Below is a graph representing the color reproduction and the degree of variance from the ideal. The circles are the colors produced by the camera, while the squares are the ideal. The greater the distance between the two, the less accurate the camera is.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel received a mean saturation score of 111%. The mean saturation is a measure of the overall 'intensity' of the colors produced by the Rebel. Some people prefer more saturated colors because it will make their images vibrant and more intense; however, some do not like it because it is not as accurate. This saturation score is much higher than the Nikon D70.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel is one of the most accurate cameras in color reproduction we have reviewed, receiving a score of 7.91. The colors are numbered 1-24 starting in the upper left corner and moving right row by row. The Rebel is spot on with the green (#14), bluish-green (#6), and cyan (#18) color tiles. The only colors which the Rebel does not reproduce well are the red (#15) and the foliage (#4) color tiles. The red tile is over-saturated, a tendency which many digital cameras follow because it makes skin tones more lively. If you look at the graph above, most colors are accurately produced and I am satisfied with its color performance. This color representation on the Canon Digital Rebel is a great example of how looks can deceive; just because this camera looks a little wimpy doesn't mean it can't run with the big dogs.
Still Life Scene
Below is a picture of our Fauvism-inspired still life scene which we photograph with every digital camera:
Clicking on the above image will open a full resolution version in a new window (CAUTION: The linked file is very large)](../viewer.php?picture=Canon-Digital-Rebel_reallife.jpg)
**Resolution / Sharpness **(5.65)
We test camera resolution using an ISO resolution chart and Imatest Imaging Software. We take multiple test shots and reduce the amount of error in testing. Imatest produces a real resolution number that factors in the optics, image processing, and camera electronics to give a resolution score that represents the actual image captured by the camera.
Canon reports the resolution of the Rebel to be 6.29 megapixels. We got a real resolution score of 5.65 megapixels. This is excellent resolution performance by the Rebel. Comparatively the Nikon D70 received a real resolution score of 4.34 megapixels. The Canon Rebel's real resolution score is 89.8% of what the manufacturer reports, and that is excellent accuracy. We rarely see digital cameras with accuracies above 85%. This compares to the D70's good accuracy of 72.1%.
Noise - Auto ISO*(9.65)
*The Canon EOS Digital Rebel produces vivid images with low noise levels. Generally with a camera such as this, many users will be inclined to manually adjust the ISO rating to get the exposure they desire. However, a fully competent automatic mode is a nice complement to any manually-oriented imager. Users of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel should have no hesitation to try it out, as its automatic ISO setting produces images as clear as any camera we have tested.
Noise - Manual ISO*(9.01)
*For those cameras which provide multiple ISO settings, we test the noise produced at the various ratings under fixed light. The tests are measured using Imatest software, gauging the level of noise present in each image. The graph below is a representation of both the ISO values and a numeric noise reading. The horizontal X-axis is the ISO value and the Y-axis represents the noise level.
The graph above shows the Canon EOS Digital Rebel’s competency at the various ISO settings. While a rise in noise is correlated to higher ISO ratings, each of the Rebel’s individual ISO values provide exceptionally good noise readings. Each of these point values are put into a regression analysis which we turn into an overall noise score. The numeric results and graph show the Rebel’s ability to maintain low noise and provide high ISO ratings, proving the Rebel is a manual user’s delight, with flexibility and quality to back it up.
Speed / Timing
Start-up to First Shot*(7.3)*
I was a bit surprised at how long it took the Canon EOS Digital Rebel to start up. It took 2.7 seconds to turn on completely and shoot an image.
*Shot to Shot Time (9.07)
*SLR digital cameras are not saddled with the same lag problems that other digital cameras have; there is practically no lag in shot-to-shot time. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel performed well, but there was a significant lag in the time it took to write images to the CF card. This is a common criticism with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel that the Nikon D70 doesn't seem to suffer from.
Shutter to Shot Time*(9.19)*
As with shot-to-shot, there is essentially no lag between the shutter being pressed and an image being captured. Quick shooting is one of the defining characteristics of digital SLR cameras, and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel does just as well as the competition.
The Front of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel doesn’t differ much in format from other digital or film SLRs. On the left side of the camera, there is a black handgrip for ease of use and handling. The black material is made of plastic, similar to the rest of the outer shell, but it's more rubbery to enhance gripping ability. Directly to the right of the handgrip is the red-eye reduction/self-timer lamp, which flashes bright white when either of these functions is activated. (The self-timer button is on the top of the camera, and red-eye reduction is turned on or off in the menu.) The largest feature on the front of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is the digital EF-S zoom lens. With an aperture range of f/3.5-5.6, the Digital Rebel’s kit lens reaches from 18mm to 55mm. At the base of the lens is a switch that allows you to switch from auto to manual focus.
