mm lens offering some serious zoom capabilities. Imagine my shock and total failure in justifying the outlay after realising it costs £500, and thats your typical 'Ebay special' price.

    Digital compacts can sometimes offer a 500mm equivalent, aroundabouts 10x zoom depending on your cameras sensor size for a fraction of the combined cost.

    If you're not going to make money from your photography, and in this day and age, its difficult, its just not worth the outlay if you're poor like me! Its all too easy to justify it in your mind by 'saying' you're going to get my photos published, but you know it wont happen!

  4. Steven Jones

    Storage media affecting image quality...

    "We certainly didn’t notice any deterioration in performance with SD cards - from either a writing speed or a picture quality point of view."

    Could somebody please explain to me why it should occur to somebody that type of media used might make any difference to the picture quality (assuming that the degree of compression is the same)?

    As far as not seeing a difference between SDHC and CF on write speed, you would with a camera properly supporting UDMA modes on 266x and 300x CF cards. But then the 400D wasn't such a camera and it possibly is not an issue at this end of the market.

  5. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    @Steve Foster

    Ignoring the sarcasm in your post, I found the 300D was fine for tracking Van Diemens at over 100mph, so I dare say the 450D will be fine. ;-)

    Steven R

  6. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Results and usability

    People place too much emphasis on the camera body when it comes to results. It is your lenses that have the biggest influence on results along with your skills.

    What good is it owning a 10 or 12 megapixel SLR is you stick with the kit lens? You might get a nice picture out of it on a sunny day as you'll be using the 'sunny f16' aperture rule and at that aperture the lens may produce a sharp image.

    The usability of the camera can be the difference between getting a rare or spur of the moment shot or missing it completely.

    Budget for lenses first, then decide what body you can afford.

    As for ISO1600, Canon have always been good at low noise. The latest pro bodies can crank out a usable shot at ISO3200-6400! this is why the photo journalists use Canon as they have tended to excel in poor light.

  7. Mark

    Only 70?

    It's obvious you like this camera, and in your comparisons to the 400D you say it outshines the 400D. Why give it 70% when the 400D scored 75%?

  8. Jerome
    Boffin

    Memory card format?

    I'm glad you "didn’t notice any deterioration... [from] a picture quality point of view" with the SD card. I know that colour reproduction with these can be a little less vibrant compared to compact flash. Seriously... WTF?

  9. alex dekker

    DIGIC what now?

    You describe DIGIC III as being a nice new enhancement over DIGIC II, but don't actually quantify it.

  10. Jon H

    It's not a model to upgade from the 400D

    You make the article sound very negative because you're comparing it to the 400D and saying it's not worth upgrading too... no, of course it's not... it's just a newer entry level DSLR, just like the 400D was compared to the 350D. You never upgrade to the very next model, you always skip a generation to make it worthwhile.

    I have a 350D and didn't think the 400D was worth upgrading to, however, the 450D is quite a step up from my 350D and is very tempting indeed.

    And yes, it's the lens that makes the difference. The kit 18-55 lens you used is frankly poor, doesn't even have USM focusing. If you buy an "L" series lens, even using the entry level camera will give you pro looking photos. Sadly though you'll end up spending more on one lens than the camera body itself.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Memory card format?

    This is why The Register should leave reviewing cameras well and truly to those with a clue. I might not expect the most detailed report on the optics for example, but this kind of bollocks really does take the biscuit.

  12. Kenny Millar

    £50 cash back from Canon until August too!

    Yip, buy one from any reputable place and you can send off to Canon for a £50 cash back.

  13. Richard Ellis

    Camera review comments

    I would like to have all your camera reviews post FULL SIZE images. I know that they can be big, but how can one really evaluate the image quality and other factors without all the data!

    From my first impressions, the images have the same problems as other Canon cameras. I have the S3 Powershot IS (6MP, fixed 12x zoom lens) and I have found a need to decrease the yellow and significantly increase the contrast and intensity to get good prints. Otherwise I have been totally satisfied with Canon's products.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Giles Jones

    For anyone considering the acquisition of a 450D following is likely to be of only academic interest, but still...

    >People place too much emphasis on the camera body when it comes to results.

    >Budget for lenses first, then decide what body you can afford.

    Certainly true for film cameras, where one is in a position to choose his own film -- a mature technology and thoroughly researched field.

    The body of a film camera must leave the film unscratched and its shutter mechanism must be operating to specifications. Any other properties the body might provide have no influence on the 'data captured'.

    Digital cameras (of any form) come with a built-in sensor and manufacturer-provided algorithms for interpreting the data captured and turning it into the final image. I'm not talking as much about the amount of pixels on the sensor, as about the pattern the cells for sensing different wavelengths (red, green and blue) are arranged into. And of course the overall quality of engineering and production.

