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Canon EOS 600D vs 1000D

Model numbers never make sense

January 26th, 2012

I have used the Canon EOS 1000D for quite some time now, and felt it was time for an upgrade. Since I already have a few lenses, I decided to continue down the Canon path. The 600D - AKA Rebel T3i, or Kiss X5, depending on where you live - caught my eye, looking very similar but fixing some of the problems of the 1000D, like lack of video recording, low ISO sensitivity, and low quality LCD. Read on for a comparison between the two.

From the outside

As you would expect, the two cameras look very similar. I wish the 600D would have been available in pink or something so I could at least easily tell them apart!

The front of the 1000D.
The front of the 1000D.
The 1000D has a rather small display, but large buttons with lots of spacing.
The 1000D has a rather small display, but large buttons with lots of spacing.
The... uhm, what does it say? ... 600D. Because you can completely tell it apart from the 1000D by just looking at it.
The... uhm, what does it say? ... 600D. Because you can completely tell it apart from the 1000D by just looking at it.
The back of the 600D shows a few differences. The buttons have been rearranged a bit and are, in general a bit smaller. Also, did I mention that the LCD is a fingerprint magnet?
The back of the 600D shows a few differences. The buttons have been rearranged a bit and are, in general a bit smaller. Also, did I mention that the LCD is a fingerprint magnet?

The display

I'm not going to go into resolutions or pixel density - to sum it up, the Canon 600D has a display that just pwns the 1000D. Larger, crisper, more flexible, more tasty etc. Interestingly, the images look much noisier on the 600D. Seems like it just renders the images more accurately. On the 1000D, the details get blurry when you zoom in. The 600D wins hands-down. Pixel-peepers rejoice!

The display can be rotated in almost any angle.
The display can be rotated in almost any angle.

ISO performance

The 600D goes all the way to ISO 6400, with an additional "High-ISO" of 12800. The 1000D handles only up to 800, with its high-setting at ISO 1600. Below is a quick full crop comparison at ISO 1600.

The 600D at ISO 1600, full crop. High quality JPEG setting, standard noise reduction.
The 600D at ISO 1600, full crop. High quality JPEG setting, standard noise reduction.
The 1000D, also with high quality JPEG and no noise reduction.
The 1000D, also with high quality JPEG and no noise reduction.

The 600D has some more clarity and detail in the dark areas, while also increasing the resolution. I find the noise a bit unpleasant though. The 1000D just blurs everything instead of making noisy areas look like they are covered with dust. Interestingly, with noise reduction turned on on the 1000D, the blur is gone and we get the unpleasant dust look instead.

While the noise performance of the 600D is better, it doesn't quite blow me away. 12800 looks dog-ugly, but can be quite usable if you are going for that grainy film-look. Goes great with black and white.

The 600D at ISO 12800. Use this setting only in case of emergency.
The 600D at ISO 12800. Use this setting only in case of emergency.

HD video

Not much to say here. The 600D has it, and the 1000D has no video recording capabilities whatsoever.

And interesting feature with the video recording however, is that you can take pictures while recording. There will be a short gap (frozen frame) in the video though, for about one second. Also, the image will have the same aspect ratio as the recorded video (16:9 or 4:3). The resolution of the pictures will be slightly lower than the full 18M since some cropping is required.

Also, the 600D can use cropping (digital zoom) when recording. Since Full HD video is about 2M, and the sensor has 18M, it can zoom up to 10x without (in theory) losing image quality.

LiveView shooting

When the 1000D came out, LiveView - which means using the display instead of the optical viewfinder - was quite new. And it had a few quirks. To switch to LiveView, you press the Set button. To focus, you press that button with a star over it (usually used for locking metering settings). In quick mode, the mirror flips and the screen turns black, and then back on. The camera will not report where it got focus, so you need to have some faith. There is also LiveMode focus, where the screen does not turn black, but focusing takes like forever.

The 600D actually reports where it got focus, and you actually focus by pressing the shutter button half way. Just like people have been doing for centuries - now also for LiveView! Probably took weeks of brainstorming at Canon to come up with that.

