What is true of doctors is also true of consumer electronics manufacturers: first, do no harm. Canon is usually pretty good at adhering to this philosophy, making only minor tweaks to successful products and saving bold moves for models that need them. Now, switching sensors isn’t normally considered very bold when it comes to digital cameras. But when its predecessor, in this case EOS Rebel XT, was famous for producing excellent low-noise photos with a more than adequate 8-megapixel resolution, it’s risky to replace it with a higher resolution but potentially low-sensitivity chip like it has. made Canon with EOS Rebel XTi. Perhaps the Nikon D80 has upped the ante; perhaps Canon felt it was an inevitable necessity. Whatever the reason, it produces mixed results. Maintaining a similar sensor size allowed Canon to keep the same moderately compact design for the EOS Rebel XTi, even though it weighs 4 ounces more than its 17.1 ounce predecessor. With the small and exceptionally light kit lens, the camera was well balanced in my hands. Attached to the substantially larger and heavier 16mm to 35mm lens (25.6mm to 56mm equivalent) or the 580EX Speedlite flash, however, the XTi looks a bit lopsided.
While much of the design remains the same as the XT – it’s available in black plastic or metallic silver – there are a couple of key changes. The LCD has grown from 1.8 to 2.5 inches, which essentially squeezed the status / information LCD into the ether. On the one hand, using the primary LCD display allows for an exceptionally legible and straightforward method of monitoring settings. However, the paper-white background is distracting and the automatic sensor, which darkens it when you put your eye in the viewfinder, makes it even more distracting. You can turn it off entirely, but the information in the viewfinder doesn’t include ISO speed, white balance, battery level, and other useful settings that typically appear on a status LCD.
The Canon EOS Rebel XTi’s LCD status display is extremely useful and easy to read and provides a single point to change all relevant settings.
My only gripe with the controls is the large power switch, which is very easy to flip over while storing the XTi in a camera bag.
In many other respects, the control layout on the XTi mimics that of the XT, which is much the same as it has been on Canon DSLRs from the start. It is a reckless consistency that I can achieve. It can also accept all the same accessories as the XT.
On the XTi, pressing the Set button while shooting displays the new Picture Style selections.
Canon tweaked some aspects of the design to improve shooting ergonomics, including a thumb rest, something we complained about on the XT (insert).
For better, or sometimes for worse, the Canon EOS Rebel XTi’s feature set remains roughly the same as the XT’s. The kit version comes with the EF-S lens from f / 3.5 to f / 5.6, 18mm to 55mm (28.8mm to 88mm equivalent, thanks to 1.6X conversion factor of the XTi), which is a little too slow for frequent indoor shooters like me.
Most amateurs will find all the essentials: a handful of manual, semi-manual and automatic exposure modes; user-selectable nine-point autofocus and AI Servo autofocus for moving subjects; and simultaneous raw plus JPEG capture.
To keep up with the Joneses camera, the XTi’s CMOS chip is now self-cleaning. Like many other DSLRs, the low-pass filter layer vibrates when the camera turns off or on to shake dust off the sensor; in addition, there is an antistatic coating on the filter that repels dust. Additionally, some adhesive surrounding the sensor is designed to capture dust, preventing it from flying inside the camera frame. In addition to dust control, Canon has split the low-pass filter into two parts, effectively positioning dust that settles beyond the focus range.
Unfortunately, like the Rebel XT, the XTi lacks a spot meter; provides evaluative, center-weighted average and center-weighted partial metering only. There is simply no substitute for a seat in difficult lighting situations. In fact, I couldn’t avoid severe underexposure of a backlit subject with the available metering tools, which is inexcusable for a camera of this class.