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**Size Comparisons **


The T1i is part of Canon's extremely successful Rebel line of entry-level cameras, and the first Rebel to offer video capabilities. For comparison models, we've chosen the lowest priced Rebel model (the XS), Nikon's new sub-$1000 SLR with video recording (the D5000), the slightly higher end Nikon D90 (which also has video recording capability), and the inexpensive Pentax K2000. These four cameras give a good cross-section of the current market for consumer SLRs, with varying levels of functionality.

**In the Box **


CANON-T1I-boxshot.jpg

• EOS Rebel T1i Body

• EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

• Eyecup Ef

• C. Wide Strap EW-100DBIII

• USB Interface Cable IFC-200U

• AV Cable AVC-DC400

• Battery Pack LP-E5

• Battery Charger LC-E

• EOS Digital Solution Disk and Instruction Manuals

• 'Great Photography is Easy' Booklet and 'Do More with Macro' Booklet

**Color Accuracy ***(15.56) *


The Canon Rebel T1i was very accurate, especially with greens, oranges and flesh tones. Canon cameras in general tend to have excellent color reproduction, and the T1i is no exception, scoring above every camera in our comparison group except the Rebel XS.

To test color accuracy, we first determine which is the most accurate of the camera's color modes (in this case, Faithful), and then photograph the X-Rite ColorChecker chart under fixed 3000 lux illumination. We then run analyses on these pictures using Imatest software, which measures the recorded photo's variance from the known colors of the chart. Keep in mind that this test isn't looking at the most dynamic or exciting color, but rather which is the closest to the actual values. Click here for more on how we test color.

 

 

*NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

*

The T1i outperformed all the other camera in the group bar the Rebel XS (though only barely pipping the Nikons). In Faithful shooting mode, you can expect images that have color very close to what you saw through the viewfinder, with realistic hue and saturation.

Related content

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

Color Modes*(4.00)*


The T1i has five 'Picture Styles' (Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral and Faithful) as well as monochrome, and three user definable settings. The customized entries are controlled by taking a supplied Picture Style and altering its settings for sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone (this last one will make skin tones more red or yellow along an axis). If the custom setting is based off monochrome, the saturation and color tone can't be altered, but instead filter effect and toning effects can be added. The filter effects mimic adding a colored filter film (yellow, orange, red or green) to black and white and toning effects add a color wash to the image (sepia, blue, purple or green).

Of the color modes, Standard was slightly oversaturated, and was quite inaccurate in reproducing pinks and red, though blues and greens came out well. Portrait was significantly oversaturated, and was far from the known values for dark greens and reds. Landscape mode exaggerated blues and reds massively, and produced noticeable changes in oranges and greens in an effort to to make exciting skies and foliage. Neutral and Faithful were both very close to the ideal color values, though neutral was slightly less accurate on pinks and reds.

 

*NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

*

Long Exposure*(10.42)*


The long exposure test looks at both color accuracy and image noise at reduced light levels. The T1i performed slightly below average in this category, only beating the Pentax K2000, which had really struggled on this test.

This test looks at color accuracy and image noise at light levels of 20 lux or below, at exposures ranging from one to 30 seconds. We also compare how these factors are influenced by long exposure noise reduction. This feature takes a second exposure after the first, but with the lens shut, then takes the noise data from the second and subtracts it from the first. In our experience, it does almost nothing. [Click here for more on how we test long exposure.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#longexposure)

The graph above shows the color error across the shutter speeds, so a smaller line is better. The T1i struggles a little here, especially towards the 10 and 15 second margin. The noise reduction doesn't have much of an effect.

The noise levels stay a hair below one percent in this test, once again a little poorer than most other cameras in our test group, but not horrible. The noise reduction system actually boosted measured image noise at most shutter speeds, and doubles the amount of time it takes to shoot a photo. The chart below shows that the T1i scored lower than most other cameras, but by a relatively small margin.

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

Noise*(6.54)*


The noise levels on the Rebel T1i were a little higher than most cameras. It wasn't very bad, but obviously squeezing 15-megapixels into the sensor have raised the noise levels a bit, putting it a touch worse than the Rebel XS and Nikon D90, but slightly better than the Pentax K2000. Turning on noise reduction mitigated this problem a little, but at the cost of losing a bit of image sharpness.

The noise test involves shooting the X-Rite ColorChecker chart at every available ISO that isn't part of the 'extended range'. From these images we calculate the amount of noise at each level of noise reduction using Imatest software. [Click here for more on how we test noise.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#noise)

 

With noise reduction turned off, the noise levels were a bit on the high side, hitting just over 2% at ISO 3200, though this is brought down to 1% if you crank the noise reduction all the way up. If any level of noise reduction is used, the noise is kept below 1% up to ISO 800, which is respectable.

The graph above shows the different levels of noise between red, green, blue and luma (gray). Usually, these are very tightly grouped together; the T1i is unusual in having lower yellow and green noise levels than other types.

The noise levels on the T1i ran a little higher than most others with the noise reduction turned off, especially above ISO 1600, where it ran above all the comparison cameras. Below 1600, that honor went to the Pentax K2000's, with the T1i in second.

Once the noise reduction filter was set to its highest level, the T1i effectively reduced its noise levels to the point where it was lower than most other cameras. However, our scoring is based on overall performance, resulting in a ranking slightly below the competition.

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

ISO*(6.00)*


The official ISO range on the Rebel T1i runs from 100 to 3200, but has an extended range that reaches up to ISO 12,800.

In the table below are same-size crops taken from still life photos shot with each of the comparison cameras at all standard ISO settings.

 

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

Resolution*(5.83)*


The Rebel T1i surprised us by scoring very poorly on our resolution test, specifically in terms of sharpness. Yet even after testing multiple bodies and lenses, the inescapable fact appeared that images taken with the Rebel T1i are much softer than they should be. To test this accurately, we photograph a resolution chart at three focal lengths, with three apertures at each distance. From these photos, we ascertain image sharpness and chromatic aberration across nine areas of the lens, as well as distortion. Click here for more on how we test resolution.