Above the lens is a built-in flash that can be popped up or pushed down, depending on your lighting preferences. The built-in flash ranges from 2.3 feet to 30.2 feet, depending on ISO setting and focal range. To manually pop up the flash, you need to hit the flash button to the upper right of the lens. Directly below the flash, to the right of the lens, is a large black button that is used to release the lens from the camera. To use it, you need to press the button and turn the lens to the right until it can pull away from the body. The last button on the front of the Digital Rebel is the Depth of Field button to the bottom right of the lens. When this button is pressed, the camera steps down to the current aperture setting and allows you to see the depth of field through the viewfinder before you press the shutter button.
The back of Canon’s EOS Digital Rebel is laid out very nicely. Along the left side, there are five evenly spaced and easily reachable control buttons: Menu, Information, Jump, Playback, and Trash. If you press any of these buttons once, they will give you options. If you press them again, they will return to record mode. At the top is the Menu button common to most digital cameras. When pressed, the menu appears on the LCD screen and allows you to change various settings and controls. The Info button displays the current camera settings, such as Date/Time, AEB (auto exposure bracketing) amount, WB-BKT (White Balance Auto Bracketing) amount, Processing Parameter Setting, Image review, Image review time, Auto rotate, and ISO speed. The Jump button can be used to skip ahead or behind ten images, allowing quick jumping around without having to click through each image if you have a large amount of images on your card.
The next button down is the Playback button, which allows you to view and scroll through all your images, look at their shooting information (by also pressing the Info button), zoom in to see details, rotate them, and continuously view them in Auto playback. The bottom button in this string is the Erase button. This function, only active in Playback mode, allows you to erase either one image at a time or the entire card at once.
The largest feature on the back of the camera is the LCD screen. This TFT color liquid crystal monitor is 1.8 inches at 118,000 pixels. This is a pretty standard size for an SLR — the 10D is virtually identical — but the Canon LCDs have slightly fewer pixels than the Nikon D70's, at 130,000 pixels. Directly above the LCD is the LCD panel, which displays shutter speed, date/time, battery level, white balance, exposure level, ISO speed, AF point selection, error codes, aperture value, shots remaining, image-recording quality, and other features such as red-eye reduction, single or continuous shooting mode, and self-timer. Above the LCD panel is the viewfinder, with a dioptric adjustment feature to aid in focusing. The rubber piece encasing the viewfinder is removable, allowing the user to attach a cover to prevent extra light from entering.
To the left of the LCD panel are two separate buttons and the four-button cross key set. The top button is the Aperture value/Exposure compensation button, which permits the main control dial to change the aperture value. The other button is the LCD panel illuminator button, useful in situations where it’s too dark to view the camera settings. The four cross key set is important for navigating the Canon EOS Digital Rebel's options. Replacing the large black dial that has appeared on all other Canon Digital SLRs, the four keys allow you to navigate up and down and side to side on menus, with images in playback mode. The top and bottom cross keys have two functions each; the up arrow also functions as an ISO speed set button, and the arrow pointing down functions as a White Balance button. (These two buttons work similar to the Av +/- button in that they activate the function as the main dial is used to change the setting within it.) The Set button in the middle is used as an "okay" or "select" button that allows the user to proceed to the next step of the task. To the bottom right of the four-way navigation is a little light called the Access Lamp. This indicates anything having to do with the CF card: data being written, read, transferred, or erased.
The last two buttons on the back of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel are the in the top right corner of the body. On the left is the AE lock/FE lock button/Index/Reduce button. The AE locks an exposure and the FE (Flash exposure) locks a flash exposure from any scene; both allow you to shift your camera to a different scene while maintaining a desired exposure. In playback mode, this button can be used to view images in an index or zoom out if they have been enlarged or zoomed out. The button on the right is the AF point selector/Enlarge button. In shooting mode, this button helps you choose a specific point in your frame to focus on. In playback mode, it can be used to zoom in on any image.
Left Side ***(7.5)***
The left side of the Canon 300D Digital Rebel is covered with the same black rubbery material that is on the right-hand grip. At the top of the side, there is a strap mount used to attach the included strap. The only other feature is a long rubbery door encasing the Digital, Video Out, and Remote control terminals. The Digital terminal accepts a designated USB cable (included) and can be plugged into any computer to download images. The Video Out terminal connects the camera to a TV with the video cable (included) and allows you to view your images on a large screen. The Remote control terminal accepts an RS-60E3 Remote Switch (optional accessory) which acts as a shutter release cable to prevent camera shake in telephoto or long exposure shots.
Right Side ***(8.0)***
The right-hand side of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel has the grip that is standard on all SLR cameras. Although the size and shape of the grip is standard I didn’t get the satisfaction that one often gets when you’re gripping something really substantial. This is due to the lightweight design of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Within the handgrip, a terminal cover conceals a CF card slot. To open the cover, you need to push the door to the left a little bit and then swing it open. I like this design because it prevents the door from popping open easily. The CF card slides right into the slot and locks into place, requiring you to use the little black eject button to release it again. Above the terminal cover is a strap mount, identical to the one of the left side.
