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Showing 1-10 of 453 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 614 reviews
on January 27, 2014
I have had this camera for 5 years, and have taken it everywhere from fishing trips (where it often gets a little wet) to sporting events and summer camp. I am not one to be terribly careful with may camera, and it isn't uncommon to see me chest deep in a lake or swimming pool at summer camps getting awesome pictures of campers having fun from angles not usually seen from the waters edge. I have dropped it more than I'd like to admit, the worst drop was on a drizzly day taking pictures of my dog when I slipped on some mud and pretty much broke my fall with the camera on concrete... I thought for sure it was toast, but that was three years ago, and now the only thing that doesn't work on the camera is the built in flash, which i never use anyway. This camera has been through every temperature range Michigan has to offer, from long 100+ degree days in in constant sun out on Lake Huron, to the negative temps at Snow Fest in Frankenmuth, and it has never had single hiccup. There really is nothing I don't like about the camera, and if I ever have to travel back in time to 2009 I would buy another one in a heartbeat.
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VINE VOICEon May 1, 2011
Ok, so let me preface this by saying that when I was in my 20's I owned a great SLR camera and dragged it around with me everywhere. I even used to take a load of pictures at rock concerts, had interchangeable lenses, a variety of lenses... well, you get the 'picture'. I was a 'professional' amateur. Flash ahead to the 1990's and on, I have a family and start to look for new gadgets. I owned several point and click cameras over the past 20 years, concentrating mainly on small sizes and portability. I loved the fact that I could slip these cameras into my pockebook and pack up the kids to the park (without a huge camera bag). Unfortunately, the pictures were 'ok' but nothing like the quality I had when I owned the old fashioned SLR. Well, now that I am 50'ish and my kids are grown and gone, I figured I would treat myself to a new camera, in particular this Canon Rebel. All I can say is 'wow'! I love it, love it, love it. Having owned it for over a year now (bought it on Amazon but just never got around to writing a review), I have purchased several interchangeable lenses and even a separate flash (although it comes with it's own built in one, I prefer to control the flash myself). The Canon Rebel gives me the quality of the pictures I was used to and with the stabilization, my pictures come out clear and focused every time. I have even started going back to concerts (ok, so they are the same artists I was following when I was much younger) and I am feeling like a pro again. I have also gotten into wildlife and nature pictures and some of the pictures I have taken of flowers could match up with any professional photographer. If you are in the market for a compact SLR, this is the camera to buy!
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on September 3, 2010
Up until this camera I was a compact, point and shoot kind of person. My cameras have mostly been Canons because I really like their ease of use, quality, and pictures. This is my first digital SLR and I chose this one for its features, including the HD video. It's got all the bells and whistles for taking great pictures in all sorts of situations. I am a beginner when it comes to all the manual program settings, aperture, shutter, ISO, etc. but where I really love this camera is action shots. It captures moving subjects so well, even if I don't figure out or use all the other features, I'm happy to have this camera just for the action shots. I can actually get the picture I want when I want it. As opposed to a point and shoot with the lag time that got me the shot I wanted after it happened. Very frustrating. Love this camera.
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on June 12, 2015
We bought this camera a while back, and it is still serving us faithfully. I'm the photo nerd of the family, and am perfectly satisfied with the adjustments available in manual. My wife favors the point-and-shoot, and it fits her needs well in that respect.

