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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Canon's New Rebel XSi...should you upgrade?



Well, it depends. If you own the Canon Rebel XTi, I'd say no, you're probably not going to be gaining much paying a few hundred to upgrade. But if you own maybe an old Rebel or Rebel XT, I'd say definitely "yes." I just upgraded and am very impressed not only with the body itself, but with Canon's software that came with it.

Their new "raw image processor" software is a MAJOR improvement. I didn't use other RAW image processing programs other than theirs on the old XT, and was hoping this new software was basically the same. It is, but it has more features and also allows you to edit in 14 bit in RAW. I'm not sure what the XTi has, but this has new "settings" in RAW similar to those in JPEG, that allow you to choose which to use in RAW...such as landscape, standard, portrait, monochrome, faithful, and neutral. I'm gonna have to learn more of what this is all about in the coming weeks, but "faithful" setting seems more appealing for storm chasers, focusing more on highlights and not blowing out whites in the sky/sun areas.

I can't get over the fact of how my images look "sharper" in RAW, which now, along with the other settings such as contrast, saturation, color tone, all have more in-depth settings. The above image was done with very little post-processing...in fact hardly any at all. It's just a "test" shot I did the other night on my way to Lawrence.

Some new features I didn't/don't have with the XT: highlight tone priority. One thing I don't understand is why you have to have a minimum of ISO 200 with it, instead of just one. Something that doesn't bother me too much. Spot-metering...one thing I know little about is metering (or exposing an image well) and plan on it soon.

Two things worth the money alone, without the above mentioned. Live view. Yep, no longer are the point and shoots the only ones with this function, it's now on here, and gives you a "preview" of how your image will be shot. Want to see what your image will look like at f/8 and exp. compensated -2.3 using spot metering? Your huge 3.0 inch LCD screen shows you before you shoot it. LCD screen and live view make this worth every penny. It's literally 4 LCD screens of my XT stacked across and then down. I can't tell you how many times on my XT I've thought a picture was in focus, but was off a hair due to the tiny LCD screen (and zoomed in).

Grids. You can now view grids on your live view to keep things "level."

More AF points. Makes things quicker now...it's in sort of an oval shape now and seems quicker.

More f/ps. I can now fire off I think 3.5 f/ps...it's QUICK and almost annoying if you have it set on this by accident.

SD card and battery. The new battery took me 1.5 hours to charge the first time, and is still full after me using the live function constantly. I just can't find anyone who sells any "backups." And the SD card people are bitching about is laughable, it's a card okay? If you don't like the "flimsiness" of them, ask yourself why that matters in the first place, then 1. take brick and 2. smash face. They're cheaper (I bought a 4 gb extreme II sandisk for 30 bucks shipped on ebay...not a fake!) and they're smaller. Sometimes I think people bitch about things to make themselves seem more knowledgeable about pointless shit that no one cares about. The same guy who will tell you on a photography forum, that a technique in photoshop is more "clean" another way is also full of shit. Living in Garden City, KS for a long time, I've smelled a lot of bullshit. They both work the same, and look the same, so piss up a rope.

I already find myself reaching for buttons/functions that aren't there out of habit, and that will take some getting used to. But overall, I'm very impressed with this camera (the short time I've had it and even shorter time I've messed around with it).

I was lucky enough to get mine early (thanks Ritz!) and didn't have to wait on BHphoto to "tell" me when they had some in stock. I don't think they (BH) are the cheapest place on the net any more, and I'm sure with their latest "holiday" they've given themselves, have lost out on a lot of sales with the new XSi.

Overall, with the software and body I'd give it a 9.0 out of 10. More later, including images taken with the XT vs. the XSi in terms of noise and quality.

Maybe I'll get to use this new camera on a supercell...something I haven't seen since May of last year, a true supercell, (uncle Chuck has the definition around on the web somewhere) or even one of those tubular things that used to exist, but are so rare this year.

4 comments:

mnwxchaser said...

RAW processors are so much fun...you mean it is possible to piss up a rope?

Steve Miller TX said...

Thanks for the great review. I've got the old XT which I've really enjoyed. But, the new features are just too tempting.

DM said...

Just ask my favorite band, "Ween" they wrote a song about it! Probably one of the funniest songs of all time.

DM said...

Yeah, I couldn't resist. 50 percent more mp's (12.2), a gigantic LCD screen, better software, live view, highlight tone priority...big improvements over the XT.

4 gb SD card holds about 260 RAW or 750 jpeg's BTW...

There is an ISO button near the shutter button as well, and you can view your settings (f stop, ISO, etc) on the LCD screen, which is really nice to see without having to look through the viewfinder.

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