Canon EOS 1500D
If you’re looking for a low-cost, entry-level interchangeable-lens camera that provides better image quality than your smartphone, the EOS 1500D will fill the bill. For a DSLR, it is relatively compact, light in weight and easy to operate, and build quality is good enough to withstand normal usage.
The kit lens is an average performer across its focal length range. We’d recommend paying extra for stabilisation if you add a telephoto lens to the basic package.
The EOS 1500D is one of two entry-level DLSR cameras announced by Canon on 26 February to replace the EOS 1300D. Designed for novice users who want better image quality than their smartphones can provide, the EOS 1500D and its cheaper, lower-featured sibling, the EOS 3000D come with Wi-Fi, Full HD 1080p video up to 30 fps and continuous shooting at up to three frames/second. Both models include 9-point autofocusing and Canon’s Scene Intelligent Auto mode for simple point-and-shoot photography.
Angled view of the new EOS 1500D with the 18-55mm kit lens fitted and the pop-up flash raised. (Source: Canon.)
The EOS 1500D represents a relatively minor upgrade to the EOS 1300D, distinguished from its predecessor mainly by the higher-resolution CMOS sensor, which is the same chip as used in the majority of Canon’s current entry- and mid-level DSLR cameras.
The DIGIC 4+ processor is unchanged and the 1500D also sticks with the older CR2.RAW file format; not the CR3.RAW format introduced with the EOS M50, which was announced at the same time.
The EOS 3000D slots in below the 1500D, retaining the 1300D’s 18-megapixel sensor but losing a number of what many would consider critical features. It has a smaller monitor screen, no separate on/off switch, no speaker and no dioptre adjustments for the viewfinder.
Its lens mounting is plastic, rather than metal and the built-in flash must be pulled up, rather than popping up via a spring-loaded switch. Canon says it’s built and configured for DSLR ‘first timers’. The table below shows key features of the three cameras.
|EOS 1500D||EOS 3000D||EOS 1300D|
|Sensor||24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS||
18-megapixel APS-C CMOS
100-6400 (expandable to 12800)
Full HD 1080p video up to 30fps
|Monitor||3-inch TFT with 920,000 dots||2.7-inch TFT with 920,000 dots||3-inch TFT with 920,000 dots|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi plus NFC connectivity||Wi-Fi only||Wi-Fi plus NFC connectivity|
Scene Intelligent Auto mode, Creative filters
LP-E10 / 500 with OVF
|Dimensions||129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6 mm||129.0 x 101.6 x 77.1 mm||129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6 mm|
|Weight (with battery & card)||475 grams||436 grams||485 grams|
|Price in Canon Store||AU$729.00||AU$629||AU$499|
|Average street price||AU$644 $649.95||n.a.||AU$499.95|
Interestingly, when this review was written none of the local re-sellers had the EOS 3000D listed on their websites and Canon’s online store showed it to be out of stock. The cheapest online prices for the EOS 1500D ranged between AU$640 and $650. (US MSRP = $549.99 for the kit = AU$714.90)
Photo enthusiasts looking for innovative new products will have to wait until Photokina in September because the EOS 1500D offers nothing really new. Even its sensor has already been used in six previous DSLRs and five mirrorless cameras from Canon.
Who’s it For?
It’s clear Canon is marketing its latest EOS cameras purely on price, prompted by 19% growth in this sector during 2017. By pricing the 1500D at roughly half the cost of the EOS M5/M50 cameras, it is aiming to attract cash-strapped buyers in a marketplace that has seen consumers keeping a tight hold on their cash.
However, compared with either mirrorless camera, the 1500D falls short. Physically, it’s bulkier and the monitor is non-adjustable. Its resolution is low for a modern camera and it lacks touch-screen capabilities, which many novice users appreciate.
The 9-point AF system means autofocusing can struggle in dim lighting and with low-contrast subjects. This is particularly obvious when shooting in live view mode. Face recognition capabilities are relatively poor and the camera’s video capabilities are limited. It can also be problematic shooting video with a monitor screen.
The EOS 3000D is even less attractive, having been stripped back to a ‘bare bones’ model. Price alone will be the incentive to consider this camera.
