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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.

Helped by the use of common processors, almost the entire Canon DSLR range now produce the same color response across all picture styles. As we've seen in other reviews the standard hues are also very similar to most other SLRs in this class, with minor saturation and brightness differences but essentially the same color response.

Canon EOS 1000D Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardPortraitLandscapeNeutral
FaithfulMonochromeAdobe RGB

Artificial light White Balance

White balance is a feature of digital cameras that allows them to compensate for the color of the light that is illuminating the scene. This is relatively simple for outdoor situations but becomes more challenging under artificial lights that have uneven and slightly unpredictable output (emission spectra). Here we test the camera's ability to compensate for the effects of a traditional tungsten incandescent lightbulb and a typical fluorescent strip light.

And again Canon's traditional weakness when it come to white balance is reveled - the automatic mode simply does not correct for the light source as it is supposed to. (The Auto setting is not an effective way of preserving the scene's lighting atmosphere because it's impossible to predict the degree to which it will correct for the lighting). The preset values are a little more successful (there is a reasonable level of variance between different bulbs, so the correction is never as good as setting your own preset), but the performance under incandescent light is still not that impressive.

Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 10.3%, Blue: -14.5%, Poor
Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: 6.2%, Blue: -9.2%, Average
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: 4.8%, Blue: -7.4%, Average
Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red: 3.8%, Blue: -4.3%, Average

Flash

The 1000D's flash generally performs well with a very slight warm tone that helps when taking people pictures. The level of illumination is good and the results are perfectly acceptable.

Auto Lighting Optimizer

The 1000D doesn't have the 450D's Highlight Tone Priority option that appears to be the closest equivalent to other manufacturers' dynamic range expansion modes. It does still have 'Auto Lighting Optimizer,' which is always on in the 'Basic zone' scene modes and is the default option in P, A and S modes. It cannot be used in Manual mode or if the camera is attempting to record RAW files.

In theory, Auto Lighting Optimizer tweaks the brightness and contrast of an image if it detects that either needs boosting. Unfortunately, it's very hard to provoke into action (mainly because when the 1000D gets exposure wrong, it's usually towards over-exposure, rather than under-exposure). These are the results we did get and, as can be seen, the amount of noise in the shadows increases if it has to take action.

We'd be inclined to leave it turned on if we were shooting in a mode in which it's active (and in the Basic zone modes you don't have a choice), but continue to work as if there were no safety net because it's unlikely to cushion a fall.

Auto Lighting Optimizer OFF Auto Lighting Optimizer ON
ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F5 ISO 100, 1/5 sec, F5
100% Crop 100% Crop

Overall Image Quality / Specifics

The Canon 1000D is essentially a 400D with couple of features pruned away and a newer processor at its heart. This might not sound like a recipe for unexpected image quality quirks. And it isn't. Canon can be quite conservative with its updates and very consistent with its image processing.

The result is a camera that produces exactly the results you would expect: colorful, sharp (slightly over-sharpened), reliable images. The current version of the kit lens (which comes as default with the Rebel XS in North America), is probably the best Canon has yet made and serves the little camera well.

The weak anti-aliasing filter on the 1000D does mean the camera is slightly more prone to producing moire artefacts in rare circumstances with repeating patterns in the scene. This was only a problem in one of the 1000-or-so pictures we shot.

In evaluative metering mode, the 1000D can be a little prone to ignoring bright areas in the frame, leading to overexposure, which is very unhelpful because it means the results can't be recovered later. We suspect this is because the metering is rather too strongly linked to the selected AF point. This means that the object you're pointing the camera at will tend to be well exposed but at the expense of the scene as a whole. Again, this was only an occasional problem and, in general, the Canon can just be used to point-and-shoot with a good degree of reliability.

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