Customer Reviews: Canon EOS-10D DSLR Camera (Body Only)
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VINE VOICEon June 9, 2003
I'd been wanting to go digital with my photography hobby for a few years, and purchased a nice Nikon Coolpix only to find it was fine for casual shots but still not what I need for my action shots and more serious work. But the digital SLRs were too new, too expensive, and have too few of the feature I felt they needed for the price. When the Canon 10D came out, and I started reading the great reviews on it, I finally knew the time had come! After a few months of using it, I can report that I am totally happy I made the switch!
First, even though Canon made lots of improvements over the D60, they lowered the price considerably. This camera has pretty much everything I need. The one big negative for most people, the fact that your focal lengths are multiplied by 1.6 is actually a bonus for me since I shoot almost exclusively with telephoto. If you do ultra-wideangle stuff, this is certainly a problem.
Being able to switch the ISO setting is great. Sure, I could always swap my film mid-roll if I had to, but always had to waste a few frames, and it was always a pain to do. Not a problem now, just a simple camera setting. I shot some indoor stuff at both 1600 and 3200, the 3200 was not real useable, but the 1600 was pretty decent, particularly after some clean-up in Photoshop.
That's of course the biggest advantage I find with digital. There's so much that I can do in Photoshop that I couldn't easily do with film. There's some excellent books out there on using Photoshop for digital photographers, and there are some great actions and filters that will help automate your corrections. I sell all my photos online through a website that handles all the printing and shipping for me as well, and does a great job with all my shots.
I love being able to immediately see the shot that I took. I don't always have time between shots, but I can often review them later, and delete directly from the camera any obviously bad ones, and show off some of the great ones! It's a great learning tool and my skills have already started to improve as a result.
Another great feature with digital is the EXIF information that gets embedded in the digital files. No need to record your shooting parameters, just open the file up in Photoshop (or other program that supports it) and you have all the information on your shot: date and time taken, fstop used, maximum fstop, shutter speed, exposure and white balance settings, focal length, etc. Really great particularly if you are just learning.
The camera functions and menus are pretty easy to use and fairly intuitive, particularly if you are used to Canons as I was. The quality of your photos will be greatly improved with good lenses, don't spend this much for a camera and then get cheap lenses! Good glass is really essential.
I would also strongly suggest that you get a USB 2.0 or Firewire compact flash reader for your computer rather than trying to download directly from the camera using the rather slow USB 1.1. If you shoot lots of photos this is practically essential, I can easily fill a couple of 1 gig cards in a session.
Most of the gripes I have with the camera are fairly minor. I would like more than 6MP, more autofocus sensors, larger buffer (to handle more than 9 shots at a time), more frames a second, etc. But for the price, I don't think you will find a better digital camera,
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on June 19, 2003
Ahh, the $1500 magic number. I couldn't resist, and finally succumbed to digital. I've been shooting for 20 years with medium format cameras, old rangefinders, and classic manual Nikon lenses on my old Nikkormat. For some time, I was certain that digital couldn't approach the qualities of film.
I thought they'd never achieve the film effects that I got so easily with my traditional camera, like flaring highlights, shallow focus, atmospheric low-light stuff, skin tones, etc.. The digital images looked hi hi-rez video stillls, especially highlights- they looked like buzzy video.
Well, the 10D does all these things, and does them better than film. I believe in the long run it does them cheaper, and it definitely does them faster, as I'm not scanning for 3 hours a night. The first lens I bought was a 35mm f2, and it's been fantastic. With the 1.6 focal length multiplier, it's similar to having a classic 50/1.4 on your film SLR. Very nice out-of-focus effects. With the 35/2 mounted and the camera on ISO 800, you'd have a hard time convincing me that any 800 spead film could come even close the images I've gotten. With a fast lens, the low light capability of this camera is astounding. But that's just one of the good things. Having different ISO films in different cameras, or chanding film mid-roll, I am so not missing that hassle. There's no shutter lag to speak of. The build quality is very good.
