Although based on the EOS-300 film body the EOS 300D certainly isn't a reuse of an existing body, it is a new design which appears to be a cross between the EOS-300 and the new EOS-3000V. The plastic body has a gloss silver finish (not my cup of tea), the plastic used to construct the camera doesn't feel as robust as that used on the original EOS-D30/D60 (it's a similar grade and finish to that used on the rear of the PowerShot G3). That said build quality is good enough although nobody would expect me to get too excited about that aspect of this camera, it is certainly possible to get a creak out of the hand grip if you squeeze hard enough.
Side by side
As you can see from the images below the EOS 300D is noticeably smaller than the EOS 10D, it's also an considerable 230 g (8.1 oz) lighter. Indeed the EOS 300D plus the 18 - 55 mm lens is lighter than the EOS 10D without a lens. The primary layout differences between the two cameras are the location of the status LCD panel (rear of EOS 300D, top of EOS 10D) and the mode dial (top right of EOS 300D, top left of EOS 10D). The other noticeable difference is that the EOS 300D doesn't get the EOS 10D's excellent rear command dial, instead users will have to put up with a four way controller.
As you can see from the image below the EOS 300D is actually approximately the same height as Pentax's diminutive *ist D, however it's wider by approximately 13 mm (0.5 in), both cameras have almost exactly the same weight without a lens but with their batteries and a CF card. The EOS 10D is the heaviest of the bunch thanks to its heavier gauge metal body. The advantage of the EF-S lens is demonstrated well here, Canon's EF-S 18 - 55 mm is quite visibly smaller than Pentax's FA J 18 - 35 mm (35 mm lens).
(inc. battery & CF)
|Canon EOS 300D||142 x 99 x 72 mm (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)||649 g (1.4 lb)|
|Pentax *ist D||129 x 95 x 60 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.3 in)||650 g (1.4 lb)|
|Nikon D100||144 x 116 x 81 mm (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)||775 g (1.7 lb)|
|Fujifilm S2 Pro||142 x 131 x 80 mm (5.6 x 5.2 x 3.1 in)||870 g (1.9 lb)|
|Canon EOS 10D||150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)||879 g (1.9 lb)|
In your hand
Despite its plastic body the EOS 300D does feel comfortable in your hand thanks to its deep rubberized hand grip. The material used on the grip is quite similar to that used on some mobile phones, it's that plastic / rubber mix which doesn't scratch but isn't as sticky as pure rubber. The thumb moulding on the rear of the camera helps grip a lot and in this respect the EOS 300D feels as secure as any other SLR.
The EOS 300D has the same 1.8" 118,000 pixel LCD monitor as the EOS 10D. It's bright and sharp with good color response and a neutral image display gamma. Just like the EOS 10D the EOS 300D provides five levels of brightness adjustment.
The LCD monitor is protected by a plastic screen (which also covers the LCD panel), unfortunately however there is no anti-reflective coating.
The EOS 300D's LCD (status) panel is on the rear of the camera directly above the LCD monitor, it provides detail of both photographic and digital settings. Anyone with experience of the EOS 10D will instantly note that the amount of information displayed is less than that camera, simply because the EOS 300D doesn't provide the same level of control. As such display of settings such as metering and AF mode are not required. Just like the EOS 10D's panel this has a backlight which can be turned on for approximately five seconds by pressing a small button to the right of the panel.
A detailed breakdown of displayed information can be found on the diagram below.