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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon EOS Digital Rebel

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon EOS Digital Rebel Review

Review Date: Nov 24, 2003

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

Canon EOS Digital Rebel

Handling & Feel

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel is smaller and lighter than other dSLRs, with dimensions of 142W x 99H x 72.4D mm (5.6W x 3.9H x 2.9D in.) and weighing 560g (19.7 oz.) without the battery, recording media card, and lens. It is constructed from a mixture of plastic and magnesium alloy and feels very solid, with a comfortable hand grip.

Operating the EOS Digital Rebel is a two-handed affair, with the left hand on the zoom ring, and the right hand holding the grip and doing most of the buttons pressing and Main dial rotating. There are dedicated buttons for the common functions such as exposure compensation, selecting an AF point, Program Shift, ISO, WB, and drive mode.

Because the LCD monitor does not display an image for shooting purposes but only for image reviewing purposes, you hold the EOS Digital Rebel the traditional way: your eye against the bright and large viewfinder eyepiece. This provides a somewhat steadier stance and, combined with the smooth electromagnetic shutter release, allows for less camera shake.

Even though the viewfinder of the EOS Digital Rebel is a pentamirror instead of a pentaprism, it is clear and bright enough to make manual focusing a delight. Exposure information (AE/FE Lock, Flash ready, Shutter Speed, Aperture and Exposure Compensation, Maximum Burst, Focus confirmation) display at the bottom of the viewfinder in easy to read Green LED.

Canon provides a comfortable neck strap which includes an eyepiece cover to block any stray light coming through the eyepiece when taking long shutter speeds shots.

Battery door is at the bottom of the camera, and the CompactFlash I / II memory card goes through a door in the grip. The rubber terminal cover housing the USB, AV and DC connectors could do with a hinge that allows it to swing open a bit wider.

Those who are new to SLR cameras will wonder what the small black button at the bottom left of the lens mount is. It is the depth of field preview button. Press it and the lens will close down to the metered aperture, thus allowing you to preview the actual depth of field. It is good to develop the habit of checking the DOF to ensure you have your subject(s) in focus.

Since the EOS Digital Rebel takes interchangeable lenses, you have to get used to the fact that you now have a lens cover which can be easily misplaced. The flash is activated automatically in certain modes or by manually pressing the flash button.

Sunrise: 1/1,250 sec., F5.6 and ISO 100
A-DEP, Evaluative, Parameter 1
55 mm, 1/1,250 sec., F5.6 and ISO 100
Levels adjusted in Photoshop Elements

The 1.8 in. LCD has an excellent 118,000 pixels resolution for reviewing images after you have taken them. You can set the review time in the MENU at 2, 4, 8 sec. or Hold. If you like to carefully review your images after you have taken them, you can safely set the review time to Hold. A slight press of the shutter release button instantly dismisses the image and the camera is instantly ready to take the next picture.

Startup time is about 3 sec. There is no appreciable shutter lag thanks to a 4-shot buffer. Once the buffer is full, you have to wait until the images in the buffer are written out to memory card before you can take pictures again. A Large Fine image takes about 4 sec. to write to card but, thanks to the buffer, this goes on in the background while you take the next shot.

The AF works wonderfully in all lighting conditions, including low-light. If you manually pop up the flash, the camera will use one or more small bursts of flash to aid in focusing in very dim conditions (including complete darkness). AF takes about 1/2 to 1 sec. with a tiny red light blinking once to indicate the selected AF point. If you have enabled it in the MENU, there is also an audible beep when focus is achieved. Since the low-light AF assist is obtained using the flash, it means that the flash will fire. If you prefer not to use the flash, auto focus might not be possible in too dark conditions -- in this case, switch to manual focus! Manual focus is achieved the traditional way via a focus ring at the tip of the lens.

There is no need to ever access the MENU in shooting mode since there is a dedicated button for every common function. This is mostly accomplished by pressing a button and rotating the Main dial. Press the AF point selector button and rotate the Main dial to quickly select an AF point. Press the AE Lock button and rotate the Main dial to select a positive or negative exposure compensation. Press the Drive mode selection button repeatedly to switch from Single shot to Continuous to Self-timer/Remote Control. Press the ISO speed set button and rotate the Main dial to select an ISO. Press the White Balance button and rotate the Main dial to select a white balance. Press the AE Lock button to switch from Evaluative (or Center-weighted average, if in Manual mode) to Partial metering mode. There is even a LCD panel illumination button.

Self-timer is regretably only at 10 sec. I believe we have been spoiled by a choice of 10 or 2 sec. being offered in many consumer digital cameras, the latter time being especially useful to eliminate camera shake when taking macro or long exposure shots. If you cannot wait for the 10 sec., purchase either the optional Remore Switch RS-60E3 or the Remore Controller RC-5.

The tripod socket is metallic and inline with the lens, making taking panorama shots quite easy. It is also far from the battery compartment, allowing the battery to be changed without having to remove the camera from the tripod.

If you hear a slight noise when you gently shake the camera, it's just the flash hinges. Pop the flash up and the noise goes away.

Both the body of the EOS Digital Rebel and the EF-S 18-55mm lens are made in Taiwan, but you wouldn't know it by the excellent quality of the construction. The EF-S 18-55mm lens supplied with the kit approximates a 28-90mm zoom lens in 35mm format. Those into telephoto shots might want to purchase the new EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM lens that covers a 35mm equivalent zoom range of approximately 90-320mm.

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