Canon hopes its EOS 1000D will trigger a digital SLR revolution among mass market consumers, tempting them into taking their first steps into DSLR photography.

Pitched below the 12.2MP EOS 450D, the 1000D features a 10.1-million-pixel CMOS sensor and will vie for position in the cut-throat consumer DSLR battleground where it will go head to head against models such as Nikon?s D60.

The 1000D inherits key features from higher-end EOS models, including Live View and Digic III image processor.

It is due to land in UK stores at the end of July or beginning of August priced £499.99. It will also be out as a kit that includes an 18-55mm IS lens, priced £579.99.

Canon Europe has confirmed that the entry-level 400D will soon cease production. However, it tells us that the 1000D is not a replacement for the 400D, a model announced in August 2006, priced around £650.

Squarely aimed at the entry-level user, Canon claims its new baby will serve as the ?gateway to full EOS power?.

Mike Owen, photo products team leader at Canon Europe?s Planning Division, told AP: ?We think this will be incredibly popular. We have seen a huge expansion in the market since the EOS 300D and we hope that the 1000D will continue to drive that conversion.?

First impressions, from a ?sample? version we have handled briefly, suggest that it is clearly designed for ease of use. It sports large control buttons on the back, a chunky mode dial on the top and bold graphics on the LCD screen.

Features borrowed from the 400D include three frames per second shooting and 2.5in LCD screen. It also includes the EOS integrated Cleaning System, Canon?s E-TTL II flash exposure system and a menu allowing the user to control external devices such as Speedlite flash units. Also featured is a 7-point AF system.

The 12 custom functions include Auto Lighting Optimiser, which aims to help correct brightness and contrast during image processing. This enhances skin tones in portraits by ensuring correct exposure for faces, adds the company.

The Live View system includes contrast AF, which allows the effects of AF to be viewed immediately on the LCD screen to deliver ?compact camera-style focusing?, explains the firm.

The 1000D accepts the same BG-E5 battery grip as used on the 450D. Priced £129.99 this allows the use of AA batteries.

Coinciding with the launch Canon has revamped its 430 EX Speedlite to launch the 430 EX II, the chief improvement of which is a claimed 20% faster flash recycling time.

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Canon EOS 1000DCanon EOS 1000D, back

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