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The New User's Guide to the EOS 10D

by Bob Atkins, 2003

From what I've gathered from reading various web forums, a significant number of people have gone out and plunked down their $1500 for a Canon EOS 10D without having much of a clue of what it is or what it does. It seems to be the first SLR a number of buyers have ever owned and is regarded as an "upgrade" from their P&S digicam.

Now they want to know how it works, what lens to use on it and why it doesn't wake them up with a fresh cup of coffee every morning. So here goes:

Read the Manual

Yes, a novel concept I'll admit, but most of what you want to know is in the manual. Yes, it's quite a big manual, yes it's got lots of pages, yes the print is small, but this is a fairly complex piece of opto-electronics. It's not a P&S. If you wanted a P&S you should probably have looked at something cheaper and simpler.

Once you've read the manual, read it again because you will have missed half of what's in there. Take it to bed as your bedtime reading. Make notes. Pretend you have a test tomorrow.

A Lens, a Lens, my Kingdom for a Lens

Unlike a P&S digicam, you actually have to buy a lens which fits the 10D before you can take a picture. I know you've just spent $1500, but this is no time to look for the cheapest lens you can find, especially if it's covered in dust, hidden on the bottom shelf of the dealer's counter and has something written on it which doesn't seem to be in English (assuming you are buying this in the US). Names like "optocon", "cambron", "cheapo" and such do not bode well. "Canon" on the other hand is a good sign.

So rule #1 is get a real lens. One made by Canon that doesn't have a plastic lensmount. They aren't that expensive and you are rich (or you wouldn't have been able to buy the 10D in the first place would you?). Which lens? Well how about the EF28-105/3.5-4.5 II USM. Note all the numbers and letters carefully. This is NOT the same lens at the EF28-105/4-5.6 USM - it doesn't have enough letters. This lens - EF28-105/3.5-4.5 II USM - will cost you around $225. Maybe a few dollars more or less, depending where you buy it. If you're offered one for $150, it's the wrong lens. The 28-105(/3.5-4.5 II USM) is a good lens. It has a ring USM motor (don't worry about what this is, you want it) and is optically quite good. On a 10D it will appear to be a 45-173mm zoom (why? read the manual, it's on page 27).

If you want a fast lens, break rule #1 and look at the 50/1.8 II. It has a plastic lensmount, but then nobody's perfect. Despite the low cost ($70) it's actually not bad optically and a couple of stops faster than the zoom. On the 10D it will appear to be an 80mm lens (manual - l page 27 again).

If you want something longer, look in your wallet. It it's full of $50 bills, look at the EF70-200/4L USM. A superb lens (112-320mm on a 10D). Cost should be around $600. If your wallet is full of $20 bills, look at the EF100-300/4.5-5.6 USM (160-480mm on a 10D). Cost around $275. If your wallet is full of $10 bills, the 75-300/4-5.6 III may be the lens for you at $150 or so.

It you want a really wide-angle lens, you're out of luck. A 20-35 35mm zoom becomes a 32-56 zoom on the 10D. If that's enough then the EF20-35/3.5-4.5 USM is a good choice at $375. For $450 you can get a 15-35/3.5-4.5 made by Sigma and that's equal to a 24-56 zoom on the 10D. Just make REALLY sure any Sigma lens you buy actually works on the EOS body you own. There's a long history of their older lenses not working on newer EOS bodies.


Not your memory or my memory, the camera's memory. Unlike yours and mine, it's removable and you can get it in different sizes. How big should you get? Well the 10D files are quite big (around 2.4 MB each for best quality), even bigger (up to 8MB) if you use RAW files. RAW files? - see manual page 47. So with a 128MB card you get 14 RAW shots. Not many. If you intend to shoot RAW, you need a bigger memory. 512 MB (56 shots) would probably be a minimum. If you intend to shoot high quality JPEGs 128MB may be enough (50 shots), but 256MB would be better (100 shots). What's a JPEG? - see manual page 160. What's an MB - a million bytes - and it will cost you about $0.50 for every one on your memory card.

Settings and Software

Some people expect printer perfect images straight out of the camera. I expect a 20% salary increase next year. We're both headed for disappointment. Despite what manufacturer's suggest, all serious photographers expect to have to adjust all their images before printing. That's why Canon give you PhotoShop Elements II with your 10D.

I've seen reports that 10D images aren't as sharp as they might be, or the saturation is low, or the contrast is wrong. Opinions differ and that's why the 10D let's you adjust all these settings (manual, p.56). However you have to make these adjustments BEFORE the shot is taken if you are shooting JPEG files. If you shoot RAW files you can make these adjustments later (Software manual page W.27 or M.25) when you transfer the files to your PC. You can't print RAW files, they have to be converted first, so you need a PC for this. If you don't have a PC then (a) You bought the wrong camera and (b) How are you reading this?