    One can apply his own algorithms (or Photoshop plug-ins) to raw data, but your results would still be dependent on the physical properties of the sensor used to capture the data.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Stu & @Giles Jones

    Well now, you won't be needing all those fancy lenses whilst shooting your pr0n now, will you?

    Obviously it only got a 70% as the reviewer felt it wasn't enough improved over the previous model to warrant the big increase in price!

    "although its SRP is £100 more than the other model"

  16. Tom Wood

    It's the person behind the camera that makes the difference

    All Canon (and Nikon) cameras are good. The 450D performs excellently as a SLR camera in this price bracket. Anyone can take amazing photos with this camera... you just have to:

    1. learn how to take amazing photos

    2. learn how to use this camera

    The same is true for any camera. Digital SLRs these days (and even the kit lenses) are good enough that if you get a bad photo out of them, the blame lies firmly with the photographer, not with the camera.

    Once you learn the limitations of your equipment, you may appreciate upgrading to better glass, or a fancier camera body with more features. But don't go and blow all your money on a 'L' lens just because someone said they were better (though an Image Stabilizing lens really does make a difference...).

    I was torn between the 40D and the 450D. Obviously the cheaper camera would have given me more money for kit, but I decided it was mainly properties of the 40D that can't be rated in a review (bulk, shape, the way it feels in *my* hands, ease of use for what *I* want to do) that makes it the better option for me.

  17. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    @AC @Stu & Giles

    "Well now, you won't be needing all those fancy lenses whilst shooting your pr0n now, will you?"

    Actually, having a good, wide lense [F1.8 or less] is good for shooting indoors without full studio lighting - means you can get decent shots without ramming up the ISO, etc. If you want a decent, cheap, sharp low light lense, the Canon F1.8 50mm is great for the £60-70 it will cost - really punches above it's weight/price when stepped down, and gives really good results wide open too.

    Comments regarding the lenses are correct also.

    "Unfortunately Canon charge a small fortune for their lenses. Sigma is a reasonable bet though.

    I looked at getting a lens nicknamed the Bigma, a 50 to 500mm lens offering some serious zoom capabilities. Imagine my shock and total failure in justifying the outlay after realising it costs £500, and thats your typical 'Ebay special' price.

    Digital compacts can sometimes offer a 500mm equivalent, aroundabouts 10x zoom depending on your cameras sensor size for a fraction of the combined cost.

    If you're not going to make money from your photography, and in this day and age, its difficult, its just not worth the outlay if you're poor like me! Its all too easy to justify it in your mind by 'saying' you're going to get my photos published, but you know it wont happen!"

    You clearly don't take it seriously enough. ;-) As I'm sure you know, the Megazoom SemiSLR lenses are compromised by their low build costs [compared to a good Tamron/Sigma/Canon unit] and the fact that they have to cover a simulated 300mm+ range. Also, they don't tend to offer enough adjustability. Not for my tastes anyway. And Electronic Viewfinders make me want to hit people :-0

    I covet my mates Sigma 70-200 F2.8, and I am prepared to sell a kidney for it.

    Well, some guys kidney, perhaps not mine...

    *pats 300D + Tamron 28-75 F2.8 XR Di LD*

    :-)

    Steven R

  18. Matt Thornton
    Stop

    well, yeh, maybe... but...

    So first off, I still don't see anything here that makes me want to upgrade from my 350D. FPS is reasonable, and as far as I'm concerned the difference between 8 and 12 megapixels is irrelevant, because if your photos are actually getting published then most likely you'll be using a camera with a full frame sensor anyway.

    And I used to belong to the "stock lenses are crap" crew, and spent hideous amounts of money on L series lenses. What I found out? If you're a talentless hack then it doesn't matter what equipment you have, you're still a talentless hack, now carrying around stupidly heavy equipment.

    You only have to look at Flickr to see people using basic kit with basic lenses taking stunning photos. I firmly believe that some people have it; most don't (as the photos taken by the author of this piece seem to suggest. That macro shot is absolutely uninspiring, at best.)

    £600 for this camera is far too much. Far better finding a second hand 300/350/400, spending the extra on a couple of mid-range lenses (the stock 18-55 is truly awful, BUT, good enough for most people who don't know their shutter speed from their aperture) and spending any change on a photo course. And then just getting out there and taking loads of photos.

    This camera is aimed at people with too much money who like the thought of becoming a photographer. Canon know full well that the vast majority of users will never take it out of full automatic mode.

  19. Luca
    Thumb Down

    AWFUL REVIEW

    70%?

    I'm a professional photographer and I use Canon equipment. I use higher end DSLRs but still think the new 450D is a great camera.

    Reviews in photography magazine in the U.S. place it as the best and fastest camera for under $2000, even better than the 40D (although it's not as sturdy and lacks higher ISO).

