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The following section is organized by the variety of photographic scenarios LANDSCAPE, MACRO, NIGHT, PORTRAIT and SPORT shots.
The Canon EOS 450D provides pretty much everything you need for outdoor photography. Canon’s lens portfolio offers a huge number of "landscape"/"nature"-related lenses through the all price ranges and leaves nothing to be desired (if you select your lenses carefully).
The DOF-button of the camera is placed in an ideal position on the left bottom close to the lens mount - it's a useful feature although the viewfinder is not as good as desirable for this purpose. Spectacle wearers will have still problems to see all four corners through the viewfinder. The small and light-weight Canon EOS 450D is a great companion for long outdoor trips as the whole DSLR including the kit lens, a battery, a SD card and the neck strap weighs only 801 gram. In addition the battery manages about 430 shots with incidental use of the build-in flash and the live-view mode. This is pretty useful in regions without power supply.
The “EOS Integrated-Cleaning-System” operates faultlessly - there was not a single dust grain on more than 1000 shots taken during the Photozone outdoor test in Venezuela even though the lens was exchanged several times in wet and dusty environments. Although the Canon EOS 450D has a lack of a body sealing it is suitable for fairly difficult outdoor missions.
The Canon EOS 450D features a live-view mode which is a very useful utility for macro photography as the object can be enlarged up to 10 times for accurate manual focusing. The Canon live-view mode works fine but the handling is a little bit complicated as the *-button has to be pressed for focusing instead of the shutter release button. Other cameras such as the Panasonic DMC-L10 manage to provide a better handling here. An articulated display is also missing.
However, the camera is still capable to produces great macro results in combination with one of the good macro lenses and a ring-flash unit.
The Canon EOS 450D offers bulb exposure but unfortunately the exposure button has to be pressed during the whole exposure - alternatively you can use a remote control. The camera offers continuous shooting up to 10 frames in self-timer mode. It is an interesting idea for interval photography (e.g. for sunsets) but the usefulness is limited because you cannot define a timeout between the different shots.
The camera is capable to produce very good hand-held results up to ISO 800. ISO 1600 is a borderline thing if you need high quality results. This is a non-issue when shooting from a tripod (and low ISO) naturally. The AF performs surprisingly well in low-light situations so this is no show-stopper here.
Canon has a big lens portfolio with image-stabilizers and doesn’t follow the latest trend for camera-based solutions (probably also for "political" reasons). Even the new 18-55mm kit lens has an image-stabilizer and this shows that Canon will keep on going this way despite the higher total system costs. The Canon IS works surprisingly well and it's slightly superior compared to e.g. the Sony Alpha's Super Steady Shot (in-camera).
In principal the Canon EOS 450D provides everything needed for portrait photography. In combination with one of the excellent fixed focal length lenses and flash units it is suitable for high-quality portraits. However, as an APS-C DSLR is "looses" about one stop in terms of depth-of-field so e.g. a 85mm f/1.8 degenerates to a "136mm f/2.4" which is less than ideal in this specific context. The small and relatively dark viewfinder may be a limiting factor at times because depth-of-field preview is hard(er) to interpret. The min. X-sync of 1/200sec is generally fine for the typical focal lengths used for portrait photography (~50-135mm). High-speed sync. is also available (at cost of lighting potential) with external flash units. The optional Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 provides remote flash capabilities for balanced lighting using multiple flash units.
The Canon EOS 450D is one of the fastest DSLR in this price range as it can perform continuous up to 3.5 pictures per second when shooting in JPEG-Mode. In RAW-mode the number of frames decreases after the first seven images (Sandisk Extreme III, 8GB) but continuous shooting remains possible. Mid to high-end DSLR models tend to offer faster frame-rates here.
The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000s and the X-Sync Speed is 1/200s which is about average for this kind of application. The AF of the Canon EOS 450D is fast and accurate but does not provide an AF sensor handover for tracking. That's no show-stopper but it's room for improvement here. In combination with one of the great Canon telephoto lenses the camera is very capable camera for the sports photography nonetheless.