Canon EOS 400D – experience after one week

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I have missed a proper SLR since I stopped using my old Nikon F90S back in 2002. All these years I haven’t found anything that would fit my wallet and my needs. But after playing with a colleague’s Canon 20D and a cousin’s Canon 30D I knew that now there’s something out there that is good enough and within reach.

I went to the shop to buy a Canon 30D and came home with a 400D. They are both pretty similar and and also very different. Because other people might have considered some of the same equipment I have decided to post some thoughts here on my blog.

Why on earth buy a cheaper plastic camera when you went into the shop to buy a solid and pretty professional one?

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Canon EOS 400D, EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS @ 17mm F10, Shutter: 1/400, ISO100

The answer:
The 400D came out more solid than I initially thought. It is smaller and lighter than the 30D. And it will probably manage the strain I will give it for as long as I am going to keep it.

So why is the 30D twice the price of a 400D? The most important thing is that it is way more solid. And it takes 5 pictures pr. second compared to 3 for the 400D. And it has a maximum shutter of 8000 and ISO of 3200 compared to 4000 and 1600 on the 400D. And, it has spot metering. And probably a lot of other small details. Like the navigation wheel on the back.

If I was buying a camera for pure photography and not for family snapshots as well I would have selected the 30D. But I know that I am going to carry this camera around on holidays and all kinds of places. The difference in size and weight is absolutely an issue. Trust me, I have been traveling for months with my old F90S in my backpack.

As long as the 400D has the same beautiful type of CMOS chip, RAW files and support the same optics as the 30D I don’t think I will be able to take better pictures with a 30D. The fact that the 400D has automatic CMOS dust removal and a slightly better resolution (10MP compared to the 30D 8MP) also influenced my decision.

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Canon EOS 400D, EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS @ 17mm F9, Shutter: 4 sec, ISO100

Because I had decided to buy a very serious lens I also was a bit unsure of the combination. Was the 400D too small and too light for the Canon EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM that I had decided to buy? It also depends. I would say that the lens would fit the 30D better, but I have absolutely no problems operating this combination. So far I am more than happy with the 400D and the beautiful lens.

Here you can see the 400D with my lens. Compared to my Canon S2 IS. The red line on the 400D is the approximate balancing point with that lens.

Canon 400D Compared To S2 Is.001

And some more images of the Canon 400D with EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM

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Canon EOS 400D – experience after one week

17 thoughts on “Canon EOS 400D – experience after one week

  1. Hubert Kay says:

    I got this camera (or the US equivalent, the Digital Rebel XTi) for Christmas, and have had one huge love affair with it since then. For 18 years I was used to shooting pictures with film SLR’s. In 2001 I switched to digital point & shoots. Upper range models, but still point & shoots. It wasn’t until I started working with the XTi that I noticed how much I’ve missed the control over your picture that an SLR gives you.

    Enjoy!

  2. …and by the way. Canon and all other vendors should start to realize that the internet is making this world smaller. Different product names on the same product is a stupid idea and very annoying for the consumer.

  3. anders says:

    Congratulations! My girlfriend and I are planning to buy one as well. Is it impolite to ask how much you paid for it? And if you bought it in London, do you have any good advice in where to go?

  4. I bought it in Oslo. Over at FotoVideo.no. A shop that I strongly recommend. Professional people, reasonable prices and a great selection.

    Here is the camera:
    http://fotovideo.no/aspx/prdinfo.aspx?plid=39154

    And here is the lens:
    http://fotovideo.no/aspx/prdinfo.aspx?plid=34994

    And here is the UV-filter:
    http://fotovideo.no/aspx/prdinfo.aspx?plid=36671

    I don’t have any particular recommendations for London, but if you’re in New York you should visit B&H Photo and video!

  5. John says:

    I just happened to pass by your blog. It is funny, I began to persue photography with my S2, and recently bought the 30d. Here in Canada Canon had a whole bunch of rebate incentives at the end of the year that double when you buy more than one item for certain Canon EOS cameras . So the prices between the (400d = rebel Xti) and the 30d were not as huge as they were in the past. I think for your type of shooting you got an excellent camera. I felt for my hands, the 30d layout and size was a lot more attractive. The actuators on the mirror are a lot more beefed up on the 30d than the 20d and xti (Pretty much giving the 30d a lot of professional grade parts similar to the 5d). Overall the 2 megapixel advantage between the 30d and the xti is arguable, the image sensor is actually bigger on the 30d, even though canon post a larger resolution size for raw / jpeg files. And if the ‘fill factor’ is greater by one sensor over the other, I wonder which one?

    So I guess after all this rant what my point is that the xti is an amazing camera, some nice upgrades from the xt. But I felt that xt and xti are not that much different to upgrade if you had an xt to start with. I do feel that the 30d still holds better value compared than the higher priced full framed canon EOS bodies. Also that the 30d is still a whole other type of camera compared to the xti, not just on price alone. However I can see canon making the next rebel series better that they get closer to the next series of 30d and 5d versions.

  6. Interesting thoughts. I think it all boils down to the fact that the 30D is bigger, faster, more solid and more professional. Regarding actual image quality the two will produce images of roughly the same quality so the big differentiator regarding this is the optics.

    I guess I’ll have to post back here as soon as I break my 400D because it wasn’t solid enough… ;-)

  7. Richard says:

    Hi,
    I have just bought a 400d and am considering a 55-200 zoom lens . The canon lens does not seem up to much, but the cheepest lens around is the Tamron and has had good reviews, better than Sigma or Canon. Have you any ideas?
    Richard.

  8. One of the reasons I bought a digital SLR is the possibility to add very high quality optics. Buying these optics always involves compromise. Price, quality, portability and convenience. Currently I have no real telephoto lens for the camera, do I don’t have any special to recommend.

    But, I would never buy a telephoto without an optical stabilizer. In other words, the cheap option would be this one:
    Canon EF 70-300/4-5,6 IS USM
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=11922

    Or this one:
    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=9996

    The expensive option is this one:
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=14260

    And the very expensive option is this one:
    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=150&modelid=7469

  9. I bought my 400D for Christmas and haven’t regretted it once! I thought long and hard on the 400D vs 30D-selection. but ended up with 400D because of the price, really (being a poor student and all).

    I bought a nice Canon 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM lens to go with it, figure I would put more money in the lens.

    After testing my friend’s 5D, I know what my money saves up to now. :)

    Well, my question was: I’ve heard rumours of a 40D, but how realistic is this? Does anyone know when/what-information on this?

  10. Before I bought my 400D I tried to gather as much information as possible about the rumored 40D. Didn’t find anything but rumors. I hope they’ll make something as good as the 30D but with a lot of features from the new EOS 1d Mark III. Drooool. :-)

  11. I’m still happy with the small body. I bring my camera in my bag every day so size and weight matters.

    However, having a nice camera like this for one year gives you an idea of what you really want. For me this have brought back my interest for photography. Bigtime. So I am constantly considering an upgrade. But that upgrade would not be a 40D, but a 5D or it’s rumored new version. 5D mk II, 7D or 3D or whatever. A full frame like the 5D, but with sensor cleaning and live view.

    And a full frame would render my EF-S lenses useless (for the new camera). Meaning that an upgrade would leave me with my 50mm 1.4 and the 70-200 f4 L IS… Meaning some new lenses…

    Until then I’ll keep shooting with my 400D. A camera that has given me 19 500 images through the last year. And BTW, the new 450D also seems like an amazing camera.

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