Canon 10D Part 2
My own early experience with the Canon 10D confirms that this camera is everything the reviewers say it is.
For those who have used Canon SLR film cameras, the switch to this camera is quite intuitive. I opened the box, popped in the battery, put on a lens, put a card in the memory card slot and went out to take pictures. I have not yet opened the camera manual, although I intend to do so soon.
The settings on the top left side of the camera are familiar. The usual Canon modes are all there with the various scene modes, plus Green Zone (point and shoot), Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual. In manual mode, the control dial and thumb wheels work just like those on recent EOS film cameras. Exposure readings and exposure compensation in the other modes are just like on the film cameras (Elan series, EOS 3, EOS 1 series).
After I took the first picture, the image showed up for two seconds on the viewing screen on the back of the camera. Cool!! I took a few more photos. Then I pushed the MENU button and found some easy to understand settings like automatic exposure bracketing (AEB), Review on or off (to see each picture after you take it), Review Time (I changed the review time from 2 to 4 seconds), LCD Brightness, Date and Time, and other goodies.
A push of the INFO button on the back revealed the basic camera settings which can be changed with the setting under the MENU button.
Pushing the BLUE arrow at the bottom left turns on the most recently taken photo. Turning the thumb wheel scrolls back through all of the other photos. Quick. Simple. I found another button that lets me scroll through all of the photos in groups of nine at a time. A touch of the shutter button at any time and your are back in the picture taking mode.
Buttons on top right set the Autofocus, White Balance, Drive mode (single, continuous, or self-timer, Metering mode (average, partial area, or multi-segment), and Flash exposure compensation. Another button on top lights the LCD screen. Nice for low light work.
Now that I was familiar with the basic settings, I headed downtown, arriving just after sunset. I set my camera up on a tripod near the old high school (near the new COSI center) and took pictures across the river at the skyline.
The picture at the top is the first one I took. After several more shots I headed home.
I removed the memory card (compact flash) from the camera and popped it into my card reader (plugged into a USB port on the computer) and dragged the whole folder of photos from the card over to my hard drive. Very simple. No software required since I was shooting on one of the jpeg settings (the largest). If I had selected the camera's RAW mode I would need Canon's software (included) or some other kind of software to convert the raw files.
I opened an image in Photoshop, resized it to a 300 ppi image at 12x18 inches, did a modest amount of unsharp masking and printed it out on my Epson 2200 printer. I was very pleased with the quality of the image. In fact, the image is equal in quality to 12x18 prints from 35 mm slides scanned at 4,000 dpi. The buildings are sharp, the sky is smooth and grainless. The above image is now on display as a 12x18 inch print at Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus, Ohio.
Here is crop at 100% magnification ("actual pixels") from the digital file used to produce the 12x18 inch prints. This crop is from the area near pink lights at the top of the building:
This is the equivalent of looking at the whole image at 50 x 75 inches on your computer screen (at 72 ppi) and several times larger than this area would be in a 12x18 inch print. The quality is very good.
Autofocus speed on the camera is good, and much faster than on the Canon D30 or D60. Autofocus speed is also improved, more like the autofocus speed on my Elan IIe. It did a fine job of autofocusing in the low light.
Of course all my lenses act longer due to the 1.6X magnification factor since the imaging chip is smaller than 35 mm film. My 28 mm wide angle lens is more like a 49 mm normal lens. This is a disadvantage. That means I must still use my film cameras for wide angle work.
The good news is that my long lenses now look really long. My 100-400 mm zoom lens at 400 mm has the same field of view on the Canon 10D as a 640 mm lens on a 35 mm film camera. It is like I have a 1.6X teleconverter with no loss of quality and no loss of light. A distinct advantage for wildlife work.
I still like the look of film. There is nothing quite like going to the light box and looking at a well exposed slide of a great scene. But digital has its advantages. See my article on just one of the digital advantages.
This is one fine digital camera!
I can see why DP Review calls it: "the absolute best in class, with the best image quality, lowest high sensitivity noise, superb build quality and excellent price . . . "
Part 1 of my Canon 10D review.
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