Canon EOS 300D Digital RebelCanon knocks the bottom out of the Digital SLR market, with an amazingly affordable, full-featured model!
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EOS-300D Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 09/04/2003
Digital Cameras - Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!|
|Outdoor Portrait: |
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the EOS Digital Rebel performed very well.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightened the midtones nicely, but lost some highlight detail. (Oddly, while I felt that the Rebel generally tended to underexpose high-key shots, in this one it actually required less exposure compensation than most cameras do.) The shot was taken with the camera's default "Parameter 1" setting, which raises contrast, saturation, and sharpening slightly relative to the levels of the 10D. Though contrast is a little high, the increased saturation gives the image a more pleasing look, to my eye. Here's a shot with the Parameter 2 setting, which mimics the performance of the EOS 10D (see a side-by-side comparison below). I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, as the Daylight setting produced a reddish cast, and the Manual setting resulted in a greenish tint.
Skin tones look very good, although just slightly orange, and the blue flowers in the bouquet just a little dark. (This blue is very difficult for many digicams, and in real life is more of a light navy blue, with just hints of purple.) Red and green tones look good, as does the rest of the color throughout the frame. Resolution is excellent, and details are well-defined, even in the dark shadows. Details are also sharp, and image noise the shadows is low. An excellent job all around. Following is a comparison between the two parameter settings, as well as contrast and saturation series.
(To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files EDROUTpm1AP0.HTM through EDROUTpm1AP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.)
Very high resolution and well-defined detail.
Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, with similar performance from both Parameter settings. Here, while the Parameter 1 setting produced more "pop," I chose the shot captured with Parameter 2 as I felt the lower contrast and saturation made for more pleasing skin tones. Both shots were taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which borders on being too bright with the Parameter 1 setting, but the default exposure was much too dim. Detail is again outstanding, with excellent definition in Marti's hair and face (probably more than Marti would care to see up close). Shadow detail is again very good, with low noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files EDRFACpm1AP0.HTM through EDRFACpm1AP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Significant underexposure from the flash at the default setting, requiring a lot of positive exposure compensation. Good color though.
The Digital Rebel's built-in flash grossly underexposed this shot at the default exposure setting, just barely illuminating the subject. The shot at right has a +1.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about right. (Although it's a little contrasty: This looks like a subject that would have benefited from the Parameter 2 setting as well.) Overall color looks pretty good, as Marti's shirt has a good white value and the flower bouquet looks about right as well. (Even the very difficult blue flowers look nearly right.) Skin tones are pretty good too. Falloff from the flash and the background incandescent lighting result in a slight warm cast on the back wall, but results are pretty good overall. I also shot with the camera's Night Portrait flash mode, which uses a longer shutter speed to allow more ambient light in to balance the lighting a bit better. The longer exposure does balance the lighting, and reduced some of the harsh shadows, however, the warm cast from the background lighting becomes stronger, and I couldn't boost the exposure in this mode.
Big problems with Auto and Incandescent white balance modes, but excellent color with the Manual white balance setting. Once again though, a good deal of positive exposure compensation needed.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The Digital Rebel's Manual white balance produced excellent color here, with a good white value on Marti's shirt. In contrast, both the Auto and Incandescent settings produced unusably warm images. Marti's skin tone looks good under the Manual setting, although the blue flowers came out rather dark and purplish. (Probably to be expected, considering the light source.) The shot at right has a +1.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is quite a lot for this shot. (Most cameras seem to need about 1.0 EV.) Even so, the image was still just slightly dark, but raising the compensation to +2.0 EV produced overly hot highlights. (For reference, here's a shot at the default setting, which is very dark.)
Great resolution and detail, but the white balance system had a hard time getting the color right.
I was a little torn as to which shot to choose here: The Auto and Daylight settings were both a little warm for my tastes, while the Manual white balance was rather cool and blue-tinted. I ended up choosing the Manual shot, but wasn't really happy with the color in any of them.
Once again, a tendency to underexpose, but outstanding resolution and detail, with a very good dynamic range.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the Digital Rebel performed very well. Resolution is excellent, with a lot of very fine detail visible in the tree limbs over the roof, as well as in the fine foliage in front of the house. Leaf patterns and pine needles are well-defined in both instances, and the house details look very nice as well. In-camera sharpening does a good job here, with crisp details throughout the frame.
This shot shows some of the surprising quality of the inexpensive EF-S 14-55mm lens on the Digital Rebel. While there's some softness in the lower corners of the frame, there's generally very little coma, and virtually no chromatic aberration. - Overall, a really excellent lens on a bargain camera.
Here again though, the Rebel wanted to underexpose the shot at its default exposure setting. The images displayed here were shot with +0.3 EV of positive exposure compensation, but to my eye are still overly dark. (+0.7 EV was too much, I think +0.5EV would have been about right.) Thanks in part to the slight underexposure, the camera picked up good detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also strong in the shadow area above the front door, further evidence of the Digital Rebel's excellent dynamic range. Overall color is very good, although perhaps just slightly yellowish. Following are ISO and lens aperture series (shot with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens that accompanied the camera in the Rebel Kit).
In retrospect, I should have bracketed down to f/5.6 or so while I was once doing this, but hindsight is 20-20, as they say. The results are interesting. The lens is a bit soft when its wide open, is very sharp at f/8-f/11, then gradually loses sharpness as you go to smaller apertures from there. (This series of images was shot with the lens set to 34mm, about the midpoint of its zoom range.)
