Canon EOS 350D


      In summary

      Unlike the EOS 300D, Canon’s new EOS 350D is in no way firmware-disabled. The company has thereby addressed many of the issues that made its predecessor, the EOS 300D recipient of almost universal criticism and brought to market a DSLR that is in most respects, as function-rich and capable as the more expensive EOS 20D. Plastic body notwithstanding, the new model is better built yet 25% smaller and 15% lighter than the 300D, thanks largely to a smaller battery. It also starts almost instantaneously and flash output is now adjustable across +/- 2 stops in 0.3 stop increments. Initially released in the same ‘silver’ colour as its predecessor, by the time this review is published a black version will also be available for the same price. . . [more]

      Full review


      Rating (out of 10) Build: 8.5Ease of use: 8.5Image quality: 9.0Value for money: 9.5

      [ia] Unlike the EOS 300D, Canon’s new EOS 350D is in no way firmware-disabled. The company has thereby addressed many of the issues that made its predecessor, the EOS 300D, the recipient of almost universal criticism, and has brought to market a DSLR that is in most respects as function-rich and capable as the more expensive EOS 20D. Plastic body notwithstanding, the new model is better built yet 25% smaller and 15% lighter than the 300D, thanks largely to a smaller battery. It also starts almost instantaneously and flash output is now adjustable across +/- 2 stops in 0.3 stop increments. Initially released in the same ‘silver’ colour as its predecessor, by the time this review is published a black version will also be available for the same price.

      The 6.1-megapixel sensor has been replaced by a new ‘second generation’ CMOS chip with 8.2 million photosites, which produces high-resolution image files with 3456 x 2304 pixels. These are larger than the 3072 x 2048 pixel files from the EOS 300D but slightly smaller than the 3504 x 2336 pixel files from the EOS 20D. Interestingly, all three sensors have different image sizes: the EOS 300D being the largest with 22.7 x 15.1 mm, the EOS 20D with 22.5 x 15.0 and the EOS 350D marginally smaller at 22.2 x 14.8 mm. It’s difficult to tease out what these differences mean from a practical standpoint – ie, whether they would be noticeable.

      The replacement of the 300D’s USB 1.1 interface with a fast USB 2.0 connection rectifies another criticism aimed at the 300D. Another ‘invisible’ advance that was noticeable in our tests was the improvements produced by the EOS 350D’s new DiG!C II image processor, which not only made the new camera more responsive but also produced quantifiable enhancements to picture quality, which could be identified by our new Imatest testing system.

      On the downside, the viewfinder’s magnification is slightly less than that on the EOS 300D (0.8x vs 0.88x). The difference is noticeable when comparing the two cameras, but would be less significant if the 350D was your only camera as the view provided by the pentamirror is clear and bright. There’s still no lock on the memory card door so, if you open it accidentally when the camera is writing data to the memory card, the camera will shut down and unwritten images will be lost. We can’t understand why this problem persists when a solution would be simple and cheap. Another feature that could have been improved was aperture adjustment in manual mode, which still requires users to press and hold down the Aperture value/Exposure compensation button while turning the main dial.


      The overall control layout on the 350D is similar to that on the 300D and many of the functions and settings provided are the same. However, Canon has made the buttons on the rear panel slightly larger, which makes them easier to use. A few changes have been made to improve overall handling and functionality. The drive button is now on the rear panel and the LCD illumination button on the 350D also supports direct printing via PictBridge and Bubble Jet Direct/CP Direct printers.

      You can use the cross keys on the four-way controller to access the AF and metering modes (the vertical keys link to ISO and white balance settings, as on the 300D) and the set button is now usable for both menu and custom functions. In fact, most of these buttons are simply shortcuts to the setting in the camera menu and, although the Jump button takes you straight from one menu heading to the next, using the 350D’s menu system requires almost as much toggling as the 300D’s. You also have to use the LCD monitor and arrow keys or command dial to change settings, then press the set or menu button for the change to take effect.

      The LCD monitor remains difficult to read in bright conditions and the redesigned data display is a backward step as it lacks ISO information, one of the key controls photographers use routinely. Otherwise, it’s information packed – perhaps excessively so.

      The mode dial on the new model duplicates the settings on the EOS 300D, with Canon’s familiar Basic Zone and Creative Zone divisions. The former has pre-sets for portrait, landscape, close-up, sports, night portrait and flash off modes, while the latter covers the P, A, S and M shooting modes plus A-DEP for automatic depth-of-field AE. However, the Command Dial, although located in the same position as on the 300D, is now raised and knurled, making it easier to use. (But it would have been great to have two control dials to simplify adjustments in manual mode.)

      The 350D has the same AF options as the 300D, with a choice of One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, and AI Focus AF, as well as seven AF points selectable by cross-key shortcut. Metering modes are also identical, comprising evaluative, centre-weighted average and partial, the latter covering the central 9% of the field of view. Nine Custom Functions are now selectable in the Set-up 2 menu, a new feature that allows customisation of the set button/cross keys functions, long exposure noise reduction, flash synch and AF-assist beam controls, exposure level increment adjustments, mirror lock-up and E-TTL II flash metering selection.

