Pros: Small, light and fast handling, the new bargain-priced, entry-level EOS 350D provides class-leading resolution that will appeal to a broad spectrum of users.
Cons: Some idiosyncratic menu operation, as well as a small 1.8-inch monitor, do little to spoil the overall effect.
It’s a fact, not all professional photographers use professional-level cameras. Often there’s sound commercial reasoning behind the choice: why risk an expensive digital SLR when one costing much less will do the job?
And so it is with the new Canon EOS 350D. As an update to their hugely successful EOS 300D, the new model will bring great angst to rival manufacturers. Canon upped the resolution from 6.3mp to 8mp, aping their semi-pro EOS 20D and pro EOS-1D MK II, and the new model outpaces the old with 3fps continuous shooting for up to 14 shots.
Although all three models use different CMOS sensors, the 350D also benefits from the expanded capacity of the new DIGIC II processor permitting a significant increase over the somewhat disappointing four-frame maximum and 2.5fps rate of the 300D. The flash system has been upgraded using the new distance-based E-TTL II technology.
Nevertheless, the 350D mustn’t be thought of as an upgrade – it’s a significant redesign. While the body and layout mimics the 300D it’s actually 25-per cent smaller by volume and at just 485g it’s 75g lighter. It isn’t the smallest digital SLR – that’s the Pentax *ist DS – but it is the lightest.