For photographers who demand the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and the comfort and features of a traditional SLR camera body, switching to a digital camera is a very expensive proposition. But with the new EOS 10D, Canon finally brings the digital SLR down to an affordable level (£1,499 may seem like a high price, but the camera can be found for £1,249 through resellers).
The 10D replaces Canon's previous 6-megapixel SLR, the EOS D60 (reviewed October 2002). The 10D retains the D60's CMOS sensor, but just about everything else on the 10D is different: its body is curvier and much more solid - quite an accomplishment, given the sturdiness of the D60. Canon has also tweaked the functions of some controls and adjusted the control layout. If you're used to the D60, some of the changes will take getting accustomed to, but the 10D continues Canon's legacy of excellent, intuitive control layouts.
Along with these improvements, Canon has added its DIGIC image-processing chip to the 10D. The DIGIC chip delivers improved colour quality and lower noise, and it uses less power than Canon's previous processors.
Other new features include white-balance bracketing (although the 10D lacks the white-balance fine-tuning features found on Nikon's competing D100), a maximum ISO of 3,200, and a choice of colour spaces. And the 10D promises to automatically rotate your images to the correct orientation (depending on whether you shot the photograph in portrait or landscape mode); however, this feature doesn't work on the Mac.
The most significant change is Canon's entirely new autofocus system, which vastly outperforms the one used with the D60. Offering excellent speed and the ability to focus in almost total darkness, the 10D's autofocus system is a strength while the D60's was its biggest weakness.
When it comes to image quality, the 6.3-megapixel EOS 10D delivers exceptional results with beautiful colour fidelity and astonishingly low noise, even with pictures taken at an ISO as high as 800.
Canon's EOS 10D is simply a great digital SLR - an improvement on its classy predecessor. Its well-balanced mix of features, comfort, image quality, and reasonable price should appease even the most finicky film stalwart.