In addition to the built-in flash, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel also has a hot shoe for external flash units. This is a standard feature in all SLRs and some higher-end non-SLRs as well (e.g. the Fuji S7000). To the right of the flash features is the Mode dial. This differs from other SLRs, such as the Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D70, which have their mode dials positioned on the left side of the flash units. Both are easily accessible with your thumb and index finger, but I prefer dials on the right, since I’m right-handed and the other control functions on the Rebel are all located on the right.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel divides the Mode dial functions into two zones: the Creative Zone and the Basic zone, which has a subdivision labeled the Image zone. The Creative Zone has settings that offer more control and flexibility: Program AE (P), Shutter priority AE (Tv), Aperture priority AE (Av), Manual exposure (M), and Automatic Depth-of-field AE (A-DEP). The Basic Zone has fully automatic settings, with six Image Zones within it: Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, and Flash Off.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has an eye-level TTL (Through The Lens) optical viewfinder. Canon boasts 95% coverage, which is pretty good compared to many other digital cameras on the market. It also has a dioptric adjustment dial for clearer viewing. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Nikon D70 both have Pentamirror viewfinders, as opposed to the Pentaprism on the Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D100. The Pentamirror viewfinder uses a set of mirrors to reflect light from the shutter mirror to the digital camera’s eyepiece. This system is cheaper and more lightweight than the glass prism used in previous Canon digital SLRs. The only difference between the two is that the pentamirror viewfinder appears a bit darker due to some light loss.
The LCD screen on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is a TFT liquid crystal monitor with five levels of brightness (adjustable through the Menu). The screen is a standard 1.8 inches and has approximately 118,000 pixels (this is an okay resolution, but looks pretty shabby next to the 130,000 pixels on the Nikon D70’s LCD screen). If you’re not used to digital SLRs, you might be surprised that you cannot use the LCD screen to compose your image. It is only used for menus and playing back images. If you’re coming from a point-and-shoot digital camera, getting used to a viewfinder again might take a while.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a built-in retractable flash unit, as well as a hot shoe for external E-TTL compatible flashes. Although the built-in flash on the EOS Digital Rebel is similar to the one on Canon’s EOS 10D, it extends a bit farther to allow the flash to clear all lenses. In Basic Zone, the flash automatically pops up in dim lighting situations, though not in the Flash Off, Landscape, or Sports settings. In Creative Zone, one needs to press the Flash Button on the front of the camera to engage the flash. The flash range on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel Kit varies according to ISO level and lens focal length.
**Zoom Lens ***(8.0)*
The 18-35mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S lens that comes with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is the first Canon lens made exclusively for digital cameras. Its lightweight plastic body is another place where Canon tried to appeal to users wanting a cheaper, more portable SLR. Although these demands are valid, you can’t bend to them too much without getting a cheaper-looking digital camera. The rear of the lens extends farther than most lenses to fit snuggly into the shutter box close to the sensor. Since this lens is made exclusively for the smaller sized sensor of a digital camera, they won’t work on film cameras. However, any Canon lens can be used on the EOS Digital Rebel. The one catch is the so-called "field of view" crop of 1.6x. Since the sensor on a digital camera is smaller than a 35mm camera, the field of view is 1.6 times larger than on a regular SLR. For example, an 18mm reported lens would actually have a 28.8mm field of view. Despite the scrimping done by Canon to produce a lighter, cheaper lens, the 18-35mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S lens produces nice, clear results and accomplishes the goals Canon was trying to meet.
The zoom on a digital SLR is no different from any other SLR, demonstrated clearly by the fact that lenses are interchangeable between digital and film. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel kit lens ranges from 18mm to 55mm. By adjusting the zoom ring, you can choose between 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 55mm. If you think you will be shooting in situations where you need to get tight, but you can’t get close to your subject, I would suggest getting a lens with a longer zoom range. 55mm is sufficient for a variety of situations, but is limiting for many photographers.
Model Design / Appearance*(7.0)*
The shape and size of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is similar to other film and digital film cameras on the market. The biggest difference, and the target of the most criticism, is the widespread use of plastic in the body. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel feels quite a bit lighter than most digital SLRs. Many consumers find this a positive thing in a digital camera, but those in the SLR market are more concerned with having a substantial camera to hold on to. With this in mind, the Digital Rebel has a greater appeal to both professional and general consumer markets than other SLR cameras. It has the control and quality of a professional camera, yet its sleek silver body and affordable price are attractive to the non-traditional SLR user. This style is not entirely new for Canon; the Rebel Ti film camera has a similar design.
The bottom line is that if I were trying to convince a group of people that I was a hot photographer, I would probably not choose Canon’s Rebel. Unfortunately, its cheaper appearance (though not an indicator of poor performance) doesn’t have the kind of wow effect that a chunky black SLR does.
