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Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

With the Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D in Europe and most of the world) Canon presents the long awaited successor of the DSLR box office hit EOS 300D. Purely outwardly the new one has hardly anything in common with the EOS 300D. The EOS 350D adopts the basic features of its 35mm sisters EOS 30 and EOS 33 and with its very compact external dimensions of only 126.5 x 94.2 x 64 mm (at a net weight of approx. 485 grams) comes noticeably close to the current miniaturization record holder in the DSLR Pentax DS.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • simultaneous RAW and JPEG recording (in separate image files)
  • extended B/W functions (filter effects etc.)
  • high technology level
  • AF mode and exposure metering mode freely selectable (unlike the EOS 300D)
  • fast response times (AF, tripping delay, switch-on time, etc.)
  • E-TTL-II flash exposure metering and control
  • White balance diagram
  • enormous choice of lenses
  • remarkable compactness
  • excellent price-performance ratio
  • “ready to use” pictures (beginner-orientated coordination of the picture preparation)

Cons

  • Image loss if the memory card compartment is opened prematurely
  • no built-in post-processing functions (crop/resolution change, RAW-JPEG conversion)
  • DEP depth of field program not available (only A-DEP)
  • no sensitivity indication in the viewfinder
  • Viewfinder image cover and eyepiece size may be larger
  • no color balance adjustment (R-G-B controller)
  • no wireless (E-TTL) flash control with built-in flash
  • AF auxiliary light via flash salvo
  • too short a display interval
  • Settings must be confirmed with the SET key
  • Basic settings cannot be made directly on the status LCD
  • no “Sunshine” LCD
  • partly too much sharpness (artefacts), unnaturally high colour saturation
  • Image noise not as low as expected
  • unfavourable positioning of some controls

A quite successful model was the EOS 300D. But now she is getting competition from within her own ranks and is retired by Canon’s newest models. The new one is called Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) and has perfected the art of seduction once again compared to its prominent predecessor. We have done the test with the EOS 350D and want to reveal whether it is suitable for a short affair or rather for a longer-term relationship.

Compared to the EOS 300D the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is about 25 percent smaller and 10 percent lighter. This was made possible by using a smaller lithium ion battery, among other things. The NB-2LH battery (7.4 V at 720 mAh) is an old acquaintance (PowerShot-S series) and is hardly bigger than a matchbox. Frequent photographers can equip the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) with the optionally available battery handle BG-E3, which takes up then alternatively 6 AA/Mignon cells (one-way batteries or accumulators) or two NB-2LH cells. The housing reduction is accompanied by an increase in resolution. As many have guessed, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) rises into the 8 megapixel class. The CMOS sensor in APS-C format (22.2 x 14.8 mm) is a modification of the EOS-20D image converter and, in combination with the EF and EF-S lenses (or compatible lenses from other manufacturers), extends the focal length by a factor of 1.6 (although one would actually have to talk about a reduction in the angle of view).

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

With the Rebel XT (EOS 350D), Canon technologies that were previously reserved for semi-professional and professional models (e.g. EOS 20D, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1DS Mark II) are also making their way into the entry-level DSLR market. The DiGIC-II signal processor (DiGIC stands for Digital Image Core) provides decent processor power and the associated benefits (better image quality especially in terms of noise and color reproduction, faster response times, lower energy consumption), while E-TTL-II flash metering and control provides more precise exposure especially with highly reflective objects by taking into account the subject distance. At all the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) stands in the sign of the speed. The switch-on time is now only 0.2 seconds, and the continuous shooting speed now reaches 3 frames per second (max. 14 JPEG or 5 RAW images in a row). The writing speed on the memory card has become up to 3.5 times faster in comparison to the EOS 300D; thanks to USB 2.0 high-speed interface the data transfer to the computer occurs substantially faster than with the comparatively “leisurely” USB 1.1 interface of the EOS 300D.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Beside the DiGIC II processor and the E-TTL II technology the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) takes over some functions of the big sister EOS 20D. For example, the advanced black and white functions (tinting and filter effects, parameterization of contrast and sharpness for black and white images) or the shifting of the white point on the blue/amber and magenta/green color axes. As with the EOS 20D, the built-in miniature flash (LZ 13) sits very high (higher than the 300D) above the optical axis of the lens, reducing the risk of red “flash eyes”. The on-board flash should be able to cover the field of view of lenses with a focal length of up to 27 mm (KB equivalent) downwards; the flash sync speed is 1/200 s in normal mode (shorter times are possible with the high-speed flash sync function).

