Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D DSLR Preview

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Canon EOS Rebel XSi – Much More Than A Beginner Camera

Canon EOS Rebel XSi Digital SLR

Canon announced their latest entry-level digital SLR, the 12.2-megapixel EOS Rebel XSi, at the annual PMA tradeshow this January. Last week, when Adobe released the update for Lightroom 1.4.1 with support for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi, I decided to see if I could buy one. None of the big online camera dealers listed it as available. But my hunch proved right when I got lucky at my local big box electronics store and snatched up their only XSi kit. I have a mountain bike festival coming up in a week and rather than wait for Canon to send me an XSi, I figured I’d just buy one so I could test it at the bike event.

Canon EOS Rebel XSi - Rear View

My complete Canon EOS Rebel XSi review will take a few weeks to complete. But I made a concerted effort to get some basic testing done so I can give you my first impressions. I haven’t had a chance to do one-to-one comparisons with studio tests from other cameras yet, or make test prints – the ultimate proof of image quality, in my opinion. But I am very impressed with the image quality (please see sample photos and studio tests at end of review) from the new 12-megapixel CMOS sensor. It looks like the Canon EOS Rebel XSi has very usable ISO 800 sensitivity in RAW mode and that’s exciting for me since I shoot a lot of low-light action photography. For photographers who don’t need high sensitivity, it means that ISO 100 is super-creamy and effectively noise-free. The new 14-bit analogue-to-digital conversion means more shades and colors – just like the XSi’s big brothers, the EOS 40D and EOS-1D Mark III. Canon’s new, more powerful DIGIC III imaging processor makes it possible for the XSi to process the higher resolution and larger bit-depth files quickly.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Kit Lens

The XSi’s other important feature is the new kit lens. When I saw the new entry-level EOS Rebel XSi at PMA, my first reaction was that Canon must be feeling some pressure from entry-level DSLRs with built-in image stabilization (Pentax, Olympus, and Sony). And the new image-stabilized EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens effectively makes the XSi an image-stabilized camera. At least it does if you stick with the kit lens, which a lot of entry-level photographers will likely do. Lens performance seems pretty good on my first tests. Color and sharpness are very good for a kit lens and I was able to successfully make handheld shots as slow as 1/10th of a second.

The new XSi also includes Live View; an improved 9-point auto focus system; a faster, 3.5 frames-per-second capture rate; the EOS Integrated Cleaning system, depth-of-field preview, a 4-degree spot meter, and mirror lock-up. With all those serious photography features, it’s hard for me to consider Canon’s entry level digital SLR a “beginner” camera anymore. For more information on the Canon’s new 12.2-megapixel EOS Rebel XSi, read the official press release. And check back for my complete pro review. I’m gonna give this camera the full pro sports event photography treatment. We’ll see how it performs…

Canon EOS Rebel XSi Studio Sample Photos

Canon EOS Rebel XSi Studio Sample Photos ISO 100 Sample >>
ISO 200 Sample >>
ISO 400 Sample >>
ISO 800 Sample >>
ISO 1600 Sample >>

Canon EOS Rebel XSi Sample Photos:
These images are all available at the original resolution. But the thumbnails are linked to smaller versions because the originals are so huge.

Coffee Beans - Canon EOS Rebel XSi High-Res Sample Photo Canon EOS Rebel XSi High-Res Sample Photo Canon EOS Rebel XSi High-Res Sample Photo Wasatch Mountains - Canon EOS Rebel XSi High-Res Sample Photo

Related Content:
Canon EOS Rebel XSi Review Page
Canon EOS Rebel XSi Press Release
All Canon Reviews
All Digital SLR Reviews
Canon Cameras Forum
Digital SLR Forum
Canon Web Site

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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