**Size / Portability ***(7.5)*
Weighing 560 g and measuring 142 mm (w) x 99 mm (h) x 72.4 mm (d), Canon’s EOS Digital Rebel is slightly smaller than other Canon models in the EOS line. I assume that Canon did this with the aim of appealing to a slightly more general market. This size difference isn’t going to change the minds of those who are looking for a really portable camera, but it will certainly be appealing for those who are looking for an SLR but don’t want the bulk. Additionally, one must take into consideration the fact that you can remove the lens and fit the body into a narrow space if need be. This is a feature unavailable on some other high-end non-SLR cameras, such as the Fuji FinePix S7000 or Fuji FinePix S5000.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel Kit comes with the specialized 18-55mm EF-S lens, which is surprisingly lightweight and flimsy. Compared to other Canon lenses, which are notably dense and heavy, the EF-S kit lens made me feel at times like I was playing with a toy. This is not a problem with the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 lens that comes with the Nikon D70 kit. That said, I saw no difference in image quality from the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. In terms of portability, the kit lens is small and easy, but the delicate frame is not likely to withstand a great deal of knocking about.
**Handling Ability ***(8.0)*
The compact size of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is very appealing in terms of handing. For someone who wants a high quality digital camera that is also quick and easy to maneuver, this one is the leader of the pack. Compared with other digital cameras on the professional end, such as the Canon 10D, Canon 1D, Nikon D100, or Nikon D70, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is an easy camera to manage. It would also be a good choice for someone just starting to use SLR cameras. It is not obtrusive and would be the best camera to ease you into more advanced camera use. I would not classify it as a "starter" camera; its performance and quality are competitive on all levels. The overall comfort level with this camera was pretty good. It has evenly distributed weight that makes it easy to handle and hold still in many different shooting situations. In general, with a digital SLR camera you want the handling to be so good that you don’t think about it. This was the case for me with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel.
**Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(8.5)*
The control button scheme on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is quite clever. As with any camera, ease of use will increase as one starts to really know the camera, but the Rebel is easier than many digital cameras in its class. The buttons are all slightly raised, making them easy to locate and operate quickly. The positioning of the buttons aids navigation and prevents awkward fumbling.
Although some features on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel feel rather cheap, I don’t feel the control buttons suffer from cost cuts. Although they are plastic, the buttons on the Rebel are strong and not easily knocked out of place.
I was pretty pleased with the control layout of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Instead of the large navigation dial used on the Canon EOS 10D, the Rebel has the four-way navigation button system (cross keys) used on many other digital cameras, which I find easier to control. Although Canon made some drastic changes to the actual body of the Rebel, Canon stuck with the tried-and-true positioning of the main control buttons and dials. The shutter button and main dial are located at the crest of the right-hand grip, allowing for quick shooting. The mode and On/Off buttons are located on the top right-hand side of the base of the Rebel, easily reached using the thumb or index finger. The buttons on the back of the camera are positioned in a way that allows you to slide your thumb around to access the buttons while still maintaining your strong grip.
The feature that I liked the most on Canon’s EOS Digital Rebel is the location of the Control Panel. With many cameras, including the Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D70, the panel is on the top of the camera, requiring you to pull the camera away and turn the nose in order to check your settings. The Control Panel on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called the LCD panel) is directly above the LCD screen so you can look at images and settings without moving your camera.
The Main Menu on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel has four tabs: Shooting, Playback, Set-up 1, and Set-up 2. Shooting menu lets you adjust Image Quality (RAW, small, medium, large), Red-Eye reduction (on/off), Auto exposure Bracketing, White Balance Auto Bracketing, Beep (on/off), Custom White Balance, and Parameters (Parameters 1, 2, Adobe RGB, Set 1, 2, 3, and Set-Up). Playback menu allows you to protect and rotate your images, choose print order, auto play, review, and select review time. Set-up 1 lets you choose the number of minutes before the camera automatically shuts off (1-30 min.) and gives you the ability to Auto rotate (on/off), change the LCD Brightness (5 levels), set Date/Time, set File numbering (continuous, auto reset), and Format your CF card. Set-up 2 allows you to select one of twelve languages, choose a video system (NTSC or PAL), choose communication (Normal, PTP), clear all camera settings to default, clean the sensors, and display version information. The menus on the 300D Digital Rebel are pretty easy to navigate, making the camera friendly to both low- and high-end users.
**Ease of Use ***(8.0)*
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel falls in a gray area between hardcore digital SLR and amateur camera. It doesn’t have the hard-edged ruggedness of an SLR that you could take around the world and return with still unscathed, but it’s not going to break your arm either. For someone who is coming from Film SLR Land, this is a good camera with which to transition. Its controls and design are similar enough to both film cameras and point-and-shoots that you wouldn’t have to read the manual cover to cover to get the general idea. It would be a more difficult jump to go from a Sony DSC-P100 to the Canon EOS 10D than to the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. It’s designed to be easier, cheaper, and lighter — three features that are attractive to a broad variety of people. The ease of use on the Nikon D70 is pretty similar to the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Both digital cameras are laid out nicely, have evenly distributed weight, and are compact enough to shoot comfortably and hold against your face. These are all qualities that many consumers look for in a solid SLR camera.