Even if you shoot RAW and make adjustments during conversion, you may still want to use PhotoShop Elements II to make final adjustments before printing. PhotoShop Elements II has a built in manual as a help file. If you think it's complex just be glad you don't have PhotoShop 7.0. Elements is like PhotoShop with one hand tied behind it's back and a missing leg. Less parts, less powerful but cheaper and somewhat less confusing. You may want to buy a book on how to use PhotoShop Elements. It's far from intuitive. In fact PhotoShop in general is so confusing that the bookstores are full of books on how to use it. Every time a new version appears a whole new section of shelving has to be built just to house the new books which try to explain how to use it.


Nothing seems to confuse Canon EOS owners more than how the flash works. Film based EOS bodies use TTL modes, A-TTL modes and E-TTL modes. 10D owners are lucky since TTL and A-TTL modes are not supported so they only have E-TTL left to confuse them. Note here that any Canon Flash (known as "Speedlites") that ends in the letters EZ (e.g. 540EZ) does not support E-TTL flash and so is effectively crippled when used on a 10D. Don't let your friendly local camera store sell you an EZ flash for your 10D. While it can be used in a fully manual mode, most people don't want to manually set aperture based on guide number (GN) and distance. Most people don't know what GN is anyway - and I don't believe it's defined in the manual either (though it is mentioned). E-TTL flash is smarter then the average user and does all the calculating for you. It's available via the built in flash and on any Canon Speedite ending in EX (e.g. 380EX).

Don't give up

Within a week or the 10D hitting the streets, I've seen used ones offered for sale by people who found it was "too much camera". I've no idea what they expected, but if they expected a P&S they could have saved themselves $1000 and a headache. The 10D is a professional tool (in the hands of a professional). In the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it, it's a liability. Take time to learn how to use it (....read the manual....) and you will be rewarded. Keep an eye on those shelves in the bookstore too. I would not be surprised to see "The Dummies guide to the EOS 10D" rear its ugly head (if it hasn't already). Just look for the yellow cover...

Oh, and I don't know why it doesn't wake you up with coffee in the morning. Maybe the EOS-3D will, but we'll have to wait and see about that.


Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Todd Wilson , April 06, 2003; 07:53 A.M.

Bob.....You are Allllright...this should be good reading for lots of those other forum visitors...but my 10D cant focus and the colors are all wrong ;-)

Jay Dougherty , April 06, 2003; 08:21 P.M.

What exactly is the point of the derisive, condescending tone of this article? To show other photographers that you can be a snob with the best of them? In that, you succeed. I'm quite sure, however, that snobbery and helpfulness do not mix.

I can't imagine anyone whom you purport to want to help with this article not being offended at being called, in essence, an idiot.

Laurie Young , April 06, 2003; 08:37 P.M.

Great article - if only more people would figure out what they are trying to do before they try and do it we wouldn't need articles like this. But then we wouldn't get to have a laugh reading it either ;-)

David Kieltyka , April 06, 2003; 08:48 P.M.

A quick check of the Canon SLR forum at dpreview.com bears out Bob's comments re. EOS 10D purchasers. A lot of these folks don't know from photography...they're just buying the latest hot gadget and are expecting to master it with a minimum of effort & knowledge. And are flaming the *product* when this notion is proved wrong. I don't think a bit of humor at their expense is out of line.

The 10D may represent both the beginning of the end of the digital craze among the gadget crowd and the kick off in earnest of the digital SLR era among more serious photographers who finally have a quality tool they can afford.


Jay Dougherty , April 06, 2003; 08:56 P.M.

>>I don't think a bit of humor at their expense is out of line.<<

I see no humour in derision. Any fool can belittle others. To be a cohort in "making fun of" those who may not know as much as you is despicable. What fun is that? It's pretty sick, if you ask me.

Jeff Graeber , April 06, 2003; 09:48 P.M.

Bob's article is not here to hold your hand, or start up another inane discussion about front focusing, hybrid white balance, firewire connections etc. crap ect. crap ect. He is telling new users, straight up and with no BS what they need to do and what to understand when they buy a camera.

i give nearly the exact same spiel when i sell a camera and never has a customer thought of me being rude. they appreciate my honesty and either a) buy the DSLR or b) buy a digicam because i just gave them something to think about they hadnt considered before.

Robert Turner , April 06, 2003; 09:53 P.M.

Hunter in the Everglades

Bob- I appreciate the work you have put into your "reviews" and such with respect to the 10D. A week ago I was happy with my D1, willing to hold on to my investment in Nikon glass until they (or Fuji) introduced an affordable model that represents a meaningful upgrade. For me Canon beat them to the punch with this camera. I spent the morning shooting in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida and the EOS-10D was a superb tool. I no longer miss my Nikon and I look forward to learn more about the Canon family of lenses.

I do think you may undermine the crediblity of your otherwise well-conceived reviews with class-warfare like generalizations and mockeries of those less acheived with their gear. I concede, I have not visited sites where these users you speak about are behaving so badly, but wouldn't that be a more appropriate place for such "ad hominems"?

Back to the good- Thanks for taking the time to contribute- look forward to reading more in the future.

Robert Turner

Bob Atkins , April 06, 2003; 11:12 P.M.

