Canon EOS 1000D Digital SLR Review - Matt Grayson takes a first look at the Canon EOS 1000D digital SLR. The brand new entry level model designed for beginners to photography and compact users looking to move into DSLR territory.
The Canon EOS 1000D is designed to compete with the lowest specification DSLRs however, with the 18-55mm IS lens, comes in at £579.99.
Typical rivals are the Olympus E-420 at £379 with the 14-42mm lens boasts 10Mp, 3 AF points, sensitivity range of ISO100-1600 and the compactness that a 4/3rds system can bring.
Alternatively the Pentax K200D at £499 with the 18-55mm lens will offer you 10.2Mp, 11 AF points, sensitivity range of ISO100-1600 along with the well-known weather proofing and dust alert system.
Canon EOS 1000D: Modes and features The Canon EOS 1000D is the lowest specification DSLR in the range so technically, it won't be as good as the EOS 450D. The main differences are the lower 10Mp resolution of the EOS 1000D and only a 7-point AF system. There's also a lack of spot metering, smaller 2.5in LCD screen, slower 3fps and only 12bit RAW compression compared the EOS 450D's 14bit compression.
However, the camera still has a DIGIC III processor, sensor cleaning and live view. Not to mention that it's smaller and lighter than the EOS 450D and EOS 400D but I think in essence the EOS 1000D is more an updated EOS 400D.
Looking around the camera and the included lens is the same 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 image stabilised model that was introduced with the EOS 450D. The plastic mount lens fits onto the dual mount lens plate. The reason for the dual mount dates back to when Canon first started making DSLRs. They didn't want people having a nice 18mm wide angle lens for their back up film SLR so made the new lenses with a different mount to normal EF lenses.
The left side of the camera is bereft of major features with only the flash activation and depth of field preview buttons present showing it's set up for right handed people. It's a nice touch that Canon have decided to keep the depth of field preview as other companies choose to remove it. Learner photographers will find this useful while learning their art.
The right shoulder houses the mode dial with the power switch under it. The dedicated ISO button found on the EOS450D is also available on the EOS1000D just behind the jog wheel. The grip slants off toward the front and the shutter release button is located on it.
The viewfinder sits under the hotshoe and built-in flash with the eyesight dioptre perched on its top right corner. The 2.5in LCD screen is shunted to the left with the menu and screen display buttons above it. Down its right side are the AV/exposure compensation button along with the white balance, playback and navigation pad. The delete button to erase images you don't want from the card is in the bottom right corner. The eye-start AF detectors haven't been fitted to the EOS 1000D, instead Canon have reserved that feature for the EOS 450D.
The navigation pad is used for moving around the menu but also doubles up for access to the drive functions, metering, focusing and picture styles. The set button in the centre is to confirm any changes made in the menu and also to activate live view. Bear in mind that live view is defaulted to disable. You have to enable it in the menu before it works.
To adjust the AF points, you have to use the button in the top right corner before scrolling through the points with the jog wheel. This allows you to focus on off-centre subjects without the need for recomposing.
The useful point of the design is that it's exactly the same as the EOS 450D and you don't have to be a pro to want or need more than one body. If that's the case then you won't go wrong with any of the layout.
Canon EOS 1000D: Build and handling As with the other lower specification EOS range, the body is made from a mixture of plastics which aren't as strong as the magnesium alloy bodies, but that doesn't mean they'll collapse or fall apart.
In fact, despite its weight, size and materials, the camera feels well made. I don't like the material used on the grip as it doesn't help with grip and irritates my delicate skin.
The battery is the same as the EOS 450D, so going back to what I mentioned previously about back up models, the batteries are interchangeable which is very useful. The battery lid is designed to be removed but Canon have taken away the small metal locking rod that had to be pulled back (similar to a toilet roll holder) to release from the body. This is so that a grip can be fitted and the new lid is just clipped on which still comes off very easily.
Ergonomically, Canon have always been onto a winner, which is one reason that they're so popular. The grip twists in sharply back to meet the main part of the body, but that just conforms to your fingers better. Everything is where it needs to be and can be accessed easily by fingers or thumbs.
The menu on screen is reversed colours from the 450D employing a black background and white writing. The layout is similar with the aperture and shutter speed on the top row in big letters. The mode that's currently prioritised will have a grey box surrounding it.
The rest of the screen is made up of the exposure compensation dial, ISO, shooting mode, white balance, drive, picture style, metering, focusing, battery life, file size and amount of photographs on the card included.