**Auto Mode ***(8.0)*
The fully automatic mode on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel takes care of ISO speed, White balance, Focusing, Metering, Drive mode, and Flash. The only options that are available for adjustment are picture quality/size, and the option to turn the Red-eye reduction On or Off. These options (or lack thereof) gives users a break from responsibility and allows them to shoot with ease. It’s nice that Canon gives you this option to balance out the multitude of settings available to tweak in other modes.
**Movie Mode ***(0.0)*
There is no Movie mode available on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. This is a feature common to point-and-shoot digital cameras, but not on SLR digital cameras.**
**Drive / Burst Mode ***(6.5)*
The Drive Mode can be set to Single shot (standard/default), Continuous Shooting, or Self-timer, adjustable by the Drive Mode Selection button on the top of the camera. Continuous shooting mode captures 2.5 frames per second first onto the camera’s internal memory (buffer memory) and then transfers them to the CF card. This allows for shooting to continue while images are being stored, in an effort to increase the shooter’s speed. If the internal memory becomes full, a busy signal will appear on the LCD screen, causing the user to wait a moment before shooting can resume. A common complaint about the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is that its continuous shooting mode is abnormally slow in storing images, which is a real disadvantage when shooting a fleeting moment where time is of the essence.
The self-timer on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel can be used in both Basic and Creative Zones and operates in full automatic. It is set to give you 10 seconds between pressing the shutter button and taking the image. I am definitely surprised that the Digital Rebel doesn’t give the user different time settings to choose from. Most point-and-shoot cameras give at least two options to choose from. The Nikon D70 gives four (2, 5, 10, and 20 seconds)! Although ten seconds is sufficient for most purposes, Canon again limits the user by not offering multiple options.
Most digital SLRs, unlike many point-and-shoot cameras, don’t feature a mode on the main dial called Playback Mode. The digital camera’s Playback mode functions like others, but the camera remains in shooting mode at all times, poised and ready for the next shot. To view images on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel, you simply press the Playback button on the back of the camera. From there, you can click through your images by pressing the forward/backward arrow keys and magnify or view thumbnails (nine images at a time) by using the "enlarge" and "reduce" buttons. If you press the trash button while viewing an image, you have the option of erasing the image you’re on, erasing all the images on the card, or just canceling.
If you push the Info button while in Playback, the image’s information will be displayed. This includes a histogram, exposure and flash exposure compensation amount, aperture value, shutter speed, number of images recorded, recording quality, file number, metering mode, shooting modes, ISO speed, shooting time and time, and white balance.
Another cool function on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is the Jump button. When clicking through your images, you can press the Jump button (located directly under the Playback button) and it will jump backward or ahead nine images to quicken your search for the desired image.
The Playback section in the Menu button holds more options for you to play around with. The Protect option allows you to protect images you’ve taken from accidental erasure when you’re doing fast editing. Next on the Menu is the Rotate option, designed to let you change the orientation of your image by clicking on the arrow keys on the back of the camera. In the Print Order section, you can tell the digital camera which images you want to print (if connected to a printer), what type of image you want (index, standard, or both), and whether to include the date and file number. Next is Auto Play, which allows you to view images in a continuous slide show. If you hook your camera up to a TV (using the included video cable and the Auto Play function), you can view your images in a show on a larger scale. The one feature that I felt was lacking on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel was the ability to crop images while in Playback. This feature is present on many other digital cameras and its absence will be disappointing for those who are used to it. However, you do have the option of trimming your image while in printing mode.
**Custom Image Presets ***(7.5)*
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has seven different automatic functioning modes within the Basic Zone. These modes are pretty standard and appear on most other digital SLR cameras. The Portrait mode assumes there will be one subject in the foreground and automatically blurs the background of the image to make the subject stand out. The Landscape mode is intended for wide expansive scenes, and the Close-up mode is designed for macro shots of flowers, insects, et cetera. Sports mode is designed to capture fast-moving subjects or objects, using focus tracking to make sure the subject is in focus. The Night Portrait is designed for twilight scenes. In this mode the subject is illuminated with the flash, while the slow shutter synch captures detail in the background as well. The Flash Off mode allows you to disable the built-in flash and gives you a chance to use other light sources within the scene. I like how Canon divided it up into different levels of control. I think this system is more user friendly to non-SLR users, who might be afraid of getting lost in manual control settings and not know how to get themselves out. The Basic Zone still gives them the flexibility to be creative without having to know everything about manual photography. This mode system on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is very similar to the Digi-Vari automatic mode in the Nikon D70, offering various modes to accommodate for different levels of knowledge.
Compared to many point-and-shoot cameras these options are wimpy, but one has to keep in mind that the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is not aimed at the point-and-shoot audience. Canon put more emphasis on providing manual controls on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and assumes their users will not need too many preset options.