This isn't an attack on newbies, it's a reality check. I've been totally amazed by the lack of any understanding of what they've bought on the part of many 10D purchasers. When they ask questions it's clear that they've never read the manual. You know the old saying "RTFM", well, it applies - RTFM.

This article actually gives sound advice. Read it. It's said that the Lord helps those who help themselves. I also subscribe to that philosophy. If anyone want's their hand held, I'm available for private instruction at $100/hr and I promise to be nice!

The 10D isn't a beginner's camera any more than a Corevette is a beginner's car. That's something I think some people fail to realize. I've seen people say they don't like it and are thinking of selling it (after owning it for a week) because it's too heavy. Did they read the specs? Did they actually see one or hold one before forking out $1500? Is it heavier than the average pro SLR? Did they do any research before they bought it? Do I have a lot of sympathy? You're pretty much sure of a "no" response on all of the above.

The Dpreview forums are an eye opener. All sorts of claims are made against the camera. You'd think that 25% of them are faulty when you open the box. My guess is that 25% of the users are faulty and 99.9% of the cameras are working just fine. Maybe it should have been sold with seatbelts and airbags to prevent drivers injuring themselves...

David Kieltyka , April 06, 2003; 11:23 P.M.

Geez, Jay, thou dost protest too much. We're talking about an amused chuckle in the face of the human condition, not derision. There's nothing derisive about Bob's article or about being amused by it. Don't we all at times want the reward without doing the work?

Anyone willing to put in the effort to get past the 10D's initial learning curve will benefit from Bob's recommendations.


Jay Dougherty , April 07, 2003; 07:30 A.M.

As a teacher, I can tell you that the quickest way to lose your students is to direct sarcasm toward them.

As an editor, I can tell you that this piece doesn't work because its ostensible purpose goes in one direction while its author's attitude in another.

As writers, we all occasionally launch off on a piece in an unfortunate direction. It's an editor's job to recognise when to return an article politely and request a rewrite. If this author has a beef with some posts he sees on dpreview, I suggest he (1) stop reading dpreview, (2) take his anger out there, or (3) direct some positive energy their way and write a truly instructive article for beginning users of the 10D.

Andreas Carl , April 07, 2003; 11:05 A.M.

Jay, you are too rough on Bob - being a teacher of course explains your PC attitude that students have to be handled with gloves. Bob writes how he sees it, he says so in a humerous way and his advice is sound and valuable. What more do you want? I for one now seriously consider getting this camera, and you bet I will follow his advice and read the manual. Thanks Bob!!!

Bob Atkins , April 07, 2003; 02:50 P.M.

I'm not a teacher (at least not school teacher) and readers here aren't children (though from reading some of the forum posts you could be forgiven for thinking they were). At least I didn't call anyone a "dickless yuppie", which some long time readers of this website may recall was a favored phrase of our founding father...

RJ _ , April 07, 2003; 02:51 P.M.

Jay, Thank God for Jonathan Swift that you weren't his editor.

Bob, A wonderfully wry caution for those of us who are thinking of buying a digital SLR but who may not entirely grasp what we are getting ourselves into. Unless, of course, you're a dyed-in-the-wool Leica M3 groupie using this article as a Trojan Horse :)

Bob Atkins , April 07, 2003; 06:11 P.M.

There's a lot more cautions I didn't even touch on!

  • Decoding RAW files
  • Color matching screen view to print
  • Physically storing all these digital files
  • Databases so you can actually FIND a file
  • Backing up all your files
  • Which printer to buy
  • Which ink to buy
  • Why your prints fade
  • Why your stock agency still wants slides...
Buying the camera is easy. Figuring out how to drive it isn't all that hard. Using it properly is something you just have to learn. Figuring out what to do with all the data can be a real headache.

And then there's the lenses, the tripods, the ball heads and the camera bags, not to mention the shock of finding out your 10D is obsolete in 12 months when the next DSLR is released.

I'm not saying any of these things should stop anyone from taking the plunge into digital, I'm saying that a LOT of people don't seem to have much of a clue. I wouldn't expect the questions I'm seeing from new 10D owners to come from new EOS-1v owners, even though the camera cost is the same. EOS-1v owners probably have some background. Form what I sense, for many EOS-10D owners, this $1500 camera body is their first purchase of anything more than a P&S and they didn't do much research into the world of DSLRs before taking the plunge.

John Lund , April 07, 2003; 08:02 P.M.

For Prospective Digital SLR Buyers

A new user is likely to have already purchased memory and a lens before reading the manual, possibly having already made the mistake of buying mediocre glass and a low-capacity card. The more general points made in this article are useful even for those considering other digitals SLR models, including the D60, D30, and even the Nikon D100.

I've known photographers who missed key features because they didn't read the manual. (D60 owners: Did you know that you can change the ISO value almost instantly with two touches?) Even those who know the EOS system and hate manuals should at least skim the user guide. There are some gems in the table of custom functions.

New users should also consider buying a spare battery.