Distortion

The distortion wasn't bad for this lens, floating below half a percent pin-cushioning at 37mm and 55mm. At 18mm it was significantly more noticeable, and a little on the high side at 2.8% barreling.

We were disappointed by the T1i's sharpness performance, across the entire gamut of focal lengths and apertures. Where most cameras will have a maximum line widths per picture height result of over 1500, the T1i peaked at 1360, with an average of only 868 line widths, and a minimum of around 550. This is much lower than we normally see. We suspected the poor results might be due to a hardware problem and asked Canon to supply us with a second camera that the company had tested to insure it was performing up to spec. In our retesting, though, the sharpness results didn’t improve.

The chromatic aberration wasn't bad though, generally on par with what we see on most inexpensive kit lenses.

At 18mm, the lens was at its sharpest, dead center with an aperture of f/3.5, though f/9 wasn't bad either. At this focal length, the sharpness tends to drop off the further from the center of the lens we tested. We saw the maximum chromatic aberration at this focal length at f/3.5, which was significantly higher than at any other setting. This patch of trouble occurred midway between the center and edge of the lens.

At 37mm, f/29 the image is decidedly on the soft side, never topping 700 line widths per picture height, but as the aperture opens, the overall sharpness improves. At this focal length the chromatic aberration isn't too bad;  again, the f/29 setting causes the most trouble.

Once at the widest focal length, the really narrow apertures (in this case f/36) produce the absolute lowest sharpness we've seen, bottoming at a miserable 540 line widths per picture height. At this focal length, the chromatic aberration results are some of the lowest seen on this camera.

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

Picture Quality & Size Options*(8.75)*


The T1i can shoot images in RAW, JPEG or both. JPEGs can be set to high or low quality settings in the three sizes listed below.

 

Dynamic Range*(5.65)*


The T1i was decidedly lackluster in the dynamic range test, showing a marked decline after ISO 200, which gave it the lowest score among our comparison cameras. Dynamic range is a measure of a camera's ability to capture detail in both bright and dark areas of the same photo, so that detail is not lost into the shadows.

We test dynamic range by photographing a Kodak Stepchart at all available ISOs, and use Imatest to analyze the range of gray steps the camera captures. [Click here for more on how we test dynamic range.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#dynamicrange)

 

The Rebel T1i had a dynamic range of nearly seven stops at ISOs 100 and 200, but then it dropped off rapidly at the higher sensitivities.

Compared to other cameras at ISO 200, the T1i did worse than any of the others except the Pentax K2000, which in turn performed much better at higher ISOs. Overall, this is a disappointing result, and rightly puts the T1i at the bottom of the pack for this test.

The Rebel T1i has a d-range optimizer function called 'Highlight Tone Priority'which will improve dynamic range, but may result in higher image noise.

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

Image Stabilization*(6.62)*


The T1i uses lens-based image stabilization, and shooting with the 18-55mm kit lens, we experienced mixed results. When it improved the resolution of captured photos it did so quite well, but is was a bit of a crapshoot as to when it that improvement would take place. Also, the T1i's overall sharpness problem meant that a relatively minor improvement resulting from image stabilization could be interpreted as a significant percentage improvement in our testing.

To test the capabilities of the image stabilization system, we shoot a slanted-line target at a number of shutter speeds, with Image Stabilization on and off, testing separately for horizontal and vertical stabilization. Our specially designed rig has two levels of vibration, a high shake setting that approximates the shake you’d find when shooting with one hand or when moving, and the low shake setting that’s close to what you would experience when standing still and holding the camera securely. [Click here for more on how we test image stabilization.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#imagestabilization)

The charts above show the effectiveness of stabilization at our lower shake speed. While horizontally, it generally seems that the stabilization system will improve results, if only slightly, vertically the stabilization makes matters worse up until 1/15 of a second, where it produced a huge improvement.

At the higher shake speeds, image stabilization seems slightly more effective horizontally, though not at really high shutter speeds. Vertically the results are mixed, but stabilization never makes a huge difference one way or the other.

We only have stabilization data for two of the four comparison cameras, which are listed below. The T1i scores comparatively well in this section, but this is in part due to the relatively large percentage jump a small improvement produces when the top resolution is low to begin with, which is the case here.

The crops below show the affect of the stabilization at various shutter speeds and shake levels.

White Balance*(8.64)*


In white balance accuracy, the T1i performed below expectations, both in automatic and custom modes. The camera's automatic WB performance was hindered by significant trouble handling incandescent illumination, and with custom white balance, it didn't measure up to our high expectations for this feature.

We test white balance using the X-Rite Judge II, a device that produces light of the same color temperature as sunlight, compact white fluorescent bulbs and incandescent/tungsten bulbs. We photograph the X-Rite ColorChecker chart under these light sources using both automatic and custom white balance settings, and measure the deviance from pure white/gray. Click here for more on how we test white balance.

 

Automatic White Balance (10.12)

All cameras struggle with incandescent light sources, but the Rebel T1i seems to do have more trouble than most. It accurately adjusted for compact white fluorescent and dealt with daylight well enough, but the poor handling of incandescent illumination dragged down its score in this section.

Compared to other tested cameras, the T1i was  cooler than most with daylight illumination, leaving a slight blue shift in the image.

Even though all white balance systems struggle with incandescent light sources, the T1i was especially bad, with a color error of over 2800K.

Dealing with a compact white fluorescent bulb, the Rebel T1i handled marginally better, but cooler than most.

 

Custom White Balance (7.16)*

Taking a reading off a gray card allows for much greater white balance accuracy,  so we score much more aggressively in this section, demanding a high degree of color accuracy.

The T1i was surprisingly inaccurate in its custom white balance performance. While only a demanding photographer is likely to notice the difference, other tested cameras, even those sold at lower prices, deliver significantly more accurate results.

Overall, the T1i scored poorly in this test, as trouble with incandescent dragged down the automatic white balance results, and custom white balance was not as accurate as competing models.

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

White Balance Settings*(7.25)*


 

Canon uses a cumbersome custom white balance system that requires you to take a reading from a stored image, instead of directly from a white or gray card.

The white balance presets can be adjusted along both amber/blue and green/magenta axes, in ±9 steps in each direction. Each step is the equivalent of five mireds (a unit that measures shift in color temperature).

