Canon Digital Rebel XTi
At a Glance
The new Digital Rebel XTi, a descendant of the Digital Rebel XT, resembles its predecessor in many ways, but offers a 10.1-megapixel sensor, a larger LCD screen, and a smattering of new features. Subtle molding changes in the Xti's body arguably make a difference in the feel and handling of the camera; depending on the size of your hands, you may find the XTi comfortable to hold, or unbalanced and cramped.
The back of the XTi reveals the two most significant changes from the XT: The LCD screen is bigger, at 2.5 inches; and instead of having a dedicated status LCD, the Xti uses the main LCD as the status display. A proximity detector near the viewfinder automatically activates and deactivates the LCD screen as you move your eye up to and away from the viewfinder. Also, the XTi now shows flash exposure lock and white balance adjustment in its viewfinder's status bar.
All of the Xti's critical shooting functions are easy to reach through the four-way buttons and LCD screen on the back of the camera. Exposure compensation, program shift, drive mode, exposure lock, and focus-point selection have dedicated buttons.
The XTi has simpler menus and easier navigation than the XT. Notably, Canon has added Picture Styles, which offer predefined image parameter sets for shooting in particular situations. For example, the Portrait style provides appropriate custom contrast and saturation settings for reproducing skin tones.
The XTi enhances and updates several features from previous versions of the Digital Rebel. For example, you can view the histogram display in monochrome, RGB, or luminance (brightness); you have new long-exposure noise-reduction options; and in the Auto Rotate During Playback mode, you can now magnify and pan around the image that appears right after you shoot.
Under the hood, the camera has a 10.1-megapixel sensor, up from the XT's 8-megapixel version. Canon has implemented a three-tiered sensor cleaning system, too: The sensor is coated with an antistatic, dust-repelling coating; a clear element in front of the sensor vibrates whenever you turn the camera on or off, to shake loose any dust (this stage is interruptible); and you can create a a??dust referencea?? shot to help you digitally remove dust spots later.
The XTi yields excellent image quality, with practically no noise up through ISO 400, and little noise at ISO 800 through 1600 (the maximum speed available). Priced at $899 (as of November 6, 2006) with an 18mm-to-55mm lens, the XTi is right in line with its chief competitors, the Sony DSLR-Alpha 100K and the Nikon D80.
This full-featured SLR delivers excellent image quality at a very reasonable price and is a solid choice for users who like its size and feel.