While compacts are by no means the Billy-no-mates of the camera world, it’s budget DSLRs that are the resurgent market. This is mainly thanks to outrageously cheap offerings such as Sony’s DSLR-A200K, Nikon’s D60 and, of course, Canon’s 450D.
While the latter has ensured that Canon remains king of the DSLR pool, it’s not resting on its laurels – hence the arrival of even better value model, the 1000D.
Stripped down 450D
Essentially the 1000D feels like a stripped-down 450D rather than a pumped up 400D. What you lose over the 450D is a couple of megapixels, spot metering, some continuous shooting speed, and half an inch of the LCD size.
What you still have is awesome image quality, with excellent tonal range, realistic colours and very low noise levels at high ISO.
The flash shots are the best in class, autofocus is fast and accurate, and Live View is a useful addition. The only fly in them ointment is the slightly iffy auto white balance, which doesn’t like household bulbs.
The body is much the same as the 450D’s, which means that, while it doesn’t feel rugged, it’s light and comfortable to hold. It also takes the same optional vertical grip as the 450D, which is essential if you’re serious about portraiture, but adds some bulk.
If you’re stepping up from a high-end compact, you’ll be shocked to see the mere 2.5in LCD, but DSLRs are about framing with the optical viewfinder. Nevertheless, it’s clear and bright, and the info display is superb – shame it doesn’t rotate for portrait shots like the one on the Nikon D60, though.
The controls have been aimed soundly at the enthusiast, so you shouldn’t outgrow them. Having dedicated buttons for white balance, exposure compensation and ISO makes it easy to be creative. The ISO setting is now shown in the viewfinder, which is a step up from the 400D too.
In fact, the biggest change from the 400D is the Live View mode, which lets you use the LCD for framing, as you would on a compact. Like the 450D, it defaults to manual focus, and it’s best saved for still life shots. If you really must have autofocus with your Live View, take a look at an Olympus.
Finally, the kit lens is the same 18-55mm IS model supplied with the 450D. It’s image stabilised, with a fast, quiet motor. It’s also light and compact, more so than the VR lens kit with the Nikon D60.
So what you have in the 1000D is an exceptionally good value DSLR that has no real weakness. Despite stiff competition from the likes of the Nikon D60 and Olympus E-420, it puts Canon right back at the top of the budget pile.