Stuart "Moby" Mann, Wex Photographic Warehouse Operative
Introduction and Conclusion by
A few months back Canon took what was considered to be an unusual step. They undercut their then entry-level SLR model, the Canon EOS 400D, with a new camera, the Canon EOS 1000D. To be fair, at the time there was cashback available on the 400D which actually made the 1000D more expensive, so it was something of a non-event. However, following some price jiggling and some particularly positive feed back, the Canon EOS 1000D is very much a contender in the market it fights for position in.
Since the birth of the 1000D, Canon have developed the EOS range still further with the introduction of the Canon EOS 50D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II models. But while these new models are aimed at the discerning amateur and professional photographer respectively, the 1000D makes no bones about the fact that it is an entry-level model, aimed at the first time DSLR user.
With this in mind, we decided to perform an in-house test of the Canon EOS 1000D's usability by finding the most photographically inept employee we had, handing him the camera, and sending him to the Canon sponsored "Tour of Britain" cycle race with little or no instruction. After the tiniest amount of deliberation we decided that our resident pedal-powered-parcel-packer Stuart Mann (otherwise known as "Moby") was the Mann (geddit?) for the job.
So with camera in hand, lunchbox in bag and his name and address written on the label of his underpants, we pointed him in the direction of London and sent him on his way...
Local lad in London
"What now seems to be many moons ago, I used to work in a high street film processing lab and I was always appreciative of a well composed 'professional' looking photograph. For the most part, my time in this job predated the digital age of the camera; I was only really familiar with the then more popular tried-and-tested trusty 35mm film format.
I now work in the very busy warehouse of 'Wex Photographic'. My only interaction with all these new fancy digital SLR's with strings of impressive numbers and lettering comes in the form of handling small to medium-size boxes. I must also confess to not being much of a photographer, having used my compact only a handful of times in the two years of ownership.
This is the first staff review I have undertaken, so when asked if I would like participate I was more than willing to do so. Much to my delight, by courtesy of Canon I was given the opportunity to travel to London to watch Stage One of "The tour of Britain" cycle race. Cycling is my passion (with my commute to work and weekend rides I average 300 miles per week!), so I eagerly anticipated seeing my cycling heroes in action, and finding out if I could successfully operate a DSLR.
I was loaned the camera a few days before the event was to take place. I've already touched upon the subject of me not really being an enthusiast photographer, so I thought it best I familiarise myself with the camera beforehand. What I knew already was that the Canon EOS 1000D is the entry level model in Canon's line up so I rather hoped it would be very user friendly! I must admit, I do rather tend to do the "blokey-man thing". That is to say that with any gadget, I just start using it and totally ignore the operating manual.
I used the Canon EOS 1000D EF-S 18-55 IS kit, which includes strap, battery charger and battery pack, interface cable, video cable, software and 18-55mm image-stabilized zoom lens. The camera box tells me this camera has 10.1 mega pixels (CMOS), a DIGIC III processor, LiveView mode, Image Stabilizer, 7-point AF, and a Self cleaning sensor unit. I would love to know what all this "techy" stuff means and impress you with my knowledge, however, as I am such a novice, my aim here is to simply inform you how I got on using it. So armed with my freshly charged camera I headed off to London, looking forward to the day in the VIP hospitality suite, whilst watching the race.
My first impression of the 1000D with the attached lens is how lightweight it is. I was really surprised by this; I was expecting something more akin to a small car! My only previous experience handling an SLR was a friend's 35mm film SLR many years ago. Back then I thought "why would someone want to carry something so heavy and cumbersome?" The 1000D is just so much neater, the body is extremely light and small and it is comfortable to use. It feels just right. Even housed in the Stealth Reporter 300 AW bag which I used to carry it, I didn't once feel inconvenienced with either bulk or weight.
As I am far from familiar with DSLR's and the many exposure methods that accompany them, I opted to use one of the seven automatic modes. To capture the cycling race, the sports mode was the order of the day. With the camera set up for continuous shooting, it rapidly shot picture after picture. On inspection of the captured images, the auto mode didn't disappoint! The clarity of the pictures was amazing, the detail and sharpness was very impressive.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Canon EOS 1000D, with the combination of nimble handling, low weight and excellent quality images. All at a very reasonable price, this camera is worth every penny and more. I would most definitely recommend this camera to any amateur photographer wishing to make the step up from compacts to the world of DSLR's."
And this really is the point of this camera. Moby is not a photographer, but he managed to pick up the EOS 1000D and get some cracking results, no mean feat by anyone's standards.
I spoke to Moby after he returned from London and he was enthusiastically singing the praises of the Canon. He spoke about how he tried using the camera in various different modes such as Program, Aperture or Shutter Priority and even Manual, but that as a relative newcomer to the SLR world he thought it prudent to choose one of the Auto-Options and let the camera do the thinking. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that; it's exactly what the 1000D is for. You can pick it up, put it in an Auto mode relevant to your subject (such as Landscape, Portrait, Close-up, Night Portrait or, as in Moby's case, Sports) and snap away. The small, lightweight nature of the little EOS means that it doesn't feel like too much of a camera, even to a compact user like Moby.
That is to say, Moby has only used compact cameras before, not that Moby himself is compact, although at around 5 foot in height, he is what could be described as "petite". Even so, the camera was comfortable for him to use with ease, even with his small, childlike hands, and I've no doubt that had we not cruelly torn the Canon from his grasp upon his return to Norwich, he would have continued to use the 1000D, developing his skills and knowledge along the way, until he was as much at home with all the other modes of the camera as he is with the Auto settings.
Moby's companion in London was a cyclophile friend of his who just happens to have a master's degree in photography and uses Canon's EOS 1D range of cameras on a regular basis. He also had a play with the Canon EOS 1000D and couldn't believe how good it was, and was even more incredulous when he found out the price-tag of the little bargain.
So, if you're in the market for your first Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, but you're letting your lack of photographic confidence get the better of you, the message is this: Don't. The Canon EOS 1000D may well be the camera to get you started and help you grow.
Put quite simply, if Moby can do it, so can you.