The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) supports all newer standards and protocols (including PictBridge, Canon Direct Print, EXIF 2.21, PTP). A total of 9 individual functions with 24 settings allow personal configuration of the camera, including, for example, mirror lock-up and flash synchronization to the 2nd shutter curtain. Finally, it is also possible to directly select the AF mode (One Shot, AI Servo, AI Focus); focusing is still done on 7 spot sizes. Otherwise it remains to be mentioned that the LC color display of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has a slightly lower resolution (approx. 115,000 pixels) than the EOS 300D with the same picture diagonal (1.8″) and that (CompactFlash) memory cards with a capacity of more than 2 GByte may also be used. Accessories include an electric cable remote release or an infrared remote control, and another PMA innovation is the new EF-S lens 60 mm 1:2.8 Macro USM, which we will be returning to after the PMA, along with other innovations such as the Selphy CP600 dye-sublimation printer.

The biggest headache the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) will give the competition, however, is with the price. If the EOS 300D was already considered as the “mother of all DSLR bargains”, Canon goes one better with the successor model and sets the housing price of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) at just under 900 EUR (1,000 EUR with the set lens EF-S 18-55).

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Decorated with an 8-megapixel image converter, provided with much faster “reflexes” and given a less restrictive nature, the new EOS 350D from Canon attracts especially those who do not have such an expensive taste.

Ergonomics And Workmanship

The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is fashion-conscious and wears size XS. With its petite “body dimensions” of only 126.5 x 94.2 x 64 mm, it is significantly (around 25 percent) smaller than its predecessor, and in the battle for the slimmest silhouette it rivals the current miniaturization record holder in the DSLR sector, the Pentax DS. The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is so dainty that one wants to take it quite carefully in the hand with the first contact. But you soon notice how cuddly it can be despite the shrunken grip (compared to the 300D). The rough, fibreglass-like surface structure of the black version we tested conveys a feeling of grip and high quality; if the Rebel XT (EOS 350D) comes along in a silver polycarbonate dress, it looks above all “cheaper”. But the little one is by no means a fragile nature, because the plastic used is of the more durable kind and in the important places (bayonet, tripod thread, parts of the “innards”, flash shoe) it adorns itself with metal. The small camera gains a touch of sovereignty or a professional allure by screwing on the matching battery handle BG-E3, which also gives larger “paws” more grip.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Whoever utilizes the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), must nevertheless be very careful and watch out for certain “faux pas”. The Mini-DSLR is literally “buttoned up at the back”, which means that – apart from the program dial, the associated on/off switch, the control dial (also called “coding wheel” or “jog dial”) and the shutter release – almost all controls are collected to the left and right of the LC colour screen. On the front of the camera, only the flash and lens release buttons and the dimmer button are still found. In any case, the stockiness of the many buttons on the back of the camera is so pronounced that some buttons are oftenly pressed unintentionally. This is especially true for the image-transport button, which you can accidentally reach with your nose when looking through the eyepiece and/or with your thumb when holding the camera. In any case, this can be very annoying in case of snapshots, if one has to notice that the camera did not release immediately because one is suddenly in the self-timer mode. Meanwhile, however, also the developers of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) have recognized this design weakness, and thus one can hope that with a possible Rebel XT successor the key layout is chosen better. Some colleagues have also criticised the position of the dimmer switch; even though this may only be a marginal detail, we must agree with them when they find the Pentax solution (dimmer switch coupled with main switch) more practical.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

The most important recording parameters are set using the navigation buttons. For example, you can change the light sensitivity levels (ISO value), AF mode, white balance settings, and metering mode at the touch of a button. A monochrome liquid crystal display (which can be illuminated in orange at the touch of a button) above the LC colour screen summarises the main settings made and also provides information about any exposure corrections, the battery status and the estimated number of frames remaining. Unfortunately, some of the settings, such as the image quality (resolution, compression), metering mode, and AF mode, are not made directly on the liquid crystal display. If you press one of the corresponding function buttons, the value is not changed immediately, but you are first “redirected” to the menu on the LC colour screen, where you make the actual setting. Only after confirming the setting with the set button (this is essential, otherwise the camera will remain at the old setting) and exiting the menu does the symbol on the liquid crystal display change. This wouldn’t be a problem if you could read something on the 1.8″ color LCD in brighter ambient light. Even low-priced compact digital cameras partly have so-called “sunshine” LCDs, and the fact that Canon has saved on such a thing with the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) greatly limits its practical suitability in this particular point. This is all the more annoying, especially since the LC color screen serves as an additional status display by pressing the info button, and the operation of the camera still remains very menu-heavy (29 menu items with a total of 98 settings on 5 “pages”). By the way, the selected light sensitivity level is only displayed on the LC colour screen. Less disturbing is the (compared to the EOS 300D with 118,000 pixels) lower screen resolution of 115,000 pixels. At best, this plays a role in the image reproduction; as it is usual in most DSLRs, the screen cannot be used as a viewfinder replacement.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