    A score of 70% shows that the person who wrote the review has no understanding of how cameras work and how to measure quality factors.

  20. John Carney

    Re: well, yeh, maybe... but...

    "This camera is aimed at people with too much money who like the thought of becoming a photographer. Canon know full well that the vast majority of users will never take it out of full automatic mode."

    Yeah, just like the Reg comments section are aimed at people with too much time who like the thought of becoming a blogger ;-)

  21. JB
    Thumb Down

    Low-end DSLRs

    Something in me says that the manufacturers saw the potential to sell lenses and hastily dropped the 'bridge' cameras (good quality compacts like the G series, but on the G7 or G9) in favour of these affordable DSLRs.

    Nice to have these cheaper DSLRs for those who take their photography seriously, but what I object to is the way the manufacturers are trying to sell these things to Mr Average when really all he needs is a good quality compact, which don't exist anymore.

  22. Harry
    Boffin

    Any way to quantify "noise" ?

    I do most of my pictures in relatively low light, so noise and the ability to use ISO 400/800 or more is definitely of interest.

    A previous review (might have been here or on another site) suggested that noise on a 400D ought to be worse than on a 350D because the image sensor for both is the same size, but the sensor divides into 10 Mp instead of 8 Mp. On that basis I chose not to upgrade my 350D.

    By implication therefore, the 12 Mp 450D ought to have relatively worse noise than both of them -- but then there's the extra 2 bits per pixel image depth. Does that help eliminate noise, or are they purely cosmetic bits that are likely to be "buried" by noise under low level / high ISO lighting conditions?

    If anybody comes across any definitive figures I'd be glad to hear.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Call me anal but..

    It seems, from my perspective, that the images have a relatively limited dynamic range, show poor contrast, and seem to have a fair number of blown highlights even in shots where there should not be much cause for it. Other dSLRs ive seen have significantly better IQ in general than this one seems to if this review is anything to go by!

  24. Dave Harris Bronze badge
    Happy

    £600 quid is too much

    but since i paid £455 for mine, I'm happy enough. It was mainly the addition of spot metering that sold me on this one over the 400 - living almost on the equator, background light is normally going to mean a subject is underexposed, unless I can meter on the subject.

    Sure, I'm not going to turn into Yossuf Karsh overnight, but as an entry level camera, I expect to be learning with it for at least five years before I consider something else. I'm certainly very happy with it so far.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Big wow

    It's a freaking digital camera. Most mobile phones can take photos now. Move along please.

  26. A
    Dead Vulture

    Oh my, where to start...

    Your RAW software screenshots aren't. They're of the Picture Style Editor, which allows you tweak the colour/sharpness/hue of your images and save those settings back to the camera - in many ways this is the modern equivalent of creating your own film. The RAW conversion software is Canon Digital Photo Professional, which I find excellent.

    No mention of why Live View is actually a really useful feature; hint: It's not just because you can see the picture on the back of the screen. The benefit is that it allows you to zoom in on a subject whilst you focus, this is invaluable for tripod mounted macro or astrophotography, as it allows you to achieve critical focus in situations you couldn't manage before. Ever tried focussing a wide angle lens on stars using an SLR? It's virtually impossible. With 10x live view enabled it's easy. This is the one feature that really makes the camera a massive leap forward over the 400D/XTi for me.

    I'm hoping your picture quality comment in the SD section is for users who don't understand that the card used makes no difference to the end results. The only effect a different card will have is give better burst performance, or enable video recording on cameras that support it. Speed is pretty much the only significant factor there, assuming it's the correct type of card.

    File sizes depend on the ISO selected and the content of the scene. A slightly underexposed ISO1600 shot of a highly detailed scene will be much larger than an overexposed blurred ISO100 shot of a piece of white card.

    No mention of bulb in your section of shutterspeed, this allows you to shoot for longer than 30s.

    No noise tests, nor detail tests.

    I also find your percentage odd. The camera is clearly a step up from the 400D/XTi, and it's one of the best (possibly *the* best) cameras in its class, and yet you only give it 70%. Bizarre.

    Here's my review of the 400D for comparison:

    http://adrianwarren.com/reviews/eos400d/index.shtml

    Anyone fancy sending me a 450D to review? If so, email me, my address is on the website!

  27. Jim
    Dead Vulture

    @Big wow

    .....

    .....

    .....

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    .....

    .....

    .....

    (speechless)

  28. Graham Allsop
    Paris Hilton

    More of the same...

    This reads like one of those camera reviews by an IT pro... no mention of the *quality* of the sensor and processor (dynamic range etc.), just your normal "it's got seven billion megapixels so that's better the last one which only had four".