Benjamin Zollinger , April 07, 2003; 10:50 P.M.

Thanks again Bob for another good article. I personally found it helpful (I read my 10D manual twice in the first week!). In your last post of this discussion you mentioned some other topics and issues that are involved with the 10D. Can you elaborate on the differences/benefits of alternative RAW converters, the most effective/inexpensive color matching techniques, and some databases that are available for cataloging the 10D images?

Bob Atkins , April 07, 2003; 11:34 P.M.

Benjamin - I suggest you browse through the Digital Darkroom forum for "answers" to your questions. I quote "answers" because there are no single answers, just a range of opinions.

I haven't done enough work with the various RAW converer options, color balancing schemes or database image management systems to make meaningful recommendations or comparisions between available alternatives.

Darren Krakowski , April 08, 2003; 12:03 P.M.

Bob -

I enjoyed the write up and think those who feel it was rude are a bit too thin skinned. The only thing I would take exception to was a comment you made in a follow-up just a few lines above: "...not to mention the shock of finding out your 10D is obsolete in 12 months when the next DSLR is released." I don't think you really believe it will be obsolete, but just to bang my drum:

Obsolesence is in the mid of the user. Will USB, Compact Flash, Breeze Browser, PCs, and the EOS lens mount be around in 12 months? I'll go out on a limb and say yes. Will the camera still produce 6MP images of great quality for those that understand how to use it? Unless it has been dropped in a bucket of water, yes. Just because the latest WunderDigiBlad XL5000 has been announced does not "obsolete" a piece of equipment. What it does is change the perception of existing equipment in the eyes of people who need to have the latest and greatest (when there is a reasonable chance they never mastered their previous techno box).

Of course, this is coming from a guy who as part of his photographic "arsenal" shoots with a 50 year old TLR, A Konica SLR, old Pentax screw mount lenses, a couple homemade pin hole cameras, AND a digital SLR. Sometimes the joy of photography is in the technology. Sometimes it is in the simplicity. Always it is in producing an image.

pierre bize , April 08, 2003; 12:37 P.M.

Hey Bob! Thanks for your funny article, I do really appreciate a little bit of humorous critisism here in the middle of all these technical discussions. Let us not forget that photography is after all a matter of sensitivity and subjectivity, or is it not? I think that most of us should invest the time they spend reading the photo.net EOS forum in reading the excellent user guide for the 10D. About the famous lens question and the "el cheapo vs Canon L" issue, I might add my 2 cents.I think I have THE solution....For those who are totally broke after investing in the 10D and nevertheless looking for quality optics, here's my advise: Take the lens mount cap of your camera, drill a small round hole in the middle of it and use it as a pinpoint camera. This will give a pretty wide angle (about 28-30mm coverage) no distortion and infinite depth of field....all that for free. Just joking!!!

Bob Atkins , April 08, 2003; 03:14 P.M.

Well, in 12 months time the 10D will be no more obsolete than the D30 and D60 are today - and people seem to be dumping them as fast as they can!

Of course it's all a matter of perception and marketing. The D60 images are just as good today at $1000 as they were 3 months ago at $2200, your $700 D30 images are just as good as the $3000 images it took two years ago and your 10D images will be just as good at $750 in 12 months time as they are at $1500 today. Old timers are used to this. Newbies may be in for a surprise.

If you want a camera that doesn't depreciate, try an EOS 630, or better still and AE-1. You can bet your bottom dollar you'll lose a heap of cash if you want to sell your 10D after the next model is announced - and in fact you did bet 1500 of your bottom dollars...

If you want to be at the cutting edge of any new technology, you're going to have to pay for that position.

Nigel Pond , April 08, 2003; 03:34 P.M.

Great article -- should be required reading for all new purchasers of a 10D, especially those for whom this will be their first DSLR.

Andrew Grant , April 08, 2003; 04:25 P.M.

I am not dumping my D30. At $750, I would rather just keep it as a backup if/when I buy the 10D. This would of course also allow me to sell the 10D just before its replacement arrives.

BTW, If you shoot a lot of photos the cost of a DSLR is fairly easy to justify, film & processing is expensive and scanning is tedious. Having a DSLR will probably increase the number of photos shot which should hopefully result in more good ones. Being able to shoot a large number of images is particularly useful when photographing people or anything that moves.

Landrum Kelly , April 09, 2003; 11:36 P.M.

I'm a professor and I think that this article achieved its purpose: education, not derision. Way to go, Bob.

Bob Atkins , April 10, 2003; 06:48 P.M.

I'm not quite sure what you'd do with a "backup" D30 except leave it sitting on the shelf just in case the 10D breaks. With film bodies I kept B&W in one, Velvia in another and Provia 400 in a third. Since the 10D can be set to any ISO you want the need for a 2nd body is pretty much eliminated. I can't think of any reason I'd reach for a D30 if I had a 10D available. If the 10D broke, I guess I'd shoot film for a while!

BTW I currently have a "backup" D30 and I'm trying to decide just what to do with it!