The camera can bracket white balance along either amber/blue or green/magenta axes, with ±1, ±2 or ±3 steps over three shots.

Sample Photos


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Life Examples


The following images are from our Still Life, and can be clicked on for larger versions in a new window, though this may take some time to load due to image size. These show the performances at the extended ISO range for each camera, and the noise levels you are likely to see.

 

*NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

*

Noise Examples


In the table below are same-size crops taken from still life photos shot with each of the comparison cameras at all standard ISO settings.

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

Playback Mode*(10.50)*


During playback mode, image magnification is controlled via the two buttons at the upper right of the camera back. Images can be magnified up to 10x, and once zoomed in, you can navigate between files at the same magnification using the control dial. Zooming out takes you to a four-image thumbnail view, and then to nine thumbnails.

When browsing images, the control dial defaults to jumping 10 images at a time, but this can be altered to instead scroll through 100 images at a time, or just one, to shift through files by date, just still images or just movies.

Pressing the display button during playback alters the level of information shown on the LCD. It goes from just the image, image plus recording quality, shooting information and brightness histogram and finally brightness and RGB histograms.

Videos can be played back in-camera at full speed, at one of five slow motion speeds or frame by frame.

The T1i has a built-in slide show function, which shows either selected files, all files, files from a certain date, only movies or only still images. The only transition options are how long to spend on each file, and if to repeat. There are no transition effects or music.

In-Camera Editing*(1.00)*


We were surprised that the Rebel T1i has almost no editing controls. The only alteration that can be made to the image is rotation. No resizing, cropping, red-eye reduction or dynamic range adjustment. While we understand that SLR users are more likely to use their computers to edit the files, this is still comparatively feature barren.

Software*(8.00)*


The T1i comes bundled with a number of programs in both Windows and Macintosh versions, some of which are very useful (Camera Window), others less so (EOS Utility).

 

Direct Print Options*(7.00)*


 

Sensor*(3.00)*


The T1i has a 15-megapixel 22.3x14.9mm CMOS sensor, with a built in sensor cleaning system that activates when the camera is turned off. If the cleaning doesn't successfully shake loose all the dust particles on the sensor, a photo can be taken of a white background in order for the camera to register the dust location, which can then be removed digitally with the Canon Digital Photo Professional software provided with the camera.

CANON-5DMKII-sensorsize.jpg

The Canon crop factors

The T1i has an APS-C sized sensor, which is significantly smaller than the 35mm full-frame sensor used on the likes of the Canon 5D Mark II, and slightly smaller than the APS-H format sensor which is found on the Canon 1D line. The smaller sensor creates a 'crop factor,'  where you multiply the focal length of a lens by this factor to get the equivalent focal length for a 35mm sensor. With 15 megapixels squeezed into a small sensor, noise levels and dynamic range tend to be worse.

 

Viewfinder*(9.00)*


TheT1i viewfinder offers 95% field of view at 0.87x magnification and a diopter range of -3 to +1 m-1. A nice touch on the viewfinder is the small proximity sensor placed right beneath it, which turns off the LCD as you put your face up to  the camera.

CANON-T1I-viewfinder.jpg

*Those two black rectangles are

the proximity sensors*

The view through the eyepiece is shown below, with shooting information details noted.

The T1i comes with a eyecup cover attached to the neck-strap, which is used to cover the viewfinder to prevent light leaks during tripod photography. It's nice that they include this on an entry-level model, but you have to remove the eye-cup to use the cover, which is a pain to remove, and it's something you want to avoid doing frequently.

LCD*(6.10)*


The T1i uses a 920,000-dot, three inch LCD, which offers excellent sharpness for playback, and makes manually focusing in Live View easier. Nikon's comparable model, the D5000, instead has a lower-resolution LCD (only 230,000-dots) but it is articulated, which means it can be folded out and viewed at different angles.

By pressing the Set button, the T1i launches into a quick menu, which lets you alter common settings very quickly. The quick menu has a small quirk where if the possible options for a setting extend over more than two rows, you can only use left and right on the four way controller to chose which one you want, but not up and down. So when you open the Picture Style list from the Quick Menu, there are two rows of choices, and you have to keep pressing right at the end of a row to get down to the next one, rather than being able to use up and down.

The LCD can be set to seven brightness levels, and the Quick Menu can be set to one of four color schemes: black on grey, white on brown, white on black or a rather hideous green on black.

Flash*(8.25)*


The T1i has a built-in pop-up flash, with a range of 43 feet (13 meters) at ISO 100.

The camera can shoot at variable power with EX-series Speedlites, at full power only with EZ/E/EG/ML/TL-series Speedlites and can sync with non-Canon flashes at shutter speeds of 1/200 of a second or slower.

As with many SLRs, the T1i can use its flash for autofocus assist by firing off a quick series of strobes. While this provides a substantial amount of light, it's incredibly distracting when shooting candids.

 

CANON-T1I-flash-open.jpg
CANON-T1I-flash-closed.jpg

The flash, both up and down

The flash has a red-eye reduction tool, which will fire two flashes to help prevent crimson pupils from appearing. It can also be set to 2nd curtain, which fires the flash as the exposure is ending rather than right at the start, and makes objects look like they're leaving light trails. Oddly missing is a slow sync function, which is used to properly expose the background of an image in low light.

Lens Mount*(10.00)*


One of the major advantages to buying a Canon camera is access to the substantial range of Canon-format lenses, and the T1i can use all EF and EF-S series lenses. One of the disadvantages, however, is that Canon houses the autofocus motor and image stabilization units in the lens rather than the body of the camera (as Olympus and Pentax do), which generally means cheaper bodies but more expensive lenses.

CANON-T1I-lens-open.jpg
CANON-T1I-lens-closed.jpg

The Rebel T1i can use all EF and EF-S series lenses

If vignetting occurs in the corners of your photos, the Rebel T1i can automatically adjust for it using the Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction setting, which has different correction data for different Canon lenses.

 

Battery*(6.00)*


The T1i uses a LC-E5 battery, which is rated for approximately 500 shots per charge. However, using Live View will lower this to 190 shots, or an hour of video recording.

