Canon EOS 3000D Kit (EF S18-55 II) detailed review
Every once in a while someone comes and asks us “what is a good DSLR to buy for beginners” and in almost all of those situations they actually mean “what’s the best I can get for the least amount of money.” I normally refrain from answering such a question, but it seems the Canon EOS 3000D could be a viable answer. Canon sent us a test device of the EOS 3000D together with an 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. I also happen to have a couple of Canon-mount primes (Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4) that I’ve used for good measure to evaluate the camera’s performance.
Build and design
When I first held the Canon EOS 3000D, I went back to 2008 when I first held the EOS 450D. The camera felt light, very compact and incredibly…basic. The camera uses polycarbonate for the outer shell and only uses a rubber rim for the front grip. The back of the camera is very smooth, with a minimal number of buttons. Unlike what you’d see on more expensive cameras, there’s no joystick to move the focus points, nor is there a second dial to adjust aperture. The buttons aren’t mushy and the clicks register quite easily and they don’t wobble either, which is good. The lack of wiggle would give you a sense of comfort if they fall out after extended (and heavy) use.
What really felt nice about the Canon EOS 3000D was its incredibly light and compact form factor. I switched to mirrorless cameras years ago because they were so light and compact and the Canon EOS 3000D gives me a similar feeling. Whether you’re a first-time DSLR user or someone who’s buying this after using a more expensive camera, there’s definitely a learning curve to button placement. Canon has also bundled the memory card slot in the battery compartment, which is good in some respects as it eliminates an additional weak point. The battery cover itself is quite sturdy, so there’s no need to worry about a combined case.
Overall, the Canon EOS 3000D’s construction is light and functional, with a good balance between quality and compromise. Yes, the rubberized housing could have gone all the way back and Canon could have added a secondary dial to also adjust the aperture independently, but if that had been the case this camera would have been much more expensive not just to buy, but also to maintain. What’s a bit of a let down, however, is the lack of a touchscreen, which Canon is somewhat of an expert at.
Performance – Autofocus
The Canon EOS 3000D has a simple, but proven 9-point autofocus. Of these, only the center point is a cross type, which allows for better accuracy. Part of the AF’s performance also depends on the lens used. The kit lens that comes with the 3000D doesn’t have the best AF motor, so I also used the Sigma lenses.
The AF is accurate with all the lenses we’ve used the EOS 3000D with, at least during the day. However, towards evening the kit lens starts to chase and by the time we are in low light situations the kit lens basically starts to lose AF capabilities. When using a Sigma 30 or 50mm prime, AF improves, aided by a wider aperture that lets in more light. Plus, if you were to use a Canon lens that comes with an Ultra Sonic Motor (USM), AF will definitely be faster.
the 9-point AF system can focus on the smallest objects quite easily
For an entry-level camera, the AF performance on the EOS 3000D is good enough to get you started. Coming from a smartphone, you’ll enjoy finer control over focusing, allowing you to focus even the tiniest objects. What it does need is decent amounts of light, but it will work in conditions where your smartphone lets you down.
Performance – Imaging
The Canon EOS 3000D has an APS-C 18-megapixel sensor. The crop sensor has a limited ISO range of ISO 100-6400, but on the high end the ISO performance isn’t as clean as you’d expect. Even the best smartphones start to show bad noise around ISO 800, but with the EOS 3000D you can expect usable images up to ISO 1600, maybe ISO 2000 if you’re okay with applying aggressive noise reduction. You can check out the high ISO samples below. Please note that all image previews are adapted for the web and you can see the full resolution images in our flickr gallery†
I do want to mention that all shots were shot in RAW, with the shots coming out completely flat. There is very little color or contrast, as there should be when it comes to RAW files. Editing them in Adobe Lightroom really brings out the detail and depth captured by the 3000D’s sensor. The strongest point of the 3000D’s sensor is the way it reproduces pleasing skin tones, especially considering the darker skin tones we see in India. Another thing the EOS 3000D does well is the way it handles the color green.
For someone just starting out, the EOS 3000D delivers image quality that far exceeds anything you might see from a smartphone or even a sophisticated point-and-shoot camera. The limiting factor for image quality would be the kit lens, which limits aperture and thus visual quality. Pairing the EOS 3000D with a nice prime lens will undoubtedly yield much better results and will be a great jumping-off point for anyone venturing into photography, or simply wanting to elevate their imaging game beyond the smartphone.
Where the Canon EOS 3000D leaves you wanting more is the burst mode. The camera can record up to 3 frames per second. I couldn’t photograph my dog jumping up for treats because not only is the burst mode not fast enough, but the buffer also doesn’t hold a lot of images, slowing the camera even further.
You can see more full-resolution image previews on our flickr gallery
The Canon EOS 3000D is as simple a DSLR as can be. It’s a bare-bones camera that gets most things right, at least when it comes to the basics. The AF system will disappoint you in low light, but it’s as good as it gets for the price. Honestly, you’re probably better off buying this camera without the kit lens and splurging on a nice prime lens instead. While the camera delivers every bit of the “DSLR quality images”, something smartphone makers continue to claim but fail horribly to deliver, the Canon 18-55mm kit lens will be the weak link. In fact, a nice prime lens with an aperture of f/1.8 or even f/1.4 would help you shoot in low light by keeping the ISO values low. So in short, if you’re looking for a decent camera with a limited budget to take pictures better than a smartphone, then you can’t go wrong with the Cano EOS 3000D.