My one complaint: the "auto" settings tend towards the bright, and we often end up with photos that are washed out with light, or are blurry for having a longer exposure time. It's nothing that can't be adjusted, but it is a little irritating to have to adjust the brightness settings every time the camera is turned on in "auto".
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on September 27, 2010
i bought this camera about a month ago and have been experimenting with it ever since. i bought it after reading several rave reviews (was rated #1 customer-purchase last year in some worldwide research). i bought the lens kit and i would have to say that if you are SLR savvy then skip the lens kit because to me the quality and output of this lens is just "average" nothing special / you can buy or acquire a much nicer lenses (i.e. I bought some inexpensive canon FD and pentax super takumar lenses from ebay and works perfect with an adapter also available on ebay). just this weekend, i was at a family event, took pics using the T1i plus super-takumar 50mm f1.4 lens - results were real nice; crisp quality in image and in color! i did black/white video (same lens) and it looks real sharp / like proffessional grade! i would recommend the canon eos rebel T1i with a caveat to use other lenses / not the kit lens / just my opinion; canon makes real good products and someone told me that they even use canon lenses these days to film tv productions. last note from me, if you buy from amazon, be prepared to see the price fluctuate (most likely you will pay more for it today than next week / that happened to me / price was $20 cheaper the following week / and amazon will not give you a refund to guarantee lowest price.
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on January 30, 2015
My adult daughter let me use hers for a couple of days and I loved it. I bought a "used" one from Adorama (found here on Amazon). Photography is a renewed hobby for me. I thought this would be a good "starter" camera for me to get back into photography. (My last SLRs were Nikon-prior to the digital age.) It came in good time and the entire kit was present and in decent shape, even in original box. It worked great for about 1 week. Then it just locked up.

This may be a common issue as I did see a couple of other reviews mentioning this issue. The description did not indicate "refurbished" so I knew it was just luck of the grab. Still, it was disappointing to have it fail-lucky it did so soon after arriving. Luckily I had kept all the packaging. When I contacted Adorama they indicated to return it for a full refund-which I did. I don't blame the merchant.

I am about ready to try again and may still go with this model camera (the basic reviews for it when new, and even now, indicate that the newer models are not really what I need at the moment so I don't want to pay a "new" price). If/when I do, I will post another review.
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on January 27, 2011
I have had a Canon T1i since Christmas, when my husband gave it to me as a gift with the explanation, "This has to be both of ours because it is so expensive." Well, I can't really picture swapping the same camera back and forth during photo opportunities - it is SO HARD to get them just right to begin with, let alone having someone standing at your shoulder saying, "Give it to me! Give it to me!" SO...

... we just ordered a SECOND T1i (a motivated woman can find money, TRUST me!) for him, with overnight shipping, in hopes that we'll have it by his next day off (Saturday).

For Christmas I had asked for a DSLR camera for Christmas. My father taught me how to shoot a 35mm and do macro photography when I was in high school, and bought me my own SLR camera as a young adult. When I couldn't afford my own darkroom, etc., over time I finally went to digital point-and-shoots because they were affordable - no film, no developing. However, when I went to do macro with a point-and-shoot, frequently it would aim behind, or before, and I would have to go out to normal, switch back to macro, try again... taking macro shots of small flowers, etc., was aggravating and ruined my fun. After two different summer vacations with float trips and a total lack of good macro photography, I sadly admitted to my new husband that all I REALLY wanted for Christmas was a DSLR camera. Since we're older and have to be more careful (we only do purchases like this cash) with finances, I actually shopped cheap, even finding a close-out several years old never sold by Wal-mart Olympus and began researching it to see if I could work with it. Hubby encouraged me to learn a little more about DSLR's with internet research and I read him some highlights and once again suggested that he divide up whatever was budgeted for ME for Christmas amongst our grown children or the grandkids.

Hubby, unfortunately, is a bit of a Luddite. He never figured out his Blackberry before it DIED and then went back to a Nokia brick phone. This makes me a LITTLE worried about him having his own T1i, because it might NEVER get out of automatic mode, but at least he'll be happy and leave me alone with mine. This, however, contributed to his choice of camera. He went to Wal-mart and bought the most expensive DSLR they had in stock (LITERALLY).

He couldn't have made a better choice (sorry for the long intro - wanted you to know where my point of view comes from). Opened it up Christmas morning and did NOT have time to read the manual before Christmas day went crazy (I knew he got it - he handed it to me, with receipt, for me to wrap it - men are romantic that way - at least it gave me a chance to take the battery out to have it ready for the morning!) so I just put it on all automatic, in hopes that the pictures would turn out well.