Despite the pronounced softness at the really small apertures, I was glad to see that it went that far: The absence of really small apertures on most prosumer digicams makes it more difficult to achieve significant motion blur in anything approaching brightly lit conditions.
Lens Zoom Range
Good results from the 18-55mm EF-S lens.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto, and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The Digital Rebel accommodates all of the Canon EOS EF lenses, but the Rebel Kit comes with an 18-55mm f/4.5 EF-S lens, designed specifically for the camera's digital sensor. Given the 1:1.6x size ratio between the Digital Rebel's sensor and a 35mm film frame, this is the equivalent of a 29-88mm lens on a 35mm camera. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Slight color casts with each white balance, but good detail and resolution.
This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The Digital Rebel's Auto white balance produced the best overall color here, though it still left the image slightly warm. The Daylight setting resulted in a warmer cast, while the Manual setting produced a very cool image. The slight warm cast of the Auto setting resulted in purplish tints in the blue background that aren't in the original image, and it gave the blue robe a greenish tint in the highlights. The deep shadows of the blue robe have purplish areas as well. Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the embroidery of the blue robe, as well as in the flower garland and beaded necklaces. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the Digital Rebel are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.) As was the case in several of my other shots, the Rebel underexposed this one slightly - The photos at right have +0.3 EV of exposure compensation applied, and they're still a bit dark.
Very good macro performance with the 18-55mm lens, flash throttles down well.
The EOS Digital Rebel performed very nicely in the macro category with the 18-55mm EF-S lens, capturing a minimum area of just 2.53 x 1.69 inches (64 x 43 millimeters). (Note that macro performance will vary, depending on the lens in use with the camera.) Resolution is high, with strong detail in the dollar bill. The coins and brooch are soft due to the very short shooting distance, however. There's quite a bit more softness in the corners of this shot, now evident in all four corners of the frame. The Digital Rebel's pop-up flash throttled down well for the macro area, though the lower portion of the frame is slightly dark, likely shadowed slightly by the lens.
Slight overexposure, but good color overall.
Both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced warm images here, with the Daylight setting producing the strongest cast. Though just a hint cool, the Manual setting produced the best overall color and white values. Surprisingly, after underexposing the other studio shots, the Rebel slightly overexposed this one, resulting in slightly washed out colors. On a positive note though, it has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the pastels in the Q60 target. Although slightly dull, the large color blocks are pretty accurate in hue. Detail is excellent in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with low noise, and the last steps of both gray scales are just distinguishable, a fairly unusual occurrence on this target.
Excellent low-light performance, with a good color balance and low noise.
The Digital Rebel features full manual exposure control, an adjustable ISO setting up to 1,600, and a maximum exposure time of 30 seconds (plus a Bulb setting for even longer exposures). Thus, the camera performed very well in my low-light testing. At all five ISO settings, the Digital Rebel produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color. I should also note that the camera could most likely capture good images in even darker situations, given the Bulb shutter setting for exposures as long as 2.5 hours (although the resulting image noise from such a shot would likely be very strong). The Digital Rebel employs an automatic Noise Reduction system for long exposures, which does a great job of cutting down on image noise. Even at the 1,600 sensitivity setting, image noise is incredibly low and fine-grained. (About my only beef with the camera for low light work is that there's no way to use the AF-assist illuminator function for non-flash photography.) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera. (I only shot at a single, very low light level for this test, figuring to do a complete matrix once I receive a production model to evaluate.)
Flash Range Test
A fairly powerful flash, with good intensity out to 11 feet from the test target at ISO 100 and slight decreases from there.
In my testing, the Digital Rebel's pop-up flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, with only a slight decrease in intensity after the 11-foot setting, at ISO 100. Flash power was bright and effective all the way to 11 feet, but slowly decreased in intensity from there. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target. (Note that flash range doubles with each quadrupling of ISO, so the useful range would be 22 feet at ISO 400, and 44 feet at ISO 1600.)
Very high resolution, 1,500~1,600 lines of "strong detail." Slightly high barrel distortion from the 18-55mm lens, though very low pincushion.
Given that they use more or less the same sensor (apparently only minor changes to improve manufacturing yield in the Digital Rebel), it should be no surprise that the Rebel turned in a virtually identical performance to that of the EOS-10D. The boosted sharpness setting in the Rebel's default configuration resulted in a slightly crisper image, but the difference wasn't nearly as pronounced as I expected. (I did feel I saw a few more artifacts in the Rebel's res-target shot though.) Overall, the Rebel performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,400 lines horizontally and 1200 vertically, although there was still meaningful detail beyond that point. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until somewhere around 1,550-1600 lines.
Geometric distortion from the Digital Rebel's accessory 18-55mm EF-S lens is slightly high at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured only 0.1 percent pincushion distortion. There's a little softening visible in the corners here, but chromatic aberration is very low, with only faint tinges of color visible in the corners, around the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Good accuracy from the TTL optical viewfinder, although framing is just a hair tight.
The Digital Rebel is a digital SLR design, meaning it has a true, through-the-lens (TTL) optical viewfinder. In my testing, the viewfinder proved just ever so slightly tight, showing about 97 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and approximately 98 percent at telephoto. (Actually a very good performance, the optical viewfinders of many pro SLRs aren't this accurate.) The flash exposure was dim and uneven at wide angle, with a lot of falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At full telephoto, the flash coverage is more uniform.