Build and Ergonomics
Physically, nothing much has changed since the EOS 1300D. Ten grams has been stripped from the carbon-fibre reinforced polycarbonate body but the control layout is unchanged.
Front, top and rear views of the EOS 1500D. (Source: Canon.)
Like its predecessor, the EOS 1500D is being sold in kit format, bundled with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III lens, which we reviewed with the EOS 1200D in March 2011. This lens isn’t stabilised but our tests on the 1200D showed it provided decent performance for its price tag.
There’s nothing really new or exciting in the EOS 1500D. Canon appears to have assembled the camera from existing components and popped a new badge on it.
However, the camera has been included in a new Canon Camera Assist Program, which has been developed in Australia and provides video guides to the camera’s controls, ‘advanced’ tips and techniques and instructions on connecting the camera to a smartphone.
The interface for the 1500D in the Canon Camera Assist Program.
The ‘Explore Workshops’ tag appears to be a marketing exercise for the Canon Collective page, which contains links to workshops and other events organised by Canon for its customers. Kudos to Canon for this initiative, which should provide useful resources for those who care to use it.
We covered the 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized sensor with fixed optical low-pass filter in our review of the EOS 77D, although in that camera it is paired with a more powerful DIGIC 7 image processor. The DIGIC 4+ chip has been around since 2014 and was targeted mainly at small-sensor digicams designed primarily for point-and-shoot photography.
The speed of this processor has limited the camera’s capabilities to a maximum burst speed of three frames/second and Full HD (1080p) video at a maximum of 30 fps. The native sensitivity range runs from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with expansion available to 12800.
Integrated Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity allow users to interface the camera with their smartphone via the Canon Camera Connect app, which is available for iOS and Android. Built-in feature guides provide pop-up descriptions of shooting modes or functions as they are selected to help users obtain the most from the camera. The four ‘Creative Filters’ that can be applied to images during playback haven’t changed since the EOS 1200D and comprise: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye, Toy Camera and Miniature.
The 1500D’s video capabilities are much the same as the previous model’s and, as is usual for DSLRs, you can only shoot video in live view mode. Clips are recorded in MOV format with the popular H.264 compression and Linear PCM audio recording. The table below shows the options available, along with typical recording times and file sizes.
|Movie resolution||Frame rates||Bit rate||Recording time on 8GB card|
|1920 x 1080||25 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|1920 x 1080||24 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|1280 x 720||50 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|640 x 480||25 fps||Approx. 11Mbps||84 minutes|
The maximum recording time for a clip is 29 minutes and 59 seconds or 4GB, after which recording stops. Pressing the Live View button lets you record again but a new file will be created. A fully-charged battery should support up to one hour and 30 minutes of video shooting.
When the movie mode is selected on the mode dial, the sensitivity, shutter speed and lens aperture are set automatically. Sensitivity is restricted to the native ISO 100-6400 range but users can adjust exposures by pressing the AV +/- compensation button.
The camera’s movie exposure menu includes a Manual setting that enables users to adjust aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation settings independently. Pressing the Flash button allows sensitivity to be adjusted.
Soundtracks are recorded monaurally and there’s no connection for an external mic. Still pictures can’t be captured while recording a movie clip.
Playback and Software
Playback options are the same as in most EOS cameras and include single- and multiple-image displays (4- or 9-image index views). The usual Jump Display functions are provided as well as searching by date, folder, file type and rating. Images can be magnified up to 10x by pressing the magnify button and turning the dial scrolls through images at the selected magnification.
The normal rotate, erase, protect and rating settings are available, along with Creative Filters, Photobook Set-up and print order tagging. Images can also be re-sized and slideshow playback is available with selectable display times and transition effects as well as ‘canned’ background music.
As is usual with current cameras, the bundled software must be downloaded from Canon’s website (the Support pages). The bundle comprises the latest versions of EOS Utility, which is used for connecting the camera to a computer; Digital Photo Professional, Canon’s raw file converter and Picture Style Editor for editing Picture Styles to create personalised versions of them.
One of the perplexing issues we found when shooting with the EOS 1500D was the difficulties associated with framing shots with any degree of accuracy. When shooting with the viewfinder, five per cent of the subject is cut off. It may not sound like much but is surprisingly substantial when precise framing is required.
