One of the most obvious advantages of a digital SLR compared to a prosumer digital camera is the ability to pick and choose lenses, to use lenses you may already own and to use specialist lenses for particular situations (such as macro or tilt and shift lenses). The EOS 300D has Canon's EF lens mount, this provides for a wide range of lenses both from Canon (over 50 lenses) and third party lens manufacturers. In addition the EOS 300D also supports the new EF-S mount, at the time of writing this review there was only one EF-S lens available, the 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6 which is being included in the EOS 300D Kit.

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As part of this review we have chosen to provide a quick overview of three lenses; the Canon EF-S 18 - 55 mm F3.5-F5.6 (provided as part of the EOS 300D Kit), the Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 USM and the Canon EF 28 - 70 mm F2.8 L USM (professional lens).

Field Of View crop

One thing it is important to understand is Field of View crop. Because the EOS 300D's sensor is smaller than a 35 mm negative the field of view provided by a lens is effectively cropped (in the case of the EOS 300D the crop factor is 1.6x). This used to be referred to as 'focal length multiplier' although this term is actually inaccurate as it is not a multiplication but a crop, we prefer to refer to it as Field Of View crop (FOV crop). Thus the 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6 lens provides a field of view equivalent to a 28.8 - 88 mm lens on a 35 mm film camera.

Color reproduction

Below you can see a GretagMacBeth ColorChecker chart taken using the EF-S 18 - 55 mm lens, place your mouse over either any of the labels below the image to see the same chart taken at the same time (within minutes) in the same light with the same exposure. As you can see the 18 - 55 mm lens is quite contrasty giving a good color response very similar to the 28 - 70 mm L lens (although this proves slightly brighter and lifts mid-tones and shadow detail slightly). The 50 mm produces the same color response although the overall image was slightly darker.

Settings: ISO 100, Parameters: Parameter 1, 1/15 sec, F8

EF-S 18 - 55 mm EF 28 - 70 mm L EF 50 mm F1.4

Resolution and sharpness

Below you will find a range of crops from a shots of our standard resolution chart. Each shot was taken at a different focal length and aperture combination. This should provide you with a good impression of how well each lens works from wide open to smallest aperture and at both full wide angle and full telephoto zoom. Remember no lens is sharp at maximum aperture ('wide open') nor at minimum aperture ('smallest').

Canon EF 18 - 55 mm F3.5 - F5.6

This lightweight 'consumer' lens performed remarkably well considering its relatively cheap price ($100 included with the EOS 300D). It's clearly a little soft at maximum aperture (almost all lenses are), but stopped down it produced good resolution at wide angle and average resolution at full telephoto. It's not going to break any resolution records but overall it's a useful, light and relatively good lens.

Wide angle: 18 mm

F3.5 (wide open) F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

Telephoto: 55 mm

F5.6 (wide open) F8 F14 F36 (smallest aperture)

Canon EF 28 - 70 mm F2.8 L USM

Canon's benchmark wide zoom isn't as wide as anyone would like on a digital SLR (unless you've got the money for an EOS-1Ds), that said it's still a remarkable lens. Interestingly ours seems to have grown a problem at 70 mm maximum aperture (F2.8) which we will have to get Canon to check.

Wide angle: 28 mm

F2.8 (wide open) F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

Telephoto: 70 mm

F2.8 (wide open) * F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)

* Looks like there's a problem with our 28 - 70 F2.8 L at 70 mm F2.8, we would expect the same results as we saw at 28 mm F2.8, will get Canon to check this.

Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 USM

Arguably Canon's best prime lens, this lens is sharp from around F2.2 upwards and maintains good resolution even stopped down to around F14. This is the lens we use for test comparisons to other digital SLR's (as it's such a good match for Nikon's excellent 50 mm F1.4 D).

Normal: 50 mm

F1.4 (wide open) F8 F14 F22 (smallest aperture)