Canon EOS 1000D: Flash options More important features need to take up the buttons on the back of a camera these days, so the flash options are banished to the menu system.
To change any options, you need to go into the set up of the menu and choose flash control. This then gives you five options. Only the first two of these apply to the built-in flash to enable it and to change some of the settings.
You can adjust the shutter sync to first or second curtain and adjust the flash compensation although this can be changed in the shooting menu under the exposure compensation.
The other three settings are for external flash and can only be adjusted when a Canon Speedlite is fitted with the exception of the E-TTL II setting which can be changed to Evaluative or Average metering.
Red-eye reduction is changed on the first page of the menu and, similar to the flash mode, doesn't have a dedicated button on the outside of the camera.
Canon EOS 1000D: Performance
The colourchart image.
Colour rendition is good with the Canon as the DIGIC III processor boosts the blue and green colours. I've seen red more saturated than this on other cameras, but that's usually to help with portraits. Generally cameras are set up for landscapes, hence the blue and green boost.
The skin tone is nicely balanced and I like the colour of the earthy colours. The mono tones are nice down to the black and that seems to come out more grey, which is unfortunate. However the camera has given a good overall result.
As the Canon EOS 1000D is a beginners model, it should be good at all styles of photography so that beginners can find a niche or particular type of photography that they want to do.
We already know that the camera is easy to use and in portrait mode the processor boosts the reds slightly to give a slightly warmer tone to the skin. Knocking the camera into aperture-priority, moving the aperture to f/8 and choosing the portrait picture style loses the warm skin tone, bringing it out more balanced, and adds sharpness.
The portrait mode image.
The macro image.
Staying in aperture-priority and activating the flash has eradicated the shadows that were created in the ambient light despite it being overcast. Nice catchlights are visible in the eyes and the skin tone is nicely balanced with no highlights getting bleached out.
The macro shot was taken in Live view so I could get the camera below the poppy and shoot it against the sky. Of course, a gust of wind came just as I took the shot blowing it slightly off-centre and only the side petals are in focus, but it shows what can be achieved using live-view and curves.
The portrait in aperture-priority.
The portrait with flash.
In live view, the metering can be adjusted by moving the white square in the screen using the navigation pad. Metering from the field lightens the grass and loses contrast slightly. This is remedied by metering from the sky and you can see the image change on the screen as you move the square around.
The live view shot metering from the field.
The live view shot metering from the sky.
The landscape shot in landscape mode.
The landscape shot in aperture-priority at f/8.
The landscape shot in aperture-priority at f/22.
I took the landscape shot in landscape mode and aperture-priority set to f/8 and f/22. Landscape mode has set an aperture of f/6.4 and the image starts to lose focus out towards infinity. The stones in the foreground are sharp as is the balance beam of the lock. There's also good detail in the grass.
The shot taken at f/8 has more overall detail thanks to a wider focal plane and I still don't understand the reasoning behind the landscape mode choosing a larger aperture.
Shooting at f/22 shows a balanced focus throughout the image although it's slightly soft.
Chromatic aberration is present on the edges of the white bars leading down into the lock but this can be a problem with the lens over the camera.
Canon EOS 1000D: Noise test The DIGIC III processor comes into its own as the noise levels are exceptionally low. In fact, noise isn't showing until ISO800 which is a great result. ISO1600 has a few artefacts showing here and there, but it's still a great performance.
With noise results such as these, I'm unsure why Canon didn't put in a higher ISO rating because with results like this, they could easily get to ISO3200.
The ISO100 test.
The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
The ISO800 test.
The ISO1600 test.
Canon EOS 1000D: Verdict With the popularity of the EOS 400D, this model isn't going to lose any points with it being the younger, prettier, thinner and more intelligent sibling.
The great performance results I achieved from the camera coupled with Canon's notorious ease of use means the EOS 1000D is perfect for its target audience.
I don't like the material used on the grip, I think it makes the camera feel cheaper than what it really is. I don't like the fact you can't use a remote release either or the absence of spot metering.
For an entry model, it's also very expensive. It's more expensive than the higher spec, albeit older, 400D and 450D and more expensive than the new Olympus E-420 and Pentax K200D. It's bound to be expensive when it's first released, but this is way too high to stand up to Canon's claim of making DSLR photography more affordable and accessible. I've marked the Overall score down for this very reason.
Canon EOS 1000D: Plus points Small and light
Easy to use
Canon EOS 1000D: Minus points Grip material feels cheap
No wireless remote
No spot metering