The situation is even worse when using Live View mode, because the camera’s specs claim a 100% field of view for the monitor. In practice, we found it to be much the same as the viewfinder crop, particularly when shooting video.
Overall performance from the test camera was similar to the results we obtained from the EOS 1300D, once you account for the increased sensor resolution. However, test shots were slightly softer, particularly at the ends of the zoom range and all shots benefited from unsharp masking in an image editor.
With the default settings, contrast was also rather flat in JPEGs straight out of the camera with the Standard Picture Style setting. Nonetheless, colour accuracy was generally good and Imatest showed saturation was modest, with the expected boost in warmer hues that marks entry-level cameras.
Imatest showed the camera-plus-lens combination to be almost capable of meeting expectations for the sensor’s resolution with raw files converted with Adobe Camera Raw. As before, resolution fell a little short of expectations with JPEGs. Resolution declined steadily as sensitivity was increased, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.
Noise began to be visible in long exposures after dark from about ISO 3200 on and by ISO 6400 softening and blotchiness were evident. By ISO 12800, both noise and blotchiness were quite visible although there was little increase in softening. Interestingly, colour fidelity was maintained throughout the camera’s ISO range, including at ISO 12800.
Flash output was well-balanced and exposures were relatively even throughout the camera’s ISO range, with the warm bias of ambient lighting apparent in shots taken at the highest ISO settings. As with long exposures, little noise was evident up to ISO 3200, although shots taken at higher sensitivities were slightly soft.
Autofocusing was a bit erratic and depended on the amount of contrast in the subject. When there was a hard edge to lock onto, focusing was quite fast and usually accurate in dim lighting, particularly when the viewfinder was used.
Focusing was slower in Live View mode and we found it could slip when we used the camera in Live View to select a precise focus point and then switched to the viewfinder to take the shot. Whether this might affect potential purchasers of this camera is debatable, although it could provide a reason to avoid changing viewing options between shots.
Auto white balance performance was similar to the EOS 1300D’s. The default Ambience priority setting failed to completely remove the warm cast from both incandescent and warm-toned LED lighting. The alternative White priority setting over-corrected and added a slight blue cast. Shots taken under both fluorescent and flash lighting were effectively free of colour casts. The incandescent and fluorescent pre-sets over-corrected slightly but manual measurement produced neutral colour rendition with all four lighting types and the camera provided a range of adjustments for tweaking colours on-the-fly.
Like its predecessor, the 1500D also offers only four video recording options: 1920 x 1080 at 25 or 24 frames/second (fps), 1280 x 960 at 50 fps or 640 x 480 (VGA) at 25 fps. The camera’s microphone can only record monaural audio. Users can set the audio recording level and we found the default setting tended to pick up traces of noise from the AF motor while re-focusing and mechanical noises due to zooming.
The wind filter, which is located in the Sound recording sub-menu, delivered similar results to the 1300D’s. Overall, soundtracks would be adequate for family videos but you’d probably want to over-dub to get a better-sounding result.
Our timing tests were conducted with an 16GB Panasonic Class 10 SDHC UHS-1 card, which boasts a read speed of 90 MB/s and a write speed of 25 MB/s. This is the same card as we used when testing the EOS 1300D and, since the same processor is used in both cameras, it was not surprising to find many of the same results for both cameras.
The review camera took roughly one second to power up ready for shooting, which is the same as the 1300D. When the viewfinder was used, we measured an average capture lag of 0.2 seconds, which was eliminated when shots were pre-focused. In live view mode, autofocusing lag extended to an average of 1.2 seconds, with pre-focused capture lag averaging 0.18 seconds.
Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.6 seconds with the viewfinder but extended to 2.9 seconds in live view mode. High-resolution JPEGs took an average of 1.6 seconds to process, while CR2.RAW files were processed in 2.4 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.7 seconds.
In the continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 25 Large/Fine JPEGs in 8.1 seconds, which is close to the specified 3 fps. It took 12.4 seconds to complete the processing of this burst.
With CR2.RAW files, we could only record nine frames in 2.5 seconds before the camera paused. It took 18.2 seconds to process the burst. For RAW+JPEG pairs, the buffer had filled by seven frames, which were recorded in 2.1 seconds. Processing was completed within 19.9 seconds of the last pair of frames recorded.
