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Compared to...

As we've said before things are getting very competitive at the 'entry level' of the DLSR market and - despite the best efforts of the various manufacturers to add unique features and leapfrog each other with every new model - the truth is that the differences between them are narrowing all the time. There are maybe 5 or 6 obvious competitors to the EOS 450D, for this review we've narrowed the field down to a slightly more manageable four; the new Olympus E-420 and Sony Alpha 350, Nikon's latest D60 and - for any potential upgraders reading this - the EOS 450D's predecessor, the EOS 400D (Rebel XTi).

Let's start with a quick look at how the competitors line up, including those mentioned above (plus a couple of models we don't have space to include in our studio comparisons):

Camera Body only price Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Canon EOS 450D $800 Yes 3.0" / 230k pixels Kit lens 12.2 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Nikon D60 $600 No 2.5" / 230k pixels Lens option 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
Sony Alpha 350 $800 Yes 2.7" / tilting / 230k In-body 14.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
Olympus E-420 $500 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels No 10.0 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)
Canon EOS 400D $550 No 2.5" / 230k pixels Lens option 10.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
(Olympus E-520) $600 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 10.0 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)
(Pentax K200D) $630 No 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)

Canon's continuing success in the DSLR market is driven by the 'Rebel' models, and the XSi / 450D is a hugely important camera for the company. I think it's fair to say that the early success of the range was due in part to the lack of competition, something that's changed completely now that every major manufacturer has at least one potential 'Rebel beater' in its range, so how does it offer enough to keep Canon in pole position?

On paper the EOS 450D sits near the top of the pack, offering one of the highest resolutions (12MP) and the fastest continuous (burst) shooting, plus a battery grip option and a large 3.0-inch screen - but then it's also near the top on the price scale too. Nikon and Olympus offer smaller bodies with arguably better ergonomics, whilst Sony appears to be determined to buy its way into the DLSR charts by offering a whopping 14MP, tilting screen, in-body IS and the only truly 'live' live view autofocus system for exactly the same amount Canon is asking for the EOS 450D. Both Pentax and Olympus offer bodies (the E-520 and K200D) with sensor-shift stabilization (and in the case of the E-520, live view) at considerably lower cost than the EOS 450D, albeit with a slightly lower (10MP) resolution.

EOS 450D advantages

  • 12 megapixels (most competitors are 10MP) - only the Sony Alpha 350 is higher
  • Largest viewfinder (0.87x magnification, 95% coverage)
  • Largest screen (though all have the same resolution)
  • 9 area AF (only matched by the Alpha 350)
  • Cross type center AD sensor (When using an F2.8 lens or faster)
  • 3.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 14-bit RAW
  • Extensive image parameters and user-definable picture styles
  • Battery grip option
  • 2-10 shot 'continuous self timer' mode
  • Arguably the most comprehensive 'in box' software suite

EOS 450D disadvantages

  • Price
  • Exposure compensation only +/- 2.0 EV

Note: Due to lack of space the Sony Alpha 350 is not included in this table, but is included in the image quality comparisons on the following pages.

 
Canon EOS 450D

Nikon D60

Olympus E-420
Price
(body only)
US: $799 [check price] US: $629 [check price] US: $499 [check price]
Price (kit) US $899 (IS lens) US $740 (VR lens)
US $699 (non VR lens)
US $599 (non IS)
IS lens not available (E-520 kit around $699)
Body material Plastic Plastic Plastic
Sensor • 22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS
• 12.2 million pixels
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD (DX)
• 10 million pixels
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 10 million pixels
Dust reduction • Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
• Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Supersonic Wave Filter
Native image size 4272 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
3872 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
3648 x 2736
(4:3 ratio)
Lens support • Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
• Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only AF-S or AF-I lenses
• Olympus and third party 4/3
• 4/3 standard lens mount
FOV crop 1.6x 1.5x 2.0x
Body shake reduction No No No
Live view Yes, Contrast detect or Phase detect AF No Yes, Contrast detect or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (comp. lossless,
14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
• RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG Fine RAW + JPEG Basic RAW + JPEG (any quality)
Auto focus • 9 area TTL
• Cross-type F2.8 at center
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF (approx 950 selectable areas)
• 3 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• 3 area TTL
• Range: 0 to +19 EV
• 11 point AF (contrast detect in Live View)
AF illuminator Flash strobe, must be raised Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 35 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot
• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
Exp. comp. +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 EV 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600 • ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 1600
Auto ISO Auto (100 - 800) User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100 - 1600)
Custom ISO NR Yes (on or off) No Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting

• 3.5 fps
• 53 JPEG/Fine frames
• 6 RAW frames

• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine frames
• 7 RAW frames
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 7 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Seven presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Image params • Six preset picture styles
• Three user sets
• Sharpening: 8 levels
• Contrast: 9 levels
• Saturation: 9 levels
• Color tone: 9 levels
• B&W filter/tone: 5 of each
• Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 5 levels, cust.
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Four preset looks
• Sharpening: 5 levels
• Contrast: 5 levels
• Saturation: 5 levels
• Monochrome: 5/4 levels
• Gradation: 3 levels
Embed comment Owner name set via software Comment set in-camera No
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 19 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.8x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.92x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
LCD monitor • 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
Status LCD No, utilizes main LCD No, utilizes main LCD No, utilizes main LCD
Mirror-lockup Custom function No Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec
Other features • Multi-shot self-timer
• Image verification data
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
• Wireless flash control
• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Eye sensor
• Stop motion movies
• JPEG edit (inc. shadow adj.)
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
Custom settings 13 19 12
Storage SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
Battery LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh) EN-EL9 (7.4 V, 1000 mAh) PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (4 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Vertical grip BG-E5 (option) No No
Software • Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitich
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
• Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
126 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
129.5 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
Weight (no batt) 475 g (1.0 lb) 471 g (1.0 lb) 380 g (0.8 lb)
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