CANON-T1I-battery-open.jpg
CANON-T1I-battery-closed.jpg

*Battery life is good, but lowers in Live View and video modes.

*

Memory*(3.00)*


The T1i takes SDHC cards, which are easy to come by, and used in most entry-level SLRs. However, if you want to shoot movies, you need a Class 6 or faster card, to handle the required data transfer speed.

CANON-T1I-memory-open.jpg
CANON-T1I-memory-closed.jpg

*You'll need a class 6 SDHC card to handle video

*

Jacks, Ports & Plugs*(4.50)*


There are three ports on the T1i: mini-HDMI (cable sold separately), USB/AV out and a remote control terminal.

CANON-T1I-ports-open.jpg
CANON-T1I-ports-closed.jpg

*We like Canon's use of industry standard ports.

*

Shooting Modes*(14.00)*


In addition to the standard priority and manual modes, the T1i also has A-Dep (auto depth of field), Creative Auto and full auto modes.

 

Live View*(3.50)*


Live View is a technology we've seen improve dramatically over the last year or so, but  while it is getting better, it still has a number of drawbacks.

The most significant problem with Live View is trouble focusing. The T1i employs three focus methods: live mode, quick mode and face recognition. Live mode is very slow to focus, and often inaccurate, and quick mode is faster (as it uses the camera's normal focusing mechanism), but needs to raise the mirror to focus, which blacks out the screen briefly. The face recognition mode was good at identifying faces, but due to its slow mechanism, it's very easy for the person to move before focus has been achieved. It's also worth noting that the shutter button isn't used to focus, but rather the exposure lock button, a counter-intuitive procedure.

There are, of course, advantages to using Live View. Firstly, you get 100% field of view, very useful for framing a still life, for example.. Changes to the color mode and white balance are shown dynamically so you can now preview how  the final image will look, and depth of field preview can be shown by using the button on the front of the camera. What's also handy is the ability to zoom the Live View image up to 10x magnification, allowing for precise manual focus.

 

The amount of information shown is changed with the display button, from just the image, exposure level and ISO, shooting settings and finally all the above with brightness histogram.

Scene Modes*(4.00)*


The T1i provides six scene modes arranged on the mode dial.

 

Picture Effects*(5.00)*


On some entry-level SLRs, including the recently reviewed Pentax K2000 and Olympus E-620 , you'll find a number of interesting filters and effects you can apply to the image. The Canon Rebel T1i has nothing so obvious, but offers more subtle image controls. The Picture Style controls allow for sharpness, saturation and contrast to be adjusted while shooting. If you're shooting black and white, color filters and tones can be added to the image. The camera also has a custom function called 'auto lighting optimizer' which tweaks exposure and contrast, and can be set to standard, low or strong when it is enabled.

Focus*(16.00)*


The T1i has nine autofocus points, arranged with eight as a rhombus, and one in the middle. The focusing generally feels fast, though it slows down a bit in low light. Even then, it generally does an admirable job of finding the right point in a timely manner. The focusing motor isn't too loud, though when if you autofocus while recording shooting  video, its proximity to the microphone gives leads to a plainly audible, a very loud grinding noise in the recording.

spotmetering.jpg

The nine autofocus points.

Three focus modes are available:

 

Exposure*(4.50)*


The T1i's exposure control is narrower than many other cameras, and we would have at least liked to see the exposure compensation run ±3 EV rather than just ±2, and the auto exposure bracketing spanning more than three photos. However, if you set exposure compensation to +2, and use the widest range of auto exposure bracketing, you can squeeze +4 EV, if you want to over-expose significantly.

The exposure control isn't fantastic on the T1i, and we would have at least liked to see the exposure compensation run ±3 EV rather than just ±2, or the auto exposure bracketing being able to take more than three photos. However, if you set the exposure compensation to +2, and use the widest range of AEB, you can squeeze +4 EV, if you want to over-expose significantly.

 

Speed and Timing


Shot to Shot (3.45)

Canon states the T1i can get 3.4 frames per second in continuous shutter mode, which is precisely we what we found in our timing test. This is a shade faster than the Rebel XS, and while it isn't the fastest camera we've seen, it's by no means the slowest.

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

Drive/Burst Mode (6.50)

There's only one speed for continuous mode, the aforementioned 3.4 frames per second, but if you use the flash or have high ISO noise reduction cranked all the way up, it will slow down. There is no limit to the number of photos that can be taken in this mode. While photographing in RAW, the camera maintains full burst speed for about five shots before slowing down.

Depth of Field Preview*(2.00)*


The Rebel T1i has a depth of field button just below the lens release. The button is used to show how much of the scene will be in focus under your current settings.  This is a feature that is showing up on fewer and fewer entry-level SLRs, and we like that the T1i includes it.

Metering*(8.50)*


The T1i has a 35-zone TTL metering system, with four different modes.

 

Shutter Speed*(11.00)*


The range of shutter speeds here is standard for this level of camera, with enough control for most situations, though slightly higher-end models usually have a wider range.

 

Self-Timer*(7.00)*


The T1i supports three self timers:

 

Handling*(7.00)*


The handling of the T1i is very similar to that of the other Rebel models, like the XS and XSi. The weight feels slightly more evenly distributed, and the grip a tiny bit bigger, but barely. The button layout is identical to models past, and this camera is definitely on the light side of things. This makes it a breeze to carry, but at the same time it lacks the solidity of a weightier body. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of personal preference, and some people like the lightness of this sort of camera. We prefer one that has a bit more heft, as a camera as light as this can feel unstable due to its low weight.

 

Controls*(9.25)*


 

 

 

Menu*(10.00)*


 

 

Manual & Learning*(8.00)*


The T1i manual is written well, has very clear diagrams, and explains difficult terminology quite simply. However, the entire book is organized in order of least complex to most, which means that similar settings aren't lumped together, but can be scattered across the entire book. This means if you find a setting you want to know more about, you can't just read the pages around it, instead having to dig deeper and deeper in a seemingly random order. The index references the rest of the manual well, and looking for topics in it doesn't leave you feeling like anything is missing. While the table of contents is lengthy and mentions each sub-section, the problematic layout of the manual makes looking for subjects in it more difficult than it should be.