      Happily, the colour space settings have been removed from the parameters menu. This means users can independently select between Adobe RGB and sRGB, and simultaneously change the other parameter settings. A new monochrome shooting (B/W) mode has also been added. This parameter should be used with care as it’s impossible to restore colours to JPEG shots captured in B&W. RAW images can have their colours restored when processed by the supplied Digital Photo Professional software. Interestingly, the default Parameter 1 settings are +1 for contrast sharpness and saturation, while Parameter 2 has all values set to zero. Adjustments can be made through the menu and you can record up to three sets of parameters. You can also choose from five black and white filter effects, as well as five toning effects, and simultaneously adjust contrast and sharpness parameters.


      Like the EOS 300D, the new camera is supplied with an 18-55mm lens, which Canon has upgraded (although it looks and feels like the original). The EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 II lens is optically matched to the sensor and delivers a focal length equivalent to approximately 28-90mm in 35mm format. Imatest showed this lens to be a fine performer, delivering very good overall image sharpness and negligible chromatic aberration. We found slight barrel distortion and a trace of vignetting with the lens wide open at the wide angle position but no visible problems at other apertures.

      The 350D took less than a second to wake and we recorded an average capture lag of 0.3 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 second with pre-focusing. We were able to record a burst of 14 shots at maximum resolution at a rate of three frames per second. That’s impressive when you account for the size of each file. It’s doubly so when you see the buffer clear in around 10 seconds for JPEGs and 17 seconds for RAW files with a fast CF card.

      The overall colour reproduction of the 350D was the best we’ve recorded yet in our quantitative testing. It did a slightly better job with green and cyan than the EOS 300D but wasn’t quite as good with the orangey-red and bluish green hues. From a user’s viewpoint, these differences won’t be noticeable in regular photography. Like the 300D, the new model’s white balance failed to correct the orange cast of tungsten lighting in auto mode but otherwise provided good correction for most lighting types with both the pre-sets and custom measurement. Effective correction for these problems is available in the RAW file converter.

      Between ISO 100 and ISO 400 noise in long exposures was insignificant for exposure times of up to 30 seconds. At ISO 800 and 1600, some evidence of noise could be seen but it was surprisingly low, making these settings usable, especially when long exposure noise reduction is activated (via C.Fn-2). This doubles the total processing time but is worthwhile for minimising the small chance of stuck pixels. Zeroing the sharpening and saturation parameters is also worthwhile as both can increase visible image noise.

      If you are an existing EOS 300D user, the 350D is a worthy upgrade. For those looking for a first DSLR, the combination of excellent performance and a first-rate feature set made the EOS 350D the best value for money among DSLRs when this review was written in late March 2005. [23]



      Excellent resolution figures show this camera is capable of producing image files that can be printed at A3+ size – or slightly larger. Potential for aliasing is negligible.


      Chromatic aberration is insignificant.


      The above chart shows the mean camera saturation with the Parameter 2 setting (which applies no parameter boosting). Colour accuracy is excellent and errors in hue and saturation are low enough to be negligible.


      The above chart confirms the L*a*b* colour results and shows that image noise is generally well controlled.






      Image sensor: 22.2 x 14.8mm large single-plate CMOS sensor with 8,200,000 photosites (8.0 megapixels effective)
      Lens mount: Canon EF and EF-S lenses
      Lens multiplier factor: 1.6x
      Shutter speed range: 30 to 1/4000 sec. plus Bulb; flash synch at 1/200 sec.
      Storage Media: CF card (Type I or II). Compatible with Microdrive and larger CF cards
      Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Print/PTP, PC connection selectable); Video output (NTSC/PAL)
      Body dimensions (wxhxd): 126.5 x 94.2 x 64mm
      Distributor: Canon Australia; 1800 021 167;
      Image formats: RAW (12bit) and JPEG
      Focus system/AF point selection: TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor; 7 AF points
      Exposure metering/control: 35-zone TTL full aperture metering; evaluative (linkable to any AF point), centre-weighted, partial settings; P, A, S and M plus 5 scene modes and flash off setting
      White balance: Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, white fluorescent light, flash, custom; blue/amber bias or magenta/green correction; Kelvin values provided
      Colour space settings: sRGB or Adobe RGB
      Flash type/GN (ISO auto): Retractable, auto pop-up E-TTL II flash; GN 13 (ISO 100, in metres); coverage to 17mm lens
      ISO range: Auto (ISO 100 – 400), ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
      Sequence shooting: 5 RAW, 4 RAW+JPEG or 14 JPEG shots at 3fps
      Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror, 95% coverage vertical & horizontal; 0.8x magnification
      LCD monitor: 1.8-inch TFT colour LCD with 115,000 pixels
      Power supply: NB-2LH Battery Pack





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