    It's a point and shoot. Most people don't use them out of the "basic zone", don't understand what 18-55mm (on a 1.6x crop sensor) means and sure as hell haven't got a clue how to use the thing to 10% of it's capabilities.

    I love El Reg's camera reviews, they're completely pointless, but at least you've reviewed the right camera this time :-)

    (Paris because she's firmly in the basic zone...)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jon H

    "Sadly though you'll end up spending more on one lens than the camera body itself."

    Sadly... why? Good glass is very important... I have a £100 film body with a £900 lens on it. It's not the shutter that directs light onto film or sensors, it just lets it in :-)

    Oh, and everyone should just stick to fast prime lenses, cheaper for the quality without any of the zoom nonsense. Just walk a bit more.... Sigma's 30mm (standard on a 1.6x sensor) and 50mm f/1.4s, Canon's 50mm f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2s are all going to make you learn more and use the camera more usefully, and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 is about £80. Every Canon owner should have one...

  30. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Re: Any way to quantify "noise"

    There are software packages to analyse noise levels.

    Needless to say if you aren't seeing noise then you need not worry. Printouts are where it will be the most apparent and usually in darker areas of the shot.

    If you scale down a shot for computer screen resolution then the noise typically gets wiped away as part of the downscaling.

    There's various theories on sensor size and noise levels, the usual one tends to be you get more light at the photosites and therefore the signal requires less amplification (a digital camera sensor is an analog to digital converter). Another is the more electronics you place in a small area the more crosstalk and interference.

  31. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Sony A200 - 90%, Canon 450D - 70%?

    I guess this is why you should go to a photographic website for camera reviews, not a computer site. The A200 is likewise a minor upgrade on the A100, a point which seems to have passed our reviewer by.

  32. Andreas
    Paris Hilton

    WTF!?

    "We certainly didn’t notice any deterioration in performance with SD cards - from either a writing speed or a picture quality point of view."

    Picture quality point of view? What did the reviewer expect? Loss of pixels or what?

    Paris Hilton - because she might as well have written this review.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    didn't know everyone would get so hot

    and bothered....i guess it's time to give up my old Mirandas and get with the newfangled modern stuff.

  34. Dave Harris Bronze badge

    Full review

    For those saying this review isn't full enough, or that you can tell by an IT pro, why are you expecting a professional camera review on El Reg?

    I used this review to help make my mind up: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos450d/

  35. Tim
    Paris Hilton

    70%? I doubt he has ever used an Hitachi camera then!

    Nice review which tells those who know about cameras what they want to know, but fails miserably to help the novice (who may actually be the target of this review).

    to give a camera like the 450D 70% because it doesnt do enough to warrant an upgrade shows a total lack of respect for both the camera and the people who want to use it. If the reviewer looked at it from a scratch point of view he would have scored it in high 90s.

    I have a 300D. I have had it since they came out, and i love it. It is easy to use and gives lovely pictures which are....wait for it....only 6 megapixels in size. They are still too big to see on a computer screen, and when was the last time you printed a snap anything bigger than a4? Would i upgrade to a 350d? no, 400d? still no. 450d? yes. It pretty much matches the 40d for what i want and for a lot less money. I will have to buy different memory cards, and also a SDHD reader (as my multicard reader isnt), but still worth it if this camera will last me another 10000 shots.

    So my review would be.....

    canon 450d... even more for your entry level pound. get an L lens to be as good as any paparazzo!

    Paris would make a great subject for any 450d photos.....

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About the Live View

    "The benefit is that it allows you to zoom in on a subject ... as it allows you to achieve critical focus"

    That's what I would have expected, indeed was my interest in live view too ... until I downloaded the user manual and read the "live view" pages to see:

    "When you magnify the image, the image sharpness may look more pronounced than it really is".

    Ooh, nasty. So we have a feature that COULD have been very useful for getting the focus spot on, and we discover that it artificially sharpens the image -- thereby, presumably, making it harder to be CERTAIN that the image really is as sharp as it looks.

    By my calculations, the live preview COULD offer a pixel-by-pixel representation of part of the image sensor, at a magnification of about 7 to 1 ... thereby needing no resampling and therefore no artificial sharpening of the result.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just got mine!

    Just upgraded from a 300D, about 3 days ago. Amazing range of features on the 450D, I've only had a chance to play with the bog standard stuff, auto mode, manual mode, can't wait to get out and start playing with my ND filters and doing the time lapse stuff.

    Canon do now make a "budget" 70-250mm telephoto lens for around £210, if you can't stretch to a full 300mm at £700, the budget lens has a "plastic" barrel but does come with IS built-in.

  38. Samuel Hon
    Thumb Up

    600 is excessive but 375 is not

    Dixons Duty Free are selling them for 425 and with the 50 cashback, you're quids in!

    I had a 350d before and upgraded for the improved low light performance and believe me, its worth every penny.

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