The engineering and interface design are absolutely first rate. If you've used older manual cameras and have a good understand of photography, you will be amazed at how intuitive the controls are. All the most often-used settings are right there under your fingertips- white balance, focus zones and servo behavior, drive rate, ISO settings and metering patterns. No matter what you're fiddling with or how deep into the menus you are, the shutter release puts you right back into shooting mode immediately. The control wheels on the top and back do just the things you'd expect them to in a given exposure mode, and they do it with a precision and certainty that left me never wanting to go back to my old cameras. (This is nothing new for anyone used to even a Canon Rebel G, but it's sobering for a classic camera user.) Choose exact shutter speeds or f-stops, or tweak exposure by half or third stops right there as you look through the viewfinder.
I've seen talk on the web about softness in the images. Personally I'm pleased with it. You can always sharpen more later, and as they are straight from the camera, there are no aliasing artifacts at all. I believe the antialising filter is the source of this "softness". When you zoom into details, it looks more like a film image than a pixel-based digital image. How could anyone complain about that? Tight details like eye highlights- these look like organic details, not jaggy pixels. With over 3000 pixels across, I don't know what more people would want: you have to zoom in very tight to see this, so I don't know what people are expecting. At 8X10, prints look plenty sharp to me.
What else . . . the metering is very good. Backlit subjects in front of windows are handled perfectly. The skin tones are just gorgeous. The flare control and color fidelity of the Canon lenses is very very good, and I'm using the cheap stuff. The L series is certainly better still if you're well heeled.
The dynamic range is still definitely not as wide as that of film- maybe close to slide film, but any negative film on a bright sunny day still kicks the -- out of digital in terms the brightest and darkest tones it can capture. The 10D is light years ahead of snapshot-type digital cameras in this regard.
If I had one big gripe it would have to be the myopic feeling of looking through the viewfinder- a result of the CMOS chip being smaller than a standard 35mm frame. The optics of the viewfinder are still built for 35, just masked off for the smaller sensor size, so you sort of get the impression of looking down a long hallway at the image. If you've ever picked up a Canon EOS film camera, (or the new EOS 1Ds with its full frame chip) the big, glorious presentation is pretty impressive by comparison. That, coupled with the 1.6X focal length multiplication is such a waste of a lens capability- you're only getting the center 60% of the lens's image. (By the way, that one review in here that talks about multiplying or dividing the image resolution by 1.6 or whatever- it's complete cockamamie. It's the focal length of the lens that's multiplied. The resolution of the camera has nothing to do with it.) The whole 1.6X thing is a royal pain, and I'll be glad when full frame chips are cheap enough and the world can step back up and stop doing all the conversion stuff.
Otherwise- its easily the best DSLR out there right now.
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on June 9, 2004
I've had my 10D for just over six months, taking mainly landscape/wildlife photos during that time. I moved up from a Minolta film SLR and chose the 10D in preference to Nikon due to my experiences with the Powershot S400 (compatability of menu systems, software etc) and in preference to the Digital Rebel due to build quality/feel and the slightly faster FPS and improved buffer (important to me when trying to photograph animals). I have a big trip to Alaska coming up where the camera will pay for itself with the savings in film/developing alone, never mind the instant feedback and convenience of not having to sort through 250 rolls of film when I get back.
Overall experience with the 10D is very positive with minimal/no shutter lag, great autofocus speed, and the SLR type features often missing such as depth of field preview, mirror lock up etc. If I have any issue with the camera it is the boot up time which seems like an age compared to simply turning on a film camera but isn't too unreasonable compared to other digital SLRs (the brand new Nikon being one of the few exceptions-at a price, mind).
Other reviewers here and on other sites have commented on the soft focussing. Never had an issue with it but I'm not shooting portraits of people but rather I'm normally using large depth of field.
Picture quality has been consistently excellent. Without trying to mess around with the white balance etc I find the color to be spot on and exposure is consistently where I expect it to be. The additional exposure latitude of digital over slide film really helps on difficult to catch contrasty outdoor scenes and the 10D does a great job of making the most of it (comparing it to point and shoot digital images really brings out the differences). I've printed numerous prints at 13"x19" on a Canon i9100 inkjet at home that are outstanding and exceed the quality that pro lab printed slides/negatives have achieved.