The image composition is thus exclusively done via the reflex viewfinder. Although the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has a slightly brighter viewfinder image than the EOS 300D thanks to an improved Precision Matte (methacrylic plate with a microstructured ceramic matrix), its big sister, the EOS 20D with its glass pentaprism, retains the superiority in viewfinder brightness. For cost reasons the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) must be content there with a roof edge mirror construction and a 0.8-fold viewfinder picture enlargement (0.88-fold with the EOS 300D and 0.9-fold with the EOS 20D). The viewfinder image coverage of 95 percent and the eye relief of 21 mm are correct for an entry-level camera; if you need more comfort, you have to go to the next higher price/equipment class. A built-in eyepiece shutter also fell victim to the red pencil. Not until the professional models (EOS-1D/1Ds Mark II) such a cap belongs to the basic equipment, in all other models one has to make use of the rubber cap that has to be fixed on the riser. A diopter adjustment (-3 to +1 dpt.) is however available. In addition to the viewfinder image, the viewfinder displays the focus frames, AE lock icon, exposure parameters (time, aperture), flash modes (flash ready, high-speed sync, flash compensation, red-eye reduction), a single-digit rest-image display, and the focus-lock icon.

Optics

If you want to go out with your Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), you should of course make sure that it is “dressed” with the right lens for the occasion. She’s not picky about which lenses to choose, as she’s happy to work with both the EF Series’ own lenses and compatible lenses from other manufacturers (such as Sigma, Tamron or Tokina). In Canon alone, the entire lens “collection” covers a focal length range from 10 to 1,200 mm (nominal focal length). With the EOS 350D, you have to multiply the focal length on the lens by 1.6 to calculate the focal length corresponding to the angle of view in 35 mm format. Various technologies are used in Canon lenses (and to some extent also in lenses from other manufacturers). The abbreviation USM stands for lenses with a fast and whisper-quiet ultrasonic motor. In Canon’s lens range, only the higher quality USM lenses are equipped with the ring USM motors, which allow manual intervention in the focusing process without having to flip the AF/MF switch.

The abbreviation IS on some Canon lenses indicates that an optical image stabilizer is built in

Furthermore, Canon also offers so-called TS-E lenses (TS stands for Tilt Shift) with correction possibilities for focal plane and/or perspective, DO lenses (DO stands for “Defractive Optics”) with special lens technology for more compact and lighter lenses and – not to forget – the renowned L-series, which represents the highest quality class of Canon lenses.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Especially for theCanon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) and its sisters was designed the EF-S lens series. The lenses recognizable externally by the designation, the silver ring (on which the focal length values are indicated with zoom lenses) and the white attachment mark celebrated their debut with the EOS 300D and are characterised by their special “Short Back Focus” construction (therefore also the ‘S’ in the designation ‘EF-S’). Back Focus is the distance between the rearmost lens element and the image plane (in this case the image sensor) along the optical axis when the lens is focused at infinity. This distance would be so short for wide-angle lenses with a normal construction that the oscillating mirror of SLR cameras could not fold up and down unhindered. For this reason, wide-angle lenses for conventional SLR cameras have an inverted telephoto lens architecture in which an inverted lens is placed in front of the actual lens group to bypass this limitation. Such a construction is also called Retrofocus. With digital SLR cameras such as the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), where the dimensions of the (CMOS) image converter are smaller than 35 mm film (24 x 36 mm), the size of the image circle and consequently of the oscillating mirror may be considerably smaller. This allows lenses with a short back focus to be used. Since no retrofocus construction and thus no reversing lens(es) are necessary, an entire lens group can be saved and the lens can be made more compact. The result is a very affordable and compact lens with very short initial focal lengths; the best example of this is the EF-S 10-22 mm F3.5-F4.5 USM (16-35 mm equivalent to 35 mm), which was introduced together with the EOS 20D. Since the lens mount of the EF-S series lenses extends a little deeper into the camera body, they can only be mounted on cameras with a correspondingly small mirror. These are currently only the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), the EOS 300D and the EOS 20D. However, if an attempt is made to mount an EF-S lens on a non-EF-S compatible camera, a rubber ring at the rear of the lens prevents possible damage.

A “pleasant side effect” of the small distance between the back lens and the image plane in the “Short Back Focus” construction or in the EF-S lenses is the stronger bundling of the light rays with a right-angled beam path. The longer the back-focus, the more the light rays spread out. A short back-focus ensures that the light information yield of the individual pixels is as equal and high as possible or that shading phenomena (in technical jargon: corner shading) are counteracted. Olympus is pursuing a similar concept with its “near telecentric design”. However, even an EF-S or L lens is no guarantee for good image quality, as on the one hand there are quality differences within these lens families, and on the other hand the image quality of digital SLR cameras varies from case to case or depending on the camera/lens combination. A lens on an 8-megapixel camera like the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) can still deliver quite respectable values, while the same lens on a 16.7-megapixel full-format sensor camera like the EOS-1Ds Mark II delivers only mediocre image quality. More is often less, because with increasing resolution and/or sensor size the demands on the lens also increase. The right lens/camera combination should be chosen with prudence if you want to exploit the full performance potential of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), and if you already own EF lenses, you may not be able to avoid buying a new one.

