Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canon EOS Rebel XSi (EOS Rebel 450D)

Canon announced its replacement for the popular Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D on January 24, 2008, with the introduction of the new EOS Rebel XSi / 450D. This signaled Canons latest salvo in the highly competitive entry-level DSLR camera wars. All and all, the 450D is a formidable piece of technology. If this does not rally the Canon ranks, then apparently nothing will. It could even persuade a few Nikon supporters to jump ship.

The 450D is an upgrade from the prior Canon EOS 400D, which was an upgrade from the Canon EOS 350D. Canon seems intent on releasing periodic updates to its core entry-level DSLR lineup, rather than surprising us with something entirely new. Well at least until the recent introduction of the Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D. Being one of the all time best selling Canons, it is understandable that Canon would not undertake a major retooling to its entry-level flagship DSLR. They have added several welcome new features, and certainly one of the most anticipated is the addition of Live View technology.

The EOS Rebel XSi / 450D features improvements in several areas including an increase in resolution capacity with a new 12 megapixels CMOS APS-C format sensor. Also, the aforementioned Live View LCD is also larger at 3 inches, up from the previous 2.5 inches. Thankfully the viewfinder has also now slightly larger, and in a very welcome move, Canon finally give us the addition of the current ISO setting in the viewfinder. The 450D uses a different battery than its predecessor and the change has given us a longer battery life.

One of the most surprising changes was the move from the traditional CF cards to SD and SDHC memory cards. This could have been a potential obstacle along the upgrade path for those users heavily invested in CF cards, but with the seemingly never-ending decrease in memory prices, it really should not matter to most. Canon may be positioning this as a possible upgrade path for more current point-and-shoot users anyway. The move to the SD format continued with the EOS Rebel XS as well.

The EOS Rebel XSi performs quite well in tests, and seems to be worthy successor the XTi. Low light performance remains a highlight of this line. The extra 2 megapixels of sensor did not hurt the noise performance of the XSi. When compared with some other entry-level models, such as the Nikon D60 and the Olympus E-420, the Rebels really shine when used at ISO 800 and above. There is a noticeable difference in noise from the Canons and the competition, with the Rebels clearly showing better performance. The XSi also includes a new on-body noise reduction setting, which has trickled down from its big brother the Canon EOS 40D.

Canon seems to have a real winner in the 450D. Some have even called it the "40D lite". In some respects, new owners of the 40D felt their camera should have had updates that the 450Drecieved, especially the jump to 12Mp. Since the introduction of the EOS Rebel XS / 1000D it is not surprising that the line between entry-level and prosumer level is slowing blurring. It was to make room for a new addition.

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