Canon also includes two additional booklets, one about macro photography, the other on image stabilization. The image stabilization is mostly advertorial, extolling the virtues of the Canon IS lenses. The macro booklet is actually pretty good, and includes some useful information and suggestions about how to shoot close-up.

Canon also offers a tutorial-based website, the Digital Learning Center, and while the lessons pertinent to the T1i are a bit thin right now, there are plenty for older Rebel models which are still applicable.

**Video: Color Performance***(8.52)*


The Canon T1i produced strong, deep colors in our bright light video testing, but the accuracy of its color reproduction was only average. The camera measured a color error of 4.11, which is statistically identical to the Nikon D5000's performance in this same test. Both the Canon HF S100 and Sanyo VPC-HD2000 had slightly more accurate colors than the two DSLR cameras. Also in our testing, the Canon T1i produced a saturation level of 110.3%. Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests color performance.

The Color Error Map above shows you exactly what colors the T1i had trouble capturing faithfully. The camera didn't do well with reds or browns, but most of the other colors tested quite accurately. This is the opposite of the Nikon D5000, which had problems with greens and yellows, but did well with the rest of the colors. Take a good look at the Canon T1i's Color Test Chart (also above) as well. Notice how dark the camera's image is in this bright light test—the grayscale bars blend together at the darkest points.Below, are some sample images showing the various color modes available on the T1i.

None of the color modes above provided a significant boost in color accuracy on the Canon Rebel T1i. The camera recorded slightly more accurate colors when using its 720/30p resolution and frame rate, but even this was just barely better than auto mode and the 1080p setting. The camera consistently had trouble with red colors in all these color modes.

The T1i captured a much darker image than the Nikon D5000. Notice how the black bars on the grayscale section of our test chart appear to blend together at the far right and far left. The Nikon D5000, as well as the two HD camcorders we used as comparisons, did not have this problem. Some people may like the darker image of the T1i, however, as it gives the colors more depth and contrast. The Close-Up Color Comparisons below give you a better look at just how different the colors from all these models are captured.

Looking at the red, blue, and dark skin patches you can easily see how much darker the Canon T1i produces those colors in comparison to the Nikon D5000. Again, a lot of determining color quality is based on personal preference. Some users may really like the vivid red and blue captured by the T1i, while others may prefer the brighter tones of the Nikon D5000.

 

**Video: Noise Performance***(12.24)*


We have seen a pattern of very low noise levels coming from DSLR cameras that record HD video. The Nikon D5000 and D90 both showed this and the Canon T1i continues this trend. The camera averaged only 0.36% noise in our bright light testing. Now, this is nearly double what the D5000 measured (0.19% noise), but it is still very low compared to your average consumer camcorder. Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests noise performance.

In the crops above, the Nikon D5000 should immediately jump out as being less sharp than the rest of the camcorders in this set. The D5000 does not record full HD video and it tops out with a 1280 x 720 video resolution. Because of this, the camera is not able to capture the level of detail or sharpness that a 1920 x 1080 camcorder is capable of. The Canon T1i does have a 1080p setting, which is what the 100% crop above is taken from. The T1i's 1080p mode only captures video at 20 frames per second, however, which is very slow and may not be desirable for some users. Continue onto the Motion & Sharpness section of our review for more information about the frame rates offered on the T1i.

 

**Video: Motion Performance***(7.95)*


The Canon T1i does not offer the traditional frame rates you'd find on a regular HD camcorder. For recording full 1080p HD, the camera only has one frame rate—20 frames per second. 20p is such an unusual frame rate that we can't think of a single consumer camcorder that has it as an option. What you will commonly see are options for 30p and 24p, along with the standard 60i recording. The T1i does have a 30p record setting, but it only works with the camera's 1280 x 720 video resolution (or the standard definition VGA setting). The camera does not offer a 24p frame rate. Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests motion.

Canon T1i 1080/20p

*Click Here for large HD Version *

 

Above is footage taken with the Canon T1i using its 1080/20p mode. We found the 20p frame rate to produce very slow footage and the video looked as if it was captured using a slow-motion setting. Now, some people may like this aesthetic, but we can't imagine it would really catch on with most people. A 24p mode would have been a much better choice for Canon to include, as it closely resembles the speed of cinematic film. Other than its odd inclusion of a 20p frame rate, however, the Canon T1i produced very good motion. Its footage was somewhat smoother than the Nikon D5000 and it had less artifacting and frequency interference. If only Canon had implemented a 24p setting on the T1i instead of 20p—maybe then it would have been able to compete more closely with a dedicated HD camcorder.

Canon T1i 720/30p

*Click Here for large HD Version

*

With the video resolution limited to 1280 x 720, the Canon T1i can record 30p video. The speed of this 30p video is far more natural than that of the 20p footage captured at 1920 x 1080. Still, the 1280 x 720 image is not full HD video and the 30p frame rate is a bit of an awkward choice. Canon should have included a 24p option here as well. The Canon Rebel T1i also had a major problem with its rolling shutter. The rolling shutter, which also plagued the Nikon D5000, gives footage a Jell-O-like wobble whenever the camera is quickly panned or jerked back and forth. We have yet to test a video-capable DSLR camera that did not have this issue.

Nikon D5000

*Click Here for large HD Version *

 

The Nikon D5000 isn't a real winner when it comes to motion either. Yes, it records all video using a 24p frame rate, but it runs into a lot of problems when capturing motion. The camera produced quite a bit of artifacting in its recorded video. The footage was also quite choppy and showed some strange frequency interference on the grayscale pinwheel. The black lines on the pinwheel appeared crooked and jagged rather than straight. In our book, the Canon T1i offers better motion—as long as you can deal with not having a 24p frame rate.