Unfortunately, I managed to get the dreaded "Error 99" message a few weeks ago. I use two new Canon lenses (28-135IS and 100-400IS) and a Sigma 12-24. Seeing other comments about non-Canon lenses causing the problem, I called Sigma who confirmed the 12-24 is software compliant and shouldn't be the issue. I called the Canon service hotline and after 20 seconds was actually speaking to a live body (amazing in this day and age). The technician ran through all the things that could be tried to fix it and confirmed that the camera needed to be sent in for repair. I mailed it on a Tuesday and received the camera back the following Wednesday (with the Memorial Day weekend in between) fully functioning, with a new shutter, updated software, and fully cleaned and running to factory specs. Outstanding service response and an experience to put a smile on my face.
Highly recommended accessories to get for the 10D: 1) a second battery (good power usage but I take way more shots than I used to on film and it's not good to run out while in the middle of nowhere); 2) some form of cover for the LCD screen (hoodman peel-on/off work great and help protect it from scratches).
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on December 5, 2003
I have been very resistant to digital cameras. I mainly use a elan 7 and a mamiya 645 for all of my work, but after spending hours and hours every night scanning prints and slides, and even more time removing those little specs from dust, I took the plunge into the world of dslr cameras.
I chose the 10d because the rebel's body is a little cheap and the 1ds is way out of my price range. The 10d is a very sturdy camera with a good amount of weight to it that helps reduce camera shake.
The focusing problems other peaple have talked about is not present in my camera. I have several friends with 10ds and they have no proplems either. I think that people might not be paying attention to shutter time ar perhaps they are using third party lesnes.
The battery lasts a very ling time. To test the camera I took it to Disney's Animal Kingdom and the battery lasted all day (over 350 images taken plus a lot of reviewing and playing).
This camera is great and performs in a pro manner. The white balance braketing is really cool (no more warm filters needed in overcast days). The images I took at 2:00 on a overcast day look like they were taken late afternoon on a clear day.
I realy like that when you trasfer the images to your computer, all of the image info goes with it (and I mean all of the image info, even what lense you had on the camera {i.e. 70-200} and the actual mm the lense was at when the image was taken {i.e. 105}
If you have any doubts about purchasing you can put them aside. Canon has really produced a spectacular camera that yields spectacular results.
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on November 16, 2003
I borrowed this camera for 10 minutes and decided I had to have one because there was no shutter lag. It was like the old days before going digital. Then I rented the camera for a weekend for $100 to make sure it made sense. It's worth doing just to see if you are willing to lug around a big camera again if all you're used to is compact cameras. (We ended up buy a Canon s400 at the same time because this camera is too big for all occasions.)
Things I like:
Just being back in SLR land again. The first thing you notice after you take a few pictures is how different they look with an SLR. It's much easier to create pictures with a small depth of field with a big 35mm lens, and it's a dramatic difference from 95% of the pictures you take with a regular digital camera (they usally have a very large depth of field).
I like the 6 megapixels. Your cropping options increase a lot with this resolution.
I love the 3.3 fps, burst up to 9 images at once. I've captured my kids in action in ways that was never possible before.
I love the AI auto focus mode where as long as the button is pressed the camera will focus on the subject in the center focus point. I use that to track my daughter playing soccer.
I love the view finder. Just looking through it is a beautiful thing. Fast, informative, what you see is what you get, etc.
The camera's controls are pretty easy but I found I had to read the manual several times before it all sunk in. OK, it hasn't all sunk in yet ... but there's hope.
Things I don't like:
The pictures often do look softer than I would like. My olympus c4040 took amazingly sharp images in comparison. I have not figured out if I can just adjust the sharpness in the camera's settings to fix this. I have not made the leap to RAW image format even though I have the software to manage that.
At night time the camera has a hard time focusing. My Olympus c4040 did a lot better in that respect.
The automatic (green) mode for the camera does not allow you to specify a specific focus point (e.g., the center one). It insists on guessing and while it often does a good job it also often fails to focus on the subject in the center. It shows you what it is focusing on but if it's wrong you just have to release and press again until it picks the right spots. And sometimes it doesn't. So then you need to switch to P mode where you can specify a focus point to use, but then you lose all the automatic features of the camera (like popping up the flash when necessary). All this is OK but you then need to explain this to your spouse who may or may not care about all these details. I wish Canon would make it possible to specify a focus point in automatic mode. I'd have to say that is my biggest gripe.
