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Canon along with Nikon have for years been known as the kings of camera`s but with things changing rapidly in the DSLR market Canon had to think fast. All of Canons recent releases have been at the expensive end of the market and they have been rapidly losing ground to the likes of Nikon and the new kids on the block (Sony). The release of the Canon EOS 1000D in June this year (2008)was an attempt to get back in the entry level market and whilst I think it should have the desired effect I am still not convinced they have done enough to tempt people away from the less expensive Sony option.
Many people myself included thought that the new Canon would just be a fresher version of the Canon EOS 400D and the only stand out feature available on this 1000D that the 400 did not offer was a live view, so were Canon trying to pull the wool over customers eyes or had they really released a better unit?
The first thing noticeable with the new 1000D is that it is a bit lighter than both the earlier 400 and 450 offerings but it feels very similar in your hand and looks almost exactly the same. Remembering that this is supposed to be an entry level DSLR you would obviously expect it to have a bit less quality then the very expensive cameras on the market and you would be right, the biggest problem with it as a package buy is that it comes with the much maligned 18-55mm Canon kit lens which has been proven over a few years now not to be of very good standard.
I was starting to get a bit confused with the whole point to this camera, it was not offering anything outstanding and although it was less expensive than other Canons it was still more expensive than the entry level DSLR`s from both Nikon and Sony, so just who would buy this and why had Canon even bothered to produce it?
I think the answer mainly lies in the fact that Canon are still very respected in the DSLR world and when they release a new camera people stand up and take note. If you enter a photography or camera store asking for advice on buying your first DSLR camera and there is a new Canon on the shelf you can almost guarantee you will be pointed towards it. There is a simple reason for this and that is that the people working in these stores feel safe offering Canons because they have been around successfully for so long.
Times are indeed changing though and I would never recommend this Canon over the Sony A200 or the Nikon D40 for many reasons. The first thing I find wrong with this Canon is the fact that it does not feel like I am holding
Pictures of Canon EOS 1000D
over £400 worth of camera in my hand, it feels very lightweight and somewhat flimsy,
I would seriously doubt the longevity of this unit, the second problem for me is the lens kit that it comes with, as I mentioned this lens has been ridiculed for the longest time yet Canon have gone with it again simply to cut costs.
So with my gripes out of the way is there any reason for anyone to want to buy this camera? Well yes of course there is, it may just be the 400 or the 450 in disguise but that's not exactly a bad thing because the 400 and 450 are very good cameras. If you can live with the fact that this camera feels a bit poor in your hand and you are happy to invest in a better lens at a later time then this camera will do fine to get you started. It offers the usual high standard of image production that has been associated with Canon for years and it comes with the huge array of settings that have been tried and tested with Canon`s for years. If it is a Canon you want and you can't stretch to the price of the higher end Canons then this camera won't disappoint you too much but if you are an experienced DSLR user you might be let down with this unit.
I put this camera through its paces for a few days and it worked exactly like I would expect a Canon to but I just could not get over the lack of feeling it gave me when shooting, it almost felt like I had no control over the camera when it was hand held so I chose to do most of my shooting with it on a tripod. Although the shooting was not always comfortable for me the final images remembered me of why Canon have been known as kings, over the three days I did not end up with one image that was not useable. Canon has long since been known as the leaders in high-ISO performance and this unit carries on from where its big brothers have left off. Even at the maximum 1600 ISO the images were very useable and had only the slightest of digital noise which was easily removed in Photoshop.
The versatility of the settings on this unit are just as good as anything offered in the 400 and 450 and no matter what setting I shot in or how hard I pushed it to perform it always gave me great images as long as I used it with my own Canon 28 mm - 135 mm zoom lens, if I relied on the kit lens supplied with the unit then the images were significantly downgraded, this would lead me to say that if the Canon 1000D is to be your choice then try to buy it body only and choose a better lens to go with it rather than buying it packaged with this horrible little kit lens.
This unit like most other entry level DSLR`s can be used in auto mode (like a glorified point and shoot) semi-auto mode (which allows the photographer to choose an option to set manually then auto matches every other option to suit) or manual mode (which means the photographer will be setting all the setting themselves). The auto mode is exceptionally good when you want to grab a shot in a hurry but if you really want to experience what this camera can do then you need to hit at least semi-auto and get creative.
There are a few things that put me off this unit but not a lot really, there is the afore mentioned poor kit lens and the lightweight flimsiness, there is also the poor built in flash which I think is a bit overpowering for an onboard flash and the lack of a built in image stabiliser that means you have to buy lenses with it built in if you wish to have that at your finger tips. Of all of these things the only one that can't be rectified is the flimsy issue because you can of course buy any lens you choose and also change the flash to a flash unit but the problem with that is then you are spending big and the whole point of a entry level DSLR is to cut cost, if you want to spend big just buy a higher spec unit in the first place.
THE CANON 1000D SPECIFICATIONS
Type 22.2 x 14.8mm CMOS
Effective Pixels Approx. 10.1M
Total Pixels Approx. 10.5M
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Low-Pass Filter Built-in/Fixed with Self Cleaning Sensor Unit
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type DIGIC III
Lens Mount EF/EF-S
Focal Length 1.6x Multiplication with EF lens fitted
Type TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
AF System / Points 7-point AF
AF Working Range EV -0.5-18 (at 23°C & ISO100)
AF Modes AI Focus One Shot AI Servo Live Mode in Live View Quick Mode in Live View
AF Point selection Automatic selection, Manual selection
Selected AF Point Display Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD monitor
Predictive AF Yes
AF Lock Locked when shutter button is pressed half way in One Shot AF mode.
AF Assist Beam Intermittent firing of built-in flash
Manual Focus Selected on lens
Metering Modes TTL full aperture metering with 35-zone SPC (1) Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points) (2) Partial metering at center (approx. 10% of viewfinder) (3) Center weighted average metering
Metering Range EV 1-20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)
AE Lock Auto: Operates in 1-shot AF mode with evaluative metering when focus is achieved Manual: By AE lock button in creative zone modes.
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
AEB +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
ISO Speed Equivalent AUTO(100-800), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Type Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter
Speed 30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)
Compression Fine, Normal, RAW (12bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition)
Still Image Type JPEG (Exif 2.21 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0), Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
RAW+JPEG Simultaneous Recording Yes (RAW + Large JPEG only)
So there you have it, the new entry level DSLR from Canon, would I recommend it? Well if you are desperate to have a Canon because of their reputation then yes I would recommend it but if money is not too much of an option then I would recommend you go for the 450D instead, if you are open to any make and model then I would recommend you forget about this in favour of the Sony A200 which will perform as well as this and even outperform it in places for around £100 less of an outlay.
This Canon is good enough to keep up Canons good name but it is not in my opinion good enough to enhance it, it has what you would expect from a Canon including excellent battery life and great image production but it does not offer anything new or exciting.
A decent entry level camera that is a bit overpriced in my opinion and lacks a bit of inspiration, produces great images but might not have the longevity that you would expect from something costing in excess of 400 pounds, great for people starting out but will let down experienced users!
This really is a great review - it has given me a much better insight into Canon cameras than I would have read elsewhere. Will probably consider the other cameras you mentioned now. Unless of course since this review there are better entry level DSLRs?