Quality Improvements (5 out of 5)
When looking at improvements, the Canon Rebel XSi has numerous advantages over the previous models in the Rebel camera series.
The XSi is sporting a new 12.2 MP CMOS sensor, which is a nice improvement over the XTi’s 10.1 MP sensor. For an entry level, dSLR camera, the megapixels are reaching nice sizes for poster size printing.
Canon has also sped up the camera’s fps (frames per second) from 3.0 to 3.5, which makes a big difference when shooting in burst mode. For beginning sports photographers on a budget, this is a great improvement.
One of the most noticeable differences is the gorgeous 3.0” LCD display, an upgrade as well. This was an upgrade that some had hoped for with the XTi, but were disappointed. With the XSi, this big display, previously only found on the higher end models, works great with the new Live View shooting, which will be discussed below.
Another improvement over previous models includes some subtle changes in the viewfinder. Despite the few who will use the Live View for most shooting, most of us will prefer to have the control over the picture that the viewfinder affords us. The new viewfinder presents the photos in a brighter way, and it also displays all of the exposure information. This was something that was lacking in the previous models and was, quite frankly, irritating when shooting in fast paced environments.
Form and Feel (4 out of 5)
Overall, Canon has stuck with the form and feel that most have loved with the Rebel series. At just 1.0 lb, the camera is not at all a burden on the arm, especially considering the light lenses that Canon is known for making. Most of the buttons have stayed the same since the previous model, with the addition of an ISO button near the dial on top of the camera, which is convenient to have.
Some people complain that the grip on the Rebel series cameras are too narrow and makes the camera difficult to hold still in low light situations. Personally, I have never had an issue with this, but with larger hand, I could see the possibility of issues. For me, I use a Canon BG-E3 battery grip that not only adds a grip along the bottom of the camera, but it also extends the grip on the side of the camera. The battery grip also holds two camera batteries, which is excellent when shooting long events like sports and weddings. Even without that, the Rebel XSi battery gets a maximum of 500 photos per charge on average, which is not bad at all.
Overall, the form and feel of the camera is very good. As with any camera, once you get used to the setup, you’ll be extremely happy with the choice you made in this camera.
Price to Value (5 out of 5)
This camera is an excellent value, as it is the first consumer dSLR camera to come with a Live View display, which allows a person to view exactly what the camera sees on the LCD display screen, just like a point-and-shoot camera. Previously, this feature was only available on cameras that were listed for over $1200.
The Rebel XSi kit comes with an 18-55mm image stabilized lens, which is a great bonus, as well as the cables, battery, and comprehensive software that you need to get started. With the infamous DIGIC-III processor known for the best quality around and the faster speeds and larger megapixels, this camera is a great bargain at its MSRP price of $799.99. Online, it is going for around $650-675 for the kit, making it a fantastic deal.