V S , April 10, 2003; 11:20 P.M.

I am P&S "upgrader". It took me about a week to get used to 10D. I am mean very basic. I have a few advices for people like me. Less snobish advices: not every one is a "Pro".

1) Hold your camera VERY STILL. Hold your breath before shoot.It is like a gun. :-) Not a pistol like P&S ( my "lady's" PS 100 :-)

2) If shater speed is not fast ( less then 1/500 ) then do not expect moving subject to be "in focus". Try to find a moment it is still and SHOOT. Do it several times. It is like a gun:-) Always shoot 2-3 times to make sure you "got it". Pro's do 12-24 or more ;-) ( I been told) Then you will find some images are in focus :-)

3) Pay atantion to HALF-CLICK. It will lock focus in most modes and if subeject or you is moving .... It will be in BLURE.

4) 7 point AF is tricky. Make sure it is REALY "bling red" on your subject. Better yet if 2 points will do it on the same subject.

5) And last one : do not listen to the crap pro say about lenses : I do not think you will fine ANY new CANON lens to be "bad". Plastic mount or not. Look on range - most importnat, that what you will realy see:-) and F number : smaler the better if you can aford: will give you flexabilty and faster shater speed in dark. You may want to have wide angle becouse of 1.6 crop of 10D. Anyway, if you got $ buy whatever you think is cool. "L" lenses should be nice and tough and pro, but I got my first lense "by mistake" as the only one in stock ( returned it alredy) It is CANON EF 28-80 F3.5-5.6 II ( plastic no USM ) and when I "did it right" images WERE AMAZING. I bet it will be better then anything you did with your P&S :-) Silk Smoothhhhh and so cool.

I bought a CANON EF 28-135 F3.5-5.6 IS USM : will publish comparison soon. But the main reason is "IS" : stabilizer I badly need as a P&S guy as well as biger zoom ( for birds and sqirels ;-) Do not knwo yet how efective it will be.

Again : I do not think that you can be wrong with ANY new CANON lens. That is my opinen as "non-pro". Show me images and prove me wrong if you like :-)

6) Price : despite what people say, you may have a basic sysetm for very cheap: 1500$ for body. 200$ lense ( recomendation from this nice artical" and 100$ for 512Mb card. 1800$ !!!! and you are in busness ( I asume every one have computer and priner today). If not, get Canon for 200$ and print directly from camera ( kiding , not a good idea, you would like to edit images in Photoshop, at least to ajust levels: exposre is not always right)

7) Tip ( my 5 cents) : wide lenses are expensive ..... and may add distortion. But , hey ! Shoot PANORAMA and merge images with s/w Canon provide. You will be amazed once you masterd to take a right shoots. you will get a bigger ( more Megapixels) and much wider images :-) So you 28mm will do for 80% of cases :-)

8) and most importnat .... 10D is very nice camera. But what matter is not how good and expensive your lense are, despite what some people may think , but what and how you shoot and how you enjoy in prosses. That is what I think :-)

Good luck and happy shooting ! And thank for all nice guys on photo.net forum : they helped to shape my way :-)

Clarence Butts , April 11, 2003; 10:33 A.M.

Well, I'm one of those knuckleheads who jumped into a 10D with no prior SLR experience. The learning curve is not just steep but very steep (photography in general, and SLR operations). However, the learning curve is not insurmountable. I'm having a blast learning photography from scratch with it. Certainly, the advice of reading the RTFM is good advice for the first time DSLR user; however, I would add a couple pointers.

1. Read the manual first.

2. Get NK Guys article on flash photography---you will learn more about the functionality of your 10D than the manual or your local camera shop salesman can possibility have the time to show you.

3. Then read the manual again but this time go into each mode, and actually program each possible combination of functions offered to you in Program mode, for example. I sat in a restaurant, at window table and pointed the camera outside, programmed each function and took a shoot, viewed it and erase it. You’ll be amazed at how much more confidence you’ll have with it after two readings.

4. Start shooting.

5. Welcome and enjoy the challenge.

Mihai Constantineanu , April 15, 2003; 05:06 A.M.

Snobbish or not, along with the other people's reviews over the so much appreciated Canon 10D, I've eventually decided not to go for it, in spite of my big need for a higher resolution and reliable camera and the many Canon accessories I have at home, including Canon's top range flash 550EX. I have recently seen some shots taken inside with a D100 or whatever the name of its predecessor is, taken by a pro, and I can say that unavoidable yellow is anything but what one would have expected. How much cand 10D be above? Overall, my perception is that 10D is a great camera for outdoor shots in normal or good light conditions, but it's troublesome for indoor photos. I am aware that settings for indoor would make the difference but sometimes the time you need for adjustments would just ruin "that" moment making the difference between a great picture and the big rest of the stuff.

Leszek Scholz , April 16, 2003; 01:54 A.M.

Same old story again. People read something (not under the threat of torture, I assume) and then complain that the tone of the article is not polite enough (?), that the article is "derisive and condescending", that it is "the quickest way to lose your students".

