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Conclusion - Pros

  • Great results even with default settings
  • Good tonal response and dynamic range
  • Picture styles provides good control over image output (and prove consistent across models)
  • Typical Canon CMOS noise-free images, remain detailed even at high sensitivities
  • Optional High ISO NR removes all chroma noise without too much detail loss
  • Comprehensive bundled software adds to camera's value
  • Offers most features that a first-time users will find themselves needing
  • Reasonable battery life
  • ISO indication in viewfinder
  • Lots of external controls including ISO button give instant access to commonly changed functions
  • Contrast-detect focus in live view (though see cons, below)
  • Excellent fine-focus confirmation in live view
  • Live view can be controlled and viewed remotely
  • Configurable "My menu" system makes the interface fast and friendly

Conclusion - Cons

  • Continuous shooting ability in RAW very limited (small buffer and low speed)
  • Average automatic white balance performance, still very poor under incandescent light
  • Comparatively small viewfinder
  • Limited exposure compensation range (+/- 2.0 EV)
  • Live view only useful for specific applications
  • Contrast detect AF so slow it's only useful in a fixed tripod situation
  • Metering can overexpose when subjected to high-contrast conditions
  • Default JPEG output may be a little 'over processed' for some tastes (raw more flexible)
  • Flash must be up for AF assist lamp (although AF is good even in low light)
  • Automatic AF point selection unpredictable (use center AF, it's safer)
  • Small, awkward grip and inconveniently-placed Exp comp. button
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer has limited effect
  • No mass storage USB support
  • No IR remote

Overall conclusion

Having helped create the 'affordable' DSLR, Canon has taken a while to respond to the latest, comparatively wallet-friendly offerings from the likes of Nikon and Sony. The 1000D is a pretty convincing response - it does just about everything it needs to do, and everything it does, it does well. It can produce great images at any of its ISO settings and, viewed as a whole, makes a great first DSLR.

Cameras are not just the product of engineering, they are also the result of marketing considerations - creating a product people will want to buy at a price they find attractive. The result is that many cameras in this market segment are shorn of some of the features of their big brothers in the name of 'product differentiation.' It's a reality that can upset some people (often the owners of more expensive cameras), but we, like the marketers, need to consider whether the removed features will have an impact on the buyer the camera is aimed at. For example, it's been a Canon tradition to miss spot metering off its least expensive DLSR. This is annoying (it's certainly a more useful feature than the bracketing function removed from the baby Nikons), and worth highlighting but probably not a big issue for the majority of users.

In every other respect, Canon seems to have gently toned-down the specification so that it rates slightly less well in all the metrics that appear on shop shelf tags - pixel count, continuous shooting speed, number of AF points and screen size. The only one of these to have any real impact on the user experience is the continuous shooting speed, which has been pruned back a little far. If you regularly find yourself shooting bursts of images, you're going to have to look elsewhere.

The 1000D is a difficult camera to judge while its price still hasn't adjusted to a realistic market level, as it's not a camera that stands out enough from its competitors to justify a major price difference. However, ergonomic foibles aside, it's a solid little camera that is easy to use and produces consistently good images across all of its sensitivity settings. That's the thing that most people will be looking for from this camera, and it's what Canon has traditionally been very good at.

Canon's lead of the entry-level market has slipped in recent years (in certain markets) and the 1000D doesn't stand out from the competition as much as previous models. It's certainly a safe bet and one of the most consistent offerings in the sector (it has few annoying quirks or niggling loose ends) and its all-round competance, excellent high ISO performance and class-leading image quality will win it a lot of friends.

Detail (D-SLR)
Rating (out of 10)
Build quality 8.0
Ergonomics & handling 8.0
Features 8.0
Image quality 9.0
Performance (speed) 8.0
Value 8.5

Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended

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