Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT Preview (EOS 350D)Note: I've now posted my initital impressions of the Digital Rebel XT based on hands on experience. See the Digital Rebel XT Hands-on Review
February 17th 2005 - Canon have rleased the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. In Europe (and much of the rest of the world) the same camera will be known as the EOS 350D. The "Rebel" name is only used in North America.
Rear view of Digital Rebel XT in Silver
The main features of the new Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D) are as follows:
The estimated street price of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT is $899 for the body or $999 with the 18-55 kit lens. The kit lens is optically identical the the one sold with the original Digital Rebel (see EF-S 18-55 review). US photographers should consider themselves lucky as the UK list (RRP) price for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (350D) body is £749.99 (which is around $1400).
The original Digital Rebel kit (including the 18-55 lens) will now be sold for $799, a $200 saving over the cost of the similar Digital Rebel XT kit. Canon didn't comment on how long the original Rebel kit would be available.
There is also a new lens, an EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM which sounds interesting. With the 1.6x cropping factor it would give the same field of view as a 96mm lens on a full frame 35mm DSLR, so it's an analog of the popular 100mm macro lens. Of course in macro work depth of field is a major concern. The whole subject of depth of field in digital cameras with sub-35mm frame sizes is covered in the Depth of Field and Digital article on this website. Full details of the Canon EF-S 60/2.8 Macro USM can be found on the EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM page.
So it looks like Canon have put back a lot of the features they left out of the original digital rebel (and which the Russian firmware hack re-enabled). The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT seems to be a significant upgrade of the Digital Rebel, not only in terms of sensor resolution, but also in terms of camera features. It lacks the rear control dial of the 20D, there's no PC socket mentioned (yet), it has 7 point AF vs. 9 point and the frame rate is lower and the buffer smaller than the EOS 20D.
As usual some people will be torn between spending $900 on a Digital Rebel XT or spending an extra $400-$500 on an EOS 20D. Obviously the 20D is a better and more capable camera, but whether it's worth paying $400-$500 more is very much a personal decision for the photographer. You can buy a nice lens (maybe a couple) for $500. On the other had, if past experience is a guide, image quality on the Digital Rebel XT will probably be very close indeed to that of the EOS 20D. In an additional twist, and just to make life more difficult (!) purchasers also have the option of saving $200 by buying the original Digital Rebel (300D). For anyone wanting a fully automatic P&S type DSLR this may still be a valid option, though the greater degree of control and higher pixel count of the Digital Rebel XT is probably worth the extra $200 to most serious photographers. I've written a pretty full comparison of the Digital Rebel XT and the EOS 20D which may help you to decide. See the link below.
Canon have some full size sample images from the EOS Digital Rebel XT available on their website. They're big files (5-6MB), so be prepared to wait if you're on a slow dialup connection. See link below.
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