Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi
by K. Abrecht
Picture taken with my Canon Rebel Xsi
I got my Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi as a graduation present in December 2009. It was purchased through one of the deals presented in the Best Buy Sunday catalogue. It had a packaged deal of a camera bag, the camera, and a telephoto lens. I have been using this camera for about 8 months.
This is my first D-SLR, but I have used film SLRs in the past, notably the Canon EOS Rebel. That being said, it was an easy transition for me to switch from the film Rebel to the digital Rebel as they are both similar in design and function.
The Rebel's design is improved in the digital version, at least for me, in the changed location of the aperture control. You can maintain a good grip on the camera while switching controls.
I use this camera with the kit lens (Canon EFS 18-55 mm) and the Canon EF 75-300 mm zoom telephoto lens that I got in the packaged deal. I find that the standard kit lens performs best outside.
I enjoy the wide range that I get from the zoom, and I appreciate the image stabilizer for shooting freehand. Shooting inside is often difficult, because I tend to not use the camera's flash, as it washes out or puts unflattering light on my subjects.
For snapshots, the camera's flash is fine, but not for achieving warm, flattering light without a filter. Shooting freehand without the flash with the kit lens can often be problematic if there isn't enough available natural light.
The only improvement, it seems, from my EOS Rebel's standard kit lens and the new D-SLR EOS Rebel kit lens is the image stabilizer. The telephoto lens takes great pictures, but I wish it came with the image stabilizer. It's quite hefty for the wrists, so using a tripod is recommended for getting crisp shots.
To me, the lens is more important than the body that you shoot with, and in around 7 years of production, the only step has been the image stabilizer, which is important, but if you want to get the most out of your images, as a professional, it might be wise to invest money in more expensive lenses.
If you are just starting out though, delving into the world of manual photography, I would suggest waiting and learning and getting the most out of the kit lens, because while it does have its limits, it is important to understand what those limits are to be able to need to surpass them.
There is some good news though, in that this EOS Rebel Xsi can use either EFS or EF lenses, so you can use your old lenses on this body. Just don't try to use an EFS lens on an EF only body, because it can break your camera. You
can still get some good shots with the kit lens, so if you are a new buyer, or buying for a beginner photographer, don't be afraid to purchase, and don't necessarily feel pressured by someone to lay down $500+ for those expensive lenses.
If you are on a budget, an easy way to improve lenses is to first learn about how to use natural light, using a tripod for low light situations, then learn about filters and invest in a couple to try out.
As far as how this camera handles in certain conditions and certain shots, as with most SLRs, it is up to the photographer to grasp how to use the camera in those situations.
The shutter speed goes up to 1/4000 with the kit, so there is a fast enough shutter to get great action shots. I've gotten good shots of kids playing sports using panning and quick shutter speeds. The shutter goes to 30" and BULB if you want that type of blur control. This camera has a great range of abilities to control your images.
Something interesting that I haven't fiddled with a lot is the ability to change color modes, not just between black and white and color, but you can control and set different defined color balances. I usually shoot in the "Faithful" style so that I can work with the color in Adobe Photoshop Elements or iPhoto, and so far I've been satisfied with this method.
I have an issue with the focusing capabilities of this camera. I don't like how you can't use auto-focus when you are using the digital "Live View" display, and its pretty difficult to manually focus with your eye when you are looking in the Live View display.
It is expected that you have already focused before you switch to Live View, and I tend to focus and refocus neurotically. Manual focus is okay with old viewfinder technique, as it blinks red when you've got the focus. Otherwise, try to use the viewfinder for shooting, and the Live View display for just reviewing your pictures.
My other critique is that if these cameras are such a bargain anyway, would it hurt to throw in a lens hood? It seems trifling to have to buy one separately.
This camera, like the older EOS, is very good for a novice photographer who wants to advance into being more professional, because it provides both automatic and manual options, as well as a variety of options, like "portrait" mode, to get the professional look without having the know-how. If you want to gain the knowledge to become a better photographer, you have the tools with this camera to accomplish it.
I'm still a Canon girl through and through, as these cameras can't be beat on the price and the potential for great images.