Canon has been losing ground to arch rival Nikon of late when it comes to producing high-performance, good-value digital SLRs (DSLRs). So will the budget-priced Canon EOS 1000D redress the balance?
The Canon EOS 1000D offers all the essentials for an entry-level model: 10Mp resolution, 7-point wide area auto focus (AF) system, JPEG or Raw file capture and three frames per second (fps) continuous shooting until the SD (or higher capacity SDHC) memory card is full.
The Canon EOS 1000D feels reassuringly solid when gripped, with the plastic construction well disguised by matt-black bodywork. Canon suggests it's the lightest DSLR in the EOS family, although with the image stabilised 18-55mm kit lens attached you wouldn't know it.
Unlike more expensive models, there's no top plate display showing key shooting options, so users are reliant on the Canon EOS 1000D's rear 2.5in LCD. Thankfully, visibility is good and functions are clearly presented and logically navigated. You'll find a 12-setting mode dial, forward command dial and four-way controller at the back, all of which fall readily under forefinger or thumb. The screen also boasts a Live View option, which allows for shot composition and review, as you'd find on a compact.
All this ensures that those trading up from a snapshot won't face a steep learning curve. They can continue to use fully automatic settings until confident enough to switch to the Canon EOS 1000D's creative modes of program, shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual.
The Canon EOS 1000D is quick to power up, ready for the first shot in about a second (though the LCD is activated another second later). There's little, if any, shutter delay and it commits JPEGs rapidly to memory. The ability to automatically clean the sensor free of any dust or grit on powering down is a boon for those planning on swapping optics with any regularity.
Light sensitivity ranges from a standard ISO 100 through to a modest ISO 1600, although the latter setting is surprisingly noise free. Generally image colours are rich and stay on the right side of naturalistic when left on standard default settings. Detail is good using the supplied lens, although overall sharpness could be improved.
Anyone choosing the Canon EOS 1000D as their first DSLR is best advised to opt for both camera and 18-55mm image stabilised zoom, as tested, for just £80 more than the body-only price. As typical with a DSLR you'll have to provide your own memory card. With the demise of the 400D, the 1000D is currently the least expensive way to buy into the comprehensive Canon system and therefore comes recommended.