It was a great day! Got wonderful candids of my grandson and his parents (they dote on him and he believes he is the center of the world), and it only took explaining where "the button" was to my hubby's father and step-mother (both in their 80s) for them to be able to use the camera easily. No - the pictures didn't always have only natural light, but the TTL control in the flash also helps reduce the "this is a flash picture" look unless things are really dark. On automatic, it worked really well.

Then I went home and read most of the manual and switched to the programmed modes. They work pretty well, too, and once again, don't require a whole lot of attention. The most likely settings are chosen for you, and you then pretty much just point and shoot.

A caveat - I don't like how high this thing prefers to default the ISO if given a choice. I'm going to switch to tripod a lot more and choose my own ISO - just like in the old film, you add a lot of light sensitivity and the noise (graininess) gets worse. Your best pictures are in your lower number ISOs, and if possible, never above 400 (though 800 actually isn't bad).

The kit lens, I think, might be painted as more of a villain than necessary. The various "photo style" modes change sharpness, etc., and those possibilities need to be addressed too before you announce the lens itself is too soft. I've noticed that I can sharpen images afterwards in processing and haven't gotten to the point I'm messing TOO much with the image quality in photo style yet - it's on the list for the next few days.

As someone who has been away from SLR cameras and film development for more than a decade(only had a brief window of developing in my life, but loved it tremendously), I have been surprised at how much things have been coming back in the past month. The interrelation between aperture, shutter speed and ISO came back pretty quickly, and aperture and depth of field control was almost immediate. I believe, though, that the simplicity of the controls AND the way that you can slowly "take over" more of the control as your comfort level improves, is AWESOME. It allows a user to start at the most basic level of photography - get what you want a picture of in the viewfinder and press the button - and move up from there, all the while actually preparing them to realize there are differences required to MAKE better pictures with various subjects.

At this point I've started taking RAW plus JPG (and there is an immediate clarity difference between RAW and JPG before you change anything in the RAW files - wow) and am starting to work with the bundled software to try to figure out digital processing. I found a video tutorial for the software on the internet as well as the manual which came WITH the camera in its box.

If you're someone who has NEVER had an SLR camera and/or have gotten "spoiled" by some of the higher-end digital point and shoots, I want to give you advance warning. The kit lens will NOT zoom far enough for you to be happy with it, especially if you like taking pictures of wildlife or sports, etc. For hubby I already purchased a Sigma 50-200mm zoom with optical stabilization (similar to Canon's IS) for less than $150. When he gets his camera it will be his. I'm going to try the Canon 55-250mm and see if there is an appreciable difference (besides the range) in color saturation and clarity. For the price, the Sigma was about the cheapest zoom lens I could find with optical stabilization (hubby and I both have shaky hands - one of those lovely things about aging). Hubby, after taking two pictures with my T1i with its kit lens refused to let me buy him ANY DSLR unless I already had a zoom lens to go with it. It is THAT frustrating if you're someone used to being able to zoom whenever you want to.

I would recommend one of those two lenses or possibly looking for a "walk around" lens like one with a 28-200 or 28-300 range. Remember, though, that zoom lenses have some trade off on optical quality, but if you're used to a digital point and shoot, you won't be disappointed by the quality, especially if you pay attention to the settings you are using.

I love this camera. Loyalty and love to my father makes me refuse to call this my favorite camera or Christmas gift ever (since both were Christmas presents and nice cameras), but if it weren't for that, I probably would call this my favorite. It has reawakened or maybe better allowed my passion for photography and to share the art in every day. To use this camera to its full capacity (not including lenses, filters and those choices, just to learn features and software) is going to take me at least another month or two.

Remember when you choose a camera (as a lot of the more informed people in here will tell you), you are buying into a "system." If you have an existing one, it's easier to continue in that product line. It will be exciting for us to have two alike because we can swap some things we won't use quite as often and/or get extras that can be shared (extra battery packs and the two-pack-at-a-time AC/DC charger, for one; and lenses that are more specialized). Canon says that their newer Rebels (including T1i) have an estimated 100,000 shutter release life before the assembly fails and needs replaced. To me that means this camera will last me two years, three on the outside (but unlikely), which is plenty of time to continue to acquire lenses, etc., and improve on what I have AND let the nicer technology get into my price range so I can afford to upgrade to something that is even better than this (who knows WHAT DSLRs will be like three years from now!).

