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Customer Review

230 of 238 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review for the, August 18, 2005
This review is from: Canon Digital Rebel XT DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 20, 2008 12:48:23 PM PDT
Rob Wie says:
This review is probably one of the best here so far. No fan-boy squealing; just objective non biased rating.

Posted on May 13, 2009 10:39:13 AM PDT
torri bell says:
Thanks great review. I found it very helpful and very informative!

Posted on Aug 6, 2009 8:15:10 AM PDT
C. Cong says:
I am getting my 15-year-old daughter a SLR and looking at this one. Can you tell me the reason that you said that you would recommend to get a full kit instead of a body only? I plan to get a body and buy a separate lens maybe from 18-200 mm range. She has taken many photos from a regular digital camera and tried my old mechanical SL camera several times. She is also good with electronics. Thanks for your review. It was very helpful.
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