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Canon Rebel XS DSLR Review

Although, digital SLR cameras have redefined photography, until five years ago they were meant only for professionals. For the average person, they were quite exorbitantly priced. When Canon launched its EOS 300D five years ago, it shot to fame, as the 300D (Rebel) was preferred by many as an affordable solution.

After launching the 350D (Rebel XT) and the 400D (Rebel XTi), Canon hit upon the 450D, or the Rebel XSi, which gave exceptional photos at a cheaper price. When competitors responded by downgrading their existing cameras, Canon once again attempted to come to the fore with its downgraded model, the EOS 1000D, as it was known in Europe, and later came to be known as the Kiss F Digital or the Rebel XS in the U. S. Canon touted the Rebel XS as its entry level camera. In this review the 1000D is referred to as the XS.

The XS basically features a 10 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor. These sensors are comparatively smaller than the conventional 35mm sensors. They give great image resolution but lose out on wide angle. This means that a 50mm lens will give a viewability of an 80mm lens (narrower). To compensate this, the XS is fitted with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens kit. The characteristic feature of this lens kit is that it fits close to the image sensor with just enough space for the mirror to flip away. This gives a wider angle and multiplies the focal length by 1.6x. In addition to this the lens kit also has good image stabilizing abilities.

The 7-point user-defined wide area autofocus operates around 5 horizontal points across the viewfinder and two vertical points that are aligned with the centre point. The AF points light up and then blink showing the user which points are being focused on. These points may not always be noticed by the viewer, while for some they may even be distracting. The DIGIC III image processor allows continuous JPEG shooting at 3fps. The Live View feature comes with both contrast detection and phase detection AF. There is a provision for storing photos on SD or SDHC memory cards. The pop-up flash gives a good range of 12 feet for good exposure.

Although Canon’s 450D was launched after the 400D, it was amazingly ahead in specifications. This means that even after downgrading the 450D to XS, the XS is ahead of the 400D. Therefore, the XS falls somewhere between the 400D and the 450D. What are the features of the 450D that have been compromised? Feel wise, the rubbery hand and thumb grip of the 450 has been reduced to a rough plastic one. The screen size has been reduced from 3.0” to 2.5”, but the buttons and their layout are almost the same. Auto focus has been reduced from 9-point to 7-point. The other differences are minor ones.

Nevertheless, the Rebel XS looks and feels great. The buttons are designed and placed in such a way that the controls can be efficiently manipulated even in the dark, and that too with one hand. Moreover, the buttons are dedicated to important functions such as white balance and ISO speed. The front side has the flash release button that allows the flash to pop up. The depth of field preview button enables the user to see  how much in focus the background and foreground is. The display modes allow the user to view photos in 1:1 magnification as well as thumbnails. The EF/EF-S mount allows a wide variety of compatible lens to be used. The sensor has a self-cleaning mechanism for speck-free pictures. The My Menu option allows you to create shortcuts to the frequently used menu options to avoid going up and down through the different menu levels as in the 450D.

The XS does better than most of its siblings and takes photos that spell quality. Due to the high ISO sensitivity it takes great pictures even in poor lighting, which are on par with the 450D. At $630, the Canon Rebel XS is cheaper than the 450D, and beats most of its competitors that come within this price range.

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