The autofocus system of the Rebel XT is almost identical to that of its predecessor: the EOS 350D and EOS 300D use the same TTL-CT-SIR module (also a C-MOS sensor like the image converter). The Rebel XT and 300D autofocus is also identical in the number and arrangement of the AF fields (2 sensors to the left and right of the image center, 1 cross sensor in the image center, 1 sensor above and 1 sensor below the image center); in both cases the sensitivity and the response range are from IL 0.5 to IL 18 at ISO 100. A proper function of the autofocus is only guaranteed at the full number of measuring fields with a lens speed of F5.6 (F2.8 for the central measuring field). Here the largest competitor of the EOS 350D, the Nikon D70, shows up more efficient, since its Multi-CAM900 module finds the sharpness already starting from IL -1. However, the D70 has only 5 AF points. Be that as it may: If the light or the scene mode contrasts are not sufficient with the Rebel XT, one must raise the flash, which with a flash salvo provides enough light for the focusing. This is neither practical nor discreet. At least theCanon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) supports the red light measuring beam of external flash devices (such as the system flashes of the Speedlite-EX series from Canon), which is much less disturbing.

Despite the same AF module, the autofocus of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is significantly faster than the AF of the EOS 300D. The camera owes this to the new DiGIC-II signal processor, among other things; whether or not the data bus of the accompanying AF processor (32-bit RISC chip) has been accelerated and the focusing algorithms have been optimized is not officially confirmed by Canon. The precision and speed (see table of measured values) with which the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) in ONE-SHOT mode (single-frame focusing) detects the position of the main subject in the picture and focuses on the appropriate spot is typical of DSLRs (especially in combination with USM lenses) and is in no way comparable with the AF performance of compact digital cameras. To check this, you can keep an eye on the illumination of the active AF target in the viewfinder and the sharpness on the viewfinder focusing screen, because that’s what the viewfinder is for. If you don’t want to leave the choice of AF points to the “artificial intelligence” aka AiAF system of the camera, you can also select the points manually with the rotary wheel. Even with moving subjects, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D)’s autofocus can keep up. According to Canon, in the AI SERVO focus tracking or focus prediction mode, the camera with the EF 300 f/2.8 L IS USM lens attached should be able to track an object accelerated to 300 km/h down to a minimum distance of 20 m (12 m at 100 km/h and 8 m at 50 km/h). As an alternative to ONE-SHOT and AI-SERVO mode, there is also the AI-FOCUS mode, in which the camera automatically switches between AI-Servo and One-Shot mode. By the way, with the EOS 300D the AF mode was not freely selectable and bound to certain motive programmes. This restriction does not exist with the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) any more; a push on the right navigation button is enough to change the AF mode.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

 

Flash

Although the small DSLR feels quite comfortable at high light sensitivity levels without the need for a flash, thanks to its pronounced noise-free performance, there are also cases where light needs to be brought into the dark in low light conditions. For this purpose, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has a miniature “light dispenser” with a guide number 13 integrated in the viewfinder box as standard: in fully automatic mode (green rectangle) and in various subject modes, the on-board flash automatically pops up from its resting position as soon as lighting conditions require it; in “creative modes” (P, Av, Tv, M), the flash must be manually unlocked by pressing a button on the front of the camera. Compared to the EOS 300D, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has a 5mm increase in the distance between the reflector of the built-in flash and the optical axis. This mainly reduces shadowing effects when using bulky lenses or lenses with oversized sun visors, but – to a lesser extent – also reduces the risk of the red-eye phenomenon. The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) tries to reduce the latter additionally by lighting up a small “spotlight” (lamp between lens and handle). However, since the harsh light is anything but discreet and will defeat any attempt to take spontaneous snapshots, it is recommended to leave the red-eye reduction function off and only switch it on in the menu when it is acutely necessary. Generally the internal flash shows no weaknesses: Shadowing effects are only present with oversized lenses, the flash coverage is otherwise very good, and the color temperature of the flash light is absolutely neutral. There is also no lack of functions and settings. Thus, not only can the aforementioned red-eye correction function be switched on and off and a flash exposure correction setting be accessed, but also, more recently, the synchronization on the 2nd shutter curtain can be forced on the camera side via the individual function in the case of flash time synchronization. With the EOS 300D, the latter function was only accessible via appropriately equipped system flash units (e.g. 550 EX and 580 EX).