This is NOT a "professional" level DSLR, but what I've done with changing the various settings on the camera plus options available in the software allows me to create MUCH nicer images than I would with any point-and-shoot, and the ability to switch to lenses which work better for certain subjects as well as having absolute control over how my image is created is absolutely great. It is a camera that allows you to move on, a little bit at a time, as you grow to understand both photography and how its functions work.

I CONSIDERED offering to get a Rebel XS to save money and give him my T1i. The biggest differences were the amount of megapixels (but 10.1 megapixels can blow up to a very LARGE image), speed of the processor (Digic III vs Digic IV), size of screen... I looked at a lot of these things and figured they didn't really matter. I also believed that the thing that would frustrate hubby MOST from the XS was the fact the screen doesn't have the nice "auto shut-off" feature where it turns the screen off as you bring the camera up to your face, which keeps you from having the glare from the screen distracting you as you look through the viewfinder. From what I read and what I know about photography, I believed I could get fairly equal images from either camera, but the T1i had a few easier features and I worried that I loved it too much to actually enjoy the XS after a month with the T1i.

I ended up not pushing him into the XS because I realized that the fact there were VISIBLE differences it would seem to him that I "sold him down" and kept "nicer" for me. That and I think that one little thing - the screen shutoff, would REALLY matter to him (and the MP count, though it is really irrelevant at those levels for the kind of photography he does).

If you're interested in a good camera that has a well-respected company behind it and a large array of 3rd party accessories to keep costs competitive, I would really recommend this one. I have been surprised at how fast I've remembered what I needed, and how the controls have felt increasingly intuitive the longer I've used them.

Also - though there is an admittedly small shutter lag (more than 3fps in burst mode, by the way), it feels like an "old-fashioned" camera when you take pictures with it compared to the digital point-and-shoots. You point at what you want a shot of and if you've got auto-focus on and everything was already set for where you were aiming (I do a lot of bird pictures), you usually can get your shot when you expect to. I can't speak to seeking for autofocus, because that will be lens dependent and wouldn't be a fault of the camera itself.

If it were ME I wouldn't upgrade from an XS or XSi to a T1i; there aren't enough major changes yet. Earlier models though, or migrating from point and shoot cameras - those situations make the T1i a very good value.
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on November 21, 2009
I consider myself to be more of a technophile then photographer. Every year I seem to pick up a new camera as the manufacturers add megapixels, more zoom, video, HD video, etc... to what I bought the year before at the same price point. I've picked up enough photography skills through out the years just playing with my new toys every year to have a moderate understanding of photography by now. Cameras are also utilized for part of my job where resoulution, zoom, and ability to get quickly on target is important. The advances in technology just in the last 3-4 years are amazing in what you can do with a small camera and the price you pay to do it.

That being said the T1i was my choice this year for my upgrade. (Last year was the Olympus E-510 which I got a great deal on as a year old model and the year before that a panasonic FZ18). Having the option to shoot both pics and video has been a big benefit for me at work and when shooting at home. The FZ18 is still my work staple although the now two years newer FZ35 is looking tempting. As far as what the panasonic bridge cameras can do in good outdoor lighting, it is very similar to what either of my DSLR's can do, and I would say the same thing for zooming outdoors. If you are looking for a great walk around outdoor camera to take daylight pics and video with I would recommend the panasonic series handsdown and you will come out several hundreds of dollars ahead. The upper level superzoom bridge cameras now have many of the manual functions the DSLR's do and do some nice burst shooting as well. Panasonic video is decent.

What a DSLR will give you is much better indoor, portrait, and lowlight shooting. It also allows you to better implement and use advanced skills. The trade off being the higher price of the body, larger size of the body/lens, high priced lens, flashes, etc.... No DSLR accessory is cheap. The DSLR will also require you to better understand photography and especially depth of field, shutter speeds, etc...

