It’s easy to see why those new to SLR photography can be confused as to what digital SLR camera is the best to purchase.
Popular Canon EOS SLR camera models include Digital Rebel XT, Digital Rebel XTi or 400d as its also known, EOS 30D digital, EOS 5D digital, EOS-1D Mark II N Digital, EOS-1Ds Mark II Digital and their latest EOS-1D Mark III. Explained below are the main differences between three of these models and things you should take into account when searching for the best digital SLR camera to suit your specific needs.
What is the main differences between a Canon 400D EOS, a digital EOS 30D and an EOS 5D?
The Canon 400D EOS (also known as Digital Rebel XTi) is considered the amateur photographers answer for an affordable SLR digital camera. Digital Camera Magazine recently reviewed several popular SLR cameras, giving the Canon 400D EOS the “Best Value” award. They described it as a high quality SLR and the most affordable 10MP digital camera on the market. Not only is it an affordable digital SLR camera, but it also has a smaller body size. Therefore it is recommended for those with smaller hands, for example lady photographers. This was one of the main reasons that I chose this model for my own photography needs. At the time of this writing, Amazon was currently selling this camera for only $713.00. This includes a kit lens.
A digital EOS 30D is considered by many to be one step up on the 400D. However having said that, your images will look the same quality as the 400D camera. The main noticeable difference being the camera body is larger. Comparison specifications between the cameras are listed further down this page. Many male photographers with larger hands will find this camera easier to navigate than the Canon 400D EOS (also known as Digital Rebel XTi). Current price as listed by Amazon is $962.95 (for camera body only).
Lastly, the EOS 5D is an SLR model that appeals more to professionals. Of all 3 cameras shown on this page, it is also the largest in physical size and at the time of writing sold for $2562 (for camera body only).
Specification comparisons between the 3 digital SLR cameras
The comparisons below are helpful to those photographers purchasing an SLR camera for the first time so they can choose for themselves which is the best digital SLR camera for their needs.
Camera Weight: Canon 400D EOS / Digital Rebel XTi being the smallest of all 3 SLR cameras weighs 510g or 18 ounces. Whereas Canon digital 30D weighs 700g and Canon EOS 5D is 810 grams.
Megapixels and the largest printable image size: The amount of megapixels a digital camera has determines how large you can print the image. Therefore I’ve also mentioned below the largest image size each camera prints in pixels.
Canon 400D EOS / Digital Rebel XTi offers 10.1 megapixels and prints images up to 3888×2592 pixels large. A Canon digital 30D has 8.2 megapixels and prints up to 3504×2336. While the Canon EOS 5D is 12.8 megapixels and prints to a huge 4.368 x 2.912 pixel photograph. It’s important to mention that the 400D EOS does offer more megapixels than the 30D model, however most photographers would never print their images that large anyway. Therefore I don’t see this as a disadvantage for the 30D model. 8.2 megapixels is still way above the normal for todays SLR cameras.
ISO Range: ISO is important due to the fact that the higher the ISO, the darker the surroundings you can photograph without the need for a flash. For example, for aquarium photography you need a digital SLR camera that offers at least 1600 ISO.
Canon 400D EOS / Digital Rebel XTi and 30D models both have an ISO range of 100-1600, while the Canon EOS 5D has a range of 50-3200. As you can see the Canon EOS 5D is for the professional photographer who may need to take the highest quality photographs in extreme light conditions. However, if you’re an amateur photographer who doesn’t necessarily need to print out your aquarium photos in poster size, then the Rebel XTi and 30D models are more than sufficient.
Dust Removal: The newer Canon 400D / Digital Rebel XTi is the only camera of the three that offers an inbuilt dust removal system. What this means for the other two is that you’ll need to manually clean the image sensor.
Continuous Shooting: Continuous shooting specifications tell you how fast the camera can take continuously shoot in frames per second. This is important if you’re intending to do a lot of sports photography were there is lots of movement.
Canon 400D EOS / Digital Rebel XTi can continuously take separate photographs in 3 frames per second. The Canon EOS 30D model shoots in 5 frames per second, while the EOS 5D also has 3 fps, similar to the Rebel XTi.
Shutter Speeds: Shutter speed is an important consideration if you are going to be photographing objects that move. Or more specifically, if you want to catch them in freeze action. If your not sure what this camera settings does, then I recommend checking out our shutter speed tutorial.
Canon 400D EOS / Digital Rebel XTi offers a shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, all the way to 30 seconds or more if you use bulb setting. The Canon EOS 30D model has a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second to 30 seconds or more using bulb. Whereas the EOS 5D has a speed of 1/8000 to 30 seconds.
Summary, which digital SLR camera is the best?
As you can see by the comparison above, they all have their own unique advantages. If your an amateur photographer or a website designer looking to take their own photographs, then the Canon 400D / Rebel XTi EOS is the best value, while at the same time being high quality.
If you have larger hands and find the 400D camera body too compact to navigate, then I recommend buying the Canon EOS 30D.
However if you’re a budding professional who will be taking images in extreme circumstances or will be printing them in large poster sizes then you can’t go past the Canon EOS 5D range or the 1DX series cameras.