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

With the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), the second-generation E-TTL flash metering and control previously reserved for the professional and mid-range DSLRs and the analog EOS 30v is now entering the entry-level DSLR class. With E-TTL II the flash exposure gains above all in precision. Even with normal E-TTL technology, the camera uses one and the same measuring cell to measure the remaining ambient light and flash light. The result is a much more natural match between the two light sources – especially with flash sync. To do this, the camera sends out an ultrashort (invisible to the human eye) measuring flash immediately before the main flash. The measuring cell, which is actually dedicated to measuring ambient light, which has just measured the ambient light, then measures the flash light reflected by the subject, determines the correct flash exposure and matches it to the exposure for the ambient light – and all this before the actual exposure begins. Of course, this requires perfect synchronization of camera and flash as well as a correspondingly fast processor that is capable of evaluating all information coming together milliseconds before exposure. The E-TTL-II technology goes one step further and includes the distance information transmitted by the (EF) lens in the calculation of the optimal exposure. This prevents incorrect exposures of subjects with above- or below-average reflectivity (e.g. windows, reflective strips on warning vests or school satchels, light-absorbing fabrics); Canon, ironically, takes the opposite approach to Nikon, where it first incorporated the inclusion of subject distance and more recently the “fusion” of matrix metering cell and flash metering cell into the flash system. By the way, the Nikon iTTL system is also the only flash system that is similarly powerful as E-TTL II, but with the Nikon system the backwards compatibility to older flash units is zero.

Another new feature of flashes with the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is that, in combination with the new Speedlite 580 EX system flash unit, information about the colour temperature of the flash just fired can be obtained and evaluated by the flash unit, so that the camera electronics can correct the white balance accordingly. Other special flash functions such as the flash data storage (FEL), the (power-saving) flash short-time synchronization and the wireless E-TTL flash control have already been developed with the first E-TTL generation and will of course remain available in the second “expansion stage” of the E-TTL system. Unfortunately, wireless flash still requires a master unit (550EX, 580EX, ST-E2 transmitter) to control the other flash units or groups of flashes; the built-in flash of the EOS 350D has no control function. It remains to be mentioned that the normal flash sync speed is max. 1/200 s; the EOS 350D does not have a PC sync socket for the connection of studio flashes. In any case, the flash technology of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) is state of the art (Canon) technology and should meet even the highest demands.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

Image quality

Canon’s youngest children also benefits from the latest developments from Canon. The Rebel XT makes use of the most modern technologies in sensor technology as well as in noise reduction and low-pass filtering, which are so new that some of them are not even used in its big sister EOS 20D. For example, although the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), like the EOS20D, uses an 8-megapixel CMOS sensor with an APS-C size RGB colour filter matrix, the 350D image converter is already second-generation. Canon has always had experience with CMOS technology (including as AF sensors in 35mm SLR cameras in the EOS series and in scanners), but with the CMOS recording chip of the Rebel XT, Canon has been able to reduce the usable area of the sensor from 22.5 x 15mm (EOS 20D) to 22.2 x 14.8mm (Rebel XT) without reducing the light-sensitive area of the individual pixel elements. Compared to the EOS 300D, Canon has even managed to simultaneously reduce the size of the sensor (from 22.7 x 15.1 mm to 22.2 x 14.8 mm), increase the effective pixel count (from 6.3 to 8 million pixels) and increase the pixel area. This has been made possible in particular by the drastic reduction of the control electronics (in a CMOS sensor, each pixel element can be addressed individually by the built-in control electronics) and the signal paths. The result is greater efficiency (the smaller the chip, the greater the yield on a silicon wafer) while maintaining or improving image quality.

The high resolution of 8 megapixels can also be seen in the pictures of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D). The efficiency, i.e. the efficiency with which a camera can display image details, is very high for a camera of this resolution class, especially in the short and long focal lengths, and high to very high in the medium focal length. However, the signal processing also brightens up the finest image details – sometimes even beyond what is considered natural. On expressions and/or exposures the pictures look therefore very flattering, who stands however on “natural beauty”, is wrongly advised with the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) and/or must already make extensive changes at the basic settings. Shooting in RAW/CR2 format and subsequent image processing by hand on the computer is also an alternative. The aggressive signal processing is clearly visible in the offensively tuned sharpness of the image, which produces clear double lines and artifacts on horizontal and vertical edges. On diagonal edges, the effects of sharpening are not as noticeable or only in the form of a higher contrast increase. Outside the sharply defined image areas, sloping edges are displayed much softer than horizontal and vertical ones. In any case, a closer look at the images reveals brightness artefacts on oblique, fine structures and very slight color artefacts on horizontal structures. Our test software does not provide any information on compression artifacts and only points out that the choice of compression factors is tailored to the needs of beginners.

