8 Megapixels, 3 Frames PER Second, Digic II…
The hugely popular consumer entry level Digital rebel gets an upgrade to the new Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT. What most people will want to know is;
A) Is it worth trading in my old Rebel?
B) Is it a match for the Canon EOS 20D?
C) What about the Nikon D70?
D) Should I wait for the next batch of releases which could include a new Nikon D70s and the Nikon D50?
What I want to know is, what will the upgrade to the XT be? The Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT Kiss MKII Phase 1? How will they fit the name onto the body?
Call me a cynic, but with the population boom of DSLR’s and predicted increase in sales for 2005 and 2006, it is no wonder people are questioning everything about their equipment and losing track of their photography.
Before I give you a quick rundown of this camera, let me say one thing. If you are looking to take up photography seriously, any new Digital SLR with a good sized sensor matching the XT or 20D and with 8 megapixels or more, will be capable of producing prints similar to that of a film SLR.
Therefore, what you must do is make your choice depending on your budget, your preferences to lens manufacturer, or to match what you have in your bag already and finally, the speed or professionalism that you require from a camera.
Ok, rant over, here is a quick rundown of this new addition to the Canon family.
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT
First impressions from a lot of people when handling this camera seemed to be its size. By its look alone, it is more of an advanced digital compact camera than a consumer digital SLR (DSLR), and is small in comparison to the 20D (which I thought was small after handling the 10D).
As its body is made of a rough type of plastic, it is less robust and sturdy than the magnesium alloy of the 20D, and it lacks the handiness of the rubber on the right grip.
The image through the viewfinder on the Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT is smaller than 20D, but this is not such a big problem as the difference is minimal.
Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) on the XT is more of a hassle as you have to go through the menus and scroll a bit to reach the settings, whereas the 20D has a one touch button to bring the settings onto the top LCD screen.
Setting the white balance on rebel is also through the rear menu screen, which gives symbols relating to individual white balances PLUS a descriptive text for each. This is an obvious benefit for the learning curve as, by comparison, the 20D just has the symbols on the top LCD screen. Although, once you read up on the symbols, and understand them, the 20D is again easier to manipulate. The menu screen on the XT is also not as bright in outdoor use as the 20d.
The rear screen menu on the XT is similar to that of the Canon Powershot series and its contrast varies according to where the cursor is, whereas the 20D is bright all the time.
The shutter is a bit quieter on XT but the 20D’s shutter is faster, with higher flash sync speed, less blackout time and a shorter lag time. Would you want to trade in all these qualities for just slightly less noise?
Early reviews and reports on image quality are that there is very little difference in noise between the XT and 20D from 100 ISO through to 1600, the same applies to colour balance and grey-scales. The image quality with regard to printing and resolution is barely noticeable (if at all), but the rebel is still a rebel and aimed more at the consumer entry level, regardless of quality. The 20D is said to be aimed at more experienced photographers or semi professional.
That point could raise arguments as to what indeed makes a serious photographer? I think it is 90% passion and skill, and 10% equipment, but it is nice to have reliable, quick and functional equipment with features you can really play with.
So, you have the same or similar results from the sensor but things are a little easier with the 20D. the XT has a slower frame rate, smaller jpeg buffer, lower battery capacity, different AF system and smaller viewfinder.
One benefit on the plus side for the XT is a $400-500 saving on the 20D. Some people have pointed out that for $100 more than the 20D, you could have a 300D Digital Rebel and a Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT!
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT – Quick Features
- 8.0 MP
- 3 fps with up to 14 image burst
- E-TTL II flash system
- DIGIC II
- 7-point AF
- DPP RAW image processing software
- Separate RAW/JPEG image recording
- USB 2.0 Hi-speed/Video Out
- Compatible with EF/EF-S lenses/EX Speedlite flashes
- PictBridge compatible
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT Main Features
The Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT employs Canon’s patented CMOS technology, for outstanding image quality and 8.0 Mega pixel resolution. You can always be ready for the next shot with a responsive 3 frame per second, 14 frame burst and instant 0.2 second start up time (matching the 20D). The powerful DIGIC II processor taken from Canon’s pro-series of cameras, ensures there are no compromises on effective, sophisticated and fast image processing.
The Rebel XT’s 7 auto focus points are distributed right across the frame for accurate and fast focusing, even with your off-centre subjects. You can lock focus before the shot with One Shot AF, or simply switch to AI Servo AF for predictive tracking of any moving subjects – a great plus for wildlife and sports photography.
The powerful pop-up flash (guide no. 13) offers you plenty of flexibility to your lighting. Its E-TTL II distance linked flash will read the lens distance information and ambient light to give accurate flash metering: perfect for recomposing shots and difficult reflections. The new Rebel XT is compatible with the total EX Speedlite flash range, including the powerful Speedlite 580EX, which improves colour stability by automatically transmitting the colour temperature information.
The Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT is compatible with more than 60 Canon EF lenses, including all of Canon’s new EF-S lenses. The EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT was built with the digital photographer in mind, by taking into account the crop factor of 1.6X, the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM cover an exciting and creative range of popular focal lengths. The EF-S 60mm f/2.8mm Macro USM lens will give a whole new dimension to the world of plants and insects.
Before you start shooting, you can choose to optimise JPEG images for direct printing or post processing. For ultimate flexibility, it’s JPEG and RAW images will write simultaneously. Canon’s own Digital Photo Professional RAW image processing software gives you more “post-shoot” control over your valuable RAW images.
A USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface will ensure rapid image uploads to your PC and fast direct printing to your PictBridge printer. Once connected directly to any PictBridge compatible printer, you simply hit the ‘Direct Print’ button for a quick, instant print of the displayed image. It is also automatically sized and correctly aligned. The EOS 350D Digital will accept both CF and CF-II cards, including cards with capacities of more than 2GB.
In short, I would say to anyone just coming into digital photography as a keen hobbyist with a suitable budget, this camera is excellent both in terms of value and features.
So the Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT appears to be an awesome camera for the money, if you can afford the extra, you could also consider the Canon EOS 20D although it is a little larger and heavier!
If you are a serious hobbyist who needs something light and portable on your travels, the Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT camera is a gem!