weblog of rommel talavera pascual


The 1st of July 2003 marks the beginning of the end for my Canon AE-1 Program SLR Camera. I bought this camera in Hong Kong in 1985 from my first real job with Unisys (then Burroughs). There was nothing wrong with it, like many, we decided to stop using films in favour of the digital camera. We bought a compact Olympus X200, our first digital camera, and this is the first photo that was ever taken from it. It was shot by Kosh Naidu as he took the camera off my hands as I was inspecting it in my office desk. This camera has one handicap that drives us nuts – it takes too long to charge between shots, owing to it being powered by just two AA battery.

We bought a Fuji FinePix S5000 as a gift for Celine’s senior high graduation and also for our trip in 2004-2005. Have we brought the film camera, we would have just taken 200-500 photos, but with 2 digital cameras instead, we took almost 6,000 photos in this trip. Sadly, the FinePix camera died last Easter. After taking these photos – I left the camera on top of the dog house. Unfortunately, it rained that evening and I didn’t realise where I placed the camera until 3 days later. When I saw it next – it was a goner.

Canon EOS 450D

Canon EOS 450D

Jessica bought herself a handy Sony DSC-T5 and Celine herself a Sony DSC-W80 compact camera. We have been using these cameras for most of last year. But I have always longed for the flexibility of a DSLR. You want that fine adjustment in the depth-of-field for portrait shots, to force a silhouette shot, or to bounce off that harsh flash. Besides, knowing how to use an SLR and not employing that knowledge is like knowing how to play the saxophone and not playing it – but, that’s another story.

Canon EOS 1000D

Canon EOS 1000D

It should come as no surprise that I choose Canon. Primarily because the trusty Canon AE-1 Program SLR is like an old friend. I have nothing against Nikon, Olympus, Minolta or Pentax – I just want to stick to the brand I know. This decision of course has immediately narrowed down my choice to their entry level DSLR – the Canon EOS 1000D and the Canon EOS 450D. Although the 1000D is newer, it is actually a stripped version of the Canon 450D (or you could say an improved version of the superseded Canon EOS 400D).

Short List

Here is a shortlist of the camera that I’m considering:

  1. Canon 1000D Body + CANON EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
  2. Canon 450D Body + CANON EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
  3. Canon 450D Body + Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM


  1. The Canon 1000D is smaller/lighter than the 450D. The 50mm fix lens is the lightest lens (130g) compared to the 17-85mm zoom which is 450gm. If I’m lugging the camera around in my bike, it might as well be light. (I later learned that the 450D is actually just 22g heavier than the 1000D).
  2. I am biased towards fixed lens as they are optimally designed to function at their focal length. Unlike the zoom which has to operate equally well across its focal range and therefore some design compromises were made.
  3. With a basic camera setup, i.e. with a fix/prime lens instead of zoom, I can focus on photography rather than technology. I don’t think that IS (Image Stabiliser) is a factor at a 50mm lens – shaky hands are more pronounced only for longer lenses.
  4. If ever I’ll consider the 450D – it would be for its 12 mega pixel feature vs the 10 mega pixel resolution of 1000D – but really, will I set it at maximum resolution or am I likely to shoot at a modest 3 mega pixels most of the time.
  5. Having thought all of this – should I hold out for prices to come down further? The body may fall a bit more but I think the lenses are pretty much set. I am not after the kit lenses (the lens that is normally bundled with the camera), therefore my choice in lenses will likely be from a specialised shop with not much bargain to expect.
  6. The other reason to hold out is whether FULL FRAME DSLRs will become cheaper – but then again I’ll be waiting for a long time and missing all those photo opportunities while waiting for technology to catch up with my wallet.

So should I be the practical hobbyist getting only the minimum I need to get good photos – or should I go for a bit more whiz bang gadgets with a wow factor that I probably rarely get to use?

Jeanne seem to think that I should get the EOS 450D to get that extra flexibility. But what really are these extra features that is worth the $200 difference. Based on technical comparisons:

  1. Image Size : 4272 x 2848 vs 3888 x 2592 – that’s basically is the difference between a 12 megapixel camera to a 10 megapixel
  2. Metering Mode: 450D has Spot Metering on top of what is common to both. – when used alone, spot metering is most inaccurate of all, but there are special effect uses for it, like dramatic highlights
  3. Auto Focus : 9 Points vs 7 Points – Law of diminishing returns, the 7 points is likely to produce the same auto settings as that of 9 points in most situation.
  4. Continuous Rate : At RAW file format, the 450D can do 6 fps vs. 1.5 fps. This is possibly the feature that Canon held back for this cheaper model. Note however that using JPEG for continuous rate and you get 3.5 fps vs. 3.0 fps. A faster SD card will also help. – Think – will I really go click, click, click using RAW files and fill-up the SD card fast. Unless I get addicted to the RAW format, I guess
  5. Viewfinder : 0.87x magnification vs. 0.81x – I’m getting old, maybe I need that extra magnification
  6. DR Extension Mode : 450D has Highlight Tone Priority – I don’t know yet what this does. You know, I might just decide on the 450D just so I can find this out :-).
  7. Remote Release : 450D has Wireless capability – More gadgets to spend on – wireless release, what’s wrong with self timers
  8. LCD Monitor : 3″ vs 2.5″
  9. Weight : 524g vs 502g