**The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a wealth of controls available for the user. The following functions: Manual focus, ISO, White Balance, Exposure, Metering, Shutter speed, and Aperture are accessed through external buttons or dials for easy adjusting during shooting.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a seven-point TTL (through the lens) automatic focus system with a the same CMOS sensor used in the Canon EOS 10D. The Canon Digital Rebel has three main automatic focusing options: One Shot AF, Al Servo AF, and Al Focus AF. One shot AF (available in Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, and A-DEP modes) makes sure the image is in focus before it allows the shot to be taken, and locks the exposure setting determined by the camera. Al Servo AF (only usable in Sports Mode) tracks moving subjects and sets the exposure for the shot at the same time. Al Focus AF (available in Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Flash Off Modes) is a clever little function that changes back and forth between the previous AF modes, depending on the subject.*
*The kit lens on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a small tab that allows you to switch from Automatic to Manual focus. Once this is activated, you can focus by adjusting the dial on the very end of the lens. (Don’t try to focus manually while the camera is in Automatic Focusing mode. The lens is jerky and will only frustrate you!) I wish that this lens had a focusing ring to aid in manual focus; it is a bit awkward to adjust at the tip of the lens.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has three Metering Modes: Evaluative, Partial, and Centerweighted Average metering. Although different cameras have their own versions, this is a pretty typical setup for a digital SLR. Evaluative Metering is the standard (automatically set for all modes except Manual) for the Digital Rebel and is applicable to most situations, including backlit subjects. The camera evaluates the composition based on the background, subject’s position, front and back lighting, and camera orientation, and proceeds to set the appropriate exposure. Partial Metering uses about 9% of the screen and is useful in extreme backlighting situations. This metering system is only available in the Creative Zone and can be set automatically when the camera is in AE lock. Centerweighted Average metering is only available in Manual mode and automatically weights metering at the center of the image and averages it for the whole image.
I was really surprised to learn that, aside from toggling back and forth between Evaluative and Partial metering in the Creative Zone, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel doesn’t allow you to choose your metering system. This is really limiting, especially for such a celebrated SLR digital camera. I have used many lower-end point-shoot-cameras that give you the option of choosing a metering mode. Most notably, the Manual mode, in which you should have the most control and flexibility, only gives you the option of Centerweighted Average metering. Although the Nikon D70 offers three similar metering modes, it gives you the option of choosing between them depending on your tastes and style, something that the Canon EOS Digital Rebel fails to do.
In situations where the metering on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is inaccurate, you can adjust in 1/3 intervals from -2 to +2 by pressing the Exposure Compensation button and rotating the mode dial. The range is common for point-and-shoot cameras, but is pretty poor compared to the -5 to +5 range offered by the Nikon D70.
White Balance adjusts the digital camera’s settings to compensate for different lighting temperatures that give images unnatural color casts. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel’s white balance settings include Automatic, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy/Twilight/Sunset, Flash, White Fluorescent Light, Tungsten Bulb, and Custom. These are pretty standard settings for an SLR; the Nikon D70 offers very similar features in its white balance mode. In the Digital Rebel’s Basic Zone, Automatic White Balance is the only option available, but for most people this will do a sufficient job. Each digital camera has a different way of setting Custom (or Pre-set) White Balance, and some can be difficult and frustrating. I like the way Canon Digital Rebel handles this feature. Instead of having to hold a "true white" card in front of the lens while pressing multiple buttons, you can simply take an image of a white-balanced card, and the camera will take the reading off the image you chose. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel also has an Auto White Balance Bracketing function (accessible through the Menu), in which three different white-balanced images can be taken in one shot. Similar to exposure bracketing, this function allows you to choose the best image of the three.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has 5 different ISO speeds, allowing you to choose among 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 in Manual Mode and 100-400 in Basic Automatic Mode. The ISO level is an indication of sensitivity to light. Higher ISO speeds suggest better sensitivity, useful for fast-moving subjects or low light situations. Compared to the low-end cameras, this is a good range to choose from, but the Canon Rebel’s arch-nemesis, the Nikon D70, offers twice as many ISO speeds to choose from. Keep in mind, however, that the lowest ISO offered by the Nikon D70 is 200, which is a real disadvantage.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has an electronic focal plane shutter that ranges from 30 seconds to 1/4000 of a second, with a Bulb mode and remote control capabilities. This is a sufficient speed range for most individuals, although not as impressive as the Nikon D70, which reaches up to 1/8000 sec. It gives the Rebel the flexibility to shoot long exposures in low light as well as fast-moving subjects. The shutter speed values are displayed in the LCD panel on the back of the camera and are adjusted by rotating the mode dial. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel doesn’t come with a remote control, but it is compatible with Remote Switch RS-60E3 and Remote Controller RC-5/RC-1, available separately.
If you buy the Canon EOS Digital Rebel Kit, you will receive an 18-55mm lf/3.5/5.6 EF-S lens. This indicates that, in a wide angle (18mm), the apertures ranges from f/3.5-f/22. Zoomed in (at 55mm), the aperture ranges from f/5.6-f/22. I would not suggest this lens if you think you will be shooting under many low light situations. F/3.5 doesn’t allow you to open up your aperture far enough to take quality shots with ambient light dim situations.
