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White balance

Unsurprisingly the EOS 300D's white balance performance was identical to the EOS 10D. That is that we were disappointed to see the camera's automatic white balance perform so badly under incandescent light, I would have expected Canon to have solved this by now (as I commented in my EOS 10D review HP seem to have almost perfect auto white balance in any light). White balance presets were average (apparently locked to a particular color temperature). Note that the EOS 300D does not provide selection of Kelvin color temperature white balance, although it is possible to do so by shooting RAW and selecting the Kelvin option in Canon's FileViewerUtility.

Settings: ISO 100, Parameters: Parameter 1, EF-S 18-55 mm @ F8, Small/Fine

Daylight: Auto Daylight: Daylight / Cloudy / Shd. Daylight: Manual
Incandescent: Auto Incandescent: Incandescent Incandescent: Manual
Fluorescent: Auto Fluorescent: Fluorescent Fluorescent: Manual


Flash

Flash results with the production EOS 300D were much more predictable than the pre-production unit, with which we had some problems. Using an external flash results were improved, especially direct flash, bounced still required some flash exposure compensation dialled in on the flash unit itself (as noted below).

Settings: ISO 100, EF-S 18-55 mm, Large/Fine

Built-in flash
(1/60 sec, F5.6)
Canon 550EX Direct
(1/60 sec, F5.6)
Canon 550EX Bounced
(1/60 sec, F5.6) +0.7 FEC


Night exposures

The EOS 300D carries out long exposure noise reduction 'on the fly', this means that it unlike other digital cameras it doesn't need to take a second 'dark frame' exposure to subtract from the original shot. As you can see from the samples below the EOS 300D performs extremely well with hardly any visible noise at ISO 100 (despite it being a 30 second exposure) and noise only increasing very slightly at ISO 400. Above this noise does become more of an issue.

Settings: ISO 100, Parameters: Parameter 1,EF-S 18-55 mm @ F11, Large/Fine

ISO 100, 30 sec, F11
ISO 200, 15 sec, F11
ISO 400, 8 sec, F11
ISO 800, 4 sec, F11
ISO 1600, 2 sec, F11


RAW

The EOS 300D provides Canon's RAW format option, this simply records the RAW data directly from the sensor (12-bits per pixel) which hasn't been processed in any way. Additionally the current camera settings (such as parameters, white balance, exposure etc.) are recorded in the header of the RAW file. The EOS 300D uses the same .CRW + .THM format seen on the EOS-D30/D60/10D, Canon uses a type of lossless compression similar to Zip to reduce the size of the RAW file, even so shooting at RAW you should expect file sizes between six and eight megabytes. Also embedded within the .CRW file is a Medium/Fine JPEG file which can be extracted later.

The EOS 300D is supplied with Canon's relatively good (if a little slow) FileViewerUtility (now up to version 1.3.1.9), this provides conversion of RAW files with a good range of flexibility (including digital exposure compensation and Kelvin white balance) as well as extraction of the embedded Medium/Fine JPEG file.

RAW vs. JPEG resolution

Below are three 100% crops taken from a JPEG and RAW image shot within seconds of each other. The first crop is from a JPEG straight from the camera, the second from a JPEG created from RAW by Canon FileViewerUtility 1.3, the third from a JPEG created from RAW by Phase One's Capture One Pro 1.3.1. As you can see there is very little resolution difference between the in-camera JPEG and that produced by Canon's FileViewerUtility, although sharpening artifacts are fewer and the image may be a little 'cleaner'. Phase One's superb Capture One Pro converter however managed to squeeze a little extra from the file and delivers visibly more resolution as well as no discernible sharpening artifacts.

JPEG straight from camera

2,241 KB JPEG
RAW (converted using Canon FileViewerUtility 1.3)
3,760 KB JPEG
RAW (converted using Phase One Capture One Pro 1.3.1)
3,406 KB JPEG

RAW latitude (digital exposure compensation)

Shooting RAW on the EOS 300D provides you with approximately one stop (1 EV) of additional latitude above the clipping point (pure white - 255,255,255) of the original exposure. In the example below you can see that a large area of the image was over exposed, applying a -0.6 EV digital exposure compensation to the RAW image retrieves some of this detail.

RAW RAW -0.6 EV

Kelvin White Balance

Although the EOS 300D doesn't provide a Kelvin color temperature white balance option in-camera it is possible to set a Kelvin color temperature in FileViewerUtility when converting RAW files. You can select a Kelvin color temperature between 2800 K and 10000 K. In the example below the original shot was taken with the wrong white balance (Daylight), this is easily rectified and a much more accurate white balance is attained by entering a color temperature of 4000 K.

RAW (As shot: Daylight WB) RAW (Kelvin WB: 4000 K)


Overall Image Quality / Specifics

When the EOS 300D was first announced Canon made a cautious statement that they had improved the production process of the CMOS sensor but that the overall design and results would be the same. I can confirm this to be true, while we did observe some slight increase in noise (comparing using the neutral 'Parameter 2' setting) over the EOS 10D the differences simply wouldn't be visible either on the screen (even magnified) or in print.

This means that the EOS 300D is a formidable player at high sensitivities, as we saw in our noise comparison to a five megapixel digital camera it delivers noise levels at ISO 800 lower than any of the compared cameras do at ISO 200. Even at ISO 1600 images are relatively clean and absolutely usable. Shooting at ISO 100 delivers the silky smooth (noise free) yet detailed images which have become the trademark of Canon's CMOS sensor.

Resolution and dynamic range also appear to be identical to the EOS 10D as does color response (which was improved in the EOS 10D over the EOS-D60). I would say that it is definitely worth doing some brief test shooting with the default 'Parameter 1' and a few of your own custom settings to see which you prefer, while 'Parameter 1' does deliver punchy images straight out of the box it can also reduce dynamic range and increase noise slightly..

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