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Camera Upgrade

I have upgraded my Canon 300D to a 30D. The other week end in France my existing Canon camera; a 300D (Digital Rebel) started having a bit of a flip out. It would not focus and the shutter was not firing. To which I started looking around at an upgrade, just in case the worse ever happened. The options on the table was obviously a Canon, I have a few Canon AF lenses now, but what body; the new kid on the block is the 400D. But then we have the older 30D. What one should I choose?

When you look at the specifications of the two camera’s (400D and 30D) the 400D is by the far the better of the two. The 400D boasts a 10.1mp resolution, a clever dust removal system for the sensor and a lot of the features from the 30D. Now looking at the 30D the only real bonus is that is it has spot metering and a magnesium body. It has a lower 8.2mp resolution and some higher ISO settings and a much higher price tag; to the common buyer the 400D is the camera to go for. Talking to a sales person in the local Jessops they even agreed that the sales of the 30D have dropped since the 400D hit the shelves. Rightly so, the 400D is a very suitable upgrade to my old 300D, two versions newer in fact. The 350D came out about 3 months after I purchased my 300D but I was not too fussed, I was happy. The 30D on the other hand is Canon’s answer to the prosumer market, the step down from the 5D. It offers some serious options and usability features that make it a true winner. The previous incarnation; 20D was one of Canon’s most popular selling DSLR’s.

The answer is simple, just pick up and hold each camera and you will soon understand. I have not exactly got large hands so this was not a major concern but when you hold the 400D it does feel rather cramped. The grip is not amazingly deep and my fingers felt all confined, my old 300D felt more comfortable to be honest. The back of the 400D was another problem for me. There is only one screen, yes it is a big bright one, but all your settings are run through this. To me that is not the ‘feel’ of a SLR, I like the LCD displays and extra setting windows of the high end SLR camera’s. I will be honest that with the 400D you always have sight of the settings and you are never in doubt of what is going on but that extra knowledge does have a say on the battery life. On contrast pick up a 30D, you are suddenly great by a heavier camera and a build quality that is second to none compared to the 400. There is a click wheel on the back for configuration of extra settings and a separate LCD display on the top for display of all your current adjustments. It might just be me but even the rubber on the grip felt better. So it is all about the feel? Well not completely, what features do I really need: An extra 2mp? Not really, it is still a 2mp jump from what I currently have and I’ve not maxed that out. Anti Dust System? Nice idea and could be useful, but could also be one extra thing to go wrong. Lightweight? Yes if you want a lighter camera then it is better. Smaller? Good for ease of use but it was not for me. To which I opted for the 30D.

The interweb is ripe with rumors of a 30D replacement; 40D on the way. Well there could well be. There was mention of it at the PMA earlier this month; where Canon released the 1D MkIII. So it looks like it could well be back to the 18month life cycle for the 30D which would make it about Autumn time for a replacement. To which should I wait? Will they release anything sooner? For the last week I have been cruising forums and news feeds trying to get some advice. The only thing that popped up was “how many pictures will I miss before I upgrade” which is true. Besides once the 40D comes out do you wait for the 50D? You could spend all your time waiting for the next best thing, problem is you will only end up waiting!

So I managed to put a package together; a new Canon 30D, a Canon EF-S 17-85mm USM IS Lens and a Battery Grip. The grip just makes the camera look mean as hell, almost 1D’ish, plus it does double the battery life. The lens is a EF-S version, so it will only work with Canon DSLR with the cropped Field of View, no 5D or 1D’s here. I have not quite got used to the weight and feel of the camera just yet but expect to see some extra photo’s on my Flickr feed.