This camera is Canon’s way of showing you how to switch from a compact digicam to an all-singing, all-shooting digital SLR at a startlingly low price. For many, this will be all they need to shoot high quality images – with no stiff learning curves to climb… it’s an easy-peasy camera.
The first surprise is the EOS 1000D’s light weight and relatively small form factor. Sure, you can’t pack it in a pocket but carried over the shoulder it won’t wear you down, even on a long trek. After all, it weighs just three-quarters of a kilo, with battery, SD card and 18-55 mm kit lens loaded up.
The CMOS sensor captures 10.1 million pixels and can shoot an image 3888 x 2592 pixels in size, leading to a final 44 x 29 cm print. If you hope to shoot video with the EOS 1000D, think again – few DSLRS can do this.
What you do get for your money is a full-blown digital reflex camera and full access to Canon’s top quality lens range and accessories. You get all this but with an ease-of-use that makes high quality photography far more accessible.
You view your shot with the optical pentaprism or the rear 6.4 cm LCD screen; the former gives you confirmation of auto focus plus data on the lens aperture, shutter speed and ISO speed in use; the latter gives the much the same data display plus the benefits of Live View, so you can use the camera like a compact digicam but be aware that it will drain the battery more quickly. Some people find the slow motion display a little annoying; it is true that quick shooting is better done with the optical viewfinder.
The camera is easy to hold, with a pronounced speed grip at one edge. All controls – power, mode dial, shutter button etc – are grouped to the right, so one-handed operation is possible. If you have to!
The pop-up flash is powerful and can illuminate a subject nearly four metres away (ISO 100/18 mm lens setting). You can also operate a separate, external flash unit for even more coverage.
With such a camera you can enjoy image capture in either JPEG and RAW as well as dual JPEG+RAW capture, with images saved to SD or SDHC cards.
Another bonus is that the EOS 1000D can shoot continuously at a speed of 3 fps for as long as you hold the shutter button down – or your memory card fills up. Shutter speeds run from 30 seconds to 1/4000 second; you can also shoot extended exposures using the Bulb setting, then reduce image noise with an in-camera function.
Allied to this is an auto bracketing mode which fires off three rapid shots with exposure variations ranging from two stops up or down around the ideal exposure.
It’s important to know that Canon DSLRs rely on image stabilising in the lens – not the camera body. The main users of this approach say that lens stabilisers perform better than body stabilisers; you do of course pay more for lenses that incorporate this function.
Exposure options are wide: auto, Program AE, shutter or aperture priority and manual, while metering can be set in evaluative, partial or centre-weighted modes to suit varying subjects. Added to this are a small number of scene modes, selectable via the mode dial: for portraits, sports, landscapes, macro shots and night portraits.
A well-balanced camera, the EOS 1000D feels good in the hand and is so easy to use you may have to fight off younger family members for shooting rights.
As for quality, if you’ve never used a camera with a larger image sensor you’ll be surprised at the excellent colour, critical sharpness and low noise displayed in the images it captures.
In short, Canon’s 1000D has got to be one of the best and most cost effective ways to experience the thrills of shooting with a DSLR.
Additional pricing information
The price accompanying this review, $1,199, is the RRP for the body and two kit lenses.