Anyone familiar with earlier Digital Rebel models will feel at home with the new Canon Digital Rebel T1i. The control layout and operation of the XTi, XSi and T1i are quite similar. The only obvious cosmetic difference is that the main command dial is now finished in silver rather than black!
The Digital Rebel T1i adds a new shooting mode, "CA" or Creative Auto. The "CA" mode defaults to the same as full auto mode, but you can program it for things like white balance, ISO etc. What you can't do is change it from full automatic exposure (i.e. you can't select Av, Tv etc.). It's really an "advanced beginner" mode. The modes available are The shooting modes available are (moving clockwise around the dial): A-DEP (Auto depth of field), Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program AE, CA (creative Auto), Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash off and Video (new on the T1i)
The rear controls of the Digital Rebel T1i are similar to those of the XSi. The "direct print" button now has an alternate function which controls video recording. On the XSi it's second function was white balance selection, which has now moved to a menu item on the T1i.
The menu functions and layout are similar to those of the Rebel XSi and are displayed on the new high resolution 640x480 pixel (920,000 dot) 3" LCD. The XSi has a 320x240 pixel (230,000 dot) LCD. Each pixel is 3 dots (one red, one green, one blue). The LCD cover has a new coating which lowers reflections, increases visibility and provides more scratch protection. I'm not going to go through every menu item since that would be pretty dull reading. You can download the Digital Rebel T1i manual from the Canon website if you want all the intricate details of control operation. Just select the "instruction Manual" from the Digital Rebel T1i page Here.
Operational speed of the Canon Digital Rebel T1i is fast. It appears to be "instant on", though in reality it probably takes about 1/10s to wake up. Image recording and playback are both fast, despite the larger size of the 15MP image files. In part this is probably due to Canon's new DIGIC IV image processing engine.
In actual tests with a class 6 SDHC card, the camera set to ISO 100, manual focus and manual exposure with a shutter speed of 1/500s, I measured these rates:
The Digital Rebel T1i uses same pentamirror system as other cameras in the Digital Rebel lineup and the viewfinder screen is smaller than that used in the 40D/50D, 5D and 1D series cameras. Though it's smaller I find that I really don't notice the difference between the T1i and the 40D unless I'm using both cameras and switching between them. If you're just using the T1i you soon get used to the smaller viewfinder.