At an exclusive event in London yesterday, TechRadar managed to get its mitts on the new Canon entry-level DSLR, the EOS 1000D. In the brilliant surroundings of the Getty Images Gallery we had a decent go with the camera and here are our thoughts...

Light fantastic

It’s light. That’s the first thing you notice when picking up the Canon EOS 1000D. Without the lens, the weight of the body could be mistaken for a big-size compact camera, but it always feels safe in the hand, due mainly to the well-placed grip on the right side of the chassis.

450D similarities

The similarities to the 450D, Canon’s 12MP DSLR released in January of this year, are plain to see. The control layout on the back of the cam is almost identical, with the exception of a smaller LCD screen (2.5in) and slightly bigger buttons.

The actual body, though, has gone through a redesign, making it look slightly slimmer and sleeker.

We were told by Canon’s product manager that the size of the LCD is the reason that the camera is that little bit lighter; now 450g without a lens.

Slim-lined features

The gubbins underneath has also been changed, slim-lining the control options of the 450D for those new to prosumer photography.

The features that have been omitted include the automatic switch off of the LCD when you use the viewfinder – this now has to be done manually through the Menu – and one-spot metering.

There’s also a change in memory. Though the cameras we tried out were not equipped with memory cards, the cam now houses SD card rather than CompactFlash, which the 1000D’s predecessor the 400D used.

Intuitive menu

Menu options will be familiar to all with Canon camera knowledge and intuitive to those who never picked up a DSLR.

Thumbing through the options, there’s ample settings for the user who wants the camera to do all the work (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait) and plenty for those who want to take a more manual approach (Program AE, Manual, Aperture Priority).

One of the newer options, as seen on the 450D is the LiveView mode. Flick to this and you can automatically focus on certain objects simply be pressing and holding a button until a square on the LCD goes green. And it works. In our short test, a glass of orange that was originally out of focus, focused within seconds.

Depending on whether you choose JPEG or RAW, you can also shoot 3fps or 1.5fps respectively.

Great price

For a first-time DSLR buyer, the EOS 1000D looks likely to be an ideal choice. The price is superb (£570 with an 18-55 Image stabilised kit lens) and the responsiveness of the camera will impress users.

The ability to link the camera up with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites is also a boon.

Look out for our in-depth review of the camera in July, when the camera is officially released.