It’s a good thing that the lens (EF-S 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6) included in the set does not have quite as high a resolution as some much more expensive lenses (e.g. the L-series), thus dampening artifact reproduction somewhat. The resolution of the 350D/set lens combination is highest at the wide-angle end, but decreases progressively with increasing distance from the center of the image. But the loss of resolution is not worrying. At medium focal length and at the telephoto end, however, the resolution is constant over the entire image. However, the resolution in the short and medium focal length is also very much dependent on the direction in which certain parts of the image or structures run. Slight scattering in the color channels (a sign of chromatic aberration) occurs in this focal length range; in upper focal length ranges, image reproduction is much more homogeneous. Canon pays particular attention to the elimination of moiré effects. According to Canon’s own information, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) uses a low-pass filter made up of several layers. A first filter (with a protective glass to reflect infrared rays) polarizes and shifts the incident light vertically at a distance of one pixel. To be able to divide the light horizontally, the polarization must be removed again. This is done by a second filter, known as a phase plate. Behind it an IR cut filter to filter out residual infrared light, followed by a third low-pass filter. On this plane the light is polarized a second time, this time in horizontal direction. The incident light is thus precisely spread by one pixel in the horizontal and vertical directions; the resulting targeted blurring eliminates the moiré effect. The EOS 350D then compensates the blurriness by software with active support of the DiGIC II signal processor.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

But Canon has also gone more or less deep into the technological tricks of the trade when it comes to noise reduction. First of all, as described above, the light-sensitive area of the pixels (compared to the EOS 300D) was enlarged. Then the microlenses – which are located in front of each pixel element to focus the light onto the light-sensitive pixel surface – were practically “flattened” and moved closer together to optimize the light yield. At the sensor level, Canon has also managed to “isolate” the noise and remaining residual charges for a short time so that they can be read out separately from the actual image information, taking into account thermal fluctuations. According to Canon, other manufacturers can’t take these variations into account, which makes extracting the noise a somewhat inaccurate science. Canon has also ensured that the noise phenomenon is combated at the chip manufacturing stage. Damage to the molecular structure of the silicon, which is caused by impurities (e.g. heavy metal particles such as iron) and leads to so-called dark-current faults, is to be prevented by an optimized manufacturing process. When shooting at high ISO sensitivities, Canon uses signal amplification at different speeds. In a kind of “gentle wash” with slow readout of the pixels, the so-called “Fix Pattern Noise” (image noise with a fixed disturbance pattern) is first reduced or eliminated before the signal is amplified and “cleaned” in the same process. Then the signal is amplified again in a fast process. The user does not notice the slow process, as the fast process has been shortened by the preparatory work and the faster work of the on-board electronics. This could be countered by the fact that the higher computing power of electronic components also generates more heat, which in turn results in increased image noise. However, the DiGIC II signal processing processor is said to work so fast that it is not used as long as its predecessors and thus is finished with the computing work before it gets really warm.

In theory, all this sounds as if the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) should be the most low-noise of all digital cameras. However, the measurements of our test lab prove that the noise may be quite good for an 8 megapixel camera, but the Rebel XT does not reach the exemplary low noise of its big sister EOS 20D nor that of its comparatively low-resolution predecessor EOS 300D. The overall low to medium noise is strongest in image areas of medium brightness. The eye, however, tends to notice the image noise in light skin or sky areas. The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) does not have a special characteristic to monochrome brightness noise or to colour noise; both proportions are approximately equally high. Far more convincing than the noise behaviour is the compatibility with high image contrasts. Differences in contrast of up to 8.8 f-stops are no problem for the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D)’s electronics, and the tonal value reproduction (in 250 of 256 possible brightness levels) is so “soft” that there are hardly any “eroding” lights and/or “dropping” shadows in the images, even with difficult subjects. Image areas of medium brightness are in turn reproduced with a little more contrast.

The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) also scores on white balance precision. According to Canon, the camera uses the power of the DiGIC-II signal processor to independently analyze the scene to be captured, taking into account factors such as image orientation and subject position. This allows a more precise calculation of the automatic white balance. Another feature of automatic white balance (AWB) with DIGIC II is said to be the so-called “subjective white balance”. Color casts are corrected without destroying the natural lighting mood of a scene. However, the Rebel XT generally tends to a slightly reddish or “warm” as well as gaudy reproduction of the colors; here it once again prefers a flattering image presentation over more natural results. Less flattering, however, are the vignetting and distortion effects associated with the set lens. Wide-angle shots taken with this camera/lens combination are significantly darker at the edges of the image than in the center (up to 1.1 f-stop difference) and also show strongly bent lines (up to -2.6% inwards). At medium focal length, the edge darkening (-0.8 f-stops) and the distortion (-0.5 % inwards) are still clearly visible. At the telephoto end, the light loss – which is always uniform – is hardly visible towards the edges of the image (max. 0.4 f-stops) and can be further reduced by stopping down. Distortion, however, remains in the telephoto range, changing only its characteristic (from barrel-shaped to cushion-shaped).

