World Press Photo
June 2005 | Edition One     

A workman, they say, is only as good as his tools. But this is not, of course, necessarily true of the photographer. Some of the most memorable and famous shots in history have been taken on no more than basic equipment.

However, it is true to say that technological advances in recent years have made setting up even the most sophisticated camera much simpler, leaving the photographer to concentrate instead on taking the best picture possible.

In Cool Kit, Enter aims to give you a guide to some of the new equipment on the market, what is being said about it and links to the source material.

For this edition, we take a look at Canon’s new 350D digital SLR camera, out this Spring and providing the kind of power, flexibility and image quality only available until very recently at considerable cost .

Canon's 350D (also known as the Digital Rebel) comes relatively soon after the huge-selling 300D, which was one of the first fully-featured semi-professional digital SLRs for the mass-market.

But who is the 350D aimed at?

Only a few years ago, professional photographers shooting digitally would lust after cameras offering six-megapixel resolution and preparing to pay big bucks. And yet here we have an eight megapixel consumer/semi-professional piece of kit retailing at under $1000.

Canon are clearly expecting it to sell extremely well according to Digital Photography Review – click here for the full review.

As Digital Photography Review reports, the new model will be made at the rate of 130,000 units per month, 30,000 more than its six-megapixel predecessor.

The review concludes that the 350D is first class. It is, says the reviewer: “…a good solid photographic tool. It starts up quickly, shoots quickly, operates without hesitation and achieves its ultimate design goal, delivering great images.”

There are a few niggles, mainly about the way settings are achieved, but that doesn't detract from the camera’s all round quality.

The reviewer at The Luminous Landscape (read full review here) says the 350D is “Canon's smallest and least expensive DSLR yet, and the lightest camera of its type currently available.” “Working pros will find it attractive as a backup, and as a potential "throw-away" – a camera that can be used in dangerous conditions, where if it becomes lost or damaged, it isn't the end of the world (or of the shoot).

Advanced photographers will appreciate its high image quality combined with small size and light weight, making it a great travel and street shooting camera. Amateurs on a budget will, of course, be attracted to its low price, “ says Luminous Landscape.

There are drawbacks: “The one thing that I was immediately aware of was the dim menu screen … (it was) really problematic in the bright sunlight.”

However, the overall conclusion is that the 350D is “a sweet little camera that could well be the best DSLR camera value on the market today”.

Shawn Barnett in Imaging Resource (read full review here) says of the 350D: "There's no question that the Canon Digital Rebel XT is a leap ahead, offering a quality SLR in a very small package."

" For travelers wanting a powerful digital camera with a spectacular imager, and the option of a few different lenses, you'll not find a more portable SLR, and certainly not a more capable one anywhere near its size or price range."

“It's small, “ says Bob Atkins at, “In fact for me it's on the verge of being too small.” (Read full review here).

How does the camera rate against the Canon 20D, the next up in Canon’s DSLR range and costing around $500 more?

“Personally, I'd buy the 20D, but that's just me,” says Atkins”. Many people will buy the Digital Rebel XT and be very happy with it.”

Copyright © 2005, all rights reserved by the photographers