Canon HF S100

*Click Here for large HD Version *

 

We included the Canon HF S100 as a comparison here because it offers a 24p and 30p frame rate in addition to its regular 60i setting.The HF S100's alternate frame rates aren't natively progressive, however, and they are really 60i frame rates that have gone through a conversion process inside the camcorder. This is in contrast to the 20p and 30p modes on the Canon T1i and 24p mode on the Nikon D5000 which are natively progressive and are recorded as such. Casual videographers probably wouldn't notice much of a difference between a native 24p mode and the downconverted one featured on the HF S100, but for professionals the discrepancy can be huge (specifically if the footage is being edited using a non-linear editing program).

Sanyo VPC-HD2000

*Click Here for large HD Version *

 

Most HD camcorders capture video using a 60i frame rate, as we discussed above. The Sanyo VPC-HD2000, however, has a natively progressive 60p record mode. This gives the VPC-HD2000 smoother video while at the same time offering natural motion and speed. The HD2000 also has a 60i mode and a 30p record mode, all of which are available in full HD. Overall, we saw a bit less artifacting on the Sanyo VPC-HD2000 and Canon HF S100 than we did on the Canon Rebel T1i. The two camcorders also were able to capture smoother, more natural motion than their DSLR counterparts.

 

**Video: Sharpness***(11.15)*


The Canon Rebel T1i did a good job in our video sharpness test. Testing the camera using its 1080/20p mode, it measured a horizontal sharpness of 650 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 775 lw/ph. This is far better than the Nikon D5000 was capable of, although that camera has a maximum video resolution of only 1280 x 720. When we tested the Canon T1i with its 720/30p setting it didn't do nearly as well with video sharpness. In fact, it scored 600 lw/ph horizontal and 500 lw/ph vertical, which are slightly worse overall measurements than the Nikon D5000 (575 lw/ph horizontal, 625 lw/ph vertical). [Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests video sharpness.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#videosharpness)

The T1i's video sharpness in 1080/20p mode is very good and it's the first DSLR camera we've tested that has been able to compete with the sharpness of a high-end consumer HD camcorder. The Canon HF S100 still put up slightly better results, but the Canon T1i was a very strong competitor in this test. Remember, however, that the T1i was only able to achieve this level of sharpness when using its 1080p mode that records video at 20 frames per second.

 

**Video: Low Light Sensitivity***(0.55)*


The Canon T1i had a surprisingly difficult time with low light sensitivity and the numbers weren't pretty—the camera required 26 lux of light to reach 50 IRE on our waveform monitor. This is more than twice the amount of light than the Nikon D5000 required (11 lux) and it is significantly worse than your average HD camcorder. Keep in mind, however, that all our video testing on the T1i was done with its kit lens, which has a maximum aperture of f/3.5. Using a faster lens with a wider aperture setting will likely produce better low light sensitivity results. Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests low light sensitivity.

 

The T1i's poor performance in this test is shocking for a number of reasons. For starters, the camera includes a huge CMOS sensor that is far larger than what would be found in a regular camcorder. Generally speaking, a larger sensor means better low light sensitivity, but this was clearly not the case with the Canon T1i. We also expected the T1i to do well with this test because it records at such a slow frame rate (20p) when shooting full HD video. Interestingly, the camera showed no difference in low light sensitivity when we shot at 720/30p. This suggests that Canon has somehow programmed the T1i to stop boosting low light performance at around 26 lux or so. Since ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are all automated in video mode, there isn't much leeway for you to boost the brightness on the T1i yourself. You can do a basic exposure adjustment, however, which we go over in more detail in the Manual Controls section of this review.

As you'll see in the comparison images in the following sections, the Nikon D5000 consistently produced a brighter image than the Canon T1i. Unsurprisingly, it also had a much better low light sensitivity.

**Video: Low Light Color Performance***(9.57)*


The T1i managed a color error of 3.06 with a saturation level of 104.9% in our low light testing. These are quite good scores and the color accuracy is actually better here than it was in the bright light testing. The Canon T1i produced a dark image in low light, but its colors appeared deep and very vivid. Just as it did in bright light, the camera had trouble with the darkest parts of our color test chart (the black corners of the grayscale). Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests low light color performance.

The T1i continued to have the most problems with red colors, as you can see from the Color Error Map above. Overall, the camera did very well with low light color accuracy, and it earned a better score than the Nikon D5000 and Canon HF S100. The Sanyo VPC-HD2000 also produced very vivid colors in low light and it managed a slightly better color accuracy in our test.

The main thing to notice from the comparisons above is how much darker the T1i's image is compared to the Nikon D5000. The D5000's video is so bright that many colors appear a bit washed out and the image lacks a strong amount of contrast. The Canon T1i offers a stark opposite. Colors are deep, contrast is very strong, and the image is probably a bit too dark. Whether you like the D5000 or the T1i's color reproduction better really comes down to personal preference.

 

**Video: Low Light Noise Performance***(10.16)*


The T1i averaged 1.08% noise in our low light testing. This score is better than the noise levels we commonly get from HD camcorders, but it is worse than what the Nikon D5000 produced. This melds with the Canon T1i's bright light noise performance, which also was a bit higher than the D5000, but ranked better than the average score from a consumer HD camcorder. [Click here for more on how CamcorderInfo.com tests low light noise performance.

](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#videollnoise)

Notice how well the Canon T1i maintained a sharp image even in low light. The overall brightness of its image closely resembles that of the Canon HF S100. The Nikon D5000 is much brighter, but it has nowhere near the sharpness of the T1i because of its maximum video resolution of 1280 x 720. The Sanyo VPC-HD2000 has similar vivid colors like the T1i, but its image is not as sharp and appears blurred, with patches of discoloration.

 

 

**Video: Compression***(7.00)*


 

The Canon T1i compresses video using the H.264 codec and video files are saved in the MOV file format. This compression system is similar to the various MPEG-4 codecs (including AVCHD) that are used by many camcorder manufacturers. It is also a more advanced codec than the Motion JPEG system utilized by the Nikon D5000. The fact that the camera saves videos in the MOV file format is good news for people who edit with Final Cut Pro or use QuickTime. The MOV files can be dragged and dropped right from the camera and they can easily be imported to FCP for editing.

The camera has a maximum video resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is full HD, but video recorded at this size is limited to a 20p frame rate. When shooting with the smaller video resolutions of 1280 x 720 or the standard definition 640 x 480 the camera records using a 30p frame rate.

