Until now, the EOS model line designated by four digits (in all regions other than the US, where we've had the Rebel XS, T3, T5 and T6) has been Canon's no-frills entry-level DSLR. But Canon obviously reckons it can trim the fat further, and the EOS 4000D is the result.
Canon hopes the aggressively priced EOS 4000D will appeal to new users who have been drawn into photography via their smartphones, and are now ready to make the next step.
However, those new users have become accustomed to large and intuitive touchscreen displays, and, significantly, Canon hasn't seen fit to include one on the EOS 4000D – so will it feel like a step backwards rather than forwards?
- 18MP sensor can trace its roots back to 2010
- Small and low-resolution screen
- Wi-Fi only
The EOS 4000D inherits an ageing 18MP sensor that can trace its roots back to the EOS Rebel T2i / EOS 550D that was released in 2010. The latest tech this is not.
It's a similar story with the DIGIC 4+ image processor used in both the EOS 4000D and EOS 2000D. To put it in perspective, we're now onto the eighth iteration of Canon's DIGIC processor, although the latest EOS DSLRs are using DIGIC 7 chips. Native sensitivity remains the same at ISO100-6,400, expandable up to 12,800.
The autofocus system is also pretty dated – it's the modest 9-point system that has been in Canon's arsenal since 2009. And while pretty much every DSLR in the last five years or so has featured a 3.0-inch rear display, Canon has actually shrunk the LCD on the EOS 4000D down to 2.7 inches, and the resolution has also taken a tumble down to 230k dots. Don't even think about touchscreen control.
The optical viewfinder delivers a 95% coverage, which is pretty typical on a entry-level DSLR, so, as we always warn, it’s worth paying particular attention to the edges of the frame when reviewing your images, as there's a chance you'll find unwanted elements creeping into you shots.
There's Wi-Fi connectivity, but no NFC or Bluetooth Low Energy options, while video is capped at Full HD (1920 x 1080), with 30, 25 and 24fps frame rates available.
Build and handling
- Plasticky feel overall
- Logical button placement
- Plastic lens mount
The EOS 4000D looks very similar to its entry-level sibling, EOS 2000D, but there are a number of differences when you look a little closer.
For starters, while there's a textured coating on the chunky front grip, Canon has done away with it for the rear thumb rest, and the lens mount is plastic, rather than the more durable metal of the EOS 2000D; if you're not often going to be switching lenses this might not be a concern, but if you're looking to regularly swap optics it's something to consider, as plastic is more susceptible to wear.
While these design choices do bring a slight weight-saving over the EOS 2000D, they also make the EOS 4000D feel even more plasticky.
The EOS 4000D has also done away with a dedicated on/off switch – instead there's now an 'off' setting on the mode dial on the top of the camera. Speaking of the mode dial, the normally green-labelled 'Scene Intelligent Auto' mode is now the same color as all the other settings, allowing Canon to cut costs further, and yet more penny pinching has been carried out at the rear, with the icons for the controls printed on the body, rather than on each individual button.
That said, the button configuration is easy to understand and navigate for the new user, while the 'Q' (short for Quick Menu) button enables you to quickly access and adjust commonly used settings.
All in all it's not what we'd expect from a DSLR in 2018. The reduction in screen size to 2.7 inches, together with the drop in resolution, makes you feel like you're stepping back in time by about five years when you use this camera.
- 9-point AF system feels dated
- Coverage biased towards center of frame
- Sluggish Live View performance
The EOS 4000D uses an AF system that's pretty much 10 years old – the 9-point system feels really dated. Coverage is basically limited to the centre of the frame, with the points in a diamond formation, so be prepared to re-frame your subject if they're off-centre.
Performance-wise, with a single (and more sensitive) cross-type sensor at the center of the array the system will be fine for general shooting, but it may struggle when light levels drop.
Canon's brilliant Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology has always impressed, allowing for quick focusing speeds in Live View mode (using the rear screen rather than the viewfinder); this is something a lot of rival DSLRs struggle with, so it's disappointing not to see it on the EOS 4000D.
Instead, you're stuck with sluggish focusing speeds, a far cry from the performance of even some of the most affordable mirrorless cameras – not that you'll want to use Live View that much given the poor screen.
- One of the slowest DSLRs available
- Good battery life
Entry-level DSLRs might not be renowned for their burst shooting speeds, but even so the EOS 4000D's 3fps makes it one of the slowest cameras out there, along with the EOS 2000D.
While the 4000D features a smaller screen and lower-resolution sensor compared to the 2000D, which we'd expect to mean a reduced power consumption, the 4000D actually matches it for battery life at 500 shots. That's nothing remarkable, but it still compares well to similarly priced mirrorless cameras.
The EOS 4000D really does feel like a camera that's been designed and built to a budget imposed by especially parsimonious accountants.
With most of the EOS 4000D made up of components from the parts bin for long-superseded Canon DSLRS, there really is nothing of merit to recommend it over other entry-level DSLR rivals, apart from, perhaps, the price.
At £369.99 with the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens (Australian pricing are still to be confirmed, while the EOS 4000D is expected to come to the US just yet), the EOS 4000D is one of the most affordable DSLRs you can buy right now.
However, while this low price point is designed to tempt new users, our worry is that the limited feature set and poor screen will see them quickly revert back to their smartphone. Eat beans for a month if you have to, but if you want an entry-level DSLR you'll be better off spending a bit more and getting something like the EOS 2000D or Nikon D3400.