The EOS 1500D is one of two entry-level DLSR cameras announced by Canon on 26 February to replace the EOS 1300D. Designed for novice users who want better image quality than their smartphones can provide, the EOS 1500D and its cheaper, lower-featured sibling, the EOS 3000D come with Wi-Fi, Full HD 1080p video up to 30 fps and continuous shooting at up to three frames/second. Both models include 9-point autofocusing and Canon’s Scene Intelligent Auto mode for simple point-and-shoot photography.
Angled view of the new EOS 1500D with the 18-55mm kit lens fitted and the pop-up flash raised. (Source: Canon.)
The EOS 1500D represents a relatively minor upgrade to the EOS 1300D, distinguished from its predecessor mainly by the higher-resolution CMOS sensor, which is the same chip as used in the majority of Canon’s current entry- and mid-level DSLR cameras. The DIGIC 4+ processor is unchanged and the 1500D also sticks with the older CR2.RAW file format; not the CR3.RAW format introduced with the EOS M50, which was announced at the same time.
The EOS 3000D slots in below the 1500D, retaining the 1300D’s 18-megapixel sensor but losing a number of what many would consider critical features. It has a smaller monitor screen, no separate on/off switch, no speaker and no dioptre adjustments for the viewfinder.
Its lens mounting is plastic, rather than metal and the built-in flash must be pulled up, rather than popping up via a spring-loaded switch. Canon says it’s built and configured for DSLR ‘first timers’. The table below shows key features of the three cameras.
|EOS 1500D||EOS 3000D||EOS 1300D|
|Sensor||24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS||
18-megapixel APS-C CMOS
100-6400 (expandable to 12800)
Full HD 1080p video up to 30fps
|Monitor||3-inch TFT with 920,000 dots||2.7-inch TFT with 920,000 dots||3-inch TFT with 920,000 dots|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi plus NFC connectivity||Wi-Fi only||Wi-Fi plus NFC connectivity|
Scene Intelligent Auto mode, Creative filters
LP-E10 / 500 with OVF
|Dimensions||129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6 mm||129.0 x 101.6 x 77.1 mm||129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6 mm|
|Weight (with battery & card)||475 grams||436 grams||485 grams|
|Price in Canon Store||AU$729.00||AU$629||AU$499|
|Average street price||AU$644 $649.95||n.a.||AU$499.95|
Interestingly, when this review was written none of the local re-sellers had the EOS 3000D listed on their websites and Canon’s online store showed it to be out of stock. The cheapest online prices for the EOS 1500D ranged between AU$640 and $650. (US MSRP = $549.99 for the kit = AU$714.90)
Photo enthusiasts looking for innovative new products will have to wait until Photokina in September because the EOS 1500D offers nothing really new. Even its sensor has already been used in six previous DSLRs and five mirrorless cameras from Canon.
Who’s it For?
It’s clear Canon is marketing its latest EOS cameras purely on price, prompted by 19% growth in this sector during 2017. By pricing the 1500D at roughly half the cost of the EOS M5/M50 cameras, it is aiming to attract cash-strapped buyers in a marketplace that has seen consumers keeping a tight hold on their cash.
However, compared with either mirrorless camera, the 1500D falls short. Physically, it’s bulkier and the monitor is non-adjustable. Its resolution it is low for a modern camera and it lacks touch-screen capabilities, which many novice users appreciate.
The 9-point AF system means autofocusing can struggle in dim lighting and with low-contrast subjects. This is particularly obvious when shooting in live view mode. Face recognition capabilities are relatively poor and the camera’s video capabilities are limited. It can also be problematic shooting video with a monitor screen.
The EOS 3000D is even less attractive, having been stripped back to a ‘bare bones’ model. Price alone will be the incentive to consider this camera.
Build and Ergonomics
Physically, nothing much has changed since the EOS 1300D. Ten grams has been stripped from the carbon-fibre reinforced polycarbonate body but the control layout is unchanged.
Front, top and rear views of the EOS 1500D. (Source: Canon.)
Like its predecessor, the EOS 1500D is being sold in kit format, bundled with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III lens, which we reviewed with the EOS 1200D in March 2011. This lens isn’t stabilised but our tests on the 1200D showed it provided decent performance for its price tag.
There’s nothing really new or exciting in the EOS 1500D. Canon appears to have assembled the camera from existing components and popped a new badge on it.
However, the camera has been included in a new Canon Camera Assist Program, which has been developed in Australia and provides video guides to the camera’s controls, ‘advanced’ tips and techniques and instructions on connecting the camera to a smartphone.
