Canon EOS Digital Rebel SLR Review

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Canon EOS 300D

First Look posted 09/4/03
Full review posted 10/21/03

Click on the Digital Rebel for a QuickTime VR tour

Steve's Digicams "Most Important Camera of 2003 Award"
Winner - Canon Digital Rebel

Steve's Digicams is happy to announce that our "Most Important Camera of 2003 Award" goes to Canon's Digital Rebel SLR.

There were many excellent cameras produced and sold during 2003 but in terms of the one that had the greatest impact on the market we feel the Digital Rebel was clearly the standout camera. Canon surprised everyone by delivering a 6-megapixel, interchangeable lens digital SLR with a zoom lens for less than $1000. I don't think any of us expected to see that low of a price until the latter part of 2004. All of the dealers that I have talked to have told me that the only problem with the Digital Rebel is keeping them in stock, they sell as fast as they arrive. For the advanced amateur or enthusiast user you'd be hard pressed to find a better value in a digital SLR.

(Note: The Canon EOS 300D, Kiss Digital and Digital Rebel are the same camera)

Affordable Digital SLR History 101 -- In mid-2000 Canon rocked the digital SLR camera world with the introduction of the EOS D30, its large-area 3.25-megapixel CMOS image sensor and unbelievable $2999 street price. Canon made it clear that the D30 was not a "professional" camera yet it still competed with pro dSLR cameras costing five times as much. The next evolution came with the EOS D60 in early 2002 -- Canon doubled the resolution with a 6-megapixel CMOS sensor, a more robust AF system and image processor and lowered the price to $2399. The D60 was so popular that dealers had a difficult time keeping them in stock, most were sold before they even got to the store. At the PMA show in Las Vegas in March 2003 Canon announced their most affordable digital SLR yet, the EOS 10D with an estimated $1500 street price. The EOS 10D has an even faster AF system than the D60 and was the first dSLR to use Canon's new DIGIC image processor. And now, just six months behind the 10D, Canon is launching their super-affordable EOS Digital Rebel SLR with a street price of just $999 -- and that includes the EF-S 18-55mm zoom lens.

The "magic" $1000 price mark for digital SLRs has been broken like the sound barrier and Canon is positioning the EOS Digital Rebel as "the digital SLR for everyone." These cameras will be an instant hit with those wanting a digital camera that works the same as their 35mm SLR, and dealers will no doubt sell them as fast as Canon can make them. And Canon is planning on making a lot of them. They announced at the London press event that production was set at an amazing 70,000 units a month. The Digital Rebel may not be black, but don't let the silver-colored body fool you, this isn't some cheap knock-off. It's loaded with state of the art imaging technology and is sure to please both novice and seasoned photographers alike.

The EOS Digital Rebel incorporates a large-area 6.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon's exclusive DIGIC Image Processor for maximum camera performance as well as direct connectivity to several Canon Bubble Jet Direct printers and Card Photo Printers. Advanced camera features include a very fast, wide area 7-point autofocus system for precise focusing; 2.5 frames per second drive speed in 4-frame bursts, JPEG or simultaneous RAW + JPEG capture settings; an ISO range of 100--1600; manual white balance mode; selectable color space options including Adobe RGB and sRGB; a scrollable 10x zoom playback mode; and a Plug and Play USB interface.

The EOS Digital Rebel is compatible with more than 50 Canon EF-series lenses including the new EF-S lenses. The advanced AF system's 7 focusing points are conveniently superimposed on the viewfinder, cover a wide area for superb precision, and are manually selectable for a high degree of control. Ideal focus is achieved whether camera orientation is vertical or horizontal, with moving, still or off-center subjects, and even in low light/low contrast situations. An Intelligent Orientation Sensor to detect whether the camera is positioned horizontally or vertically and uses that information to improve autofocus and exposure metering accuracy and enables the camera to automatically rotate vertical format images during playback.

Canon EOS 300D

The Digital Rebel's shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 of a second to 30 seconds plus Bulb, while a built-in motor drive enables the camera to capture 2.5 frames per second in continuous shooting mode for bursts of up to four shots. There are 12 shooting modes including Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Auto Depth-of-Field AE and Manual as well as Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Action, Night Scene and Flash Off.

Canon's exclusive 35-zone Evaluative metering links to the active focusing point and is the default metering pattern in AE modes, while center-weighted average metering is automatically selected in Manual mode. Central-area partial metering (measuring 9.5% of the picture area) is available on demand in Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Auto Depth-of-Field AE and Manual.

Canon's new compact EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens - created exclusively for the Digital Rebel and available only in the Digital Rebel Kit - approximates a 28-90mm zoom lens (in 35mm format). By reducing the distance from the rear of the lens to the imaging sensor and reducing the size of the image circle to accommodate the camera's imaging sensor size, the lens produces high image quality with superb resolution at all focal lengths. The new lens is also smaller and lighter than conventional lenses because of the shorter backfocus distance. Similarly, the newly developed Canon Zoom Lens EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM covers a 35mm equivalent zoom range of approximately 90-320mm when used with the Digital Rebel. Together, these two lenses provide 35mm-equivalent zoom coverage from 28mm to 320mm.

Canon EOS 300D

EOS Digital Rebel Features:

  • Canon EF lens mount, compatible with all Canon EF including EF-S lenses

  • 6.3 megapixel (effective) CMOS image sensor, RGB primary filter

  • 3072 x 2048 pixel 24-bit JPEG and 36-bit RAW file formats. RAW files include an embedded JPEG that is quickly extracted with the supplied software

  • Fast, Wide-area TTL AF with 7 focusing points, manual or auto selectable.

  • One shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction, AI Focus AF, and manual focus modes.

  • Canon DIGIC image processor speeds up image processing, camera functions and improves image quality

  • Full range of exposure modes: Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Depth-of-Field AE, Programmed AE with modes for Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, Portrait, and Sports, and full Manual

  • 35-zone TTL metering, Evaluative (linked to all focusing points), Center weighted average, or 9.5% central-area spot metering

  • White Balance: Auto, six presets and Manual color temperature

  • Continuous Drive mode: 4 frames at 2.5 fps (1/250 second or faster)

  • Shutter speeds: 30 to 1/4,000 seconds, plus Bulb

  • Eye level TTL viewfinder with diopter adjustment, illuminated AF points, depth-of-field preview and detailed information display.

  • Auto exposure bracketing: -/+2 EV in 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV increments

  • 1.8 inch, color TFT LCD, 118,000 pixels, 5 levels of brightness

  • Playback image zoom 1.5x-10x in 5 steps with scrolling

  • ISO sensitivity range: 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600

  • Built-in E-TTL popup flash with red-eye reduction.

  • Hot shoe for Canon EX Speedlites

  • CompactFlash Type II card slot, Microdrive & FAT-32 compatible

  • I/O ports: USB, Video Out (NTSC or PAL), N3 remote control socket

  • High capacity Li-ion rechargeable battery and compact rapid charger included

  • Direct Print to Canon CP-100/200/300, Bubble Jet Direct and PictBridge compatible printers

  • Optional BG-E1 Battery Grip holds two BP-511 battery packs and adds vertical grip, shutter release and controls

2004 Breakthrough Award
Canon EOS 300D

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