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Old 27-09-2006, 11:11 PM
Talon Karrde
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Need some info on the Canon 400D

I've been considering jumping into the digital realm with the purchase of my first DSLR camera. I do intend to do astrophotography with it, so I want to make sure I make the best choice I can.

I had ordered a 30D when the news broke about the Canon 400D (Digital Rebel XTI) and I quickly canceled the order until i found out more about the camera. I'm in a bit of a dilemma right now and thought someone around here might be able to help.

My main concern is the ACTUAL noise performance of the 400D under high ISO settings. According to Canon, it's as good as the 350D even though they crammed another 2 million pixels on the sensor. Normally, under every day conditions I wouldn't care since the extra pixels and the other features of the 400D are nice. From what I've heard though, noise performance in astrophography is much more vital.

I am an amatuer with an amatuer budget, so when comparing the 30D and the 400D, it's a difficult choice. Do I want to spend an extra 400$ (US) on a 30D, or will the 400D be just as good? Many of the other people I asked said I should spend that money on lenses, but when I plan on using no lens at all, I can't exactly go with that argument.

Is there anyone here who owns a 400D and has tried the thing out yet? I'd like to get some first hand impressions. Either way, I'm going from 35mm to Digital, so I'm sure it'll be a huge step up either way... but if I'm spending almost a grand, I want to make sure I buy the right thing.

-TK
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  #2  
Old 28-09-2006, 04:57 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Hi TK!

to the forum.

I don't think anyone here has purchased the 400D yet, or if they have, they've been quiet about it so far There are however, many 350D users and quite a few 20D(a) users.

I agree that noise may be a concern, but also the process of stacking and dark frames (not to mention noise reduction programs) will all help to reduce whatever noise may be present.

If noise is really an issue for you, especially on hot summer nights, you may consider getting a cooled 350D, which Striker now has (do a search and you'll find his pictures of it, and using it). There's significantly less noise in his test shots.

Is 8mp or 10mp going to make a huge difference for you? I don't know, I guess only you can answer that. For terrestrial stuff, a jump in 2mp wouldn't be enough to make me swap my 350D for a 400D, however if I was just buying a DSLR for the first time, I'd love the opportunity to go straight to 10mp.

If you're using it mainly for astrophotography, have you considered the 20da? The live focus and better sensitivity in Ha might be enough reasons to go down that track instead of the 30D.

A few users here have the 5DH (modified for Ha sensitivity), with a full frame 12mp sensor.. the shots they're getting are incredible. Obviously a lot more expensive and may be out of your budget.

Anyway I hope i've helped a bit.
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Old 28-09-2006, 05:17 AM
Talon Karrde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman
Anyway I hope i've helped a bit.
Yeah, you have... I wasn't sure how effective some of that post-processing would be on the noise...

I've been pouring over whatever data I can find to try and help this decision out. Since this will be my first digital SLR the 10mp is tempting, but realistically I know it's not much of a jump from an 8mp camera anyway. The real issue is the fact that all those 40D rumors were false and I'm faced with choosing a known quantity (a 30d) or an unknown with several features that would be nice.

I looked at the 20Da in the past but I intend to use this camera for regular photography and don't want to spend the extra cash needed to retrofit it with the appropriate filters and stuff. I'm mostly a beginner when it comes to astrophotography so I still need a versatile camera.

The dust-reduction feature on the 400D seems very useful, especially since I'll be taking the lens off a lot. There is also 'noise reduction' filtering that can be done by the camera itself and turned on or off, however I consider that an unknown quantity since I have a tendancy to distrust 'automatic' things. heh

I actually went over my lunchbreak today and found one at the local camera store... it's smaller and lighter than the 30d/20d which may be nice when mounting on a scope (200g difference) but actually makes it a bit less comfortable in the hand.

The 30D has some awesome things as well that I can see might be useful, like the higher (and more plentiful) ISO settings, but then again I know the noise at higher ISO's are worse too. The controls are a bit more convenient and it's a KNOWN quantity.

From where I'm sitting now, it seems like as an entry-level hobbyist, the 400D is a good buy and I should use the 400$ savings (over a 30d) on some good glass... but I wanted to get some thoughts from the rest of you and find out if there were any 'gotchas' that might come back and bite me later.

Thanks for your help!
-TK

P.S. Like the site design. I run a VBulletin forum too... was never able to integrate it into the front page as well as you have. heh
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Old 28-09-2006, 02:28 PM
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acropolite (Phil)
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This Link will give you a good idea, seems the noise performance is pretty well identical. Apparently the new design has an added extra bonus that is less vignetting due to redesign of the microlens system.
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Old 29-09-2006, 11:20 PM
Talon Karrde
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acropolite
This Link will give you a good idea, seems the noise performance is pretty well identical. Apparently the new design has an added extra bonus that is less vignetting due to redesign of the microlens system.
That sorta sealed the deal. Awesome link. I've been looking for some hard data like that for a while! I expect it to be another few weeks before I can get my hands on one and some pictures taken, but I'll make sure to post em here and let you guys know how things turn out!

-TK
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Old 30-09-2006, 06:57 PM
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astro_south (Andrew)
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TK

I am by no way an expert in things photographic, but one thing to consider (and I don't know if it has been discussed elsewhere) is whether or not you can do the 'mod' on the 400D (similar to the mod on the 350D) given the new 'dust' cleaning feature. Might be worth looking into before the final jump.
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Old 30-09-2006, 09:34 PM
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acropolite (Phil)
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Good point Andrew, I would be curious to know if it's moddable.
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  #8  
Old 30-09-2006, 10:25 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)
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There are about 20 of these new 400's in ebay already!
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Old 30-09-2006, 11:42 PM
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RB (Andrew)
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I think maybe the 30D is the way to go.
Not having used either I can't verify but I've seen some comments on this site in which people praise the 30D.

Welcome to IIS too BTW.

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Old 01-10-2006, 11:15 AM
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Rick Krejci, a well known astrophotographer in the states has been testing a 400D and comparing it to a 350D. Despite the smaller pixels, improvements in the sensor means that has been no loss in low light sensitivity (in fact for long exposure astrophotography there may even be some slight improvement). Additionally, if the 400D is like the 350D the sensor does not heat up as much as the 20D/30D so in longer exposures it can actually have less noise.

Many people complained at the start that the 400D was less sensitive, but it became clear that the images out of the camera are processed differently to the 350D so as to preserve highlights.

For daylight use, the Ergonomics of the 350D/400D have recieved - very unfairly - a lot of criticism. The grip in particular is small and means your little finger floats loose, but it only takes a day or so to get used coming from a larger DSLRs (the camera is also very light). I also like the fact that all the controls are on the right hand side of the camera where they can be accessed by your right thumb (while your right hand holds the grip and the left hand supports the camera/lens). With a bit of practice you can compose a shot and not move the camera (or move your eye from the viewfinder) if you need to change a setting.

I would highly recommend the 400D.

Terry
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