The interface for the 1500D in the Canon Camera Assist Program.
The ‘Explore Workshops’ tag appears to be a marketing exercise for the Canon Collective page, which contains links to workshops and other events organised by Canon for its customers. Kudos to Canon for this initiative, which should provide useful resources for those who care to use it.
We covered the 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized sensor with fixed optical low-pass filter in our review of the EOS 77D, although in that camera it is paired with a more powerful DIGIC 7 image processor. The DIGIC 4+ chip has been around since 2014 and was targeted mainly at small-sensor digicams designed primarily for point-and-shoot photography.
The speed of this processor has limited the camera’s capabilities to a maximum burst speed of three frames/second and Full HD (1080p) video at a maximum of 30 fps. The native sensitivity range runs from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with expansion available to 12800.
Integrated Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity allow users to interface the camera with their smartphone via the Canon Camera Connect app, which is available for iOS and Android. Built-in feature guides provide pop-up descriptions of shooting modes or functions as they are selected to help users obtain the most from the camera. The four ‘Creative Filters’ that can be applied to images during playback haven’t changed since the EOS 1200D and comprise: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye, Toy Camera and Miniature.
The 1500D’s video capabilities are much the same as the previous model’s and, as is usual for DSLRs, you can only shoot video in live view mode. Clips are recorded in MOV format with the popular H.264 compression and Linear PCM audio recording. The table below shows the options available, along with typical recording times and file sizes.
|Movie resolution||Frame rates||Bit rate||Recording time on 8GB card|
|1920 x 1080||25 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|1920 x 1080||24 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|1280 x 720||50 fps||Approx. 46Mbps||22 minutes|
|640 x 480||25 fps||Approx. 11Mbps||84 minutes|
The maximum recording time for a clip is 29 minutes and 59 seconds or 4GB, after which recording stops. Pressing the Live View button lets you record again but a new file will be created. A fully-charged battery should support up to one hour and 30 minutes of video shooting.
When the movie mode is selected on the mode dial, the sensitivity, shutter speed and lens aperture are set automatically. Sensitivity is restricted to the native ISO 100-6400 range but users can adjust exposures by pressing the AV +/- compensation button.
The camera’s movie exposure menu includes a Manual setting that enables users to adjust aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation settings independently. Pressing the Flash button allows sensitivity to be adjusted.
Soundtracks are recorded monaurally and there’s no connection for an external mic. Still pictures can’t be captured while recording a movie clip.
Playback and Software
Playback options are the same as in most EOS cameras and include single- and multiple-image displays (4- or 9-image index views). The usual Jump Display functions are provided as well as searching by date, folder, file type and rating. Images can be magnified up to 10x by pressing the magnify button and turning the dial scrolls through images at the selected magnification.
The normal rotate, erase, protect and rating settings are available, along with Creative Filters, Photobook Set-up and print order tagging. Images can also be re-sized and slideshow playback is available with selectable display times and transition effects as well as ‘canned’ background music.
As is usual with current cameras, the bundled software must be downloaded from Canon’s website (the Support pages). The bundle comprises the latest versions of EOS Utility, which is used for connecting the camera to a computer; Digital Photo Professional, Canon’s raw file converter and Picture Style Editor for editing Picture Styles to create personalised versions of them.
One of the perplexing issues we found when shooting with the EOS 1500D was the difficulties associated with framing shots with any degree of accuracy. When shooting with the viewfinder, five per cent of the subject is cut off. It may not sound like much but is surprisingly substantial when precise framing is required.
The situation is even worse when using Live View mode, because the camera’s specs claim a 100% field of view for the monitor. In practice, we found it to be much the same as the viewfinder crop, particularly when shooting video.
Overall performance from the test camera was similar to the results we obtained from the EOS 1300D, once you account for the increased sensor resolution. However, test shots were slightly softer, particularly at the ends of the zoom range and all shots benefited from unsharp masking in an image editor.
With the default settings, contrast was also rather flat in JPEGs straight out of the camera with the Standard Picture Style setting. Nonetheless, colour accuracy was generally good and Imatest showed saturation was modest, with the expected boost in warmer hues that marks entry-level cameras.
Imatest showed the camera-plus-lens combination to be almost capable of meeting expectations for the sensor’s resolution with raw files converted with Adobe Camera Raw. As before, resolution fell a little short of expectations with JPEGs. Resolution declined steadily as sensitivity was increased, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below