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9/10

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Canon EOS 400D - Canon EOS 400D

The handgrip is still a bit skinny compared to the generous grips on its Sony and Nikon rivals, but even with my large hands it felt comfortable and secure to hold. It is slightly heavier than its predecessor, weighing 510g body only as opposed to 485g for the 350D, and it is a whole millimetre thicker, measuring 126.5 x 94.2 x 65mm (64mm for the 350D). It is smaller and lighter than the Sony A100, but a little larger and heavier than the Olympus E-400.

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There are some significant external changes, at least one of which will not be welcomed by everyone. It loses the 350D’s backlit LCD data display, opting instead to present shooting and status data on the monitor screen, as do most of the current mid-range DSLRs. The monitor is larger and sharper, 2.5in and 230k pixels versus 1.8in and 115k pixels for the 350D, which is a big improvement, and like the Sony A100 and Olympus E-400 it has a proximity sensor under the viewfinder eyepiece so the monitor shuts off when you put the camera to your eye. Data is displayed in black text on a white background, which is easy to read, and is laid out is a clear and concise manner.

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The viewfinder is also somewhat improved, with a nine-point focus indicator and a bright green LED information display. It seems larger and brighter than the 350D, and is about the same as the viewfinder on the Sony A100 and significantly larger than that of the Olympus E-400.

The most obvious internal improvement is the CMOS sensor, which is increased in resolution to 10.1 megapixels and now includes an automatic cleaning system, which uses a combination of an anti-static coating on the anti-aliasing filter, ultrasonic vibration and pixel mapping to ensure that dust on the sensor is less of a problem.

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