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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2005
The XT is amazing. The battery comes partly charged so you can immedietly start using the camera (thank you Canon!) I've already shot about 200 pictures with it and the battery hasn't died yet.

I can't give you a comparison between the XT and the 20D as I haven't owned a 20D, I can tell you a few things you may wish to know before buying.

This camera, is TINY. Extremely tiny. I'm a woman in my early twenties and I have small hands. The camera fits just right in my hands, but honestly, I don't see how someone with bigger hands would be 100% comfortable holding this. If my hands were any larger, they would be slipping off the bottom.

I had tried holding a 20D at a camera shop once and it felt too large in my hands to grip. The camera size is perfect for me, but just beware if you have larger hands. You may want to look into the battery grip, or test out holding the camera at a store before you order it. See the picture I uploaded above to get a size relation and how the camera fits in my hands.

For anyone who is migrating to this camera from a standard point and shoot digital camera, you cannot frame the image you are about to take using the LCD screen on the back. You must look through the viewfinder. The LCD screen is soley for menu use and preview mode after the picture has been taken, nothing more.

Something I've noticed is the camera makes a ratteling sound when moved around. I couldn't figure out what the heck it was, and then I finally reazlized it's the hinges from the pop-up flash. It sounds like they are loose when the flash is closed. I went to Best Buy and looked at their display model, and yep, it has the same problem. Well, it's not really a *problem* but frankly something ratteling around like that sounds cheaply made to me. My Canon film SLR doesn't make that sound.

I use a 420EX Speedlite flash with my SLRs so the popup flash doesn't concern me, but it was something I noticed and thought I would share.

I love that Canon gave the option to have a black finish over a silver one.

The startup time is instantaneous which is absolutely wonderful.

The burst mode is excellent with 3 fps.

It's extremely quiet.

The image quality is excellent. You can get photo quality prints at 20x30, and even then I bet you could push it further.

I really can't elaborate more then what other reviews have said. If you are looking for a step into the digital SLR world, this is the ticket. Or you can even check out the newly reduced original Digital Rebel, but for the extra hundred bucks or so, I would just get the XT. You will not be sorry.

Two upgrades I would make right away: Get a Speedlite flash and the Canon 28-135mm lens.

Also, I don't know why people are submitting bad reviews grading Amazon on shipping for the Rebel XT. When I preordered the XT from Amazon (not from another 3rd party), it said it would be released March 20th. I got my Rebel XT in the mail yesterday (the 22nd) which if you ask me, is pretty darn good. Want something right away? Then walk into a store and buy it instead of ordering from the internet.
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on August 18, 2005
Overview:

Current equipment (recently purchased)

Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D)w/Lens Kit
Canon Digital Rebel XT "Starter Kit" w/Bag, extra battery, haze filter. Do NOT confuse this with the Digital Rebel (non-XT)starter kit, which is also for sale.
Canon 420 EX Flash
SanDisk CF Type II (1 GB)
Canon Semi-hard Case (EH-18L)
Canon Remote Controller (RC-1)

Experience:

Currently 34 years old, began taking pictures at age 10 with non-SLR type cameras. Previous cameras include Canon AE-1 Film SLR, Sony Mavica MVC-FD90, Sony Mavica MVC-CD250 and Sony Mavica MVC-CD400. I'd estimate that I've taken 10,000 pictures with film cameras over the years (non-SLR, AE-1, A-1 and F-1, the A-1 and F-1 being bodies owned by my father, who is a well regarded semi-professional photographer and former instructor at the local Community College on film photography)and an additional 10,000 pictures with various digital cameras.

This is my first Digital SLR purchase.

General Impressions;

My FIRST recommendation to anyone thinking of purchasing this camera would be to download the owners manual from Canon, it's available via the Canon Website in .pdf format.

Several hours of your time spent reviewing the actual manual should provide confidence that this camera can be used effectively by any level of photographer.

