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Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel

Canon makes an impressive update to their wildly popular "Digital Rebel."!

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Page 12:Image Storage and Interface

Review First Posted: 3/23/2003, updated: 6/4/2005

Image Storage and Interface

The Canon EOS 350D utilizes CompactFlash (Type I and II) memory cards as its image storage medium, which should never be removed from the camera while in use. (Removing a card while the camera is still writing to it could cause permanent damage to the card.) The EOS 350D does not ship with a memory card, so you'll want to purchase a large capacity card right away. I'd recommend picking up at least a 128MB card for starters, given the EOS 350D's large, 3,456 x 2,304-pixel maximum resolution. The table below shows card capacities and approximate compression ratios for the various file sizes and types, based on a 256MB memory card. The 350D is fully compatible with IBM MicroDrives and other Type II CompactFlash devices.

The Canon Digital Rebel XT 350D supports the so-called FAT 32 directory structure. The larger address space provided by FAT 32 is necessary for managing high-capacity memory cards of 2GB or greater capacity. This hasn't been an issue until now, but recently announced CF cards with capacities as high as 8GB require FAT 32 support to use them.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
256 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
RAW
RAW +JPEG
3456 x 2304
Images
(Avg size)
59
4.3 MB
118
2.2 MB
25
10.2 MB
17
14.6 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 ~2:1 - 4:1
2496 x 1664
Images
(Avg size)
103
2.4 MB
209
1.2 MB
 -
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1  -
1728 x 1152
Images
(Avg size)
181
1.4 MB
376
681 KB
 -
Approx.
Compression
4:1 9:1  -

 

 

The RAW mode listed above deserves some explanation. This is a format that records all the data from the sensor, exactly as it comes from the A/D conversion process. It is lossless compression, meaning that the file is reduced to a smaller size, but without losing any data in the process. It thus preserves all the original data from the sensor, but is nevertheless much more compact than an equivalent TIFF file. (The effective compression ratio relative to final file size is about 3 to 1,but can vary greatly depending on the image content, as images with large areas of relatively flat tint will compress much more than ones with lots of fine detail.)

The RAW format of some previous Canon digital SLRs included by default an embedded JPEG image, which could be extracted by several of Canon's software packages. Now that RAW+JPEG is a separate, explicit menu option, the medium-quality JPEGs that were previously embedded in the RAW files seem to have been done away with. - This makes good sense, as there's no need to waste the space occupied by the embedded JPEGs unless you need it, in which case the JPEGs are now (much more conveniently) available separately.

One significant gripe I had with the XT has to do with how it handles writing buffered images to the memory card. Opening the card compartment door at any time shuts down the camera. Canon doubtless did this to minimize the likelihood of card damage, caused by removing the card while the camera was still writing to it. The unfortunate consequence though, is that any buffered images being written to the card when the compartment door is opened will be lost.

Lost Images? - Download this image-recovery program so you'll have it when you need it...
Since we're talking about memory and image storage, this would be a good time to mention the following: I get a ton of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. It's tragic when it happens, there are few things more precious than photo memories. Corrupted memory cards can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. "Stuff happens," as they say. A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digital camera reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

 

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