The original Canon EOS 300D (known as the EOS Digital Rebel in the US) was the first digital SLR (DSLR) to break the $1,000 price barrier. Since then, Canon has released other Rebel models with smaller bodies and larger feature lists, with the latest being the EOS 450D.
It’s easy to look at the Canon DSLR product line and slot the cameras into “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” categories But to call the 450D a beginner or starter DSLR is a misnomer. The 450D is an incredibly capable camera that just happens to be small, and it yields great images.
I’ve never been a fan of the smaller EOS bodies because they’ve always felt cramped in my hand. With the 450D Canon made a number of tweaks to the camera’s body and handgrip, making it more comfortable to hold and use than previous models. If you’re looking for a lightweight, comfortable camera, the 450D is hard to beat.
The 450D also sports some important interface changes. The ISO control is now a single button located behind the shutter release. With the control in this new position, you can very easily access ISO with your shutter finger, without ever taking your eye from the viewfinder. Because the in-viewfinder display now shows ISO, you can easily make ISO tweaks while looking through the camera. The 450D also has a larger LCD than previous EOS digital SLRs, which means some buttons have had to be moved. But all essential controls (Program Shift, Exposure Compensation, and ISO) are easily accessible while shooting.
The camera still lacks a dedicated status screen. Instead, the LCD is used for regular camera status. Fortunately, a proximity detector automatically disables the screen when you look through the viewfinder. Personally, I prefer a dedicated top-mounted display, as it’s easier to see, less intrusive in low light, and less of a battery drain.
New features. The 450D has a 12-megapixel sensor and a Digic III image processor; the previous model, the 400D, had a 10-megapixel sensor and a Digic II processor. The new hardware produces image quality that is top notch, and the camera performs great in low light, even at ISO 1600.
Back of the EOS 450D
Live View allows you to use the LCD as a viewfinder. As with the EOS 40D, focusing in Live View is a bit cumbersome. The XSi provides two focusing modes when in Live View, and both are fairly slow. But if you’re shooting over-the-head or tripod-mounted shots, or are in any other situation where getting your eye up to the viewfinder is a problem, Live View is a welcome addition.
You can buy the XSi body only ($1049), or purchase a Single Lens Kit ($1199) that includes a new 18-55mm lens. Small and lightweight, this lens is far superior to Canon’s previous 18-55mm lens. It offers very good sharpness but is not plagued by the chromatic aberration (colour fringing) troubles of its predecessor. Most importantly, the lens now includes Canon’s excellent Image Stabilization technology. With stabilisation, you’ll be able to shoot handheld in more situations, without worrying about camera shake softening your images.
There’s also a $1449 Value Kit, which adds a 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens; a $1499 twin lens kit, which adds a 55-250mm f/4-5.6 lens with image stabilisation; a $1799 Enthusiast Kit with a 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens with image stabilisation; and a $1949 Premium Kit with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, also with image stabilisation.
How it compares. The 450D delivers image quality that’s identical to Canon’s EOS 40D, but for $250 less. What are you giving up if you go for the 450D? The 40D has a faster burst rate (five frames per second versus the 450D’s three), more customisation, the ability to change ISO in fractional stops, and one or two other high-end options. Most importantly, its control layout features more dedicated buttons, which can make reconfiguring the camera much easier; it also sports a top-mounted status display in addition to the rear LCD.
The 450D, though, scores for its size. If you’re looking for a small, light camera that’s easy to pack, and that you’re more likely to carry, then the 450D is a better option than the EOS 40D, provided you can live without the features found in the latter.
|Image Quality||Very Good|
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent)||18-55mm f/3.5-5.6|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery|
|Media Slots||SD memory card, SDHC memory card|
|Size in cm (wxhxd)||13 x 9.6 x 14|
|Weight (g)||476g (body); 201g (kit lens)|
Macworld’s buying advice. The EOS450D is a great DSLR, no matter how you look at it. If you’re shopping for a DSLR that costs just about a grand, this camera must go on your short list.