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Canon EOS 10D

10D
Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,917.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF, low noise at high ISO, build quality, playback zoom, overall speed
Cons:
no audio annotation feature, viewfinder (eyepiece) cover integral to canon neckstrap

SUMMARY:
The 10D is what the D60 should have been when it was released. It addresses the 4 key issues of the D60- poor low-light AF; limited ISO range; lack of LCD playback zoom; and erratic ETTL flash exposure.

In addition it improves in many minor areas, and adds new features which are really icing on the cake. And then you look at the much lower price, and you have a killer camera. well worth the upgrade from a D60 (virtually free for me, via early sale on eBay yielding 95% of the new 10D price).

IMAGE QUALITY- as good as the D60 (i.e. excellent), with good dynamic range and extremely low noise at ISOs 100 and 200. Tends to overexpose a fraction where the D60 would underexpose, but that's no problem, simply dial in a 1/3 to 1/2 stop underexposure.

SHARPNESS- as good as the D60. post-processing is necessary, like all digital cameras, in photoshop. I would recommend a "smart" sharpener like Fred's Custom Sharpening actions.

COLOURS- more natural and "muted" than D60, but IMO more accurate, and you can and should tweak these in photoshop afterwards, or use the 5-increment in-camera parameters if you want to get that more saturated D60 look (not recommended, less flexible).

AF SPEED- **major** improvement over the D60, especially in low-light. this is a new AF module, not the same one simply re-jigged as in the D30 to D60 "upgrade". the 10D locks focus quickly and accurately on fairly low-contrast subjects, in situations where the D60 would just hunt and give up. It's no 1D/1V or even EOS-3, but it is damn good for most work. AF is no longer an issue IMO. AF speed in good light is better, but the improvement is not as dramatically noticeable as in low light.

AI-SERVO AF- now very useable, especially with the 7 AF points. tracks moving subjects well. It's no 1D or 1Ds, but beats the pants of the D60.

ISO RANGE AND NOISE LEVELS- simply amazing. very impressive low levels of film-like tight-grain at ISO 800 and 1600. in fact the 10D seems a little more than one full stop better than the D60... ie its ISO 800 is like the D60's 400, and its ISO 1600 is like the D60's 800, if not a bit better. *WOW*. ISO 3200 is useable, especially with downsampling or processing in neatimage, but there is a fair bit of noise, understandably so. Nice to have the option though.

Have a look at lots of ISO 1600 and 3200 samples here-
http://www.wprasek.com/photos/2003-03-29_dales_31st/index.htm
http://www.wprasek.com/photos/2003-03-21_friday_valley/index.htm


PLAYBACK ZOOM- finally you can really check your critical focus on the LCD. hooray! plus you can switch from one image to the next while maintaining the same zoom point for easy, direct comparison. VERY NICE.

OVERALL SPEED- very snappy, feels noticeably more responsive than D60. shutter lag is reduced, and viewfinder blackout is much quicker. menus are easier to traverse, card formatting is much quicker, and the main jog dial turns more easily.

ETTL FLASH EXPOSURE- metering issues have now been resolved with 1D- style algorithms. hooray!!!

LONG EXPOSURES- about as good as the D60, ie. phenomenal. 5 minutes, 8 minutes or 10 minutes are nearly free of noise. a few hot pixels are easy to remove. noise is present, but only really prominent with *extreme* levels adjustment you would not ever do in a real life situation. easily dealt with via dust and speckles, radius 1 or 2 pixels. No other camera, apart from the D60 or 1Ds, comes close. Nikon D100? D1x? Faggedaboudit.

BUILD QUALITY- definitely more robust than the D60 with the magnesium substructure. no creaks or plastic "give" at all. Very "pro" feel, i like it.

ACCESSORIES- still takes the BP-511 battery pack, the BG-ED3 vertical grip, the TC-80N3 remote timer, the anglefinder C, etc etc.

ERGONOMICS- different button layout takes a bit of getting used to, mostly the same, but some rearrangement. Orange backlit LCD is nice. Overall, it seems more logical, comfortable to hold.

PROBLEMS? not a problem, but i wish the D60 included a microphone and speaker for a voice annotation feature. this would be great to capture the atmosphere at a party (music, laughing, conversation, etc) or to record information eg when travelling, the name of the new town you are entering so you know where the next 40 photos are from, what the name of your relative's friend is, etc etc.

I also wish the viewfinder (eyepiece) cover for long exposures wasn’t integral to the camera strap (which I have forsaken in preference for an OP/TECH neoprene style strap) so I could attach it to my substitute strap. Oh well- same as the D60. not a big issue by any stretch of the imagination.

SUMMARY- a great improvement on the D60. get one. NOW. i cant believe how cheap they are, plus canon seem to have fixed their supply problems.

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Warren Prasek
web design | interactive media | photography http://www.wprasek.com/