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Canon EOS Rebel XSi Summary

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexContinuous DriveContinuous DriveManual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Live-View: Lets DSLR cameras use the rear LCD as an EVF.Live-View: Lets DSLR cameras use the rear LCD as an EVF.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera hands-on reviewNeocamera hands-on reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

Canon EOS Rebel XSi Assessment

The Canon Rebel XSi is finally a more complete camera than any Rebel before it. Despite being part of the entry-level Rebel series, the XSi features spot-metering, a 3.5 FPS continuous drive with a deep buffer, depth-of-field preview and finally exposure-priority live-view with 100% frame coverage. Autofocus is slow in live-view and the controls are just bizarre, but this is the most accurate live-view we have seen so far, making it the first camera to receive our Live-View icon.

Performance is great but not perfect. Image noise is low and dynamic range is better than average. Exposure and focus system are just a little less reliable than most, but still mostly accurate. The ergonomics of the Rebel XSi are all right given its size but things are crowded and the grip is rather small. Definitely it is worth trying it in a store to find out if it is comfortable.

While it's hard to go wrong with the Canon Rebel XSi, it does face several tough competitors including the Nikon D60 and the Pentax K200D. Image quality is too close among these three digital SLRs to make it a deciding factor. The standout model here is the K200D which has builtin image stabilization and a weather-sealed body. It is also powered by convenient AA batteries and can get 1100 shots on a single set of those. On the other hand, the XSi is faster and has a much deeper buffer during continuous shooting. Aside from these features of the K200D, the largest difference between different brands of DSLR cameras is the selection of lenses available.

Need help choosing one or more lenses for a DSLR? See our short lens selection feature article.

PROS CONS
Excellent rendition of details Poor white-balance under artificial lighting
Low image noise at all ISO sensitivities Occasional over-exposure problems
Exposure-priority live-view with 100% coverage Very slow autofocus in live-view
Fast and responsive Above average number of focus misses
Great LCD visibility Small hand-grip
Eye-start sensor LCD flush with side
ExcellentExcellent Excellent

Canon EOS Rebel XSi HandsOn

Neocamera hands-on reviewNeocamera hands-on review
The Canon Rebel XSi feels very compact and light-weight for a DSLR. This can be good or bad, depending on purpose and preferences. No doubt about it though, the XSi is quite portable. The light weight may not inspire durability but it makes it relatively discreet. Ergonomically, such a small DSLR has to make compromises - and indeed - the XSi feels cramped. There is a good number of buttons including ones to control ISO, metering, self-timer and autofocus mode. The large 3" LCD display is a bit too big for the camera and ands up flush with the side of the camera. This means it gets more nose-marks and holding the camera with two hands to change settings or review images does not feel secure.

In use, the Rebel XSi is normally straight forward. Certain things are not intuitive but can be learned easily. This is the first DSLR with a complete - but not ideal - implementation of live-view. Live-view being still an emerging feature tends to be implemented to various levels of uselessness. With this digital camera, we finally have an exposure-priority live-view with 100% coverage and autofocus. The exposure-simulation is very well done and any under-or-over exposure can be seen on the display, even when the metering limit of the camera and lens is exceeded. This is critically important to give an advantage to live-view over the standard optical viewfinder (OVF). The main problem with the XSi's live-view is a very slow autofocus system. An unfortunate problem is that the live-view interface is not only different but also bizarre. Many buttons no longer work the way they do when live-view is Off and a number of features become inaccessible.

Related Information

Previous Models
Canon Rebel XTi - 10 Megapixels, 2.5" LCD, 3 FPS, Compact Flash
Canon Digital Rebel XT - 8 Megapixels, 1.8" LCD 115K Pixels, No dust reduction system, 3 FPS, Compact Flash
Canon Digital Rebel - 6 Megapixels, 1.8" LCD 115K Pixels, No dust reduction system, 3 FPS, Compact Flash
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
Buy from these sellers: Buy From Amazon.com
By Neocamera on 2009-03-26

Canon Rebel XSi Highlights


SLR digital camera

Sensor-Size: 22 x 15mm

Canon APS-C Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

12 Megapixels DSLRISO 100-1600
Canon EF Mount
1.6X FLM
Shutter 1/4000-30s
95% Coverage
Medium Viewfinder
Full manual controls, including Manual Focus
Built-in Dust ReductionCustom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning
3.5 FPS Drive, 53 ImagesSpot-Metering
3" LCD 230K PixelsHot-Shoe
Lithium-Ion Battery
Secure Digital High Capacity
Buy from these sellers: Buy From Amazon.com

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