Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss X2 Digital) Review
Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from (the cameras) black to clipped white (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).
To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test we stop measuring values below middle gray as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.
Picture Style options
As we have previously seen the various Picture Styles use either one of two tone curves, the first more contrasty curve for Standard, Portrait, Landscape and Monochrome Picture Styles and a slightly flatter curve for Neutral and Faithful Picture Styles. Neither curve delivers more dynamic range and they both clip highlights at the same point.
Image Highlight tone priority
One feature new to the EOS 450D (and inherited from high end models such as the 1DS and 40D) is Highlight Tone Priority, designed to deliver more highlight range. It's available via C.Fn II-5 and, once enabled, the usable ISO range becomes ISO 200 - 1600 (ISO 100 is no longer available). In this mode the camera must be applying slightly less gain than normal combined with a different tone curve to deliver almost a whole stop (0.9 EV) more highlight range, though as our real world examples later in the review show, don't expect miracles.
ISO Sensitivity and Dynamic Range
Although noise cuts the shadow range a little at IS0 1600 the EOS 450D's JPEG dynamic range is pretty consistent across the range, and offers a marginal improvement over the EOS 400D (mainly in the shadow region - made possible, we'd guess, by slightly more aggressive noise reduction). The range - around 8.7 EV - is fairly typical for a camera at this level (and isn't far off what you get from the EOS 40D).
|Sensitivity||Shadow range||Highlight range||Usable range|
|ISO 100||-5.1 EV||3.6 EV||8.7 EV|
|ISO 200||-5.1 EV||3.6 EV||8.7 EV|
|ISO 400||-5.1 EV||3.6 EV||8.7 EV|
|ISO 800||-5.0 EV||3.6 EV||8.6 EV|
|ISO 1600||-4.7 EV||3.6 EV||8.3 EV|
Dynamic Range compared
The EOS 450D is one of the better performers in this test, though there's not a lot between any of the cameras here. The Sony Alpha 350 has the best highlight range, giving almost a stop more than the worst performer, the Olympus E-420. As the graph below clearly shows the EOS 450D is almost identical to its predecessor, with the only significant difference being a touch more shadow range.
|Camera (base ISO)||
|Canon EOS 450D||-5.1 EV||3.6 EV||8.7 EV|
|Sony Alpha 350||-4.9 EV||3.7 EV||8.5 EV|
|Nikon D60||-5.7 EV||3.3 EV||9.0 EV|
|Canon EOS 400D||-4.9 EV||3.5 EV||8.4 EV|
|Olympus E-420||-5.4 EV||2.8 EV||8.2 EV|
The wedges below are created by our measurement system from the values read from the step wedge, the red lines indicate approximate shadow and highlight range (the dotted line indicating middle gray).
Experience has told us that there is typically around 1 EV (one stop) of extra information available at the highlight end in RAW files and that a negative digital exposure compensation when converting such files can recover detail lost to over-exposure. As with previous reviews we settled on Adobe Camera RAW for conversion to retrieve the maximum dynamic range from our test shots.
As you can see the default Adobe Camera RAW conversion delivers less dynamic range than JPEG from the camera (a more contrasty tone curve and less noise reduction in shadows). The best we could achieve was just over 10 stops (10.2 EV) of total dynamic range, more importantly almost a stop of that is in highlights (although with no guarantee of color accuracy). This is pretty much the same as the EOS 400D and around 2/3 stop less than the EOS 40D.
- ACR Default: Exp. 0.0 EV, Blacks 5, Contrast +25, Curve Medium
- ACR Auto: Exposure 0.0 EV, Recovery 25, Brightness +7, Curve Medium
We were actually pretty impressed with the EOS 450D's RAW files when it came to recovering detail from highlights that would be clipped in JPEG shots. Even with 3 or 4 EV of negative 'digital exposure compensation' applied we got perfectly usable results, though obviously if you really push the files (such as with the second and fourth examples here) you'll start to lose color information and will eventually see posterization.
That said, using ACR to rescue shots such as these produces remarkably good results most of the time and clearly shows the advantages of shooting raw. Whether the new 14-bit processing helps or not we can't know for certain, but in theory it should produce smoother gradation and greater pliability when pushing or pulling badly exposed shots.
- 19 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 20 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 21 Photographic tests (DR)
- 22 Photographic tests
- 23 Compared to
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (JPEG)
- 27 Compared to (JPEG)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (RAW)
- 30 Compared to (RAW)
- 31 Compared to (RAW)
- 32 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 33 Compared to (Resolution)
- 34 Conclusion
- 35 Samples
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more