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Late Friday morning April 4th, Messrs JapanCamera.NL received the first batch of Canon EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss Digital x2 bodies. We had just enough time to charge one battery before we headed South to visit the 26° Forum Antiquités Photo et Cinéma à Vienne' in Vienne, France.
As there simply was no time to print the English instruction manual before we left (since the actual body was a Kiss Digital x2 the hard-copy printed material was in Japanese only ) I was stuck with the 'quick-setup-guide' in English and my knowledge of the 1D Mk III and 40D to find and set all settings and Custom Functions to my preferences: Av Mode, HighlightTonePriority ON, all HighISO noise reduction types OFF, AdobeRGB (the samples are converted to sRGB), RAW+JPG, I noticed the new Auto Lighting Optimizer's default setting is ON, *My Own* PictureStyle : Faithfull with Sharpness set to +2 and Saturation set to +1, AutoPowerOff - never, ReviewTime - Hold, LiveView Grid Enabled, in LiveView INFO and LiveHistogram enabled, Exposure Simulation mode ON, and some more...
Late November 2007 I sold my backup 400D/Rebel XTi during the process of upgrading from 20D+400D to 1DMkIII+40D, so my 'feel' memory was a bit rusty, but I did have a second-hand 350D/Rebel Xt with grip available to make 1:1 comparisons, and since Messrs. JapanCamera also received the new BG-E5 grip, at least *I* and my hands felt a bit more '@Home' (I have always used grips on my (D-)SLR camera bodies )
During the first part of the trip on Friday afternoon, from The Netherlands to Reims, France (6.5 hours, 550Km) I had plenty of time to examine the camera, put a SD card inside, attach the BG-E5 (with the one charged and one uncharged battery inside for the weight) mount my EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM and take some test shots from the driving car and during our refueling-break.
The new 450D IMO has the best 'looks' of all the xxxD bodies: 300D was a bit 'lump', 350D and 400D were a bit 'corner-ish' , as if parts had been 'chopped off' or in a too late stage 'added-on', the 450D is smoother, rounder, more like the 10D and 30D.
The new grip (on the body itself) is 'fatter' and 'deeper', with 'sticky-er' rubber (and with a new 'patch' on the back for your thumb) and offers your right hand more comfort than the 350D/400D before it, add the new BG-E5 battery/portrait grip and whoow: a FAST improvement, not only to the 'naked 450D body' but again to the whole previous xxxD line, perhaps with exception of the 300D, but I never extensively used that body+grip.
The dedicated ISO button on-top is super, just like on the 40D and 1D MkIII, fast and responsive, choose and shoot (no need confirm with SET button).
The ExposureCompensation/Av-in-Manual-mode button is now larger and more 'isolated' on the back of body, less easy to be mistaken for another one .
? Did I mention the 3" LCD yet ?? The size and resolution already seems 'standard' in my '1D MkIII and 40D' eyes, but it certainly is large and the new 'colourschemes' are nice, I picked 'nightblack' as my favorite, as that is easiest readable both in dark and sunny circumstances, but the grey and blue variants are very clear to read & work with too.
And at least on *this* body the 'dedicated print button' in 'replay' (review) mode doubles as WB setting access button in 'record' (shooting) mode
The viewfinder is brighter than 350D (400D ?) and certainly larger, by a nice margin! still not up to '30D' let alone '40D' size, but a noticeable and nice improvement, certainly for those that wear and shoot through their spectacles. Also nice is the presented information inside: the 'bottom line' now shows and holds the ISO value.
The small red AF point dots are still not *my* piece of cake, I prefer the 'squares and rectangles' of the 40D and 1D MkIII, in bright situations choosing the right AF point sometimes is hard *for me*, but I could easily be spoiled rotten...
AF performed as-expected with the (fast!) EF-S 17-55mmF2.8IS lens used, of course *to me* noticeable slower than 40D and 1D MkIII, but a good bit faster than 350D, and as far as the ~40 images taken can tell, with more than acceptable accuracy
Did anyone see my card ??
So it happened. Gone is CF, enter SD(-HC)... my 8Gb Kingston Class6 SDHC card landed on the floor while testing fast-exchanging, and was SANDisk Extreme IV hard to find back... I never trust systems that use spring-loads... yukky guns/rifles-triggers, bah toasters... either they get stuck, or they shoot the bread right in your face
Canon LiveView (LV)... watch it Olly, we are getting there ...
First implemented by Canon on the 1D MkIII, without any AF possibility: you have to take it out of LV, set/get AF and then go back to LiveView...
With the 40D you can choose to enable 'Phase-Detect' AF, then when you press AF-ON, the LV is temporarily ceased, the mirror does it's flop-flip and in-between AF is taken - beep-beep confirms ...
Now with the 450D, you can choose to enable QUICK AF, the known mirror flip-flop, OR you can choose LIVE AF, that takes contrast reading from the LCD like a 'P&S' -compact- camera does: also like on the Canon G-/Pro/A- style compacts you can then use your controller (the four 'arrow' keys') to place the actual AF point anywhere in the image, then confirm (&start AF) with SET (as does Breeze's DSLR RemotePro software for Canon 1D MkIII and 40D 'tethered' through a cable or 'WiFi')
Testing in the driving bus showed it worked, but AF is slooooowly, like a PowerShot G3 ...
DiGiC III, files, resolution, speed
...which implies *to me*, that that process still takes a lot, even from the new DiGiC III processor, as all other functions are smooooth, startup, setting, review, no lag to complain about for a camera in this ('beginner') class... The files are large... 4272x2848 pixels, and thanks to DiGiC III now 14bit colour, resulting in ~2.5Mb to ~4.6Mb JPG LargeFine files in *my* minitest, RAW from ~12.2Mb to ~15.8Mb... but, 450D appears to deliver this faster to the SDHC than 350D (DiGiC II) did it's RAW+JPG LargeFine to a 266x CF... the 450D's 3.5FPS/for 6-7 RAW images feels faster than the 3.0FPS/4 RAW images of the 350D, but not worlds apart... they fill their buffers in about the same total time, so the moment you can shoot is the same ~1.5+ second duration, you only get one to two more images -unless you shoot JPG only, *then* the difference in buffer (450D:50+, 350D:15+) is *really* noticeable ...
So what is a preview without images ?? ...from the bus:
AI Servo, Continuous:
During a refueling-break: HighlightTonePriority, AutoLightingOptimizer...
...et les vins, tous les jours toujour les vins...
A decent update from the 400D in *my* book, but enough to run to the shops ??
I leave that decision gladly to the buyer, for ~$/€795 you get a *lot* of camera, the specs-list is only a fraction shorter than 40D's, but it *does* have some assets that can make it very attractive to the first-time DSLR buyer: SD card, LiveView 'like on the P+S, but a tad slower' , and last but not least: a DirectPrint button!
...and as usual (and should be obvious), all the above is just *my* €0.02 worth of opinion, after a 0.02 millisecond 'Hands-On-Preview-testing'...
So FWIW, I hope you enjoyed,
With my kindest regards & respects!
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