Below is a table showing the approximate record times for the camera depending on what size SD/SDHC card is being used. Single video files are limited to a maximum size of 4GB. Once a clip reaches that size recording automatically stops, but it can be started up again (as a new clip) by hitting the record button.

 

**Video: Manual Controls***(2.40)*


The Canon T1i doesn't offer much in the way of manual controls in video mode. The big absence is a lack of aperture control, which means you can't play around with depth of field very well. This is alarming because one of the strong selling points of video-capable DSLRs is their ability to control depth of field. There is also no manual control over shutter speed or ISO in video mode.

The Canon T1i has a video mode setting right on its mode dial and the dial must be set to this in order to shoot video with the camera. This means none of the scene modes are available in video mode. As with all DSLRs that shoot video so far, you must use the LCD screen while recording and the optical viewfinder does not function in video mode.

Auto Mode

In video mode, the camera maintains an entirely automated system of control—with the exception of continual autofocus. Exposure is adjusted automatically as you shift from light to dark, as is ISO and shutter speed. There is also an auto exposure lock option, which can be engaged by pressing the ISO button on the camera. When this button is pressed, the current exposure settings are locked for a period of time. The length of which this lock lasts can be set at 4 seconds, 16 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minutes, or 30 minutes.

One of the big drawbacks of DSLR cameras that record video is the lack of an autofocus capability while recording. You can autofocus with the T1i while recording video, but the feature isn't anything like the autofocus on a regular camcorder and its implementation makes it effectively useless. You have to press a button (the asterisk button on the camera's right side) for the camera to focus and doing so severely disrupts your footage. Focusing can take up to 3-4 seconds and exposure often changes for a second or two while the autofocus system begins to work. This means you'll probably end up having to edit out these 'focus moments' in post production. There is no live autofocus adjustment like you'd find on even the most basic of camcorders.

The video clip below demonstrates some of the difficulty of the autofocus capabilities in video mode:

 

Zoom Controls and Zoom Ratio

Zoom on the T1i is entirely dependent on what lens is connected to the camera. The camera's kit lens is an EF-S 18-55mm lens, which offers a small zoom range. The zoom is controlled by rotating the large ring that makes its way around the entirety of the lens. If you want more zoom than this, or a different range, the T1i is compatible with any EF or EF-S series of lenses.

Focus

On the T1i's kit lens, manual focus can be adjusted by rotating the outer lens ring near the tip of the lens. Of course, the feel and position of the lens ring will change depending on what lens is used with the camera. There is also a 5x and 10x focus assist zoom option that can be activated in Live View mode.

  • Exposure, Aperture, and Shutter Speed*

Exposure can be adjusted in the T1i's video mode and it can even be controlled while you are shooting. The camera offers an exposure range of -2 to +2 with increments of 1/3. There is also the exposure lock option that is discussed in the Auto Mode section a few paragraphs back. Direct control over shutter speed and aperture are not available on the camera. This is highly disappointing, especially the lack of aperture control, as it severely limits the ability to control depth of field.

Gain and Other Controls

ISO options are not available in video mode, but you are presented with the same white balance presets that are available for photos. The white balance shift option, however, cannot be used in video mode. Picture controls can be set in video mode with Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, and Monochrome being the options. There are also three User Defined picture settings, which allow you to specifically adjust sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color tone in an effort to make your own picture style.

Grid lines can be used while shooting video to help you frame your shot and still photos can be captured while video is being shot. Strangely, when you take a photo while shooting video, the photo is of the entire frame—including the gray bars at the top and bottom of the LCD that establish the 16:9 aspect ratio.

**Audio Features***(0.25)*


The Canon T1i has the same bare-bones audio features that are found on the Nikon D5000. All the camera has is a built-in, monaural microphone that is located on the front of the camera, just above the EOS logo. There are no external audio inputs and the camera cannot record stereo sound. The worst thing about the internal mic on the T1i is the fact that it picks up camera noise constantly. If you focus the lens, use the zoom, change the exposure, or press any button on the camera, the mic is certain to pick up the sound. This, essentially, makes the internal microphone useless for anything less than simple audio notes or reference sounds. If you want to pick up good audio in conjunction with the Canon T1i, you'll have to use a separate audio recording device entirely.

 

 

 

**Video: Handling***(4.00)*


The Canon T1i handles like a DSLR camera, not an HD camcorder. Anyone who has used a DSLR camera before should know that they aren't weighted or designed with the steadiness that shooting video requires. That being said, the camera is a bit lighter than the Nikon D5000, which makes it easier to hold for a long period of time. The grip on the right side of the camera is good, but for video you'll definitely need to hold the T1i with two hands. Zoom and focus can only be adjusted by rotating the rings on the camera's lens, so you'll need your second hand to do any of that work while your right hand holds the camera in place.

 

To shoot video, the camera must be in Live View mode, meaning the LCD screen must be engaged. Since the viewfinder does not function in video mode, getting shots in high-glare situations may be difficult. While the Nikon D5000 offered its convenient flip-out LCD panel, the Canon T1i's LCD is always stuck in the same position on the back of the camera. This is a pain not only when you try to shoot at odd angles, but also if the camera is mounted on a tripod that is low to the ground. You have to crouch and maneuver your body in an uncomfortable manner just to get a look at the LCD screen.

We like the button layout on the T1i more than on the D5000. Video options can be accessed right from Live View mode with a quick menu setup (whereas on the D5000 you had to exit Live View mode to change most settings). Whenever video mode is engaged, the T1i puts gray bars on the LCD screen that show what area of the frame is being captured for video (i.e. gray bars on top and bottom for 16:9 video, gray bars on the sides for 4:3). This is a far better design than the Nikon D5000, which didn't add these bars until after recording had begun.

 

According to Canon, the T1i can shoot for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes on a fully charged battery. Canon also posts a warning about the camera heating up when using video mode for long periods of time. A warning icon will appear once the camera's internal temperature reaches a certain point. If shooting is continued, the T1i will automatically turn off video mode until the camera cools down. We noticed this exact same problem with the Nikon D5000, although the D5000 posted a counter on the LCD screen telling you how much time was left before the camera shut down from overheating.