**Picture Quality / Size Options ***(8.0)*
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel offers the following options for image size: Large (3,072 x 2,048), Medium (2,048 x 1,360) and Small (1,536 x 1,024) each giving the option of Fine (low compression) and Normal (high compression). The Canon EOS Digital Rebel also gives a RAW format recording option, which records exactly what the sensor sees. This file is compressed to a smaller size, but does not lose any data in the compression process. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel also includes an embedded JPEG format that can be extracted using the included software.
Picture Effects Mode*(8.0)*
Within the Camera section of the Menu, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel gives you six different options for processing parameters: Parameter 1 & 2, Adobe RGB, and Set 1, 2, & 3. These settings allow you to process your images to be more vivid or subdued. Images in the Basic Zone are all taken in Parameter 1, which creates bold and vivid colors. Parameter 2 and Adobe RGB generate more subdued colors than 1. Adobe RGB is used mainly for commercial printing, allowing the photographer or printer to tweak the image to obtain ideal results. This mode is mainly useful to those who are familiar with advanced image processing techniques. The Set 1, 2, and 3 options allow to you set and save your own parameters by adjusting contrast, sharpness, saturation, and color tone within the Menu Mode.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel does not offer Black-and-White or Sepia tone options that many point-and-shoot cameras offer, though you have the option of changing images in the included software. I prefer to shoot this way because you can always go back to the original image if you do not like how it looks with a different effect.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel comes with a software package almost identical to that of the Canon EOS 10D. The first CD included in the kit is Canon’s Digital Solution Version 6.0. This package is equipped with the tools to help you download your pictures, process RAW files, and manage your images. The other CD that comes in the bundle is Adobe Photoshop Elements. This version of Photoshop is slimmed down to be more accessible to a broad audience, but still has tons of editing options for your own little digital darkroom, by far one of the best software options available.
Jacks, ports, plugs *(8.0)*
There are three terminals housed along one side of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. The DIGITAL terminal can be used to connect to a computer or directly to a printer using an IFC-300PCU Interface cable (included). The Video Out terminal is used to connect the Canon EOS Digital Rebel to a TV monitor using a VC-100 Video Cable (included). The Remote Control terminal hosts a Remote Switch RS-60E3 (sold separately) with a two-foot cord, allowing the user to take shots without experiencing camera shake in delicate shooting situations.
Direct Print Options*****(8.0)*
To print images directly from the Canon EOS Digital Rebel, you must have access to a Canon Card photo printer or a Bubble Jet printer as well as the standard PictBridge printing system. When connected to a compatible printer, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel allows you to specify which image or images are to be printed, how many, the size of the images, printing style (with or without borders, date On/Off), and area, where you have the option of trimming or cropping the image.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel kit does not ship with a memory card, so consumers will have to build the additional purchase into the total cost. The camera accepts CompactFlash media, which is favorable to many DSLR users because it is large and sturdy, feeling far more substantial than SD or xD cards. It’s also one of the more common cards out there, meaning you can use it with multiple digital cameras.
The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has four image quality settings: Raw and Small, Medium, and Large JPEG files. The different options are in the Menu under Quality. Within each of these settings, you can decide between a fine or normal compression rate. Lower compression rates give higher quality images, but the file sizes are larger. The user needs to decide which is more valuable: more space, or better images.
There are a host of accessories available for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. As an alternative to the single BP-511 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, you can purchase a Battery Grip BG-E1 that accommodates 2 BP-511 or BP-512 batteries. A semi-hard Canon EH-16L case can be purchased to fit the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and its 18-35mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S lens. If you plan to do macro shots, EX-series Macro Lites are designed to enhance your lighting effects. For situations in which you wish to avoid camera shake or would like to stand away from the camera to take a picture, you can purchase a RC-5 Remote Controller or a RS-60E3 Remote Switch.****
With all comparisons set aside, the fact that the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is a high quality digital SLR camera under $1000 makes it a smoking deal. It has many of the features that the Canon EOS 10D has, and increased portability that rivals even some point-and-shoot cameras. It was, and still is, a significant and defining camera in the market, holding its own despite the fierce competition.
***Canon EOS 10D-- *Although the Canon EOS Digital Rebel ($899 body only) is a newer digital SLR in the Canon EOS series it is not a replacement for the much larger Canon EOS 10D ($1299 body only). The Canon EOS Digital Rebel is slimmed down to be more suited for a lower-end market, but the two cameras do have many of the same features. The biggest and most noticeable difference between the two Canon digital SLR cameras is their size. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (body only) measures 142 x 99 x 72.9 mm, (1,024,828 mm³, 560 g) compared to the Canon EOS 10D measuring 149.7 x 107.5 x 75 mm (1,206,956 mm³, 790 g). This is a pretty sizable difference that can have a big impact when shooting. Another significant difference is the composition of the camera’s body. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel is made of the somewhat-controversial magnesium alloy stainless steel, as opposed to the thick plastic body on the Canon EOS 10D. Some features of the Canon EOS 10D that the Canon EOS Digital Rebel lacks are color temperature settings, 3 fps (frames per second) continuous shooting, ISO settings up to 3200 speed, selectable AF modes, and several auto focus options. The compact size and affordable price are two of the star features of this digital SLR, and will be the deciding factors when choosing between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Canon EOS 10D. If you’re looking for a camera on a budget and are keen on portability, then the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is for you. If those factors don’t matter than much to you I don’t see many reasons why you shouldn’t spring for the Canon EOS 10D to assure durability, quality, and flexibility.
