Not cool, Canon… not cool

I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy a digital SLR camera last weekend. I’ve been shooting with a Canon PowerShot A570 IS for the past couple of years, and although it’s a great little camera, I’m finding its limitations increasingly frustrating. What better upgrade than an entry-level DSLR?

As I’m wont to do, I perused countless online reviews and studied the competitive landscape before making my purchase. Canon’s EOS 450D (a.k.a. Digital Rebel XSi) tempted me, but the lower-end EOS 1000D (Digital Rebel XS) seemed to have everything I needed—live view, a decent lens with image stabilization, a good sensor, and a good assortment of professional features—at a more attractive price.

I spent a little while shopping around to get the best price, too, of course. Here are some of the listings I encountered:

Those all look like the same camera with the same kit lens, don’t they? One of them does say "IS" while the others don’t, but the prices are the same, and one of the non-IS ones is actually more expensive. Surely Canon isn’t peddling an inferior model without image stabilization for as much (or slightly less) than the rest. None of the reviews mentioned anything like that.

Well, I made a boo-boo—I ordered the €440.99 ($587) model and got a Taiwanese EF-S 18-55mm II lens in the box instead of the Japanese EF-S 18-55mm IS lens. The Taiwanese lens has no stabilization features, and a quick look around the web suggests it has lower-quality optics than its Japanese counterparts.

That’ll teach me to pay closer attention to listings, I suppose. The frustrating part is that I’m all too used to online retailers getting model names slightly wrong or omitting details, and Canon doesn’t exactly go out of its way to differentiate the two offerings. Seriously, why isn’t there a price markup on the IS model despite the better lens? I did go for one of the cheapest listings, but opting for the most expensive ones above would have gotten me the same Taiwanese lens. That’s unfortunate—especially since some buyers might not notice until they can no longer send it back.

In the end, I decided to return the 1000D for a refund, and I just placed an order for the 450D/Rebel XSi. (Yes, I made sure it said "IS" in the model name this time.)

Comments closed
    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    I imagine this has a lot to do with these etailers (and generally any large electrical goods retailer in my experience) simply not knowing enough about the goods they’re pedling.

    I have the same problem with audio equipment: go to a large retailer that sells everything from leccy ovens to mobile phones and the chances are that unless it’s an IPod or the latest Nokia, they’ll be clueless about anything I’m interested in. SPDIF? What’s that, an STD? Bi-Ampable? Eh, what’re you tryin’ to say!?

    I normally visit the local specialist store for info, and sometimes I’ll even buy from them and pay the premium simply because I value a good and well informed service as much as saving the pennys. And of course, there’s also the fact that you can try before you buy…

    • canoli
    • 10 years ago

    yeah really Meadows – CPUs – or how about a video card? They’re not too confusing – oh no, not at all!

    Cyril, I’m not sure what else you’re looking for to “differentiate” the difference between the glass. One says IS and one doesn’t. What’s hard about that? To justify your confusion you point to the price differences, but we all know that prices vary wildly on the internet when you include every e-tailer with a website.

    My suggestion to you is – stick with reputable dealers, and pay the market value. The time-honored caution still applies, even more on the web – Caveat Emptor, “let the buyer beware.”

    If you stick with B&H or Adorama (in the U.S.) or take 10 minutes to find the reputable sites in your part of the world – it’s not hard, go to Canon’s website, check out their forum, there’s bound to be people talking about their purchases – you won’t be “burned” by sleazy e-tailers.

    Of course in your case you weren’t “burned” at all, you got exactly what you thought you were getting. You’re simply experiencing buyer’s remorse.

    “Not cool, Canon” should be “Not smart, Cyril” instead…

      • Cyril
      • 10 years ago

      What makes some of you think I blindly trusted a random e-tailer to get me the right camera? The clips in the blog post are all from major online retailers here in France, and I have a three-year purchase history with the one from which I got the bad 1000D bundle.

      (Oh, and I /[

        • SnowboardingTobi
        • 10 years ago

        From a USA perspective, Canon only sells that particular camera with the 18-55 *[

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t know about this particular case, but historically the camera makers have offered different kits in different regions. Sometimes this was because of market preferences or specific competitive offerings in certain places, but a lot of the reason was trying to hit the necessary price points. Countries that had high import taxes and/or weak currencies would get a lesser kit in an attempt to offer “the same” camera at similar prices. To prevent “gray market” leakage of these products to other countries they would restrict the warranties — so that the Japanese tourist who got a great deal at 42nd St Photo in New York would get back to Japan and discover their new Nikon could only be serviced through Nikon USA.

    I haven’t been paying attention to how much of that still goes on, and I would’ve thought that within the Euro zone at least there wouldn’t be any variation, but perhaps you’re seeing gray market product from outside the Euro zone?