If you're a novice, disregard the "Manual" sections of the manual and concentrate your attention on the "Automatic" sections. This camera is literally so easy to use a child can take an excellent photograph. I let my 9 year old daughter (with me giving her 2 minutes of advice and observing her carefully to protect the camera as she used it) take 25 photographs in the "Full Auto" mode, using only the pop-up flash unit. Out of 25 photos, I would rate 2 excellent on composition and the other 23 very poor (as expected), but the QUALITY of the images was outstanding. Every image was crisp and vibrant. My daughter is a TOTAL novice, other than using a few of the "disposable" pre-loaded cameras at a birthday party, these are the first 25 photos she's ever attempted. The 2 of excellent composition (of her little sister who's 2, and was in full "go" mode moving around) I sent to my father (who hardly passes out compliments on my photographic skills at a whim)with his response being "great photos".

I've personally shot 300 frames with the camera in "Full Auto" mode, using no flash (even when one was needed), the pop-up flash unit and the 420 EX (approximately 100 frames each way)and have even tried to "fool" the camera by taking portrait type shots in "Sports" mode and etc. The camera is very intuitive and will save most users from common mistakes associated with trying to take Photographs as opposed to Snap Shots. The only limitation on the quality of the images you can expect mostly relates to your skills in composing the photographs.

This camera can be used as a point and shoot camera or can be fine tuned to allow more creative/experienced photographers to push their limits. This is NOT a professional quality Digital SLR (or if it is, I can't imagine a pro using a digital camera, for high end photography this camera has SERIOUS limitations). Having said that, I would recommend this camera to anyone that is comfortable spending the money on it. This is not an inexpensive commitment. Initial outlay for a "basic" set-up will run you between 1200 and 1400 dollars, and additional lenses, filters, accessories will add 500 or more dollars (with your budget being the only limit on the "or more" amount).

I've read reviews where users mention several "negative" issues with the camera. First, some reviewers mention that the battery cover "rattles". I can't speak to their experiences, but there is no "rattle" on my camera body at all, none. Very solid. Second, I've read complaints that the size is too small. I'm not a small man, and I have fairly large hands. I think the camera IS compact, but not uncomfortable to use. As a matter of fact, the smaller size keeps me mindfull of the fact that it's a precision instrument and that it takes a delicate touch on the shutter and a light "approach" to taking a great photo. Finally, I've noticed that some people think the camera has a "cheap" feel to it. I can only assume that they're used to camera bodies made of metal. This body is plastic and rubber, but again mine feels very solid in my hands, not "cheap" at all, unless I heft my AE-1 right after the fact. But that's comparing apples to oranges.

Photo Quality:

In the Large Fine Format, this camera will give you everything you expect in terms of image quality.

Ease of Use:

If my 9 year old can take pictures with it, anyone can.

Value:

Relative to the cost of other Digital SLR's (and having reviewed their owners manuals as well) I'd rate this as a very good value.

5 Star Items:

Autofocus - Very Fast, haven't "stumped" it yet.
Menu - Easy to understand/use
Battery Life - Excellent
Image Quality - Excellent
Canon Engineering - Excellent, I'm biased probably, never had a problem with a Canon Film SLR, don't expect any with a Canon Digital.
Speed - Excellent, this camera is FAST. Ready to go.
Ergonomics - Very Very Good, but not perfect.

4 Star Items:

Viewfinder - It's very good, the placement of the screen leaves a LOT to be desired, but not enough to downgrade the camera overall.
CF Slot - Not overly easy to get the card in, but not HARD.
Pop-up Flash Unit - Good for what it is, but nothing you want to rely on if you're planning on taking good photographs in every situation.
Included Software - Very good, nothing earthshaking.
Battery Charging - Very good, under 90 minutes to take a drained battery back to full charge.
Changing Lenses - Very good, about what you'd expect.
Owners Manual - Informative, but could have been better organized.

3 Star Items:

Neck Strap - Poor, not comfortable. Plan on buying a replacment.
Included Lens - Average. Meets the "general" purpose shooting requirements for most situations, about what you would expect from a $100.00 lens. Plan on upgrading the lens, but I still recommend buying the full "kit" with Lens, instead of body only.

Overall, I gave the camera a 4 star rating, because nothing is perfect, but personally I'm very pleased with my purchase and would recommend this camera to anyone that isn't attempting TRUE professional quality photography.

Recommended purchases;

2nd Battery, 2nd CF Card (recommend Type II), Additional Lenses, Camera Bag, Remote Control, Filters, Flash Unit (420 EX, is cost effective and gives good results, EH-18L Body Case and Tripod.