The T1i is a nice camera with a beautiful screen and easy to understand menu. The kit lens I would say is just OK. The build quality of the camera body (based on feel in the hand, heft, and visual inspection) seems better then the entry level Nikons and Canon XS, but my E-510 seems to be a more solidly built unit. Ditto for the kit lenses with neither brand of kit lens being all that great, but I think the Olympus lenses take better pictures. However more lens options exist for the Canon both from Canon and third party sources. As Amazon had a good package price at the time I purchased the T1i, I also picked up the 55-250mm IS lens, which I prefer over the kit offering. (I also have the basic 70-300mm Olympus lens which is similar in price to the Canon 55-250mm, and again appears to have a better build in the same price range.)

Indoors the Canon has a better ISO range then the E-510, but both take pictures that look very detailed and there is little if any noticeable difference betwen them quality wise in good indoor lighting or using the flash. Outdoors in low lighting the Canon beats the Oly. The Canon also has a better autofocus system and focuses better in low light. At zoom ranges I think the 5 megapixel difference is noticeable as the Canon with lens at 250mm resolves the same level of detail when fully zoomed as the Olympus does with the fully zoomed 300mm (basically a 400mm equivalent zoom vs. a 600mm, so I think that is impressive.) Both give you a better picture then the FZ18 when you hit the shot, but I think the auto mode for the bridge camera gives novice shooters more consistent results then the DSLR's. Part of that may be when you get a good DSLR pic you really know it, and when you are just a little off it is easy to see it is missing that DSLR "pop". Those up close or zoomed "potraits" is where even a very new photographer will realy notice the difference when stepping up to a DSLR. That and the lack of picture noise due to the larger sensor. (If this is a family camera purchase and you plan on rarely using a tripod, I would always recomending getting either image stabilized camera body such as the Olympus or make sure you are getting the Canon IS lenses and not the ones without. It really does make a big difference in what you can do with the camera as a novice or amateur photographer.)

As a still camera the T1i is an excellent choice especially if you are getting your first DSLR. If still pics alone are your primary concern though I would say you can get a less expensive DSLR such as the Xsi or E-620 and spend difference in price on better lenses. The T1i is the same price as I paid for my E-510, the two kits lenses it came with, and the 70-300mm zoom lens. I know that some of the differences I mentioned above are due in part to the 2 model year difference in cameras and that those differences would be lessened in the less expensive current model year cameras.

Video however was one of the biggest reasons I went with the T1i. There are just some moments that are nice to capture with video and audio rather then just still pics alone. That you can now have the ability to do that in a limited way, while getting DSLR quality stills is great. Carrying one camera is better then carrying two to do the same thing. I would rate the T1i's video as OK for what it is. Indoors it does shoot with lower noise then a smaller sensored camera would, but the lack of lighting indoors still hurts it as it does all video cameras. I am not sure if a Canon camcorder hot shoe light would work on the T1i or not. If it did I would give Canon props. Outdoors in good light it does better. Where the DSLR gives you a lot of variety in how you shoot still pics it is limited in being able to do the same thing right now with video. A dedicated HD camcorder will still serve you better for taking shots of scenes in which the focus and range rapidly change and where you need to shoot long sessions at one time. The T1i is not designed to shoot video for extended periods due to the generation of heat which degrades image quality and per the manual will likely give you an overheating warning after about an hour or so of extended use and I think may shut the camera down. (I think the same thing would happen if you set up the camera in live view mode for that long as well). So setting it up on a tripod to record say your kids basketball game is not what it is capable of doing. If you are like me though and find that most video you shoot of everyday events is only a few minutes long at most, this will work. I have been using the 720p video most of the time as the 1080 doesn't handle motion well. I also found that a class 6 card or better (again as the manual states) is a requirement for good 720p video. (a class 4 will work, but you will notice dropped frames and artifacts from its inabilty to keep up with the flow of data. The class 4 works for still shooting just fine although it may lessen some lengthy burst shooting).