Focus points

The 600D has nine focus points, the 1000D seven. So is it a big deal? Well, to be honest - for me, the 1000D has only one focus point. The points are too few and too far apart, and when using more than a single - the middle one - too often the points far to the sides pick up focus. May not sound very dramatic, but very often I have had the subject in the center of the frame, and the camera keeps on focusing on the background or the foreground. Super annoying. I have no idea why Canon just didn't place all the points closer to the center. So it's not necessarily about the number of focus points, but the totally headless placement of them that makes the 1000D look bad. The 600D does much better. Plus, the middle point is a cross-type, which is apparently better.

The focus points of the 1000D (colored green, actually white), and superimposed, the 600D (red, actually light gray). Note how far away the focus points of the 1000D are from the center.
The focus points of the 1000D (colored green, actually white), and superimposed, the 600D (red, actually light gray). Note how far away the focus points of the 1000D are from the center.

Other subtle differences

The sound of the shutter and the mirror flipping has not improved. The 1000D has a high pitched, well, "ka-tsheeek"-like sound. Where "ka" is the mirror flipping up the shutter opening, and the "tsheeek" is the shutter closing and the mirror going back down. Just so you know. The 600D is a bit worse, with a slightly more high-pitched noise. This may be a reason to pony up for the 60D and get that fancy and subtle "ka-flurp" instead.

You can now interact with the settings on the display. The 1000D would show you a lot of settings on the LCD, like drive mode, white balance and so on. On the 600D, you can press the brand new "Q"-button and then navigate around on the screen with the arrow keys and actually change settings directly from there. Not bad, since it gives you quite quick access to a bunch of useful stuff. And especially since they seem to have removed the dedicated Metering Mode button!

Exposure compensation goes between -5 and +5 on the 600D, compared to -2 to +2 on the 1000D. Personally, I think it should go from minus infinity to plus infinity (give or take some). But still an improvement.

The creative modes may not be so subtle, but it's fun nonetheless so I'll just put it here. After taking a picture, you can apply effects to it, like grainy black and white, or Lomo effect. The effect will be applied to a copy of the image, keeping the original. Fun and simple in-camera editing, but it hardly beats Adobe Lightroom.

Grainy black and white and Lomo.
Grainy black and white and Lomo.

Things that annoyingly remained the same

Rotation of images is done by EXIF metadata. Some applications don't read this data and the orientation may end up wrong. Fine - not Canon's fault. However, when doing a "hard rotate" rotating 90 degrees using some Windows program for example, the camera will report the image file as corrupt. What, it can't read some simple JPEGs?

The weight has increased slightly. The body, with battery, weighs in at almost 600 grams. Why is this thing so heavy? I can understand that professionals don't mind, but I'm just an average consumer and I do. Many electronic products today are super small and super light, but these things apparently never change.

The strap is still standard and super inconventient, offering zero flexibility, always getting in the way, is difficult to remove, and makes you more stupid. This will probably never improve.

The Über-Pro tip of the day: turn the strap inside-out! The inside of the strap has some sort of rubber coating, and when wearing it crossbag-style, it often gets stuck when you move it from your hip to your eye to shoot, costing precious time. The outside of the strap (with the brand name on it) has no coating and slides easily. So just wear it with the logo facing inwards and you will be able to capture that Kodak... err, "Canon Moment".

Conclusion

So, if you already own the 1000D, is it worth upgrading to the 600D and spending the next few months eating only cup noodles? As always, it depends.

Get the 600D if you:

  • are interested in high-quality video
  • could use some more ISO
  • want a better LiveView experience with clearer display that allows shooting from funny angles without getting your pants dirty
  • want a higher resolution (18M vs 10M)
  • want spot metering

Just stick with the 1000D if you:

  • are looking for some something very different (much more compact, or professional-grade) - the two cameras are quite similar after all
  • prefer shooting with long exposure and tripod, or using a flash - here, the higher ISO sensitivity will not really help much
  • shoot using the optical viewfinder almost exclusively

Sample shots

For some sample shots taken with the 600D, check out the image gallery. And remember, Ernest Hemingway had a great pen.
August 30th, 2012 23:02

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September 1st, 2012 19:22
Erik

Hi Alix
,

I usually don't tolerate advertising disguised as comments, but the item seems fairly nifty so I'll let it slip. However, I have been using my DSLR for over three years and I have never lost a lens cap.