[Nikon D70*](../content/Nikon-D70-Digital-Camera-Review.htm)-- *When the Canon EOS Digital Rebel first came onto the market in 2003, it was a groundbreaking feat to get a digital SLR below the $1000 mark. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel blew the existing competition away with its price and size, but not for long. This year, the introduction of the Nikon D70 ($999 body only) has given Canon a run for their money, and probably sent them back to the drawing board. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Nikon D70 both have lightweight bodies and are pretty comparable in size. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel measures 142 x 99 x 72.9 mm, (1,024,828 mm³, 560 g) whereas the Nikon D70 is slightly larger at 140 x 111 x 78 mm, (1,212,120 mm³, 595 g). The two competitors share a number of features and settings, such as a 6 megapixel count, white balance options, exposure and white balance bracketing, pentamirror viewfinders, compact flash use, and PictBridge compatibility. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel surpasses the Nikon D70's capabilities with a 100 ISO speed, fine-tunable white balance settings, a 35 zone metering system, and a 7-point AF system. The Nikon D70 excels with its higher LCD screen resolution, increased preset parameters, increased exposure compensation, adjustable AF mode, record fast start-up time, 3 frames per second capture rate (Canon EOS Digital Rebel only has 2.5 fps), adjustable second self-timer options (2-20, as opposed to Canon’s single ten-second setting!), and AF assist white lamp. (The Canon EOS Digital Rebel requires the flash to be open for AF assistance.) In terms of performance, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel produces much better color and resolution results, but the Nikon D70 surpasses Canon EOS Digital Rebel in many control areas. This said, the two cameras are pretty comparable in terms of size, quality, and price. What does it come down to? If you are stumped at this point in your search, go down to your local store and check them both out. It might come down to preference, feeling, or a sign from the gods. Personally I’m attracted to Nikon’s sleek body and flexibility, but can't discount the incredible quality produced by the little plastic Digital Rebel.
Who It's For
***Point-and-Shooters--***Out of all the digital SLR cameras on the market, I would say the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is the most accessible to the point-and-shooter. That said, it’s not the kind of camera you can pick up and learn how to use well in a few minutes. For many people, it’s too much camera to deal with and too much bulk to schlep around. There are plenty of other cameras out there for people just interested in snapshots.
Budget Consumers--****If you’re looking for a cheap everyday camera, this one is not your best deal. At close to $1000, you can do way better if money is your biggest concern. However, if you’re on a budget and you want an SLR, you can’t get any better than the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. It is without a doubt the cheapest digital SLR on the market. It even blows the Nikon D70 away when looking solely at price.
*Gadget freaks-- *Most gadget freaks will be pleased with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel because it packs a whole host of controls into a small sleek body. There are plenty of fun toys to play with and a variety of accessories to augment the kit package.
Manual control freaks--****If you’re a control freak, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is definitely a camera to check out. Compared to most digital cameras, it has more options than most people would know what to do with, but compared to other digital SLRs, it leaves something wanting. If you want all the control you can get, I would suggest going the next step higher to the Canon EOS 10D, or into the professional Canon line.
Pros / serious hobbyists-- Even though the Canon EOS Digital Rebel is appealing to those on the lower end of the digital camera spectrum, that doesn’t mean it can’t please the serious shooters as well. The quality was not stripped away with price and weight of this digital camera, making it still competitive with the other big boys of the SLR world.
**After a year on the market, Canon’s answer to the sub-$1000 digital SLR demand still holds its own. It defined the newest amateur class of digital SLR cameras and paved the way for many cameras to come. Bringing along some of the best qualities of the Canon EOS 10D, such as the CMOS sensor, 6 megapixel resolution, and 35 zone metering system, and adding choice features such as light weight, portability, and great value, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel brings a lot to the table. I would recommend this camera to people who want a quality digital SLR camera, affordable pricing, and a reputable name. It is probably not the best choice for someone competing with high-end professional photographers, but it is certainly a stepping stone into the greater world of photography. If you’re not in competition with the big dogs and would like a smart camera to take great photos and challenge your abilities, I wouldn’t cross the Canon EOS Digital Rebel off your list. If you’re stumped on how you feel about the Canon EOS Digital Rebel compared to the Nikon D70, what’s stopping you from running out and putting them in your hands? It might come down to how it feels to you.
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