If you’re strapped for cash and really need an interchangeable-lens camera, the EOS 1500D will fill the bill, although it’s not the cheapest option available. For a DSLR, it is relatively compact, light in weight and easy to operate. Although certainly a step up from a smartphone, it’s just not all that exciting or satisfying to use for anyone with a deep interest in photography and we doubt it would provide the best stepping stone for beginners who want to improve their mastery of photography.
Build quality is good enough to withstand normal usage, although not rough treatment and neither the camera nor the lens is weatherproof. The kit lens is an average performer across its focal length range. We’d recommend paying extra for stabilisation if you add a telephoto lens to the basic package.
At Canon’s listed price (on the Canon Store) of AU$729, the EOS 1500D is cheaper than Canon’s mirrorless offerings but still relatively pricey for what you get. Fortunately, discounting has already begun in local re-sellers websites, with the average online price across five sites we visited being AU$654, which is much the same as you’d pay to an off-shore re-seller once shipping was included. So it’s not worth shopping off-shore for this camera.
A few stores still have the EOS 1300D, with most listing it below AU$450 so if you’re really trying to save money that camera would be worth seeking out. However, we feel a better, more future-proof investment would be a mirrorless camera and, if you can stump up the extra dollars, the entry-level models from Olympus and Panasonic can be found in kit form with standard zoom lenses for between AU$900 and AU$770.
The 16-megapixel sensors in these cameras are consistently good performers, their lenses are better and you get a nice EVF for shooting stills and movies. And if you can dispense with the EVF, the entry-level models from Fujifilm and Sony will cost you even less.
With all the innovation taking place in the mirrorless sector it’s no surprise to see sales of DSLR cameras declining. Sales of mirrorless cameras are rising steadily, an indication of where the future of interchangeable-lens camera lies.
Image sensor: 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS sensor with 24.7 million photosites (24.2 megapixels effective); fixed low-pass filter
Image processor: DIGIC 4+
A/D processing: 14-bit
Lens mount: Canon EF/EF-S
Focal length crop factor: 1.6x
Image formats: Stills: JPEG (Exif 2.30/DCF compliant), Canon original RAW 2nd edition, RAW+JPEG; Movies: MOV Video: H.264 inter frame (IPB), Sound: Linear PCM
Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3:2 aspect: 6000 x 4000, 3984 x 2656, 2976 x 1984, 1920 x 1280, 720 x 480; 4:3 aspect: 5328 x 4000, 3552 x 2664, 2656 x 1992, 1696 x 1280, 640 x 480; 16:9 aspect: 6000 x 3368, 3984 x 2240, 2976 x 1680, 1920 x 1080, 720 x 408; 1:1 aspect: 4000 x 4000, 2656 x 2656, 1984 x 1984, 1280 x 1280, 480 x 480; Movies: 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps)
Image Stabilisation: Lens based
Dust removal: Manual cleaning and Dust Delete Data acquisition
Shutter (speed range): Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter with electronic first curtain (30-1/4000 sec in1/2 or 1/3 stop increments, Bulb)
Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3EV or 1/2EV steps via )AE lock button in creative zone modes
Exposure bracketing: 3 shots across +/- 2 EV in 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
Other bracketing options: WB across +/-3 levels B/A or M/G in single level increments, 3 bracketed images per shutter release
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus 10s + 2-10 continuous shots
Focus system: TTL secondary image-forming phase-difference detection system with AF-dedicated sensor plus Contrast detection AF via optical viewfinder; 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at centre)
Focus modes: AI Focus (switches between One-Shot AF and AI SERVO AF automatically), One Shot AF, AI Servo AF, manual focusing plus FlexiZone (freely position 1 AF point via manual selection) and face detection
Exposure metering: Evaluative via 63 zone dual-layer metering sensor (linked to all AF points), Partial (centre, approx. 10% of viewfinder) and Centre-weighted average metering patterns
Shooting modes: Scene Intelligent Auto, No Flash, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Food, Night Portrait, Movie, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual
Picture Style modes: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Creative Filters: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-Eye, Toy Camera, Miniature (can only be applied during playback)
Image processing: Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimiser (4 settings), Long exposure noise reduction, High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings), Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination (up to 36 lens profiles can be registered in camera
Colour space options: Adobe RGB, sRGB
Custom Functions: 11 plus copyright embedding and image rating
ISO range: AUTO (100-6400), 100-6400 in 1-stop increments plus expansion to H: 12800 when shooting stills
White balance: AWB (Ambience priority, White priority), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom (Approx. 2000 K – 10000 K).
