The Canon EOS 1000D (Rebel XS in the US) is Canon's smallest, lightest and cheapest entry-level DSLR to date.
Design & Performance
Canon EOS 1000D review – Design
Canon 1000D review – Similarities between 1000D and 450D
Just as the EOS 1000D’s specifications follow the same lines as the 450D, its design centres on the same general idea. In terms of its chassis, internal construction and external control arrangement very little separates them, though the few alterations do make a difference worth noting.
The camera is constructed from a stainless steel frame inside a plastic body, with a slightly textured plastic grip. At first, it feels as though the grip is in some way rubberised but closer inspection reveals it to be simply a slightly different plastic. There’s no rubber thumb rest on the rear, meaning that the majority of the body’s surface area is of the same semi-matt plastic finish. Together with the general lack of contouring (such as with the LCD screen and power switch seen on the 450D), there’s little to offset the relative blandness of the camera’s body. The grip is a little shallow for larger hands, though the camera’s general construction is good and it feels no less solid because of these factors.
Canon EOS 1000D review – Ease to Carry
Being the lightest digital EOS model, it’s no surprise that carrying the camera around with the standard kit lens presents little inconvenience. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest bonuses of the camera, together with its small size, and no doubt will make it appeal to every demographic.
Canon 1000D test – Viewfinder
This smaller overall size results in the pentamirror viewfinder chamber being a touch smaller than that on the 450D, though it’s a little larger than the 400D‘s and so in keeping with its hierarchy in the EOS range. It has, however, been made brighter by the use of a silver coating rather than aluminium on the surfaces, Canon claims. A further minor difference from the 450D is that the infrared sensor on the grip isn’t present here. Neither is the proximity sensor below the viewfinder, and though this is beneficial with regards to battery life it’s not vital.
Canon EOS 1000D review – Performance
Canon 1000D review – Menu Woes
Let us get our main gripe out of the way first: the menu system. Its various issues are relatively minor, though collectively they make for an obstacle-laden shooting experience. Card formatting, for example, is in a separate maintenance menu tab from sensor cleaning, which itself sits within a separate menu tab from firmware updating. The first menu tab, meanwhile, features lesser-used functions such as the ‘shooting without a card’ option and whether or not you want the camera to beep once it has correctly focused. Surely this is a little odd? These two features in particular strike us as options that would be more at home in the Custom Functions menu, rather than the first options you come across upon entering the menu. Also, now that live view has positioned itself as a significant feature with its own range of options and customisations, would it not make sense to have all its options under one ‘live view’ tab?
Canon EOS 1000D review – LCD Clarity
Despite this the LCD screen presents itself with good clarity, even though it’s a little small and shares the same resolution as almost all other DSLRs. No LCD screen is perfect and in bright light at its default setting it’s not the most contrasty either, but it’s still one of the better LCD screens around and one which befits a DSLR at this price.
Canon 1000D test – 7-Point AF System
This continues to the AF system, which with seven points and a cross-hair centre point makes it stand out from its peers. A lot of people don’t tend to call upon the more outwardly located points all too often, but it’s nice to have the option should you need it. In terms of the system’s sensitivity and speed, the camera does well when tracking objects in its AI Servo focusing mode and focusing in general is also well-paced. The only exception it seems is with the top and bottom points, which are fine against detailed subject matter but disappointingly insensitive and slow otherwise.
Canon 1000D review – SD Memory Buffer
On the subject of speed, while SD-owning compact users benefit from not having to switch media we did note that with standard speed SD memory cards (those with no particular speed designation, a cheap and therefore popular option for compact camera owners) there was often the occasion where the buffer’s clearance prohibited us from taking pictures in quick succession. This is particularly the case with simultaneous Raw and JPEG recording, and even when not shooting as fast as to warrant using the continuous burst mode. With even the faster-performing SD media available now for peanuts, it’s one investment we’d recommend.
Canon EOS 1000D review – Kit Lens
On a different note, it’s nice to see that Canon has addressed the issues associated with the earlier version of its kit lens, and we were pleasantly surprised with how well it generally performs. What’s more, its image stabilisation system is effective, and on the odd occasion we managed to shoot right up to the promised four-stop advantage over non-stabilised optics. There are just a few issues: barrelling at the wide end, a little fringing (though no more than is expected) and some slight edge and corner softness. Other than that, its performance is hard to fault.