    • Corrado
    • 10 years ago

    What is everyones opinion on the camera I should get, I have it narrowed down to 2.

    Sony DSC-H50
    Pros:
    has lion battery with it
    have 2gb memory stick already
    Cons:
    Reviews say the L100’s pics are better

    Nikon L100
    Pros:
    $50 cheaper
    have 8gb sdhc card
    better pics
    Cons:
    no true ISO and shutter speed control
    takes AA batteries

    I don’t want anything more than $300US, and Im not a pro at all. I currently have a low end Sony point and shoot 7.0mp, but the sensor is garbage and there is lots of noise in full resolution pics.

      • Disco
      • 10 years ago

      I’m not a major camera nut, but personally I would put the fact that the L100 uses AA batteries as a major positive (not a con). This gives you much more flexibility when batteries are low. In combination with your other points, I would definitely be leaning towards the Nikon.

      I use a Canon A570 IS extensively for my forestry/fisheries field work, and the fact that it uses AA batteries was one of several reasons why I chose it. It easy to have lots of spare (and cheap) AA rechargeables on hand.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Why are you asking about this here, rather than starting a thread for it in “Visual Haven”

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        Everyone else is talking cameras, why not here?

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          Because I haven’t seen any posts from some of the experts who hang out there — blog posts often fly under the radar — so you might get more and better advice there. And anyone who comes along later with a similar question is more likely to find the collective wisdom in a forum thread than find this post as well.

            • continuum
            • 10 years ago

            Agreed. You’ll get much more diversity in answers there. And I personally don’t care for AA’s myself in the weight/bulk trade-of. YMMV, of course. =)

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      a camera that takes AAs is a big plus in my book – I had a camera with a proprietary rechargeable battery and when it dies and when your spare dies, you wish you could pop a pair of Duracells into it to keep going.

    • Pax-UX
    • 10 years ago

    The best way to buy DSLR is to get the body and the lens separate, just like computers. Unless the kit lens covers all your shooting requirements.

    The kits lens are very weak comparatively speaking to the other lens you’ll buy later, assuming it’s more then just for the TR. Also Kits lens can be picked up on eBay as most amateur photographers move off those lens pretty quickly to something like a 18mm-200mm once they become a little more proficient.

    For a truly good all round DSLR setup you’re looking at around the 900 mark. Now long term its the Lens that are the import part of photography as they can be kept as you upgrade from camera to camera, kind a little a good monitor. So it make sense to invest wisely in your lens.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    The non-IS is not part of the kit, at least in the US. There is only one kit. The 18-55 IS lens I actually bought for my XTi right before I got married Dec ’07. What a remarkable lens.

      • continuum
      • 10 years ago

      Yep. Maybe things are just more confusing in Europe?

    • SnowboardingTobi
    • 10 years ago

    Ahh… the world of bad camera dealers.

    Your troubles are with the retailer and not Canon. Here in the USA, I only trust buying camera gear from a *very* small handful of retailers. The rest are shady folks who try to trick you. Apparently shady camera retailers exists in your part of the world too. What a shame — sorry you had to deal with that crap. Lucky I never have… but I’ve read plenty of horror stories online.

    • edh
    • 10 years ago

    The problem is /[

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 10 years ago

      What everyone else said.

      Cyril, you chose a sleazy retailer. You cannot blame Canon for this. Canon has never packaged the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens in a kit with the Rebel 1000D. The 1000D has only been offered with the newer EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. The USM version of the 18-55mm lens was discontinued before the 1000D camera was introduced.

      Your sleazy retailer swapped the lens before selling you the camera. Is this even an authorized Canon dealer?

      Take a look at the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di-II lens as a better quality lens with the same extremely useful range of focal lengths.

        • Cyril
        • 10 years ago

        Again, this was in a Canon box with “EF-S 18-55mm Kit” (not “EF-S 18-55mm IS Kit”) printed on it. This is an official package, and other retailers are evidently selling it, too. A friend of mine in Canada got the same bundle when he bought his 1000D.

          • continuum
          • 10 years ago

          Maybe people outside of the USA just get screwed. 😉

          Either way I wouldn’t blame Canon for this one, the retailer description is the one who needs the blame.

          Return it and say it wasn’t what you expected. =P

    • JoHowdy123
    • 10 years ago

    I have been shooting canon since the early 90’s and i can not say that have been, at any piont, disappointed with the quality their products yield. As for this situation, i would honestly say that this is not a canon marketing problem as it is the dealer’s issue with pricing.
    I’m currently shooting with a 20D, 50D, and a 1D mkIII all of which supurb peices of equipment. The XS i have hear is a great entry lvl camera, but your choice with the XSi is a much smarter choice. Hands on the camera’s handle the same, but over all product, the XSi much better.