 

 

 

Performance

On every test we ran, bar shot to shot speed and movie performance, the XS outperformed the T1. The most significant differences lay in resolution, noise, white balance, long exposure and dynamic range. Even the burst rate difference was minimal, only 1/3 of a shot per second. When it comes down to performance, the only factor in the T1i's favor is its movie mode, which even then has a saddening lack of manual control.

Components

Apart from one or two components, the T1i and XS are only marginally different. The T1i has a higher megapixel count, a higher-resolution screen, and more autofocus points. The LCD on the T1i is a major point in its favor, as the higher resolution makes reviewing images much easier and sharper. It also has a sensor just below the viewfinder which turns off the LCD when you hold the camera to your eye, which both saves battery life and your eyes from receiving the full glare of the screen.

Handling

The XS and T1i handle almost identically. The T1i is a fraction larger and heavier, and feels a bit more well balanced and solid than the XS, but it's a very minor difference. The buttons are laid out almost identically; you could switch between the two and barely notice the change.

Controls

While the T1i has a wider ISO range, the XS has a more exposure compensation flexibility. The XS also only has one level of high ISO noise reduction, where the T1i has three. The T1i has slightly enhanced controls, but not by a huge margin. It's a matter of asking if these few controls are enough to justify the price and performance difference.

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

 

 

 

Performance

The T1i only outscored the D5000 in two tests: movie performance and movie color. The latter was by less than half a point, which shows the two to be very close. While the movie performance was significantly better on the T1i, its inability to use the majority of manual controls while shooting video is a major point against it, where the D5000 retains this control. The Nikon, like the Canon, had sharpness problems but not as badly, and performed markedly better in long exposure, white balance and dynamic range.

Components

The Canon T1i has a slightly better component set than the D5000. The viewfinder has a higher magnification rating, the LCD has a much higher resolution, and it has a sensor near the viewfinder to turn off the screen when you bring it up to your eye. Nikon has borrowed a page from Olympus' book and hinged the  LCD, but have done so at the bottom of the screen, which means you may not be able to unfold it when it's attached to a tripod.

Handling

The Nikon D5000 is a bit larger and heavier than the T1i, which gives it a more solid feeling which we prefer. It's that bit more substantial, which lets you hold the camera more steadily. In terms of menu and control schemes, both are very like other cameras of the same brands, so it's entirely a matter of personal preference which you prefer.

Controls

The D5000 has more controls, and a better range of options for them than the T1i. While it doesn't have quite the ISO range of the Canon, the D5000 has more autofocus points, wider exposure compensation range, better flash controls, a proper autofocus assist lamp and more self-timer options. Overall, the D5000 gives you more control of your shooting experience than the T1i. Both cameras have custom menus, but on the Nikon, if you haven't added anything to it yet, it will fill it with the most recently changed settings, which is a nice little touch. The T1i has a slightly better menu system over the Nikon, by virtue of only having a single screen of options for each menu tab, which minimizes unnecessary scrolling.

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

 

 

Performance

Apart from one or two outliers, the D90 quite resoundingly trounces the T1i. The exceptions are color accuracy, which is long a strong suit of Canon SLRs, and movie performance. While the movies on the T1i might have higher video quality, the inability to set aperture and other manual controls is a major black mark against it. The D90, in turn, has lower image noise, faster burst rate, more accurate white balance system and significantly sharper images.

Components

The D90 is constructed of noticeably sturdier stuff than the T1i, with a better viewfinder, a second LCD, two control dials, more robust buttons, greater variety of ports and more substantial build quality, appropriate for the price difference.

Handling

The D90 is more substantial than the T1i;, it comes in at over three pounds with lens and battery. However, this extra weight isn't a bad thing, as it gives it some heft and solidity, so it doesn't feel quite so much like it's going to blow away in a stiff breeze. Having two control dials rather than just one is another D90 advantage, as you can change aperture and shutter speed without having to resort to pressing other buttons while in manual mode.

Controls

Apart from the greater range of ISOs on the T1i, the D90 has a more varied system of controls. It has more focus points, wider exposure compensation, and a much wider selection of in-camera editing controls. The D90 also offers far greater control in movie mode, where the T1i is limited to white balance and picture styles settings.

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

 

NOTE: We updated our testing and scoring procedures in January 2009. For comparison purposes, we re-tested several cameras we'd reviewed in 2008, producing the scores shown in the chart above for the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D90. However, the scores in the original reviews for these re-tested cameras remain unchanged, for consistency's sake.

 

 

 

Performance

The Canon Rebel outperforms the K200 in color accuracy, long exposure, image noise  and burst mode shooting, and of course it offers video shooting that the K2000 lacks. On the other hand, the K2000 has much wider dynamic range, especially at higher ISOs, took photos that were significantly sharper and had a better white balance system.

Components

The K2000 comes up short in the component comparison. It doesn't offer Live View at all, has fewer autofocus points and connection ports,  shoots at a lower resolution and offers a smaller LCD. In the Pentax's favor its focusing motor and image stabilization are both housed in the camera body, giving greater functionality with old lenses when compared to the Canon. The $599 Pentax bundles also includes a $100 AF200FG flash, which adds a bit more value to the purchase. However, since the flash can't be angled at all, you're stuck with direct flash, which can't be bounced, and this limits the usefulness of the freebie.

Handling

Both cameras are quite light for SLRs, though the K2000 has a touch more heft, which makes it feel more solid in your hand. The T1i has a slightly better textured grip material, and this covers more of the camera. Even given these factors, the cameras don't handle very differently. They're lightweight SLRs, designed to appeal to new users who want a a camera that won't weigh them down when they’re on the go.

Controls

The Pentax K2000 is sadly missing a depth of field preview button, though the manual white balance system is more straightforward. The two cameras have the same base ISO range, but the Canon has an extended range up to 12,800, albeit with a jump in noise levels. Of course, the K2000 has no video mode, which is a major selling point of the T1i, but if it isn't needed, the K2000 is a very good beginner's SLR for a good price.

NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.

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Tim Barribeau

Tim Barribeau

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Tim Barribeau is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

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