Flash: Built-in pop-up flash, GN 9.2 (m/ISO 100), coverage to approx. 17mm focal length, approx. 2 seconds recycle time; max. flash sync speed: 1/200 sec. with compatible Speedlites
Flash modes: Auto, Manual Flash On/Off; red-eye reduction is available
Flash exposure adjustment: +/-2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments
Sequence shooting: Max. 3 frames/sec.
Buffer capacity: Approx. 150 JPEGs or 11 CR2.RAW images
Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC cards
Viewfinder: Pentamirror with approx. 95% coverage; approx. 0.80x magnification 21mm eyepoint, dioptre adjustment of -2.5 to +0.5 dpt, fixed focusing screen
LCD monitor: 3-inch TFT LCD with approx. 920,000 dots, approx. 100% frame coverage, 170 degree viewing angle
Live View modes: Approx. 100% (horizontally and vertically) 29.97 fps; Live Mode: One Shot AF (Contrast detect AF); Quick Mode: One Shot AF (phase detection AF sensor); Manual (Magnification 5x or 10x available)
Playback functions: Single image with/without information (2 levels), Index display (4/9 images), Jump Display (1/10/100 images, by Date, by Folder, Movies only, Stills only, by Rating); 1.5x – 10x playback zoom enabled in 15 steps, Slideshow with transition effects and background music, brightness/RGB histogram, highlight alert
Interface terminals: Hi-Speed USB, HDMI mini (Type-C) output
Wi-Fi function: Yes: IEEE802.11b/g/n, (2.4 GHz only) with NFC
Power supply: LP-E10 rechargeable Li-ion battery pack; CIPA rated for approx. 500 shots/charge
Body materials: Polycarbonate resin with glass fibre & special conductive fibre
Dimensions (wxhxd): 129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6 mm
Weight: Approx. 475 grams with battery and card
Distributor: Canon Australia; 1800 021 167; www.canon.com.au.
Based on JPEG files.
Based on CR2.RAW files processed with Adobe Camera Raw.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting, ambience priority.
Auto white balance with incandescent light, white priority
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
Auto white balance with flash lighting.
Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.
18mm focal length, ISO 800; 1/100 second at f/5.6.
55mm focal length, ISO 800; 1/100 second at f/5.6.
ISO 100, 30-second exposure at f/4.5; 30mm focal length.
ISO 800, 15-second exposure at f/6.3; 30mm focal length.
ISO 3200, 8-second exposure at f/9; 30mm focal length.
ISO 6400, 6-second exposure at f/11; 30mm focal length.
ISO 12800, 3.2-second exposure at f/11; 30mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 100; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 800; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 3200; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 12800; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.
Close-up with Macro pre-set; 18mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/160 second at f/4.
Close-up with Macro pre-set; 55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/125 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting; 32mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/80 second at f/5.
55mm focal length, ISO 1600; 1/160 second at f/8.
32mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/100 second at f/5.6.
18mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/80 second at f/3.5.
39mm focal length, ISO 160; 1/80 second at f/5.
55mm focal length, ISO 3200; 1/50 second at f/5.6.
55mm focal length, ISO 6400; 1/125 second at f/7.1.
50mm focal length, ISO 12800; 1/125 second at f/8.
55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/125 second at f/7.1.
55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/125 second at f/6.3.
Still frame from movie clip recorded in Full HD (1920 x 1080) mode at 25 fps.
Still frame from movie clip recorded in Full HD (1920 x 1080) mode at 24 fps.
Still frame from movie clip recorded in HD (1280 x 720) mode at 50 fps.
Still frame from movie clip recorded in VGA (640 x 480) mode at 24 fps.
RRP: AU$729 (with 18-55mm lens); US$550
- Build: 8.5
- Ease of use: 8.5
- Autofocusing: 8.3
- Still image quality JPEG: 8.5
- Still image quality RAW: 8.6
- Video quality: 8.5