Canon EOS 450D review (Rebel XSi)
CMOS and DIGIC III
The 450D is Canon’s 19th EOS DSLR. It features a 12.4MP sensor with an effective pixel count of 12.2MP, and continues the company’s use of CMOS sensor technology. Keeping to the same dimensions as the 400D, the sensor applies a 1.6x conversion factor to any mounted lens with the mount accepting both EF and EF-S designated optics.
The DIGIC III processor employed in Canon’s most recent compact and DSLR models lies at the heart of the camera, and is responsible for image processing as well as maintaining a fast operational speed. It now processes 14bit Raw files before saving them in Canon’s proprietary CR2 format, with JPEG capture and a combination of the two offered alongside.
Metering is carried out by a 35-zone SPC (Silicon Photocell) system, offering evaluative, partial (9% of frame) and centre-weighted average options, as well as the somewhat overdue spot option. Canon has included spot metering in its enthusiasts and professional models, as well as in its compacts, but never before on a model pitched at the entry-level market. This covers approximately 4% of the frame, and all of these have been complemented by two additional features: Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimiser. The former is claimed to extend the dynamic range of highlights to retain detail and provide a smoother tonal gradation, while the latter corrects brightness and contrast while processing images, for example, for backlit subjects.
The standard Auto and PASM exposure modes are joined by six scene settings and an Automatic Depth Of Field (A-DEP) function – all of which are accessible via the mode dial. Colour options come in the form of Canon’s Picture Style settings – such as Landscape, Portrait and Monochrome – as well as three customisable profiles allowing you to set your own sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone parameters.
Sensitivity may be adjusted over a range of ISO 100-1600 in one-stop increments, with the further options of high-ISO and long-exposure noise reduction offered. An Auto ISO option is also present, which adjusts the camera’s sensitivity up to a maximum of ISO 800, and while this isn’t the most expansive of ISO ranges we’ve seen, it should suffice in most lighting conditions.
Canon is said to have made improvements to the autofocus sensor, which features an f/2.8 centre cross-type point around which eight further points are situated. Burst shooting, meanwhile, is claimed to allow a capture rate of 3.5 frames per second for up to 53 large JPEGs, ix Raw files or four Raw+JPEGs, before running out of steam.
The 450D is Canon’s first consumer DSLR to offer live view, with ‘Quick’ and ‘Live’ modes to enable autofocusing. The former uses previously seen phase detection – which analyses light intensity between different subjects in the frame to achieve autofocus – in between a temporary mirror blackout, while the new Live mode employs the slower method of contrast detection, giving a real-time feed and negating the dropping of the mirror. The 30fps video feed is displayed on the camera’s 3in LCD screen, which is said to be 50% brighter than that of its predecessor though staying with the same 230,00-dot count. Histogram and grid options may also be displayed while shooting, while the camera
may also be tethered to a computer with a live view displayed on the
monitor via the bundled Digital Photo Professional software.
The EOS Integrated Cleaning system first seen on the 400D works on the principle of the three R’s – albeit not the traditional kind – reducing, repelling and removing dust. Aside from a vibrating low-pass filter in front of the sensor, an anti-static coating stops dust from sticking to it while even the body cap is said to have been redesigned to stop dust from being generated by its wear. A further facility, Dust Delete Data, maps any dust that may have formed as shadows on the image, before removing it via the aforementioned software.
Presumably as a response to the sensor-based stabilisation offered by other DSLR manufacturers, Canon has opted to stabilise the 18-55mm kit lens bundled with the body. The viewfinder has also seen a redesign, being slightly larger and brighter, and with information such as sensitivity settings and black and white shooting now displayed alongside the
exposure level indicator.
Switch to SD Memory
Canon has adopted SD media as the 450D’s recording format, which, although a
dual option together with CompactFlash on the 1D series, has never been the sole media type supported by its previous triple-figured EOS models.