Canon EOS 10D SLR Review

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Canon EOS 10D

Camera Features & Controls

The EOS 10D uses a Canon EF lens mount (full electronic control type) and accepts the over 40 available Canon EF lenses from 14mm ultra-wide-angle to 1200mm super-telephoto.

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) Canon USA

Because the 10D's sensor imaging area is smaller than that of 35mm film you must multiply the focal length by 1.6x. This does make going ultra-wide an expensive and often impossible challenge but it does yield dramatic telephoto focal lengths with no reduction of maximum aperture. The 75-300mm zoom becomes a 120-480mm lens!

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The EOS 10D's advanced 7-point AF system is a major upgrade from the D60's 3-point system, and its speed is as fast or faster than the EOS Elan 7/7E's. The 7 focusing points cover a wide area for superb precision, and are manually selectable for a high degree of control. Ideal focus is achieved whether camera orientation is vertical or horizontal, with moving, still or off-center subjects, and even in low light/low contrast situations.

User-selectable focus modes include: One-shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction, AI Focus AF, and manual focus. Going from autofocus (AF) to manual focus (MF) is accomplished by flipping a switch on the lens itself. The 10D's AF system is able to work down to 0.5EV.

There is no external AF-assist lamp, the 10D emits a series of micro-flashes from the built-in flash to illuminate the subject in low-light conditions. The range of the AF-assist is approx. 13.2 feet (4 m). The small lamp on the front is for self timer notification (it is not a white balance sensor.) The lens release is the large, black button in the center of the mount. Below that is the depth of field preview button which closes the lens down to its working aperture.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM and Canon EF 17-35mm f/2.8L USM.   Photo (c) 2001 Fred Miranda.

Fred Miranda has posted an excellent comparison review of the Canon EF 16-35mm zoom vs the EF 17-35mm zoom. Read about it HERE.

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The built in E-TTL auto flash provides flash illumination and exposure control even under complex lighting conditions. It includes a flash exposure compensation function (adjustment plus/minus 2 stops in 1/2-stop or 1/3-stop increments), as well as a flash exposure (FE) lock function that provides the proper lighting for the part of the subject you choose, and the 1st curtain/2nd curtain sync-switching function for capturing moving subjects.

When shooting in the AUTO mode or the Basic Zone modes (except landscape, sports or no flash mode), the built in flash will automatically pop up and fire in low-light or back lit conditions. In other recording modes you press the release button to pop it up when needed.

The working range of the flash at ISO 100 is 3.3 - 12.1 ft at 24mm and 3.3 - 9.5 ft at 85mm (using EF 24-85mm F3.5 USM lens.) Flash sync speed is 1/200 to 1/60 in "P" mode, in "Tv" mode use 1/200 or slower, in "Av" mode it is automatically set at 1/200 to 30sec and in "M" mode use 1/200 to 30 secs.

The flash coverage is effective with lens focal lengths as short as 18mm however some lenses like the EF 16-35 or 17-35 zoom will cast a shadow when wider than 24mm due to their physical length.

Canon EOS 10D with Canon 550EX speedlight, image (c) 2003 Steve's DigicamsCanon EOS 10D with Canon 550EX speedlight, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

If you need more flash power the EOS 10D functions in full E-TTL with the Canon Speedlite 550EX (shown above), 420EX, 220EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX or Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX. The 550EX can be used as a master unit to trigger other 550EX or 420EX Speedlites without wires. There's also a standard PC flash sync port to connect the 10D to other external flash units or studio strobes.

The 10D does not have an external AF assist lamp, it uses a stroboscopic burst from the built in flash. Effective range: approx. 4.0m/13.1ft. at center, approx. 3.5m/11.5ft off-center. When used with any of the EX series flashes the EOS 10D will make use of the external flash's more powerful AF assist lamp.

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

A local pro-shooter friend of mine has been using the Canon ST-E2 on his D60 to improve the low-light auto focus capability and he swears by it. The ST-E2 was designed as a wireless trigger for the 550EX flash but works great on its own as a very powerful, accurate and long-range focus-assist device.

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The eye level viewfinder shows approx 95% of the captured image. There is a -3.0 - +1.0 diopter adjustment for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. Around the viewfinder is a soft rubber type Eb eyepiece that fits comfortably against your face or eyeglasses, it provides a 20mm eye point. Canon offers several optional eyepieces that fit on the EOS 10D including the 90° Angle Finder C.

Canon EOS 10D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Inside the viewfinder is a partial metering circle (spot) and seven focusing points. The active focus point(s) are illuminated so you know exactly which AF zone(s) has been selected. A custom function lets you enable or disable the AF point illumination feature. The focusing screen is the new Laser Matte screen, it is not interchangeable.

Along the bottom is a digital status line that displays - AF (AF points, focus confirmation light), exposure (shutter speed, aperture value, manual exposure, AE lock, exposure compensation amount, AEB level, partial metering area), flash (flash ready, red-eye reduction lamp on, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation amount), warnings (exposure warning, improper FE lock warning, CF card full warning, CF card error warning, no CF card warning, busy), maximum burst for continuous shooting, shots remaining

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