October 29th, 2013 10:43
Simran

Thanks for sharing this review. This has helped me a lot. I have a 1000d and was thinking of upgrading the body, but have decided to stay put with 1000d since I shoot only using optical viewfinder and the center focus point, and usually in daylight. At night I use the 50mm 1.8 so I don't need to use a higher ISO. I will spend the money on a wide angle lens instead and work on my composition skills.

I think the only thing that would have really helped me is Spot Metering, and a faster shutter speed - but I will try to make do with the Partial Metering for now.

December 27th, 2014 21:48
Thor

Those who are Comparing Canon 1000D with 600D take a shower bro !! 600D Considered as so many professional's choice, where 1000D is almost OUTDATED basic DSLR(Aug 2008). I have used both of em several times. You don't have to argue with me, there is so many Experts Review as well as Users review available on thousand of websites across the INTERNET not for COMPARE THOSE , I am talking about the Advantages of 600D over 100D . Blindly anyone can Upgrade from 1000D to 600D. Beside being a Nikon user I cannot stop myself to write these words after reading this stuff. Though its for those who have time can read below-

The Canon EOS 600D is a logical, if not strictly necessary, update of the 550D. It's not a camera that'll go down in history but it's a decent SLR that takes good pictures and has plenty of settings. With EF-S 55-250mm the toy works like a charm , Buttery smooth with Crisp Results more than Any Beginner's expectation.

December 27th, 2014 23:48
Erik

Hi Thor,

Thank you for the input. I agree that the 600D is definitely the better camera and I'm still quite happy with it myself. But I just noticed this article is two years old, and by now, both cameras feel rather dated! I might consider an upgrade soon. ;)

January 8th, 2015 19:04
Tutu

Erik, your review is excellent. I have read at several times but could not reach the conclusion. I own a 1000D. Happy with it. Want to upgrade to 600D. Brain says 'Yes' but Heart says 'No'. What should I do?

January 8th, 2015 20:58
Erik

Hi Tutu,

just follow you heart! Or toss a coin. ;)

March 27th, 2015 18:34
Tutu

Erik, Help me once more. Still I'm in love very much with my 1000D. Will with be with this for another couple of Years. I'm using a Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55 mm (1:3.5-5.6 II NON-IS) and a Canon Zoom Lens EFS 55-250 mm (1:4-5.6 IS II). Both the lenses are good. But they create a problem in emergency when lens change is required. I plan to change them with a Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO? Is my decision correct? I'm normally a General Clicker. Love to click everything.

March 27th, 2015 20:51
Erik

Hi Tutu,

I have a similar lens myself, a Tamron 18-270. I wrote a little review here:

http://www.erikmoberg.net/article/new_lens_-_tamron_18-270_3.5-6.3_di_ii_vc

What it lacks in optical quality, it makes up in flexibility. So when I know what will be shooting, I usually pick another lens. But when I don't, i take this one and it makes sure I always get the shot.

March 28th, 2015 06:55
Tutu

Thanks a lot, Eric :-)

March 28th, 2015 07:00
Tutu

Dear Eric, Just let me know
1) Whether the quality of Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO is better than the Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55 mm (1:3.5-5.6 II NON-IS) or not?
2) Is Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO is better than Canon Zoom Lens EFS 55-250 mm (1:4-5.6 IS II)?

March 29th, 2015 00:27
Erik

Hi Tutu,

to both questions, at least from what I can gather from the reviews, the answer would be "about the same". The image quality of the Tamron is good, but hardly spectacular, and comes in a convenient package. The price point is also good. However, the lack of an optical stabilizer might be a problem at longer focal lengths, unless you are using a tripod. Your 55-250 has IS, try shooting with it switched off to find out.

March 29th, 2015 06:28
Tutu

Thanks a lot Eric. It seems that I will need your constant support as far as suggestions in optics is concerned. May I have your email id please?

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