Apr 16, 2005

The Canon Digital Rebel XT Review

The long awaited review of the Canon Digital Rebel XT is now available from Digital Camera Resource Page. The Canon Digital Rebel (aka EOS-300D) was one of the biggest advancements in consumer digital photography. Canon didn't just rest on their laurels, though. In early 2005 they launched a new Rebel -- the Digital Rebel XT (aka EOS-350D) -- which adds a higher resolution sensor, more features and better performance, all in a more compact body.
Canon Digital Rebel XT

DCRP has this to say about this digicam-
"ll things considered I'd say that the Canon Digital Rebel XT is the entry-level digital SLR to beat at this point in time. It offers nearly all of the features of the more expensive EOS-20D but for hundreds less. My biggest complaints are the soft images, especially using the kit lens at smaller apertures, and some build quality gripes that I'll get into later. But for those ready to move up to something bigger and better, the Rebel XT is where it's at.

The Rebel XT is quite a bit smaller than both its predecessor and the EOS-20D. While some will like the portability, I prefer the added bulk and more substantial handgrip on a larger camera. While the Rebel XT is probably built very well, I don't get that feel when I hold in my hand. Maybe it's the rough plastic, maybe it's the weight, who knows -- it feels more like a cheaper camera than a D-SLR. Then again, I'm biased: I own a 20D. Something else that bothers me about the black Rebel XT is particular is just how easy it is to get fingernail scratches all over it. I found myself constantly wiping them off.

Camera performance is just you'd expect from a camera equipped with Canon's latest DIGIC II image processor: excellent. There's no more startup wait, focusing speeds are great (even in low light), and shot-to-shot and shutter lag times are nonexistent. The Rebel XT can take about fourteen shots in a row at just under 3 frames/second, which is the best you'll find in this class (save for the more expensive 20D). Photo quality is excellent for the most part, though images are on the soft side, as is the case with all D-SLRs. Something else that factors into this is your choice of lens: the kit lens is especially soft at small apertures, so you need to keep an eye on things when using it to ensure the best photo quality. As you'd expect from a camera like this, high ISO performance is top-notch: shooting at ISO 1600 results in totally usable pictures. The Rebel XT offers shutter speeds as slow as 30 seconds or longer if you use the bulb mode, making it great for long exposures. While there's a noise reduction feature, you might as well keep it off -- noise levels are that low.

The Rebel XT has plenty of features, too, though gimmick lovers should look elsewhere. Probably the nicest new feature is the expanded white balance controls -- you really have to work hard to botch the white balance on this camera. One thing I don't like about the XT is how you adjust the ISO, AF mode, white balance, and metering mode: you have to use the four-way controller and then hit "set" to save your choice -- I prefer how the EOS-20D does this instead. Low light shooters will love how well the camera focuses in low light. Since the camera uses the pop-up flash as an AF-assist lamp, you'll get nicely focused images even in totally dark rooms. The only downside is that you must take a flash picture when you use the AF-assist lamp. On top of all that you get all the other benefits of a digital SLR: tons of lenses and flashes to choose from, an optional power battery grip, remote shutter release support, and much more.

Overall I give the Rebel XT the thumbs up -- it's a great choice for those ready to move up to a digital SLR. Just be sure to buy a decent lens for it! Trying to decide between the XT and the 20D? Image quality is comparable so I'd look at the chart at the beginning of the review to see if the 20D's "step up" features are worth your money. For those looking at other entry-level D-SLRs, I'd say the Rebel XT easily beats the Nikon D70 (though that camera feels a lot better in your hands) and the Olympus E-300 (though it has many nice features like that famous dust remover). I haven't tried the Pentax *ist DS (since they won't send one to me), so I can't say how that camera does against the Rebel XT. Any digital SLR is going to be a great choice and a step-up from a fixed-lens camera, so my advice is to try them all and see which you prefer! "

If you are considering this digital SLR this review is a must read. Click here to go to the full Canon Digital Rebel XT Review