Visually quite similar to the current EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) the EOS 350D is actually some 15 mm (0.6 in) narrower and about 17% lighter, while this may not sound like much it does create the impression of a smaller more 'concentrated' camera. The plastic used on the body is also different to the 300D, the matte effect is clearly designed to simulate the finish on the EOS 20D, the hand grip rubber is harder. The new metal mode dial and black standard color gives the camera a more purposeful and (dare I say it) professional look. Having the 350D and 300D side by side I would say that the 350D feels better put together, some how denser, with no creaks or rattles.
According to Canon the EOS 350D is made up of three main materials; a stainless steel chassis (blue in the diagram), the mirror box which is made of high-strength 'engineering plastic' (red in the diagram) and the body made of a special lightweight 'engineering plastic' which also provides some electromagnetic shielding. (Diagram below provided by Canon, colored by ourselves).
In your hand
Despite the smaller hand grip the EOS 350D is still comfortable to hold and actually feels a little more stable because of the matte finish to the plastic. It's worth saying that some may find the hand grip a little too thin. The more symmetrical compact design helps stability quite a bit, the camera does feel easier to hold steadily than the EOS 300D (it's an interesting process to compare the two in this respect).
Side by side
The image below demonstrates fairly clearly how much smaller the EOS 350D is compared to the camera it replaces (here a black body example with USM lens). Indeed the 350D is only marginally larger than the Pentax *ist DS and is some 65 g lighter (the 350D becomes the lightest digital SLR currently available). As you can see the majority of the size has been taken from the grip side of the camera and the 350D actually looks more symmetrical thanks to it.
(W x H x D)
(inc. battery & card)
|Pentax *ist DS||125 x 93 x 66 mm (4.9 x 3.6 x 2.6 in)||605 g (1.3 lb)|
|Canon EOS 350D||127 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)||540 g (1.2 lb)|
|Olympus E-300||147 x 85 x 64 mm (5.8 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)||624 g (1.4 lb)|
|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 D70||140 x 111 x 78 mm (5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)||679 g (1.5 lb)|
|Canon EOS 20D||144 x 106 x 72 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)||770 g (1.7 lb)|
|Fujifilm S3 Pro||148 x 135 x 80 mm (5.9 x 5.3 x 3.2 in)||935 g (2.1 lb)|
|Current eight megapixel digital SLR's; Canon EOS 20D, Canon EOS 350D, Olympus E-300|
Size & design changes compared to the EOS 300D
Place your mouse cursor over either image below to compare the design of the EOS 35D to the EOS 300D. As you will notice there are actually quite a few design changes between the two cameras, and that the 350D has lost quite a bit of weight (pulled in a few mm's).
The EOS 350D's LCD monitor is slightly different to that on the 300D, it's still 1.8" diagonally but the pixel count has gone down from 118,000 to 115,000. I found that I had to set the brightness setting to maximum to match the brightness of the EOS 300D's LCD.
The LCD monitor is protected by a hard plastic screen (which also covers the LCD panel) however there's no anti-reflective coating.
Status LCD Panel
The EOS 350D's Status LCD panel is on the rear of the camera directly above the LCD monitor, it provides detail of both photographic and digital settings. Because of the changes in functionality between the 350D and 300D it also gets a new status panel which has more information. The panel has a backlight which can be turned on for approximately five seconds by pressing the lamp button. I don't know if this is intentional or not but the black text of the screen is easier to view from about 10 degrees above (looking down) than straight on (it goes a little gray).
A detailed breakdown of displayed information can be found on the diagram below.