Potential worthy purchases;

Battery Grip (BG-E3)
AC Adapter Kit (ACK 700)

Also, I bought my items directly from Amazon.com, got a good price and everything was delivered on time and in good condition. Just to echo some other reviews, if they price is "too good" be wary, as always you get what you pay for.

Hope this was helpful information.
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HALL OF FAMEon March 15, 2005
I spent three hours yesterday playing with the brand-new Canon Digital Rebel XT digital SLR camera, and man, was I impressed.

I hadn't been too impressed with the original Digital Rebel, except for its revolutionarily low price (for a d-SLR), because it was slow and felt slimsy. The new DR XT is quite different. Even though it's 3 ounces lighter than the original DR -- mostly due to the use of a smaller battery; see below -- its smaller form factor actually makes it feel more solid and "real". In other word, unlike the original DR, this one feels professional, not toy-like at all.

By now you probably already know Canon makes some of the best digital cameras in the world. Even though I'm a Nikon shooter when it comes to d-SLR (sorry, loyal Canon shooters!), I own a couple Canon compact digital cameras and love them, too. The DR XT's image quality is once again excellent. I took a few indoor shots with the camera, both with and without flash, and then the store clerk let me download them to their PC. The JPEG pictures (I didn't try RAW) looked excellent on the Sony LCD screen, on par with the more expensive EOS 20D d-SLR. Color tones were accurate and the resolution was really good. The improvement picture quality over the original DR ("DR Classic"? BTW it's now $200 cheaper) comes from both the 2 extra megapixels and the better color accuracy. BTW, the DR XT reportedly uses a tecchnically different CMOS sensor than the original DR, although I haven't been able to find out exactly how this one is better in technical terms than the old one (other than the two extra megapixels). No matter, my limited true-world testing showed the image quality is indeed better than the already-excellent image quality of the original DR. And, as in the past, Canon does a wonderful job at keeping noise low -- I considered noise acceptable up until ISO 800.

The kit, which I recommend, comes with the same flimsy 3x EF-S lens (which won't work on regular film SLRs) as the original DR. You should most definitely get a better lens, although the kit lens works well as a "street zoom." I didn't get a chance to test the lens outdoors as the store wouldn't let me take it outside, but I have no doubt that this new model can only be better than the original DR, which was already very good even before you considered its low price.

The DR XT is fast: at last, you can turn it on and start shooting without waiting several seconds like you had to with the original DR. The only downside compared to the original DR is the smaller, lighter battery in the DR XT also means shorter battery life. I highly recommend you get an extra battery or two. You won't be able to go through a full day of shooting on just one battery, even if you don't use flash much. (But all pros and pro-wannabes use fill-in flash, don't we?) I also recommend a good camera bag; I personally like Tamrac for that. In addition to the spare battery (batteries), bag and a better lens or two, also consider getting a tripod (Sunpak ones are cheap but ok quality), an external flash as well as filters -- esp. a high-qual circular polarizing filter.

In summary, the Canon Digital Rebel XT is another stunning winner from Canon. It features faster speeds (start-up and shot-to-shot), excellent image quality, and terrific look-and-feel. Despite my personal preference for Nikon pro-level gear, I can recommend this Canon d-SLR to my friends without reservation.

Feel free to e-mail me at gadgester @t hotmail with your questions and commends.
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on January 18, 2006
First, a couple of things.

I wanted this camera to be great. I researched all the consumer dSLRs and decided on the XT Rebel 350 because of it's size and 8MP CCD, plus, I'd had two Canon point and shoot digitals that were fantastic.

I've been taking pictures on a semi-professtional level for thirty years and I attended Brooks Institute of Photography, so I sort of know what I'm doing.

Bought the Rebel XT at a local store in San Francisco, along with the Canon 28-200 Zoom. Immediately went up to Chinatown to shoot pictures of the Festival of the Harvest Moon with my wife, who was using her Nikon D70 with the Nikon 28-200.

Shot pictures all day, and absolutely loved the way the XT handled. It was very intuitive, fast, had a bright viewfinder -- I couldn't have been happier.

Then, we got home and looked at the pictures. I'd shot mostly on automatic, or shutter priority all day, with shutter speeds above 250th of a second.