Wait a minute ! Bob is under no obligation to educate anyone. He is under no obligation to write anything at all. You can read it if you like, or click the "Back" button if you don't. Read the manual, look for the information, educate yourself. As far as the article is concerned - I liked it just fine. Which is the case every time someone more experienced than myself tells me what kind of animal is some new machine/device/camera/etc. And if the gist of the article is that this particular camera is more than most people will ever learn to use properly - this is a long way from calling anyone an idiot. At least one may consider himself forewarned, which is of no small value considering $1500 to shell out in order to become a happy owner. When reading anything on the Net, I am grateful for THE INFORMATION, and my sense of humour is well enough developed to have a laugh when reading something like the subject article. Also, I do not suffer from inferiority complex, which makes for comfortable reading without getting into semantic analysis of the text in order to unearth something that is not there. Enough said.

Vinh Trinh Quang , April 17, 2003; 03:06 A.M.

Hey Bob,

Thank you very much for your writing. I like it a lot (plus members comments here). I am actually learn from it. I have just order the 10D and have to pay additional 500 USD for shipping and custom but I am happy that finnaly I got what I wanted. I just took some photo and quality are very good.

Trinh Quang Vinh (Vietnam)

K Shearon , April 17, 2003; 11:24 P.M.

I enjoyed the humor in this article Bob. Thank you. Could you do an article on the Suzuki GSXR-750. This motorcyle and other high priced, high performance machines suffer from the same sort of user interface issues as those with the 10D. :-)

Matt Snider , April 19, 2003; 12:45 A.M.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, Bob. However, when someone is hypercritical about something, I always wonder why. The 'why' of most situations usually involves money, time, prestige, influence, power, control and vested interest. You've got me wondering what your 'why' is, Bob.

The 10D is one of the best cameras I've ever used, bar none. Just because I've bought one doesn't mean Fuji and Kodak should start worrying, at least as far as I'm concerned, because I'll keep my A2E and continuing buying and shooting film for a long time to come. In fact, as soon as my Mamiya 645 shows up, I'll be buying more film.

Cameras, lenses, film and computers are the photographer's brushes, paints, canvases and frames and the true artist learns to wield them with disciple and passion, crafting art from light and form. There are a panoply of tools at the photographer's disposal these days and the wise learn the advantages of each and uses them appropriately as each situation dictates.

I do not buy camera equipment for its resale value any more than a sculptor would consider selling his/her precious chisels. My purchases are investments in my tool belt, my ability to create art. In a more pedestrian vein, they are the cost of doing business. Like an auto mechanic who buys both Snap-On and Craftsman tools, I buy what is available that helps me do my job.

The negativity of your article is unbecoming and doesn't do justice to the camera, its designers, the company or the additional versatility it gives its owner. I think in the future, you might want to keep your review to the facts and offer less opinion.

Bob Atkins , April 19, 2003; 12:50 A.M.

The tone of my article is due to me being old, cynical and sarcastic by nature. Character flaws which, taken all around, make me someone you probably wouldn't want to spend time with.

You're just lucky I don't tell you what I really think in these articles...

Albert Reingewirtz , April 20, 2003; 11:29 A.M.

Great article! Great sense of humor! Those who hate it see themselves pictured in the fine details of a Canon 200mm 1.8.

Long live eBay! I am going to sell my D-60 and buy a 10D. I have to because (my excuse) focusing on a bird in flight is problematic but wasn?t in my EOS 3.

Thanks for a really great article.

Andy Sissons , April 30, 2003; 08:41 A.M.

Bob, you're funny! I like your style. People have always rushed out to buy the latest "thing" find out that its not as easy as it looks and then upgrade to the next latest thing. They are the ones that keep the economy going. Same is true of computers, 75% of computer owners probably don't do much more than surf the net and type a few letters, my old 286 did that back in the early 90's, but would I swap my sparkly new G4 for it -NOPE! My 10D only takes pictures the same as my 1000F and EOS 3 - it just does it with a few more admiring (?) glances - and I like that! Oh, I also like the camera. I just wish the manual was written in the style of Atkins!

Robert Fritz , May 02, 2003; 02:27 P.M.

Rude? no. Sacastic? no. Truth. yes. Me? I'm a retired engineer who also was a teacher for seven years. I've won a couple of prizes for my underwater photography and published a couple of "dry" shots, too. I mention that just to place a perspective on my "take" as to the accurateness/offensiveness of the review.

The bottom line here is that after reading Norman Koren's review (a great one), DPReview (definitive) and a couple of others, I finally decided to buy a 10D because this review had me laugh out loud by telling the BALD truth: most people don't ask the right questions, do the research, or examine their goals before making a decision and then blame the product. All that this review did was point that out. If that offends you then go to another webpage that will requote the Canon sales pitch and/or bury you in techno-speak. Me? I understand most of the techno-speak, believe none of the sales pitch and have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do in photography.

Illigitimus non carborundum

Bob Fritz

Julian S. Gonzalez R. , May 06, 2003; 07:43 P.M.


