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  Reviews by: JRaNL  

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Canon EOS Rebel XTi (400D)

Review Date: Nov 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: handy, small, light, handsome, inconspicuous camera, logical control buttons, good sensor, RAW, various picture styles, easy to access ISO, WB, metering and AF modes, soft shutter sound, excellent results, price
viewfinder image may be bigger, no permanent ISO status

While, to me, the EOS 350D/XT is not so appealing as an up-grade to my 300D and 10D, the launching of this 400D/XTi
is a different story. Again, what a lovely product is this! To give some impression, I have put some images taken with this small marvel here:

Of course you'll hear remarks from people who put their noses high in the air for such a "toy" camera, but in fact this "toy" is made for beginners AND advanced photographers alike who - as pointed by other reviewers correctly - know what to do to get excellent results out of this "toy". Everybody knows the old saying that not the camera but the person behind it rules, but only a few people dare to admit this. I'm glad that the manufacturer has understood this stream of photography philosophy well and put the better ingredients into this little EOS 400D/XTi which make the camera not less or inferior than its (professional) big brothers, imaging-result wise. And that at such a hallelujah price? Thanks, Canon!

Of course the grip is small, but like in the old days of analogue photography when nobody complained about the disasterous ergonomic grips of those bricks, it's more an issue of being used to something new. With a proper handling of camera/lens combination - where the left hand plays a major role to sustain the combo firmly just under the lens - there will be less cramp-in-my-right-hand issue, as now the right hand is the command centre only to control the shutter, the aperture wheel and other right-situated control buttons. What's left of these all? A handy, small, light, handsome, inconspicuous camera with logical control buttons, a good sensor, RAW possibility, various Picture Styles to everyone's taste, easy to access ISO, WB, metering and AF modes without having to dig deep into the menu pages first, intuitive handling and - the most important thing - excellent results.

Provided one knows what to do - or if one doesn't know what to do but isn't a snob who's after "show-off elements", this is the right back-up or main camera for you. For the latter group of users, there's always the hyper automatic green zone built in this camera to learn the photography at one's own pace. This camera is a truly photographic TOOL in the right sense of the word except to hit the nail on the wall with. Highly recommended.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Review Date: Nov 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: useful series of angles, good build, best image quality, logical price
lens hood ugly, for some its EF-S label

What a lovely lens is this! Better built than average, very useful series of angles for everyday photography, supported by clear, colourful sharp results and a realistic price. I've missed the ultra wide angle since my CZ Distagon 18mm becomes an "ordinary" 29mm on a 1.6 crop DSLR. That the lens is a EF-S is not much of an importance to me, it works just fine. And when someday I'll decide to get a FF DSLR, the 17-40L will serve the same purpose as this EF-S 10-22 on a 1.6 crop DSLR. But as usual, images say more than words, so I have posted some photos taken with this ultra wide here:

As there's no image quality issues for me, a remark is addressed to its butt-ugly EW-83E lens hood which shares the same purpose for the 17-40L and the 16-35L. This hood is very wide, absolutely out-of-proportion in relation to the lens' nice balanced build, a stand-in-the-way in many bags and on top of it relatively expensive as well. So I decided not to use any hood at all until I bump into the right alternative, nicely formed one, not too big but still functional hood someday (EW-83II?). I use a screw-in UV filter instead to protect the vulnarable lens' front element/coating. Luckily this EF-S 10-22 isn't too sensitive to flare, although I've seen a lighter aperture blade-ish spot in the centre of an image one time. It could also be caused by the use of the protection filter.

All in all, it's an excellent all purpose lens. Highly recommended, provided one can handle its very wide angle which can be confusing to photography newbies.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Review Date: Nov 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: small, black, inconspicuous, image quality
average built, zoom action cheap, price too high

Seems there are differences in image quality coming from this lens, but I think I'm lucky not to have to deal with image quality problems. Images say more than words, so I have posted some photos taken with this small and inconspicuous lens - which is also its strongest point - here:

My biggest issue is that the lens build quality is average and about the same level (or maybe worse) of - say - a midrange 28-135mm IS USM. There are wobblings all over its duo-cam plastic construction which gives a really cheap feeling to it. The zoom ring rotates heavily, especially when pointed straight right at an object and there's a resistance at the end of its longest end. I have to do this trick to make it easier: to zoom out, point the lens first downwards then rotate to the desired (longer) focal length. To zoom in (shorter focal length), point the camera/lens combination upwards followed by rotate action of the zoom ring. This "method" give a smooth(er) zoom action result, but beware of doing it in a proper order, otherwise it might resulted in a heavier zoom action!

Having being spoiled by the best build quality of buttery smooth metal-barrel lenses of Carl Zeiss for decades, I don't buy this cheapish feeling of this 70-300 DO lens. Especially at this price point, makes the lens price way out of proportion. Shame on you, Canon !

So, recommended? Yes, but ..., that is if you can live with its shortcomings and the exorbitant high price. Otherwise look elsewhere.