Other features too like “Proximity Sensor” – the LCD turns off if you hold the camera closer to your face to use the viewfinder, is only in the 450D camera. Physically as well, the lack of thumb grip in the 1000D was said to give it a plastic feel. Of course neither of this have a direct effect on the image quality.

As a whole, Canon has introduced the 1000D to have an entry on the market at the sub $1000 mark – but I feel that they have retained a lot of the features of 450D, hence worth the consideration for this camera.

After deciding on the body, I still need to choose between a basic prime lens or a medium grade zoom. The 50mm prime lens I’m considering has been a main stay on Canon since it’s film SLR version. However, DSLR has 1.6x cropping effect which means that a 50mm lens fitted on a DSLR is equivalent to an 80mm lens on a 35mm Film SLR. Up coming Full Frame DSLR do not have this cropping effect, but are still very pricey.

As a rule, anything above 75mm focal length and you ought to be using a tripod or the camera shake will start to be noticeable. Unless of course I get a lens with IS (image stabiliser) … kaching … sound of the cash register asking for more money.

I’ll update this blog as I get closer to a decision.

11 Jan 2009 – Jeanne and I walked in to JB Hi-Fi (Blacktown) and made an offer for a Canon 450D IS Kit and a 50mm f1.8 II lens. Unfortunately, they do not have the IS kit. Nevertheless, they took our order but at this point no commitment has been made.

12 Jan 2009 – JB Hi-Fi (Parramatta) had the 450D IS Kit, but they only had that 1 unit on display. I told them the deal price with their Blacktown branch, and they agreed to cut the price further if I want the display unit. Since we’ve been looking for our SLR we have already slashed over $400 from its original price. I felt that I have already have all the planet align on this one – bought in a store (not the net) but better price than what I could get off the net. The configuration I wanted. So we’ve closed the deal – I’m now a proud owner of a brand new 450D 🙂 Happy Birthday to me!

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13 Responses »

  1. i think you should get the more expensive one =)

    bwahhaha .. it’s up to you father .. i don’t understand any of that fancy photography slang !!

  2. I too do not understand most of this jargon…. but you can use Jess’ allowance to buy your camera if you like 😛

    Why are you getting a new camera anyway?

    Are you going to start taking it up as a hobby and learning more? Or is it just for holidays and stuff? Coz if it’s just for that I mean you can use a regular camera… its less bulky

    • I guess it’s for the same reason as you listen to music on a hi-fi instead of a boom box, watch movie at the cinema instead of vhs on a 14″ TV, play a grand piano instead of a portable keyboard (well you would – if we had – right?)

      Of course, the main purpose of this camera for now is for the upcoming trip to Phils later this year – but you bet I’ll use it more than that. Thanks for letting me use Jess’ allowance, I’m sure she won’t mind me using some of yours as well – hmmm at this rate – maybe I should really get the expensive SLR 🙂

      • No, you’re not allowed to use my allowance… because I’m suggesting NOT spending more money…. In fact I’m saving you money by suggesting not buying anything at all…You should give me MORE allowance for such a wonderful suggestion…. you know like that time where you “saved” me money and i “gave” it back by buying you a dvd player….

        Also if you insist on buying your own….why get a grand piano when you can get say…. an upright piano which plays better than a keyboard but isn’t quite as expensive or bulky as a grand piano….

        the reason I asked “why” you need it is perhaps maybe so you can go ‘oh….well i don’t need several features in the more expensive camera maybe i can settle for something less expensive… or I can just borrow daughter #1’s camera’

  3. Hi Rommel,

    Well, if I were you, I will take the Canon 450D rather than 1000D. (Indeed I may choose Nikon/Sony or even Pentax rather than Canon personally. But if you like Canon, there is nothing wrong as long as you feel good with the handling. It’s a personal preference.) Here are the comments on your thoughts:

    1. It’s only 22g difference. I won’t consider it noticeable when you put it in your backpack while riding.
    2. Yes, fixed lens has superior quality than zoom lens for sure. But you have to sacrifice the flexibility. I will say you may still want a “Kit” zoom lens for traveling.
    3. It depends on the condition. If the light sources is not bright enough and you need longer exposure, then IS is still useful.
    4. It’s true. 12MP vs 10MP is nothing… unless you are planning to blow up the photos in bigger size when printing (or you need to crop a lot of your photos).
    5. The price may come down a little… but with the weak AUS currency, the price may not be adjusted in the local market. Well, I would say the earlier you get it, the earlier you can start playing with it. The alternative is when the Canon launches the new models, the older models on the market should be cheaper.
    6. Well the full frame DSLR is getting cheaper compared to years ago. But it’s still more than double the price for the APS-Frame… it may take a few more years when the full DSLR comes down into a more affordable price.

