Canon EOS 400D Review - Canon EOS 400D Review

The 400D uses the same highly acclaimed Digic II image processing engine as the 350D, but is now equipped with a nine-point AF system, a much wider range of features and a vastly improved control interface. The 400D offers a huge range of picture adjustment and control, but at the same time manages to be accessible and easy to use. The key element is the Picture Style option. There are nine pre-set Picture Style settings, all of which can be customised for sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone, with nine increments of adjustment for each parameter. The default settings are for standard, portrait (less sharpness) landscape (extra sharpness), neutral, faithful and three user-defined settings. When shooting, these Picture Style settings can be selected by simply pressing the Set button and scrolling up or down on the D-pad. It make accurate professional picture quality control very easy. Thankfully the annoying feature of the 300D and 350D, where menu choices had to be confirmed by pressing the Set button has been dropped.

Other frequently used options including ISO setting, metering mode, AF mode and white balance are controlled by scrolling through a list of options using the D-pad buttons, which is again very quick and simple. Likewise exposure compensation, drive and self-timer mode, AF point selection and exposure lock are all controlled by external buttons. The menu is only used for more uncommon adjustments, such as flash power output, bracketing parameters or colour space, which is a sensible arrangement that will suit most users.

In terms of performance, the EOS 400D is everything we’ve come to expect from a Canon DSLR. It starts up virtually instantly, and in continuous shooting in fine JPEG quality mode it can rattle off 21 shots at an impressive 2.5 frames per second before it has to pause to write data to the memory card. Even then, the progressive buffer means you don’t have to wait until it’s finished processing every frame before you can shoot again. Even in RAW plus fine JPEG it can shoot at the same speed, although this time the buffer can hold only eight shots, and you have to wait a little longer before shooting again. One slight annoyance, which was also present on the 300D and 350D: if you open the card hatch the camera shuts down immediately, and any images still waiting in the buffer are lost, so make sure you have enough room on your card before you start shooting.

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