Other Functions

As a reflex camera for beginners the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has numerous functions, which are to facilitate photographing for the beginner. The Mini-DSLR offers fully automatic operation as well as the – for such a camera – almost obligatory scene mode programs (portrait, landscape, close-up, sports/action, night portrait, shots without flash). Very practical and only available on Canon EOS cameras is the A-DEP depth-of-field automatic. Within the image area covered by the AF points, the camera determines the closest and furthest points and tries to adjust the depth of field as much as possible so that it extends fairly accurately between these two points. However, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) lacks the DEP depth of field program, in which the selection of the two points is not automatic but manual by successively focusing on the front and rear focus points. Earlier EOS models offered both the A-DEP and DEP program, and it would be desirable if Canon would again give you the choice between the two modes in the future. What we also miss is the function that is known from some cameras for the subsequent conversion of RAW/CR2 images into JPEG files and for the reduction of already made images (via the cropping and/or the resolution). This makes specially sense if one wants to print a picture quickly or send it by e-mail, as the PictBridge-direct print function only supports the printing of JPEGs and one does not always want to print and/or send the pictures in full resolution. Although the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) also allows RAW/CR2 images to be stored separately with JPEG images, this way even the “fattest” memory card (the Rebel XT also supports cards with more than 2 GBytes thanks to FAT32 compatibility) is full to bursting in no time.

Canon Rebel XT (Canon EOS 350D) Review

From the big sister EOS 20D, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) inherits a few new functions. First of all, this is the advanced white balance setting by shifting the white point on a blue/amber magenta/green chart. Also the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) has the same advanced black-and-white functions (tint and filter effects, parameterization of contrast and sharpness for B/W pictures) as the EOS 20D. In addition, as with the EOS 20D, the color space (sRGB or AdobeRGB) can be selected independently of the selected image parameter settings (image contrast, sharpness, color saturation, hue). Photographs in the AdobeRGB color space are now also recognized directly by Photoshop. as such, since the corresponding information is embedded in the image file; this was not the case with the EOS 300D. In general, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) allows many more adjustment possibilities than its predecessor. A total of 9 individual functions with 24 settings allow personal configuration of the camera, including mirror lock-up and the choice of exposure steps (optionally in 1/3 or 1/2 steps). The AF mode and metering modes (35-segment matrix, center-weighted integral metering, selective metering to 9% of the field) are no longer locked to a specific scene mode program, and flash compensation can now be input directly on the camera.

To the further differences to the EOS 300D belongs certainly also the more efficient serial picture mode. While the 300D was able to capture a maximum of 4 consecutive images at a frame rate of 2.5 frames per second, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D)’s continuous shooting mode is not only more persistent (14 JPEG or 5 RAW images in a row), but also faster (3 frames/s). The “young savage” owes this to the second-generation digital image core signal processing processor (DiGIC II for short), which, according to Canon, works so fast that it can perform several tasks simultaneously in the short time between shots, thus reading, processing, compressing and writing the image data stored in the buffer memory. By the way, the above mentioned values for the continuous shooting mode are official manufacturer’s data from Canon. In practice, the rate of capture and the maximum number of consecutive images that can be captured depend greatly on the speed of the memory card used. With a high-speed card (SanDisk Extreme III), even the memory times are so short that there is always enough space left in the – generous and efficiently managed – buffer memory for new pictures, so that one can actually talk about an “endless continuous shooting mode”. But also in other points the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) became faster with the help of DiGIC II. The shutter release delay (after pre-focusing) is reduced from 128 to 100 milliseconds, the dark phase in the viewfinder from 250 to 170 milliseconds, the power-on time from 2.8 to 0.2 seconds, and the writing speed to the memory card has been accelerated 3.5 times. Consequently, Canon has also increased the transfer rate of the USB interface from theoretically 1.5 MByte/s (USB 1.1) to theoretically 60 MByte/s (USB 2.0 Highspeed) and thus the Rebel XT achieves goods results here, too.

Due to the architecture of the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), there is no video function, but there is a video output to play back the recorded images on a television. Otherwise, there is a jack plug socket on the outside of the camera for connecting an electric cable remote control, whereby the camera can also be triggered wirelessly from a computer using an optional infrared remote control or wired, and in some cases also remotely controlled. On the functional side, there are also the bracketing function(s), the program shift function, the adjustable light sensitivity levels (ISO 100-1,600), the 15 menu languages, the almost infinitely variable playback zoom (2 to 10x magnification), the automatic image orientation using the orientation sensor, the histogram display, the highlighting of highlights/shadows and a slide show function. A function for preparing the camera for manual sensor cleaning is also not missing; firmware updates can be installed if required. Surely we have not mentioned the one or other function which the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) still offers, however, for it the joy of the Rebel XT owner with the later discovery of new possibilities is all the bigger then.