      • jobodaho
      • 10 years ago

      Still has an inferior tiny sensor.

    • Kougar
    • 10 years ago

    Not going to wait for the Rebel T1i then that’s about to launch?? Sites have been uncovering it in detail for a few weeks now.

    That one may finally prompt me to try an entry DSLR… I’ll be sure to keep in mind your advice if I do so!

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      Meh. With SLR’s its all in the lens, you know. I can’t think of any reason to get excited about that wizzbang new camera. (If they would get around to doing it, in-body IS would be cool.)

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 10 years ago

        Rebel T1i’s major whiz-bang feature is HD video.

    • fredsnotdead
    • 10 years ago

    What about the A570is is limiting for you? I have one and it is a pretty good camera although admittedly the photo quality could be better, probably blame the lens for that. As a little, pocketable snapshot camera though it is great and I like that I can use AA NiMH batteries with it.

    I haven’t gone the DSLR route yet; I have a lot of Nikon equipment and the camera bodies that would use some of my favorite lenses are too expensive for me. And of course they come out with new ones every couple years that are significantly better.

      • Cyril
      • 10 years ago

      Lately, I’m having trouble with the white balance and higher ISO settings, which are very noisy. The 570 IS’s controls are also pretty cumbersome when shooting in manual mode, especially with the awkward manual focus.

      Oh, and the LCD is somewhat misleading (it makes images look much brighter than how they appear on my monitors). That’s bothered me for some time, and it’s exacerbated by the poor quality of the viewfinder.

      The 570 IS isn’t a bad camera by any means, and I’ll definitely keep it as a point-and-shoot option. I really could use the more advanced features of a DSLR, though.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 10 years ago

        With my 1000D I have real trouble actually using manual focus, but I often manually choose the focus point. The auto white balance usually works OK and manual is easy to reach (though usually more trouble than its worth).

        I got my 1000D in February, with a Sigma f1.4 30mm lens and without any kit lens. It easily takes good flashless pictures of moving targets (such as a baby) in typical residential lighting. The little cameras are nowhere close in that environment. (I have an IXUS 970IS, and had a SD700IS till its lens jammed.)

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    Are you sure this is even an official Canon offering? The camera and camera lens world has a lot of issues like this that are more the retailers fault than manufacturers.

      • Cyril
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, it’s a Canon box with “EF-S 18-55mm Kit” written on the front.

        • continuum
        • 10 years ago

        Do the part #s and whatnot match up? Just curious….

    • Spurenleser
    • 10 years ago

    I’ve considered buying one of those Canons myself. I would’ve gone with the 50D, but then I’ve read something about “shutter durability”. Long story short: The XXD models (two digits) have a shutter durability of 100,000 shots. The XD models (one digit, those for real professionals) have shutter durability of up to 200,000 shots but these are really extremely expensive. The lower end models with three digits (e.g. 500D) only have a shutter durability of 50,000 shots. It is said to be even worse with the 1000D.

    This is some sort of MTBF number and as we all know YMMV. Then again, I’ve taken way over 120,000 pictures with my DMC-FZ7 and it still works like a charm. I have to admit though, I didn’t spend a lot of time looking into this shutter durability issue, but it convinced me to postpone buying a new cam until my current one goes tits up.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      More than 120 pictures a day, every day, for three yearsg{

        • continuum
        • 10 years ago

        That’s impressive. 120k? I hit 47k on my FZ5 before it failed and I thought that was a lot!

      • phez
      • 10 years ago

      by technicality, all cameras that use shutters will suffer this. but then, worrying about that is like worrying about car oil maintenance. its a nature of the product, a mechanical item that you can’t get around.

      still, look into micro 4/3rd cameras. the system is designed to be as completely digital as possible, though some of these cameras might still use a shutter. the G1 for example fools you into thinking its completely digital, but it still has a mechanical shutter.

    • cRock
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame Canon. I’m sure there is a decent price gap between the IS and non-IS kits at wholesale. The online retailers selling the non-IS kit at the IS price are making a fat margin taking advantage of people that don’t know any better. They’re the villains in this story. It’s like getting pissed when you get home with a 6 pack of Sharps only to discover that there’s no alcohol in it. Know the market; buyer beware.

    • clearmysix
    • 10 years ago

    Did you look at the Sony DSLR’s with IS built into the body so any lens will do?

    Also, from what I’ve heard, the XSi is a much better camera than the XS anyway….

    • SPOOFE
    • 10 years ago

    IS is overrated on a lens that only goes to 55mm. And really, what are you doing blaming the camera BODY for something that’s missing from the LENS? That’s the whole point of getting /[

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    Good thing the same won’t happen with CPUs.

      • stirker_0
      • 10 years ago

      but it will with GPUs :p

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