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When Canon launched the EOS 300D back in 2003 it was widely regarded as the first affordable digital SLR and secured Canon a seemingly indomitable number-one spot in the market. Since then the 'small' Canon has gone through three further iterations and the current model - the EOS 450D - offers a feature set and image quality that could only have been dreamed about five years ago (and at a price point well below the 300D's). However, the competition haven't been idle spectators and have recently launched a number of de-spec'ed cameras that have redefined the entry level segment and undercut the EOS 450D in the DSLR hierarchy.

Canon has now responded to this mounting pressure by launching a new model one tier below the 450D in its current lineup - the EOS 1000D. It shares bits and pieces with Rebels gone by and, depending from which angle you look at it, the new model is either a stripped down 450D or a 'reheated' 400D. It's a lower specification camera than the 450D, by every measure you might see listed on the shop shelf, but is not the huge step down that its market positioning might lead you to expect.

On the next page of this review you'll find a detailed comparison between the 1000D, 450D and 400D but the headlines are; a 10MP sensor, 2.5 in LCD monitor, 7-point AF system and no spot-metering (like the 400D) but gaining Live View with both phase- and contrast-detect AF, SD/SDHC for storage and a control and menu layout that is pretty much identical to the EOS 450D's. In fact, because it's based around the same Digic III processor, it shares an interface with almost every current Canon DSLR all the way up to the 1DsMkIII.

Note that throughout this preview we will refer to the EOS 1000D by its European name; if you live in other parts of the world you'll know the camera by Rebel XS or Kiss F Digital, but they're all essentially the same camera.