It's not entirely clear to me yet which settings are permanent and which ones are reset when you turn the camera off. I like P mode as a substitute for automatic (green box) mode because I can specify a focus point. But I am not sure whether that means I have to manually adjust all the other settings or whether they will be automatically adjusted for me. I know, for example, that the flash does not pop up automatically in P mode.
Oh, so don't get me wrong. This camera ROCKS. Also it's nice to realize that this camera has upgradeable firmware. If there is an issue or if enough people complain about the sharpness, or if there are new features that must be implemented, it's nice to think that a lot of it is just a firmware upgrade away. I hope that's not naive of me.
I suggest you try this camera out before buying it, if you are coming from a regular digital camera, that is.
Good luck!
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on June 7, 2006
This is a fantastic digital camera - reasonably priced for the myriad of features it has. I use it professionally.

The low-light shooting is excellent, with reasonable artifacts, and the speed is also great. Auto focus is excellent most of the time, and the auto focus field can be adjusted through the menu.

I loved using it, and am considering getting another one despite its short life (read below).

After having it for 2.5 years, it broke down. The auto-focus mirror below the main mirror is attached to the body by a tiny spring which latches to a flimsy plastic part. This part simply wears out after about 20,000 shots (according to the camera rating and the many irrate customers with a same problem, posting on the web). It's designed to fail after about 3 years of use (depending on the amount of use it gets). This is a terribly bad design that could have been fixed by using a metal part, considering that this is NOT a disposable camera...

Repair takes up to 6 weeks, as the camera can only be repaired in their main repair center, and costs about $200.

I've been told that most of Canon digital cameras of this line carry the same defect, regardless of price. Too bad, considering that the overall quality of this camera encourages professional use...
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on May 9, 2003
I have had my 10D a month now. I have taken some of the best pictures of my life with this camera. Performance is incredible, pictures are fantastic, and I am totally satisfied. A few notes to save others grief...Unless you are taking dozens of photos or professionally working, the one battery lasts a long time. I have yet to use my spare. I tried to use a Quantaray lens to compare, but it only worked part of the time. Possible compatibility issue. Canon IS 28-135 is good and has it's uses, but try the Tamron Di lenses for true sharpness!

Update: This camera was used for years after I did this review. It never failed me. Considering the price of the camera, but then calculating costs of film and developing, it paid for itself in a year. I was a serious shutter bug back then! I am a bit more laid back now, but I stuck with Canon. I now own a 20D after selling the 10D on eBay. I love photoshop, so I am sticking with this camera. I was tempted by the 30D. I discovered that model had changes to the parameters in the auto modes did not allow post processing for computer viewing like the 20D. Maybe they changed it for later models, but my 20D does it for me so why keep spending money? If you don't want to go broke, the 20D by now should be dirt cheap if you can find one. ( no, mine is not for sale ) :)
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VINE VOICEon August 2, 2003
In the early 1990's, I found that Canon had come out with their EOS series of cameras. Having had an AE-1 and A-1 from the mid-70's and early 80's, I had enjoyed using their products, which seemed to do as much as, or sometimes more, than a Nikon, at a lower price. In 1992, I purchased a Canon EOS 10S, a truely versitile camera. With the Canon EOS 10-D, Canon has done it again, and am I glad.
Somewhere along the late 1990's, I got into a digital camera phase, buying a different camera every year or so, usually with more megapixels, perhaps a few more features, but I realized that I had reverted back to taking "snapshots," and not true "pictures." "Pictures," to me, are where you experiment and your equipment allows you to experiment, and with the Canon EOS 10D, you can truly experiment. When I think of the money I spent on the Coolpix and Photosmart cameras, and the frustrations, and limitations, I had with them, my wallet wants to cry. However, with the 10D, I can be as creative as I want, and still have those times when I can put the camera on "automatic" and let someone else take a shot and not worry if the picture will come out (which was not always the case).