Conclusion

The Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) heralds a turning point in the product policy of this company, in my opinion. Whereas the various camera classes have so far been clearly differentiated by price, features and performance, the Rebel XT differs from its big sisters mainly in price and comfort. Many functions and technologies that were previously reserved for the more expensive models are now finding their way into the entry-level class, and this time Canon has dispensed with function locks, as we still know them from the EOS 300D. Of course, the mid-range and professional models remain more powerful than the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D), but only professionals and particularly demanding amateurs will be able to see the difference in performance and be drawn to the greater potential of these cameras. For those who really need more power reserves, are looking for maximum comfort in the form of uncompromising ergonomics and who don’t like basic JPEG settings that are too focused on shoot-to-print photography, the Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) may be a size too small.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • simultaneous RAW and JPEG recording (in separate image files)
  • extended B/W functions (filter effects etc.)
  • high technology level
  • AF mode and exposure metering mode freely selectable (unlike the EOS 300D)
  • fast response times (AF, tripping delay, switch-on time, etc.)
  • E-TTL-II flash exposure metering and control
  • White balance diagram
  • enormous choice of lenses
  • remarkable compactness
  • excellent price-performance ratio
  • “ready to use” pictures (beginner-orientated coordination of the picture preparation)

Cons

  • Image loss if the memory card compartment is opened prematurely
  • no built-in post-processing functions (crop/resolution change, RAW-JPEG conversion)
  • DEP depth of field program not available (only A-DEP)
  • no sensitivity indication in the viewfinder
  • Viewfinder image cover and eyepiece size may be larger
  • no color balance adjustment (R-G-B controller)
  • no wireless (E-TTL) flash control with built-in flash
  • AF auxiliary light via flash salvo
  • too short a display interval
  • Settings must be confirmed with the SET key
  • Basic settings cannot be made directly on the status LCD
  • no “Sunshine” LCD
  • partly too much sharpness (artefacts), unnaturally high colour saturation
  • Image noise not as low as expected
  • unfavorable positioning of some controls

Canon Rebel XT (EOS 350D) data sheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 22.5 x 15.0 mm (crop factor 1.6
)8.2 megapixels (physical) and 8.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 6,5 µm
Photo resolution
2.592 x 2.592 pixels (1:1)
2.496 x 1.664 pixels (3:2)
1.728 x 1.152 pixels (3:2)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard

Lens

Lens mount
Canon EF-S

Focus

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 7 sensors
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Sharpness control Depth-of-field control, depth-of-field button

Viewfinder and monitor

SLR viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (mirror viewfinder) (95 % image coverage), 21 mm eye relief, dioptre compensation (-3.0 to +1.0 dpt), replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 1.8″ TFT LCD monitor with 115,000 pixels
Info display additional info display (rear)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 35 fields
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (Automatic
) Bulb function
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots, 1/3 EV increment
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 1,600 (manual)
Remote access Remote triggering
Scene modes various scene modes, landscape, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sports/action, full auto, and 1 additional scene mode
Picture effects B/W filter in yellow/orange/red/green, B/W tinting effects in blue/violet/green
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, White balance bracket, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Kelvin input, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting 3.0 fps at highest resolution, or 5 RAW images in sequence
Self-timer Self-timer with 10 s interval
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (flip up
)Flash shoe: Canon, standard center contact
Flash code Guide number 13 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, long-term sync, red-eye reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
CF (Type I, Type II)
Microdrive
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Canon NB-2LH (Lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 720 mAh)
Playback functions Playback histogram, image index
Special functions Orientation sensor
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Supported direct printing methods Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous built-in low-pass filterDIGIC II signal processor Simultaneous

JPEG and RAW recording possible7-point autofocus
with automatically or individually selectable spot sizesAF working range of
0,

5

to 18 EVSingle autofocus
and/or predictive focus (ONE SHOT/AI FOCUS/AI SERVO)
PTP supportBacklit
LCD status panelAdjustable
image parameters (2 3 sets)
AE metering memoryDisplay of
shooting information in playback mode with highlighting of highlightsPlayback zoom
(2 to 10x magnification)
Orientation sensor for automatic image orientation9
Personalization function with 24 settings

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 126 x 94 x 64 mm
Weight 485 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Canon NB-2LH Special BatteryCanon
RF-3 (Case Cover)
CB-2LT ChargerVideo Connection CableUSB Connection CableBayonet CapStrapBeltImage Editing SoftwareArcSoft Photo StudioCamera Software
EOS Viewer UtilityPanorama Software
PhotoStitchTwain
Driver (98/2000)
WIA Driver for Windows ME
additional accessories Canon ACK-700 AC AdapterCanon
BG-E3 Battery/Battery GripCanon
EH18-L Camera BagCable Remote Control
RS-60E3Canon
EF Interchangeable Lens SystemCanon
Speedlite EX System Flashes