Bottom line, my wife's pictures were crystal clear, popped really, and mine of the same or similar subjects were just a tad fuzzy. You couldn't tell at 5x7 or so, but when you brought it up to 8x10 or above the difference was obvious. I checked the historgram on the shots, and they were made at nearly the same settings. Couldn't be, right? After all, the Nikon is only 6 MP, the Canon 8MP.

So I put both cameras on a tripod, pointed them at a brick wall with a sign about 100 feet away, set everything the same on the cameras, and low and behold, same fuzziness.

I took the Canon back the next day and traded it in on a D70. Now, maybe I got a bad lense, or a camera where the auto-focus was tweaked, but I couldn't afford the time to test it out again and again. I knew the Nikon would work, and it did (and does).

Since then, I've talked to friends, professionals, who say that the XT is known to have auto-focus "issues". This seems to be inconsistent, with some reviewers being delighted by the camera, others having a little problem.

As I said above, the camera handles really well, intuitively, and I actually like the compact size (some SLR users like a heavier camera). I may have gotten a lemon, but if you are going to need to depend on getting sharp pictures and can't go back for reshoots, I'd step up to the Canon D20 or go with a Nikon dSLR.
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on January 1, 2006
I can't say enough about this camera. I won't launch into superlatives you can read in all the other reviews other than to agree that it is the best thing this amateur has ever bought.

If the XT is going to someone that will only use it 5-10 times a year, the kit lens is fine.

My advice for those like me that are trying to step up into taking photographs rather than pictures? Buy the camera as a body only, spend 80ish dollars on the 50mm 1.8 prime lens, and another 20ish on the remote. You will still come out cheaper than if you buy the XT with a kit lens AND have an amazing, fast lens that gets raving reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Check the lens reviews for yourself, especially if you're not familiar with prime vs. zoom lenses. The tiny remote is handy too!

I'm betting you will eventually buy at least one more lens than what you start with to explore the capabilities of the XT. This is true whether you start out with the kit or the 1.8. I use the 28-135 IS and the 1.8. The kit lens is in a box in my garage somewhere, so I could have saved myself $100 if someone had suggested to me what I am to you.
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VINE VOICEon August 28, 2006
After 1.5 years in the market, garnering a series of awards and praises, Digital Rebel XT (aka EOS 350D) has been replaced by Digital Rebel XTi (aka EOS 400D). For about one to two hundred dollars more, XTi offers some compelling benefits, such as:

- New 3-point ultrasound dust removal system that cleans image sensor area; included software maps dust stuck in low pass area and electronically masks them.

- 10.1 MP APS-C CMOS image sensor (3888 by 2592) vs. 8 MP (3456 by 2304) that improves resolution by 20% while maintaining dynamic range and noise level.

- Faster image processing. In continuous shooting mode, it captures the same 3 frames per second but up to 27 JPEG or 10 RAW vs. 14 JPEG or 4 RAW.

- Significantly improved 9-point TTL auto focus from EOS 30D vs. 7-point.

- Brighter 2.5" 230,000 pixel LCD vs. 1.8" 115,000 pixel LCD.

- Updated user interface.

- Picture styles and RGB histogram.

- More durable leathery paint finish.

Of course, there are some losses, too. Most notably, XTi eschews dedicated LCD info display (integrated into main LCD now) and yields lower battery life (500 vs. 600 shots).

All that worth extra dough? If all you want is to take great photos for less money, XT is still a great camera. I've used XT for almost a year now and it's capable of some amazing pictures, provided you use better than the crummy kit lens (although kit lens can be an affordable intro to the world of DSLR). If you can stretch your budget, XTi operates significantly faster with much nicer auto focus system. Higher resolution sensor, larger LCD with enhanced UI, and self image sensor cleaning system can be very beneficial to many as well.
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on April 22, 2005
I bought this camera as soon as it was available on Amazon, and have had it for about a month now. The experience has been fantastic. The pictures are nothing less than stunning. Colors are great, resolution is amazing, and the software package is very complete and easy to use.

Probably the best features are the number of modes that are available, and the ease of use. It can be set to a full program mode, and used as a point and click snapshot camera by anyone at all, or put into full manual mode for the more experienced.

I do have a couple of suggestions. Order this body without the Canon lens. I upgraded to a Sigma 28-300 mm Macro Zoom for about the cost of the original lens, and now have one lens for virtually any situation.