I gave this camera 5 stars because you really do get a lot for what you pay. Yes it has limitations in the video mode but when you think about what you get for around $750 in this unit vs. what the same amount of money would have gotten you just 2-3 years ago I think it is a great camera. It takes excellent still pics, and OK HD video. If you have a DSLR that is 2-3 years old and are primarily interested in still pics, I won't say I would upgrade. And like I said above, even if this is your first camera and don't care about video there are less expensive choices for getting great still pics. If it is your first DSLR and you do want the option to do some videos (same with upgraders) there isn't anything better out there right now and this is definetly the way to go. Torn between this and an HD camcorder that will take still pics I would say that the video the T1i shoots (with-in its limits) is a much better secondary option then the still photos a camcorder takes. I have taken a nice HD camcorder on a trip before and relied on its still pics and would have liked to have had what the T1i offers over that, even when considering the larger size of T1i.

Update: A month in and still getting a lot of use out of the camera. Other then xmas card pics, the E-510 has stayed on the shelf. Have used it to record 3 xmas programs and xmas day events. Video has been very good as have the stills. Switching from video to stills is easy and been a great thing to have at every event I have taken it to.
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on January 16, 2011
This is our very first DSLR dipping into prosumer camera products. For whatever reason, every year we buy a nicer/ better point and shoot camera for our vacation. The last one was a Lumix waterproof/ HD video point and shoot camera. While those take very good pictures, we wanted more as they never seem fast enough. I decided this holiday was the time to make it a gift and so we could take it on vacation to Disney World.

When we opened it and started playing with the kit lens, it was night and day vs. a point and shoot. It is very easy to take photos right out of the box and it just took pictures faster and better. There are plenty of settings and buttons to play with, but that will take time and experience to really learn how to use this camera. Here is where I wish I did something different.

First of all, this becomes a VERY expensive hobby. The kit lens only goes so far. It basically gives you 3X's the zoom when compared to point and shoots. Obviously, that is not enough for us when we go on vacation anywhere. We went to a large dedicated camera store to look at lens options and found a huge amount of different lenses and brands. Based on price point and features, we chose a Sigma 18-200mm lens that gives you ~ 11x's zoom. This was a good all around lens as I didn't want to have to constantly swap out a lens for every parade or landscape shots. You never know what you'll see and changing out to a telephoto lens is not convenient. Now after a new lens, extra battery, waist bag and book bag I've easily totaled over $1400.

In the end I'm sure the supplied kit lens would be sufficient for a lot of people. If you need more than 3x's zoom, than just buy the body and research for a lens that will better suit your needs. Overall, you'll save money.
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on March 3, 2013
Conclusion - Pros

Good resolution and detailed output (but only very marginally better than 450D)
Decent (but not 'best in class') high ISO JPEG performance
Extended ISO speed up to 12800 (not great quality but it's there for emergencies)
Good quality HD video (but sound output does not match the image quality)
Currently the cheapest 1080P video capable DSLR (albeit only at 20fps)
Overall snappy and responsive performance
Very clear, high resolution 3.0 inch screen with anti-reflection coating (but still hardly usable in sunny conditions)
Brightest and largest viewfinder in class
Good number of external controls provide quick access to all important shooting parameters and the interactive quick control panel is a good alternative for those who prefer the compact camera style of controls
Intuitive menu system and customizable 'My Menu'
Good control over High ISO NR
Fairly efficient Highlight Tone Priority features preserves some additional highlight detail
Reliable flash exposure
Peripheral illumination correction
Optional battery grip
HDMI output
Comprehensive software package included
Good battery life

Conclusion - Cons

Visibly more noise in RAW files than some of the competition
Slightly less highlight range in JPGs than the competition
Relatively limited RAW headroom, channel clipping means color accuracy can often not be maintained when recovering clipped areas in RAW conversion
Metering has occasional tendencies to overexpose in very bright, contrasty conditions
Unreliable auto white balance and presets under artificial light
Still slightly plasticy appearance and surfaces
Grip is a little small for larger hands
Flash has to be raised for AF assist (although AF is good even in low light)
Limited exposure compensation range (+/- 2.0 EV)
Contrast detect AF so slow it's useless for most types of photography (it's the same for most of the competition though)
Slightly more expensive than the competition

Overall conclusion

The EOS 500D is the latest incarnation of a highly successful line of cameras and although the 'entry level' market segment is these days much more crowded than it used to be, we would be very surprised if the new model would not sell like hotcakes.