But, let's get down to specifics. I've had the 10D for several months now, and here are my recommendations: 1) Wherever you buy it at, I bought mine here along with 512MB of memory, consider the whole price. Some places are selling it for $$$$'s less, but you pay up to $$$ more for the memory and you have to pay for shipping (which from Amazon came in two days); 2) Your other EOS lenses work well on the 10D, but because of the 1.6 focal length difference (or whatever you want to call it), use that money you saved on it to get a terrific lense with a wider range, starting at 19mm or so; 3) The manual is a dream, considering this is one complicated camera. Make a photocopy of the "Nomenclature" 2 pages and keep it next to the book as you read it; 4) If you are just getting into digital and have, in the past, used high-end film equipment (whether it was Canon or Nikon, etc.), don't buy something less thinking, "I'll see if I like it." With this camera you can equate 99% of everything you did with your high-end film camera, only with faster results. Save money by buying a better quality digital camera, like the 10D, from the start, or in other words, if you are used to quality, don't take a step back. If you have any reservations, you may want to consider buying "A Short Course in Canon EOS 10D Photography" by Dennis Curtin (ISBN 1-928873-39-1). It covers most of the principles of digital photography and is written around the 10D.
Finally, the last great quality of this camera that I'll write about is the battery. It lasts forever, but even when it starts petering out, it recharges in 1/10th of the time my AA high-metal batteries did for my other cameras. Buy two, and you many never miss a shot.
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on May 27, 2003
I moved to this camera about two weeks ago from my Olympus E-10. The E-10 was a fine camera with great glass. I got some excellent photos from it. But the Canon 10D is in all ways a superior piece of hardware. It takes great photos, even in the fully automatic mode. You can use it as a point and shoot, or adjust the controls while you learn the finer points of photography.
I purchased a 28-135mm IS USM lens here at Amazon to use with the camera, and it gives me a lot of versatility. A lot of 10D users seem to like this lens for general use.
One of the most impressive features of the camera is its auto exposure ability. I was happily surprised to see how it could read the light and automatically adjust the settings in even difficult lighting situations. My Oly had a tendency to over expose slightly. Not the Canon. Again and again my Canon is right on.
Fast AF, part of the Canon system, ISO up to 3200. And the controls are much more intuitive than those on my Oly. Its got everything.
Just one word of warning: this is an SLR, not a camera to fit in your pocket or your purse. It's a heavy piece of equipment.
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This camera and its direct competitor, the Nikon D100, herald the death of film. With the Canon EOS-10D you can take gorgeous pictures in digital format with all of the advantages generally associated with conventional film. You can use the full array of Canon's excellent line of autofocus lenses interchangeably with the 10D. The exposure system on the 10D compares very favorably with the best of Canon's conventional film SLR cameras.
But with a 6.3Megapixel camera like the 10D you can save the pictures to disk (CD, DVD or Hard Disk) or print them out, all without paying extra money for either film or developing. Plus, you can delete bad shots "on the fly." With a 512MB CF card you can store hundreds of images depending on the quality you select, download them to your computer, and then re-use the card. There just aren't many advantages to using film anymore, and in my opinion there are no significant ones for the vast majority of photographers. In fact, it is notorious that once photogs try digital, many or most of them never go back to film.
The 10D is beautifully built, with a rugged metal body and quality construction throughout. Canon really went all-out to make this their flagship for the near-professional digital SLR line.
I had the privilege of shooting the Canon 10D and Nikon D100 side-by-side. The differences were not particularly significant in my opinion, and the two cameras are pretty similar, although there are differences, a detailed discussion of which is beyond the scope of this review. I will say that I cannot imagine any photographer except pros with certain very specialized needs failing to be pleased with this camera or, for that matter, with its Nikon competition the D100.
The other huge advantage of digital versus film is that any user owning a PC and fairly inexpensive software can post-process the D10 images very effectively. Digital processing on one's personal computer gives the average person with a little practice more control by far over the images, in fact, than the professional developer in a conventional chemical/film darkroom can exercise. The digital darkroom has arrived, and it is affordable to almost anyone these days!
At $1,400 or so, this camera is a very decent value for what you get. For those who really want a digital SLR with interchangeable lenses, but who cannot quite handle the pricetag of the 10D, Canon also offers the Digital Rebel, which while somewhat less capable than the 10D, is also a good camera for less money.
The 10D is a camera that is a pleasure to own and use.
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