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  Canon EOS300D 10/10. Date Posted 27/09/2003. by Saeed Amen.

Digital SLRs have been around for a while. The problem has been that they have been far more expensive than consumer digital cameras. This Canon EOS300D is the first digital SLR for under 1000 pounds, not exactly cheap but only slightly more (or around the same price) of prosumer SLRs such as Nikon's Coolpix 5700 and Minolta's new Dimage A1. I found this camera selling for 900 pounds including lens at Dixons, but it is slightly cheaper in Germany (1199 euros - 850 pounds at time of review). The lens (EF-S mounting 18-55mm) is specially designed for the cameras sensor, and currently fits no other cameras. If you have standard Canon EF lens these will also fit (I tried an 8 year old 28-80mm lens and it worked fine, producing some decent prints).

Basically the camera is like the EOS10D with a couple of features stripped out to make it cheaper. It is not clear whether these features do not exist, or have been disabled through software. In any case, I found the feature set more than enough! The body is also plastic, rather than metal. Having the plastic body reduces its mass (which with lens and battery is less than an EOS10D) a lot.

Underneath it has the EOS10D's same 6 megapixel CMOS sensor. Most digital cameras use CCD sensors. However, CMOS sensors have the advantage of using less power, and should exhibit less noise (clusters of randomly colored pixels).

The image quality is fantastic as produces great prints even up to Super A3, on an Epson Stylus Photo 2100! Unlike cheaper cameras you can turn up the film speed and still get decent pictures. For example I managed to get decent prints from ISO800 photos. Using my Nikon Coolpix 5000, pictures at high ISO ratings are unusable because of the high noise generated. You can even shoot at ISO1600, but I found in most prints at this setting, noise was a problem.

Like all digital SLRs, you can shoot in RAW format, as well as at various levels of JPEG compression. One oversight by Canon is the use of USB1.1. Transferring a full 512MB CompactFlash to my computer took a long time! So if you buy this, make sure you buy a high-speed USB2 or Firewire, also bear in mind it comes with no CompactFlash memory.

One of the main advantages over a prosumer camera is the speed of operation. There is virtually no shutter lag, and you can take several photos one after another, before having to wait for the buffer to write to the CompactFlash card. Also auto-focusing is very quick (ie. doesn't take five seconds!)

This camera is fantastic, and I am sure that Canon will have no trouble shifting a large number of these cameras, as people switch from film to digital. I think it will have a big impact on the sales of larger 5 megapixel prosumer cameras.