Sunday, May 11, 2014

Body Shopping Part 1

The Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi) is one of the most sold DSLR cameras ever made.
In today's marketing, this series of cameras is considered "entry-level". However, there still is life in some of them, in particular since they are marketed as entry level and wont be exposed to pro-level (ab)use.

Got a second hand EOS 400D body for just €99.- from a photo-store next town. On first inspection, there were very few small signs of wear and tear. The coating of the lower camera grip was worn off a bit, which happens really quickly, as my experience with my own trusty EOS 350D has shown. Some paint was worn from the hot-shoe too.

But, the all important question: "How much life is still left in the camera?"
Or, in other word: "How many shutter cycles has this camera already done?"
Well, this is not easy to find out, but more to this later!
The actual shutter actuation count, when I finally found out how to display it, was just 2414. And this number includes the tests I did myself.

I expected a low count, however, not that low. As stated above, the camera has some minor signs of usage. The best clue came with the settings. When I switched the camera on, in the store actually, everything in the settings was factory default, even the mode dial was on the green box (fully automatic).

The camera itself is nothing particularly special in today's terms. However, I personally always liked my EOS 350D for its simplicity of just being an SLR, which happen to have an electronic image sensor. The EOS 400D is exactly the same, in a way.

One of the reasons for me to decide for the 400D was, that it comes in the same basic body as the 350D, allowing to use not only the 350D's batteries, but also the battery-grip.

The other main reason was the firmware improvements done in the 400D, allowing for better tethering. With the 350D tethering in Lightroom was really quirky and failed more often than it actually worked. In contrast thereto, the 400D is a solid and stable performer of said task.

Now, how to obtain the shutter cycle count of the EOS 400D?
There is no shutter count data in the RAW-file's EXIF metadata.
But, there is a firmware hack!
Have a look here: https://code.google.com/p/400plus/
The hack went smoothly w/o any problems at all. If you want to try for yourself, read everything, in particular the warnings, before you start!

Benefits of the 400plus hack are among others: scripting of the camera, advanced bracketing, auto ISO and custom modes!

Here's a tip for you, when you want a cheap and cheerful 10Mpixel DSLR, get a used EOS 400D body, in particular if you own some old Canon lenses anyway!

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