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Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel / Kiss Digital Review

September 2003 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production Canon EOS 300D

On 20th August 2003 Canon surprised many people (not least us) when it announced its $899 / €1,099 EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). This digital SLR based on the EOS 10D's superb six megapixel CMOS sensor and image processor in an inexpensive consumer body similar to the film EOS-300. This camera is designed to take the prosumer end of the digital camera market by storm, everyone is fully aware of the image quality of the EOS 10D (considered by many as the benchmark six megapixel digital SLR), and so a consumer priced digital SLR based on the same sensor is irrefutably attractive to anyone who would have previously considered an 'all in one' prosumer digital cameras.

This camera is probably the most fundamentally important step for digital SLR's since the introduction of the Nikon D1. It will place digital SLR's into the hands of consumers (with a moderate budget) and will probably also have a very strong negative effect on the $1,000 prosumer digital camera market. Especially considering that the Kit price which includes the new EF-S 18 - 55 mm (3x) lens costs just $100 / €100 more.

The EOS 300D's plastic body is just one of the elements used to reduce the cost of the camera, others include the use of a pentamirror in the viewfinder instead of a pentaprism, a reduction of features (although I feel that much of this is simply firmware crippling) and a shifting of manufacturing from Japan to Taiwan. Additionally Canon say that they have altered the production process of the CMOS sensor to reduce costs.

To give the camera more consumer appeal Canon has also replaced the EOS 10D's neutral image parameters with a new default set called 'Parameter 1' which defines Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness as +1. Adjustment to Contrast and Saturation have the same power as the EOS 10D, however the EOS 300D's sharpness is twice as strong as the EOS 10D. Thus the EOS 300D's "Parameter 1" is the same as Contrast +1, Saturation +1, Sharpness +2 on the EOS 10D. The EOS 10D's 'Standard' setting is called 'Parameter 2' on the EOS 300D.

In addition to this the EOS 300D is the first Canon digital SLR to support a new lens called the EF-S (S = short back focus), this has the same mount and electrical contacts as an EF lens but has a rear element which fits further into the camera allowing it to be closer to the image sensor. The lens elements can also be reduced in size as the imaging circle does not need to be as large, thus EF-S lenses should be smaller and lighter than their 35 mm equivalents. Note that EF-S lenses can only be used on the EOS 300D (so far) as no other EOS camera supports the EF-S mount.

Canon EOS 300D vs. Canon EOS 10D (differences)

Advantages are highlighted with a green background. Reading some of the discussion on our EOS 300D forum there seem to be a lot of people torn between the 300D and the 10D. My advice is to look down the list of advantages the 10D has and then ask yourself if (a) you can live without them and (b) if they are worth the extra $600.

 
Canon EOS 300D

Canon EOS 10D
Price (body) US: $899 US: $1,499
Body material Plastic Magnesium Alloy
Lens compat. EF, EF-S EF
AF Mode Automatic (see table for details) Automatic / manually selectable
Metering Mode Automatic (see table for details) Automatic / manually selectable
Sensitivity ISO 100 to 1600 ISO 100 to 1600 plus H (3200)
Kelvin WB No Yes
Viewfinder Pentamirror Pentaprism
Continuous drive 2.5 frames per second 3 frames per second
Frame buffer 4 frames 9 frames
Image parameters 2 preset, Adobe RGB, 3 custom sets 1 preset, Adobe RGB, 3 custom sets
Default parameters Cont +1, Sat +1, Sharp +1 Cont 0, Sat 0, Sharp 0
Flash compensation No Yes
PC Sync terminal No Yes
Infrared remote Yes, optional (2 sec delay) No
Remote socket E3 type N3/T3 type
Status LCD Rear of camera, backlit Top of camera, backlit
Command dials One: top/front Two: top/front, rear
Shooting SET button No function Customizable *
Release with no CF Yes Customizable *
Flash sync in Av Automatic (slow sync) Customizable *
AE Lock button AE Lock Customizable *
AF Assist strobe Always on when flash up Customizable *
Exposure steps 0.3 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV *
AF Point registration No Customizable *
RAW+JPEG Yes, embedded in CRW, fixed size Yes, embedded in CRW, custom size *
Bracket order 0, -, + Customizable *
AF point highlight Red LED dot Red AF box (can be disabled *)
Menu button Previous (top if camera is powered off) Customizable *
Mirror lockup No Yes *
Assist button No Yes, customizable *
Fill flash auto reduc. Yes Customizable *
Slow Sync flash 1st Curtain 1st or 2nd Curtain *
Av/Tv safety shift No Yes, customizable *
Lens AF stop button AF stop Customizable *
Custom functions None 17 custom functions
Playback display Immediate Rough image then final image
Menu layout Paged, like PowerShot Single scrolling menu
Direct printing Canon Printers, PictBridge Canon Printers
Battery grip (option) BG-E1 BG-ED3
Dimensions 142 x 99 x 72 mm (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in) 150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
Weight (no battery) 560 g (1.2 lb) 790 g (1.7 lb)
Weight (incl. battery) 649 g (1.4 lb) 879 g (1.9 lb)

* These features are controlled by custom functions, the EOS 300D has no custom functions


Review Update: February 2004

The original version of this review was based on a late pre-production EOS 300D, we have since received a final production camera and have updated and verified various sections of the review to ensure our results accurately reflect those of the production camera.

Updates

  • Specifications - Verfied
  • Body & Design - Verified
  • Operation - Verified
  • Display & Menus - Verified
  • Timings & Sizes - Verified
  • Features - Verified
  • ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels - Re-shot and Updated
  • White balance - Re-shot and Updated
  • Flash - Re-shot and Updated
  • Night exposures - Re-shot and Updated
  • RAW - Re-shot and Updated
  • Color reproduction - Verified
  • Compard to... - Re-shot and Updated
  • Resolution chart - Re-shot and Updated
  • Conclusion - Verified
  • Samples gallery - New gallery added


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

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This article is Copyright 2003-2004 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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Comments

Total comments: 5
BobFoster

Big downgrade from the 10D, first plastic body, second NO custom menus. This camera is aimed squarely at the PS crowd. The good news out of this is they are releasing a 100~400 F4 L with IS, assuming it's better optically than the current 100~400 this lens should sell like hot cakes!!!

It looks like Nikon/Minolta/Sony are in BIG trouble with this new camera.

1 upvote
reanim888

The camera has a rotation sensor which allows automatic rotation of images. This is a very important feature lacking on other far more expensive cameras. I'm unsure if the images themselves are rotated, which saves a lot of time in post-production, or if just the previews are rotated, which is a lot less useful but still far better than the Nikon cameras I use like the D1H. I can manually rotate images inside my Canon A70, but this only applies to the preview. With the A70 I still have to rotate in post.

2 upvotes
Charlie Medina

I purchased an EOS 300D in Bath, 2003, their first EOS product as I had been stolen my professional NIKON in Liverpool. It isn't too bad and using Photoshop you are able to improve pictures' quality. I am a freelance journalist/photograph.
Now, when I asked CANON for a copy of the lost original Firmware/software they refuse to deliver one. "No software is available" they said. My God! CANON forget old customers! Has any one a copy of original CD for an EOS 300D? PLEASE....I pay for that copy.
Tell me at ipanewsuk@eircom.net

Regards
Charlie

1 upvote
Django1

my camera wont do anything when turned on,no image on the sscreen no lights on, tried everything
Peter Rix
Tasmania

0 upvotes
Lassoni

that's weird :(

0 upvotes
Total comments: 5