I think that the beauty of photography with a DSLR is, really, the steep learning curve. That is, DSLR photography is a new, fast way to learn photography in general. I am speaking of the principles of light and how humans have come to make it interact inside a camera and to reproduce images of the world in order to share them with other beings. If you can take several shots of the same subject with a DSLR, using different settings and making a record of them, you can learn faster and this process of learning will result in a lower expense of money than if you do the same with traditional (analog?) photography.

I have learned the little I know by myself, reading posts on this site, some books I have purchased, and Philip Greenspun's articles. It has taken me some time, not to say money, developing my rolls, making parallel recordings of the different settings used and comparing them. Now, if I had done the same with a digital system (DSLR camera, computer interface and image manipulating software), I could have gone through this process in a tenth of this time. For one thing, in your computer monitor you can see the image in a larger format, even "highlight" the features you want to zero in on (for example, depth of field/aperture relationship, perspective/focal length relationship, etc). For another, sending unusable images to the recycle bin in your PC does not create the same feeling of throwing away your money that throwing away your money in the form of unusable photos does.

In a sense, viewing Bob's article as being targeted to the audience that I think should be the main market of a DSLR system such as the 10D, it will save many people much trouble. I think of this audience as people who are serious enough about learning photography and who have internalized the steps of the learning process, to make the investment. Of course, pros will greatly profit from a 10D, and they probably won't benefit that much from reading this article, as they already know this stuff.

Piers Hendrie , May 08, 2003; 02:47 P.M.

Excellent article. I'm with you 100%. My 10D hasn't come in yet, naturally I mail-ordered it from cheap-shafters.com without ever having touched it or laid eyes upon it :) Actually, I have ordered it from Precision Camera here in Austin, after they were very helpful and had a demo model to play with, there's just a waiting list. I want to read the manual now! (perhaps it's online somewhere?)

Piers! Mountain Biking Pictures and Maps: www.xenopuselectronix.com

Norman Koren , May 08, 2003; 04:43 P.M.

Piers, Yes, the 10D manual is available online. Click on http://www.powershot.com/ciw/ppg/EOS10D.html. --Norman Koren

Zap Trax , May 08, 2003; 10:29 P.M.

Shooting a subject with dark skin against a light background can be tricky

Wow! Jay must have read a different review than I read.

Now, back to photography. I enjoyed the review. I think I'm one of the first owners of a 10D in Los Angeles (took delivery on March 15) and have taken a bunch of great shots with it. That said, I think it may have a bit of a focus problem and will bring it in to Canon to confirm that.

If I have one piece of advice to give anyone new to digital photography it would be: "The histogram is your best friend". To take great digital pictures you need to learn to read the histogram and to adjust exposure to produce the best histogram. You cannot judge very much about exposure by looking at the image on the LCD other than it showing you the "clipped" areas of the shot. Once you learn how to read a histogram you will know exactly how much you need to adjust exposure. I've set my camera to give me a review with info. I can then check the histogram after every new location or shot set up so that I can get the correct exposure every time.

The logic to this is straight forward, digital sensors have a tendency to "clip" the highlights (similar to the way transparency film blows out highlights) but they retain amazing detail even in the darkest parts of the image. Once the details in your highlights are gone no amount of wrestling with curves in Photoshop is going to bring them back. If you catch the problem at the time of exposure you can stop down enough to hold the details in the highlights and take another shot.

Philip Bonner , May 14, 2003; 12:01 A.M.

The nearly unanaimous rave reviews of the 10D finally "tipped" me into going digital. I told my wife I would ebay my reliable, 12 year old EOS 630 to defray the cost of the 10D, plus, the new EF 17-44mm f/4L and 1 GB CF card for the 10D. And I dutifully signed up on ebay and got a paypal account.

However, while awaiting delivery of the 10D, I tried the new EF 17-40mm on the old EOS 630 and WOW! I think I should still keep one leg in the film side of things if only to experience the wide side of things that the 10D's 1.6 won't provide.

Besides, the 630 has been a great camera and I loathed the thought of letting it go.

Can always find a new wife!

Zap Trax , May 14, 2003; 09:05 A.M.

Given that an EOS 630 is only worth about $99 you'd better hang on to your wife.

Clanbuster Studio , May 16, 2003; 07:07 A.M.

7 Point sometime doesnt gave what i want

After reading many comment abt 10D. Sound so great and perfect. Never hear of bad thing to 10D and that me. Maybe i the first one to say something bad. Just kidding. But some function on 10D doesn't work well on this: The 7 Point AF doesn't work well when i went for shooting on wild bird the natural park. The AF keep focus the wrong point. Specially when i aim something at the center, 7 point will aim at left or right instead of center unless i keep on press half shutter button for refocus the point. OF course, it focus to left/right because could be leaves/ other nearer object. Sometime, i got really no time to let sure good scene let it go like that.

