Quick Canon EOS 300D/ Digital Rebel Review

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Todd H., Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest

    The short story: I like it and am glad I bought it.

    The longer story:

    I'm a Canon EOS fan since I jumped aboard with the original Elan and a
    430EZ flash back in 1990, amid 3 years of being photo editor at a
    collegiate yearbook and shooting a lot of film.

    Upon exiting college, my setup consisted of the
    EOS Elan body (which has never once required service by the
    two hunks of big glass (no way to afford Canon f/2.8's at the time!):
    Sigma 70-210 f/2.8 and
    Sigma 28-80 f/2.8 non-HSM lenses
    one hunk of an old standby:
    Canon 50mm f/1.8 non-USM lens
    Canon 430 EZ flash
    Canon Off shoe cord
    Canon RC-1 infrared remote control
    Stroboframe camera/flash mount (keeps flash above camera
    during veritcal shots)

    Thanks to Kodak PhotoCD service, I managed to stay out of digital
    cameras during its rapid growth phase. Recently, things have settled
    out to where I jumped on board buying a Canon G2 a few years ago (when
    it was 2 genreations old). I really like the G2, especially with the
    addition of the 550EX flash (darned Canon changed the flash system so
    my 430EZ did nothing but dump full power when used with the G2), but
    what I was missing was:
    1) use of my interchangeable f/2.8 big glass (the G2's f/2.0
    lens was fast enough, but focal length on the long end left
    me quite wanting)
    2) the focus predictability that an SLR provides
    3) faster focusing and recovery for taking multiple shots
    4) wanted faster start up times and faster transitions from
    review to shooting.
    5) reuse of other accessories from my Elan rig.
    6) better balance in the hand when fitted with the massive
    550EX flash.

    The Digital Rebel delivered on all these expectations except #1. My
    1994 vintage Sigma EOS mount lenses turned out not only to be
    incompatible with the Elan7 and beyond Canon firmware change which
    renders the Sigmas unable to respond to aperture information from the
    camera. As a result I can only shoot with my Sigma lenses in Av mode
    at f/2.8... which actually doesn't upset me too badly given how old
    the lenses are, and the $1400 in 1994 dollars I've saved without
    consequence until now, 10 years later. :) As expected however, my
    1994 Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens works fine with the 300D.

    Photo quality wise, the only disappointment thus far has been harsh
    flash look due to fill/flash balance, and some underexposure of some
    bounce flash photos. This never happened with my Elan+430EZ system
    where I typically overexposed the main by +1 and underexposed the
    flash by -1 to get a warmer available light balance. I've since read
    a review that suggested a +0.7 exposure compensation for bounce flash
    photos. Hopefully this will correct that issue. Much of this might
    be that I can't currently use my f/2.8 glass with the camera for flash
    photography as I'm used to--instead most of my flash shooting has been
    with the slower EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens which leaves my photos
    with more a flash-blasted look than the Elan/430EZ/Sigma f/2.8 lens

    This will be an issue, however, I'll be able to work out as I gain
    familiarity with the equipment, and dial in acceptable flash and main
    exposure compensation (FEC) and learn how much to trust the display on
    the camera for judging exposure. I am disappointed that Canon didn't
    include FEC on this camera and that I have to use the flash's control
    panel to dial it in, but I also understand that folks have had some
    success with hacked firmware for the 300D to enable that feature a la
    the 10D.

    Other than that, I'm happy as a clam with the functionality and value
    the Digital Rebel represents, and would recommend it to anyone seeking
    to stay in the Canon family and make the jump from their 35mm Canon
    branded EOS system up to digital. The only caveat would be for those
    with investments in third party lenses older than 1998--know that your
    money savings in the past may push you into the market for new lenses
    that are compatible with the current Canon standard, or hamstring you
    to shooting with the maximum aperture of the lens. Go go Aperture
    priority mode.

    Best Regards,
    Todd H.
    Todd H., Sep 21, 2004
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