All the major manufacturers cram more and more new features into their 'budget' offerings but the EOS 500D is arguably the currently best specced camera in the segment, which lifts it some distance above pure 'entry level' territory. It comes with the highest resolution sensor (15.1 effective megapixels) in its class, an excellent 3.0 inch high resolution screen, extended sensitivity up to ISO 12800 and the arguably for many users most attractive new feature, a movie mode that records 1080P/20fps or 720P/30fps High Definition video footage.

It combines all this with decent image quality and while its appearance might be a little plasticy and the handling can be difficult with larger hands the 500D's main problem could be that it's a little pricier than most of its direct competitors which, in these times of economic turmoil, might render it less attractive to some potential buyers.
Image Quality

At base ISO the 500D produces clean and detailed output with natural colors but to make the most of the camera's 15 megapixels for big enlargements or cropping you should invest in good lenses. At least towards the edges of the frame the kit-lenses struggle to resolve all the detail in a scene.

The Canon does a decent job at higher sensitivities and up to ISO 1600 produces perfectly usable output that shows good detail but also visibly more chroma noise than the Nikon D5000 (if you're willing to sacrifice some image detail you get rid of it almost entirely by setting noise reduction to 'Strong' though). ISO 3200 gets visibly softer and the two highest settings produce a very intrusive type of color noise. They should therefore be firmly reserved for emergency situations.

When shooting in RAW the picture changes slightly to the negative. The 'extra quality' you can usually get out of RAW files compared to shooting in JPEG is relatively limited on the 500D. One reason for that is the quality of the camera's JPEG engine. It is doing a pretty good job at 'optimizing' the JPEG output when converting the RAW data. However, the 500D's RAW images are also slightly lagging behind some of the competition and surprisingly even the 450D in terms of high ISO noise and to a smaller degree in terms of pixel level detail. It's not going to be an issue when checking images at screen size but it's certainly visible up-close.

Metering is generally reliable but, like the 450D, in bright conditions the EOS 500D has a tendency to overexpose resulting in clipping of highlights. And although the JPEG dynamic range in the highlights is slightly smaller than on the predecessor there's enough headroom in raw files to pull back highlight detail in most of those shots. It's therefore recommendable, especially in bright and contrasty conditions, to always shoot JPEG + RAW. Otherwise you'd better check your exposures carefully and apply some negative exposure compensation where necessary.

We have in the past been slightly critical about the handling of the 500D's predecessors and we're still not too keen on the camera's ergonomics. The grip is comparatively small and, especially for photographers with larger hands, the camera doesn't sit as comfortably in the hand as, for example, the Nikon D5000 or Olympus E-620. The external controls give you good access to the most frequently changed shooting parameters but we'd love to see a 50D style second control wheel. Having said that we are looking at a budget camera here and the manufacturers have to draw the line somewhere.

The menu design is very intuitive and for everybody stepping up from a digital compact camera the Quick Control Screen will be a welcome alternative to changing settings via the hard buttons. All in all the EOS 500D is a camera that, after some initial adaption time, you will find easy to use. Just make sure you hold one before you buy and check if its smallish grip is suitable for you.

Like most current SLRs the live view feature is, mainly due to the very slow AF, of limited use outside the studio and while the video mode delivers excellent quality footage it offers very little manual control. None of these points are deal breakers though and Canon might even, like it did in the case of the 5D Mark II, at some point offer a new firmware to allow for more manual interference.
The final word

If you currently own an EOS 450D or another fairly recent entry-level DSLR from an image quality point of view there is not necessarily a need to upgrade to the EOS 500D. However, the HD video mode, new high-resolution screen or extended ISO range make it easier to justify the expense if you're likely to use these features. For anybody buying their first DSLR the 500D is an easy recommendation but you might want to have a look at the Nikon D5000 as well. It comes with a similar feature set to the 500D ('only' 720P video though) and performs slightly better in low light.

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