Canon EOS 300D

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Canon EOS 300D
  • Canon EOS 300D
  • Canon EOS 300D
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Great pictures

Cons

  • Difficult manual focus

Bottom Line

A long awaited entry into the digital camera market that more than lives up to expectations.

Would you buy this?

The Canon EOS 300D impresses in a number of ways. One of these is price. For less than $2,000 enthusiasts get a serious camera and lens. Canon enthusiasts, particularly existing owners of the EOS range such as the EOS 33V and EOS 300V, would have little trouble transferring to the digital version, as the camera maintains many of the features from its film camera equivalent.

300D users can enjoy the full range of Canon EF-mount lenses (and Canon EX-series Speedlites). The 300D is the first camera that can take Canon's new EF-S lenses, which exploit the smaller sensor and mirror of most digital SLRs to achieve a shorter, lighter design. The lens included is an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 that, on the 300D, delivers a 35mm equivalent range of 29-88mm.

The 300D's CMOS sensor and DiGiC (Digital Imaging Integrated Circuit) image processor are essentially identical to the earlier Canon EOS-10D. It delivers 6.3Mp images with a wide 3:2 aspect ratio and sufficient detail to make great-looking A3 inkjet prints. Important to note is the sensor in the 300D is physically larger than those in consumer cameras, allowing it to deliver clearer and sharper images.

The 300D stores images on CompactFlash cards. It works with the IBM Microdrive and supports FAT32 formatting too, allowing cards greater than 2GB. It captures RAW (3072x2048 pixels) and six JPEG sizes starting at Large (3072x2048 pixels in both Fine and Normal modes), down to Small (1536x1024).

Creative control includes Auto, Program, Manual, Shutter and Aperture priority modes, along with six Scene presets and a depth of field preview. Shutter speeds range between 1/4000 to 30 seconds with the bulb. Sensitivity is rated at 100 to 1600 ISO. The burst mode takes four frames at 2.5fps, with the buffer rapidly clearing to shoot more.

Focusing is a dream on this camera. It has a seven-point wide area AF function that allows manual selection through the viewfinder of what to focus on and what to blur. This feature makes for artistic and interesting effects. And even before all that, it makes for clear shots. A downside however, is that the manual focus requires determining when the image is in focus purely by sight, rather than having a built-in focusing ring in the viewfinder. This can be hard when taking a moving image which does not have sharp edges.

Like all SLRs, you can only take the shot through the viewfinder, not via the 1.8in TFT monitor. However, the LCD screen is a decent size for you to view the image once it has been taken.

It's hard not to get excited about the E0S-300D. With a relatively low price tag including the lens, it will bring 6Mp digital SLR photography to a market that previously could only dream of owning such a system. It will appeal equally to film SLR owners looking to go digital, along with anyone previously considering an all-in-one high-end consumer model like Sony's DSC F828. It still remains a serious purchase, but it is remarkable value for money. The handling is wonderful and the images look great, making the 300D the digital camera many photographers have been waiting for, not to mention a model that future all-in-ones will be measured against.

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