Also, get top notch compact flash card. I bought high speed, 1 GB Lexar 80x flash because I really wanted the ability to take high speed repetative pictures. I was not disappointed. You can either take one picture after another about as fast as you can hit the sutter, or put the camera into repeat-shot mode and hold the shutter button down. This is a great feature.

Also order a spare battery or two. It takes a lot of pictures on a single charge, but seems to go from a full battery indication down to dead real fast, so there's not a lot of warning that you need to charge up.

All in all, a very outstanding bit of technology.
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on May 13, 2005
Got this camera after considering between this and the 20D. Was very impressed with the 20D, but the price difference could easily give me a very good lense, and the feature differences are minor, so Rebel XT it is. I am a photography enthuiast who wishes he had the budget for a canon 1D MarkII but instead have the budget of a mortal and have to pay for a personal camera out of his own pocket.

I have been reading some other reviews on this site and other sites regarding digital SLR cameras in general. I had to admit, most of the reviewers really are better served with a point and shoot. This is a SLR camera, it will take great pictures in automatic modes, but if you use your camera in those modes, get something like the Canon Pro1. This camera is to be used in Av, Tv or Manual modes, maybe in Program in a pinch. It requires you to understand WB, depth of fields, exposure metering as well as other wide array of nuances that come with a SLR camera. If you don't want to spend some time to learn some details about photography, you will be better served with a point and shoot. If you decide to use the attached flash for in door portrait shots, you're probably better served with a point and shoot. If you need to frame your shot on the LCD, you're better served with a point and shoot (becasue the whole SLR concept of through the lense view of the scene, DOF checking, focus accuracy is completely lost by that opinion). Yes the sensor on dSLR's will get dirty and require maintenance. Some one mentioned why don't engineer design the sensor to have the opposite charge to rebel dust. Well, dusts don't have one single polarity in their charges, so 50% of the dust will be attracted to the sensor doesn't matter what polarity the sensor is charged with.

Also, this is not a Canon 1Ds either, so it does have its limitations, but then again, people who will feel completely limited by this camera should have gotten a Canon 1D series camera anyway.

The best merit for this camera is foremost image quality. It's extremely low in image noise all the way up to ISO 800. ISO 1600 is completely usable if you stay below 8x10 enlargement and don't mind photoshopping your image a little. Again, if you don't ever want to bother with photoshop adjustment of you pictures, you probably will be better served with a point and shoot. The kit lense is of decent quality again for the price, but you're definitely short changing yourself if that's the only lense you decide for have for this camera. If you want to buy the kit and had no intention to buy another lense, you shoud seriously be considering Canon Pro1, it's got a L glass and a good match between the lense and the body. Buying this camera will be at most 50% of your investment if you truly want to make it worthwhile, the other 50% will be needed for buying good lenses (get the Canon 17-40mm USM L lense, the 70-200 4L zoom, and the 28-135mm as a walk-around, the Tamron 28-74 is an excellent medium range lense as well and is probably a superior substitue for the Canon 28-135 USM).

I would have to say lack of spot metering does give the Nikon D70 an advantage, but this camera does have a center metering mode with exposure lock, so it is not really a show-stopper. Compared to the D70, the Rebel XT has superior noise level performance. This is from my personal experience as well as photos from a wide variety of sites on the net. Low noise level is very important to me, so if this is on your priority list, you really can't go wrong with the Rebel XT at this price point.

What I want to emphasize here is seriously consider your needs before buying this camera, to make this camera truly worth the money you spent, you need to spend a bit more of your money and a lot of more of your time on learning how to properly handle a piece of equipment like this. Otherwise, you guessed it, Canon Pro1 is a very very good candidate.
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on July 23, 2006
I've been using the Rebel XT for over 6 months, taken literally 1000's of pictures and it's been great. Loved my old manual 35mm Nikon SLR, have been using digital point-n-clicks but wanted the control of an SLR again--no major complaints with the Rebel XT. Overall: if you're shopping for a solid DSLR, I'd definitely recommend it.

Pros:

+ Fast. I had a miserable time capturing action with my Canon S50 (a digital point-n-click)--response time made for hit-or-miss photos. The XT takes something like 3+ shots/second, a feature I've been happily using for action sequences I could never pull off before.

