Formula for Success: More for less
Does it test like a pro?
As we said, the Canon EOS 10D is built more like a pro camera than either the D60 or D30. But does it perform like one? On nearly every level, the answer is yes! The AF system has been substantially improved by offering seven selectable focus zones, as well as much faster speed and greater sensitivity. In bright light levels around EV 12, focusing speeds were about the same as the D60, averaging 0.4 seconds. At EV 7, the 10D was already twice as fast as the D60 (and close to the Nikon D1X), turning in times of 0.4 seconds, compared to 0.85 seconds with the D60. At moderate to low light levels, from EV 6 to EV 3, the 10D clocked in at 0.4 to 0.55 seconds, much faster than the D60's AF speed of 0.9-1.85 seconds and actually a bit faster than the Canon EOS-1Ds and the Nikon D1X. At EV 2, the limit of the 10D's AF sensitivity, the camera took 0.95 seconds to focus, compared to the D60's 2.4 seconds. Not bad, but the EOS 1Ds, the Nikon D1X, the Sigma SD9, and the Fujifilm S2 Pro are all able to focus down to EV 1.
We didn't find much difference in captured resolution between the EOS 10D and the EOS D60, but that's really no surprise thanks to matching megapixel counts. On the other hand, most other image-quality parameters showed obvious advancement. Color accuracy tests of images captured in both sRGB and Adobe RGB (1998) produced surprisingly precise skin tones and realistic, saturated colors. (In fact, as we go to press, the EOS 10D holds the record for color accuracy in any camera, film or digital.)
When the camera is set to ISO 100-200, noise levels (which we've nicknamed digital grain) are very low, with very clean shadows and skin tones. Even at ISO 400, noise levels are lower than many digital cameras deliver at ISO 100, and at ISO 800, noise levels are still acceptable. No other DSLR we've tested holds up as well at ISO 800. At ISO 3200 (which requires setting a custom function), noise is unacceptable, but you still get a usable image.
Bursts get a boost
The camera's burst mode also performs as claimed, capturing nine images in just three seconds (in RAW or JPEG mode). What Canon fails to mention is that it now only takes 15 seconds to write the entire nine images to a CF card (very fast!). If you keep the shutter button depressed after the burst, the camera continues to capture one image per second until the CF card is full.
In playback mode, you can now zoom in up to 10X, more than enough to see if eyelashes are in focus. You can also review capture information, histograms and overexposure warnings, crop and trim images, and tag your favorites for printing on DPOF, EXIF 2.2, or Canon Direct compatible printers. A new button has been added to the left side of the LCD that lets you quickly change scrolling directions when zoomed in on an image, and thereÕs a slide-show mode that cycles all images continually.