    For the $200 difference, I think it’s justified to purchase the 450D:

    1. I agree with you. Not much difference with the sensor in terms of size. It’s mainly to compensate the difference between 12MP and 10MP.
    2. Spot Metering is useful! If you have a back lit object, the best to get the right exposure of the object is the spot metering. The surroundings will of course become “over-exposed” but the main object will be at the correct exposure. – (On further research, it seems that Canon only put the spot metering on their higher end cameras to entice consumers to trade-up. From what you said it seems to be an important feature to have. – Rommel)
    3. No comment on this. I always use the focus at the middle and re-compose. I think this is the most accurate.
    4. If you need to capture fast moving objects such as babies (they are actually not steady), higher speed of continuous shootings is necessary. But the more you use, the more the DSLR wears off.
    5. Bigger view finder is a must. You should compare the difference at the shop when buying. It makes a big difference.
    6. I have no idea of DR Extension Mode. I have never heard about it. It could be a special feature available in Canon only and I am not a big fan of Canon.
    7. This could be handy. But you need to check whether they come with the camera or you need to pay extra to get the remote. And you need to check the range effective says at least 5m range.
    8. 3” monitor is of course better than 2.5”. But is 450D really a 3” monitor? I thought it was 2.5” but I could be wrong as I’m not familiar with the Canon products.
    9. As mentioned before, it’s not much difference in terms of weight.

    The proximity sensor was first introduced by Minolta. It’s useful as it saves the battery life plus your eyes won’t be distracted while focusing.

    About the grip, I think the best is to hold both cameras to see which one you feel more comfortable. It’s important because if you are comfortable with the grip, this implies you hold your camera in a more steady hand and thus taking sharper pictures.

    I don’t think the 1000D will satisfy you… you may want to upgrade in a very short time. If you think you may get a higher model soon and the 1000D is just for a trial of the feel of DSLR, it’s not a bad choice. But if you think you will use it for the next 5 years, I reckon you should take the 450D.

    Are you thinking 50mm or 55mm? (On my email to Chris, I wrote 55mm instead of 50mm as I have written in this blog. – Rommel) Anyway they are quite similar. They would be good for portraits (full body or ½ length body shoots). But if you are taking group photos, say more than 5 people, you may need to stay farther from the group… and it’s not convenient in that sense. I can bring my DSLR and show you the 50mm lens so you have an idea on its limitation. In terms of quality, the 50mm is supreme!! Only the top of the line of zoom lens can compare.

    If you are going to get ONE lens only, I will say a good zoom lens (not the kit one) is more practical and flexible. Unfortunately I heard people saying the kit lens from Canon is not really good in terms of picture quality. You need to get a mid range… but the good thing is: you can still use the lens for your next DSLR if you are going to upgrade. The lens last a lot longer than the camera body.(Not necessarily. Canon EF-S Lens series are specifically designed for the smaller capture area of current DSLRs. Since they can actually place the lens closer to the back, resulting to wide angles that are easier and cheaper to manufacture. However, when the Full Frames become the defacto, these lenses will not be useable. – Rommel) And you need to know is the major use… on snapshots, people or nature landscapes etc…

    Well, if you are using the longer lens say 200mm, the minimum shutter speed is 1/200s. So if you use faster shutter speed than 1/200s on 200mm lens, you should still be able to hand-hold the lens. But you need to work with the aperture and the ISO setting combination to see if you can still take the pictures….

    I hope my comments are useful to you. And I hope you will enjoy the hobby.



  4. sa title mo pa lang nalaglag na ako, hahaha

    hindi ko maintindihan lahat ng mga yan, basta ang alam ko lang mag click at mag down load. ni di nga ako marunong mag burn ng photos to CD, haha

    the good news is, my little girl of 7 knows more than me- mas magaling pa sya ngayong mag adjust nung digicam nya 😀

  5. nosebleed ako sa term ng mga lens…. hehehehehe!!! I’m a canon person wala me masyadong alam sa lens basta maganda ang quality ng pics masaya na ako!

    I have 450D so far im satisfied with it… compare sa other slr ng canon except the mark eos the 450 is way good… gusto ko yung night thingy nya (dont know the term) compare 450d to 40d, yung shot ng 450d mas maliwanag sa gabi.. basta medyo madilim yung place na onti lang yung lights pag labas sa 450d mas maliwanag ang scene.

    anyway im aiming to have the new slr ng canon mark II 5d… maganda sya but super ganda din ng price kasi naka hilera sya sa mark models

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