Back to square one. Lucky 10D get set to one point focus (AF)By the way it can set left right top below etc etc. Everything seen ok and the focus go super (very fast) Does anyone don't aim at center? Just joking. Maybe the 7 point AF for group of people stand infront of the camera or landscape and other purpose. <-- conclusion what i mean is 7 AF CANNOT use if u want super fast focus point at center and some closer object at surround instead at center point.

Compare with new semi-pro Nikon 5700. Forget what i said on top. U should know who is the best. I used my dad 5700 result of 5700 is good compare to my Aim and shoot digital and old fujifirm 4900. I should give 4/5 stars. I rate my 10D 4.9999/5 stars. <-- Nothing is perfect. And i rate it best DSLR camera for years 2002/03 ( anyhthing new version launch after my post day will not count) BEST BUY! Won't regret it.

Here is one of my sample below. The AF don't focus at center. This made me miss alot of photos bcos the birds already fly away after the right AF point.

Zap Trax , May 20, 2003; 09:00 A.M.

The most effective way to focus the 10D or any similar SLR is to use the center focusing point. The way to get the worst results is by selecting all seven focus points and letting the camera decide where to focus. The camera may or may not focus on what you think needs to be sharpest. Also, the center focusing point is the most sensitive in low light and will focus well on horizonal as well as vertical lines.

Once you get the hang of how things work, then you can begin to select the focus point based on your composition. Even then, the center point will be the best one to use in low light.

Eric Williams , June 03, 2003; 09:13 P.M.

Several times in my life I've made some major purchases. Usually I research what I'm buying so I don't spend a lot of money on the wrong thing, and, thankfully, that hasn't happened yet. Most of the time I pretty much get what I expected. But a few times what I've bought turned out to be different from what I thought. Not wrong, just different. And when this happens my life changes -- new perspectives and pursuits open up. My Mazda RX-7 GXL was one such purchase, my Stoner SR-25 another, and the Canon 10D was the most recent. Yes, I came from a point-and-shoot perspective, and I thought I knew what I was getting into with DSLRs, but the 10D was such a new experience, both in the process and the results, that I was not prepared for the difference. Since then the learning curve has felt like it went straight up, I'm climbing as fast as I can.

I've read a lot of comments by people bemoaning how the unwashed masses are buying up 10Ds and getting more camera than they wanted or were capable of handling. I just thought I'd remind you that there's an upside to this situation. A lot of people like me are falling into water over their head and finding out they can swim quite well, thank you, given a bit of help and practice. We don't need a life preserver, we're not getting out of the pool, and we think the water's just fine. And lots of people unexpectedly finding a deeper understanding and joy of photography can't be a bad thing.

Jeff Graeber , June 19, 2003; 01:29 P.M.

70-200 2.8 IS

at first i didnt see a focus problem, then it devloped one. yep, camera went out of calibration.

exchanged for a new camera a week ago and had back focusing. was ready to rip some heads off i tell ya! bought a brand new 70-200 2.8 IS at that same time which was odd i'd see it with brand new items.

anyway this weekend i decided to give it one more try, only this time i did not use the 'use center focus point and recompose'. every shot i framed in the viewfinder and picked the appropriate focus point.

everything except that shot at 70-105mm on the lens is tack sharp.

Brian Kennedy , November 19, 2003; 12:00 P.M.

Bob, I just came across this article -- terrific. Someone finally giving the "straight dope" to new users. If I were new to DSLRs, this is exactly the type of article I would need.

Richard Crowe , March 21, 2004; 08:49 P.M.

I thought your article, while tongue in cheek, was eye-opening to many folks. I am a retired professional photographer, always use the latest equipment and am a previous digital P&S owner.

When I retired I left the area of large and medium format and used my 35mm SLR's for pleasure. I always used the latest technology and shot up until now with the most modern equipment, Canon A-1 and Canon AE-1P bodies as well as a battery of lenses. I was a digital P&S user because until the 10D came along, I had not found a quality digital SLR that was not astronomically priced! I can't afford several thousand dollars for a camera with which I am not making money. However I needed the immediacy of digital since I raise dogs and am always asked for by customers to email them recent pics of my new puppies.

Yes, even with a strong background in film photography there is a steep learning curve with the EOS 10D. I imagine how difficult it would be if I were trying to learn photography at the same time as learning to use my new 10D. My suggestion to those folks is to buy a used decent digital P&S on eBay. Something that will be cheap, but will provide reasonable quality along with some options for camera control. A camera such as the Olympus 2020 is ideal!

One can cut one's digital teeth using this camera and when it is time to graduate to the 10d or a successor to the 10D there won't be a financial loss equivalent to the price of my first new car.

I am giving up my A-1 and AE-1P and will be replacing them with the 10d for all of my fun photography in the future. I will however keep my 2020 for the times I don't want to put my 10D in jeopardy - saltwather fishing, shooting in the rain and dust and other such times.

I will fault you for one point in your article. I'd love to have 2 bodies. Not to use 2 different types of film, but to use with two different lenses - say a wide angle and a long telephoto. I am just used to having two bodies slung over my chest and not having to go through the switching lenses drill during shoting.

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