+ Great depth of field. This was something I really missed from the old SLRs--you just don't get much depth with point-n-clicks even in those portait modes. The XT is great for isolating subjects in the shot.

+ Battery lasts far longer than any other digital cameras I've had (I suspect b/c it lacks the preview window). As a bonus, the XT uses the same form factor as my Canon S50 so I only need one charger when I travel.

+ Auto-focus is v. fast. I know I mentioned speed before but it's worth mentioning again. I hate waiting for other digital cameras to analyze a scene and take a shot--no delays with the XT.

+ Starts up instantly. I didn't think I'd care about this but it's been great--you see a shot, you flick it on and before you can even raise the camera to your eye, it's ready to fire away.

+ Software is better than I expected--it's actually usable as compared to some other software I've received with other cameras like Kodak.

Cons:

- The kit lens isn't terrible but isn't great. The manual focus ring is narrow and oddly positioned right at the tip of the lens; and you have to turn-off autofocus to use it (unlike most Canon lenses you can buy). It's also noisy. Aesthetics aside, the optics are ok and the range (from wide-angle to zoom) is hard to find in other Canon lenses (I've found that I've needed separate lenses to get the same wide-angle to zoom range).

- One thing I didn't fully realize when I purchased was the impact of the 1.6 cropping factor of the EF-S lens form factor. The XT can take both EF-S and EF lenses. If you throw on an EF lens (the majority of Canon EOS lenses and what I've purchased for my zoom and primes), the scene is magnified by 1.6 (or you could say the edges are cropped). As I understand it, it allows for a smaller camera. The problem is that you really can't use an EF wide-angle lens since it loses it's wide-angle--you'll need to buy an EF-S wide-angle lens and there aren't many choices (I have the 10mm-22m). My concern is that I'm not sure whether Canon will support the EF-S form factor long-term and I hate investing in lenses only to have them obsolete in a year. Will see what happens. Something to consider since you'll probably be purchasing lenses to go with this camera.

- Get ready to clean the camera more. I'm admittedly rough on my equipment (used the XT in the desert and the jungle). Problem is whereas point-n-clicks are sealed and the old 35mm SLRs would simply capture dust/dirt on single frame, getting a speck on the sensor on the XT (and probably most DSLRs) causes a blob on every shot you take until you notice it during reviews and clean it. I use a hand air pump--takes seconds but just be prepared.

- One final note: be wary of suntan lotion and other lotions when using Canon cameras--I've managed to rub off the decals from two camera bodies so far--the ink or whatever is used to print the icons simply disolves.

I consider these minor issues given the purpose of the camera is to help you take great shots and the Rebel XT definitely does this.
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on May 5, 2006
Generally speaking Canon Rebel XT/350D is a very capable camera, it's far beyond the realm of an entry-level dSLR. However, it's not without flaws, some are fairly significant.

Pros:

Speed, speed, and speed...

Low-priced and feature-packed camera that worth every penny

Excellent Burst Mode, up to 9 shots at highest JPEG resolution

Compact design, solid construction, though small grip takes time to get use to

User-friendly interface

Great low-lighting AF capability

Sharp image with vibrant color and contrast at default setting (parameter 1)

Possibly best free bundled software on the market

Cons:

Evaluative Metering often performs poorly; Center-Weighted Average is a better choice for normal shooting

No true Spot-Metering. Only Partial-Metering instead ...works ok though

Auto AF point selection often misses intended target. Manual AF point selector helps but annoying to use

AI Servo AF does not work well as advertised, must accompanied with high ISO and shutter speed (1/500th sec or faster)

Relatively weak onboard flash, often needs positive compensation to get the job done

Below average Auto White-Balance performance

High ISO performance is not as good as some professional reviews. Noticeable noise at 800 and above

The bottom line, Canon Rebel XT/350D is like a well-put-together high-tech toy that invites you to play every time you put your hands on. It's not camera for someone just wants to do point and shoot. To get the best of out this camera requires some learning and adequate accessory...at least one decent lens ($400 and up) and a high capacity/high speed CF card (minimum 1GB and 40x) are absolute necessities. One also must be willing to explore various options this camera provides...ISO setting, Exposure Compensation, White-Balance adjustment, Depth of Field, Creative-Zone photography and RAW shooting are just a few areas worth spending time on.
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