Canon EOS 350D review
Since our original review six months ago, the EOS 350D has held onto its A-List status without problem. It’s the smallest and lightest of the group, yet battery life is excellent. We were able to shoot hundreds of frames with flash use and image reviewing between charges. Build quality is on a par with the solid Nikon D50, although ergonomically the latter is superior thanks to a bigger handgrip.
We like the fact that the LCD is above the main 1.8in TFT (which is a touch small). It’s backlit and means you don’t need to look on top of the camera as with the D50 and *ist DL to check settings. Menu navigation buttons double as main functions when shooting, providing instant access to ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, metering and focus modes. It’s a shame you have to use the TFT (instead of the LCD) to change some of these, and it’s also annoying that there’s no spot-metering mode.
Startup is instant and the EOS 350D will shoot at 3fps for 14 frames in JPEG mode or four in RAW- this is a major advantage over slower cameras like the FinePix S9500.
Of course, with a Canon EF lens mount, you can use a huge range of lenses – a limitation with others like Olympus and Pentax. The bundled kit lens offers an 18-55mm zoom and can focus down to 28cm. The highlight, however, is the 8-megapixel CMOS sensor, which distinguishes it from all but the Olympus and Fujifilm here.
You really can see the difference in resolution when viewing images at 100 per cent, but this is only useful if you want to crop a centre portion. For printing at anything up to A4, it will be hard to notice the difference between this and the 6-megapixel cameras on test.
Overall, the 350D produces well-exposed images under any circumstances. The kit lens isn’t as sharp as the Nikon’s, but you’d only tell by comparing photos side-by-side. In low light, images were usable up to ISO 800; noise was kept to a minimum, and much less noticeable than with the Olympus. The built-in flash provides great results, never leaving images with a washed-out look and eliminating red eye.
Our only real problem was white-balance accuracy. Compared to the Nikon, which kept every image neutral, we saw slight colour casts in almost every situation. Of course, you can shoot in RAW mode and set the balance afterwards using the supplied software.
It’s virtually impossible to choose between the 350D and D50, as they’re both excellent, albeit in subtly different ways. The Canon’s extra price reflects the included RAW editing software, and with a higher resolution and features like a backlit LCD it wins by the smallest margin.