Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi SLR Review

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi
Full review posted 5/2/2008

Click on the Rebel XSi for a QuickTime VR tour

(Note: The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi and EOS 450D are the same model)

The last Canon Rebel we reviewed was the XTi back in 2006. Now we have a brand new Rebel XSi and it's a beauty. The list of improvements over earlier models is impressive and include a 12.2-megapixel image sensor, Live View capability, 3.5 fps continuous shooting, the EOS Integrated Cleaning System, 3.0" LCD, the DIGIC III Image Processor and a longer lasting battery. The Rebel XSi is available in black or silver body colors and entry-level dSRL photographers have never had it so good.

Canon�'s CMOS sensor on the XSi offers the most pixels of any camera in its price range. And the XSi incorporates many new technologies first seen in the professional EOS-1D Mark III model. For example, the analog to digital signal conversion uses a 14-bit color space. What does this mean to you? The 14-bit conversion means you'll see smoother transitions from light to dark colors and RAW images of the highest quality that can be processed with Canon�'s Digital Photo Professional software.

To maximize performance between the capture and recording stages of digital photography, the EOS Rebel XSi uses the latest-generation DIGIC III Image Processor. The electronics system has been totally redesigned, giving the camera greater speed and image quality. With 3.5 fps continuous shooting, up to 53 full-resolution JPEGs (or 6 RAW) images in a burst, reduced shutter lag and nearly instantaneous startup time the XSi is one speedy entry-level dSLR. Digital noise is significantly reduced in shadow areas, and color reproduction is superior. An Auto Optimization capability, available in all shooting modes, including P, Tv, Av, and Manual, can lighten dark areas in your image while ensuring that bright areas maintain full detail.

A bright (30% brighter than the XTi) 3" LCD monitor with 230,000 pixels and a viewing angle of 170�° graces the back of the XSi. Live View is available and you can magnify any part of the scene 5x or 10x for precise focus. You can even use a grid overlay, perfect for keeping straight lines in your subject straight in your pictures. In the studio, Live View Function can be used remotely via a computer through the EOS Rebel XSi�'s USB connection.

While in Live View mode, the XSi has two AF modes: Quick mode, which uses the camera�'s standard 9-point AF system, and Live mode, which is a contrast-based AF system that reads the sharpness of subjects right from the imaging sensor, and can be overridden by pressing the AF mode selection button. A familiar feature in PowerShot cameras, Live mode AF uses similar technologies to achieve focus, while Quick mode is more appropriate for capturing action or for shooting in low light. The Rebel XSi has a precision 9-point wide area AF sensor for fast, accurate focus even in low lighting environments. It offers a variety of focus modes, including One-Shot AF, AI Focus AF, AI Servo AF and Manual.

A 35-zone evaluative metering system with improved white balance analyzes light based on each zone in your scene, enabling the XSi select the best exposure for the entire scene. The spot meter capability reads a small area (about 4%) of your subject for precise metering. There is also a Center-weighted average metering and partial metering for accurate exposure no matter the situation. The Rebel XSi also has an improved, high magnification viewfinder with increased brightness and clarity. A Display-Off sensor automatically turns the LCD monitor off whenever the camera is brought up to your eye. A plethora shooting information is displayed in the viewfinder so it�'s easy to monitor settings without having to look at the LCD.

The advanced Canon EOS Integrated Cleaning System removes dust from the sensor using ultrasonic vibrations. This self cleaning mode works automatically when the camera is powered on or off - or it can be manually activated. A special collar around the sensor collects dust loosened by the cleaning system. And you can acquire dust position data captured along with the image and the use the Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) version 3.3 or later software to manually or automatically remove the dust spots.

Using the Rebel XSi�'s Picture Style technology you can change the color, saturation, sharpness and contrast settings of a saved image. It's almost like a 35mm film user switching from one type of color film to another type. In addition to the six preset Picture Style settings, Canon offers additional downloadable "Picture Style Files", that can be installed on your camera for even more imaging options.

Compatible with all Canon lenses in the EF and EF-S lineup, the XSi has a wide range of glass available from ultra-wide angle to super telephoto lenses. All of the lenses use Canon's optical experience and micron-precision engineering to provide impressive performance. Canon's advanced optical technologies, such as aspherical, ultra-low dispersion, or fluorite elements are used in the highly popular L Series lenses. Optical Image Stabilizer technology, in select lenses, reduces the effect of camera shake.

The Rebel XSi uses the efficient Canon E-TTL II flash metering system. With flashes in the EX Speedlite line E-TTL II provides reliable flash output whether shooting fill-in flash pictures in sunlight, or using flash in total darkness. The E-TTL II utilizes the same 35-zone metering sensor used for measuring ambient light giving even finer control over your exposures. Or, if you prefer a broader area for flash metering, you can use Average flash metering where the entire 35-zone area is measured for flash exposure.

The EOS Rebel XSi comes bundled with an updated Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk, featuring software for PC and Mac. The applications include Canon�'s ZoomBrowser EX for Windows�® (Version 6.1), ImageBrowser for Macintosh�® OS X (Version 6.1), Digital Photo Professional (Version 3.3), the totally new Picture Style Editor (Version 1.0), Canon�'s EOS Utility (Version 2.2), RAW Image Task (Version 2.8), PhotoStitch, and PTP TWAIN Driver. Each application is designed to perfect the captured images and streamline the digital workflow. ZoomBrowser EX v.6.1 and Digital Photo Professional v.3.3 for Windows are compatible with Window's XP and Vista.

Digital Rebel XSi Features:

  • 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor

  • DIGIC III Image Processor with 14-bit conversion

  • 3.5 fps continuous shooting, up to 53 full-resolution JPEGs or 6 RAW images

  • 3.0-inch LCD monitor, with 170�° wide viewing angle

  • LCD Live View composition function

  • 9-point Auto Focus system

  • 4 Focusing Modes: One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)

  • Compatible with SD and SDHC memory cards

  • 35-zone evaluative and Spot metering system

  • Integrated EOS Cleaning System

  • Dust Delete Data Detection

  • 6 Picture Style settings

  • Highlight Tone Priority mode

  • Compatible with over 60 EF/EF-S Lenses

  • Retractable, auto pop-up flash

  • E-TTL II autoflash with EX Series Speedlites

  • Canon EOS Digital Solution Software (Version 17.0)

  • Exposure Control Systems: Program AE (Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Program), shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, depth-of-field AE, manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash

  • ISO Speed Range - Basic Zone modes: ISO 100-800 set automatically, Creative Zone modes: ISO 100-1600 (in 1-stop increments), Auto

  • Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 sec. to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.

  • LP-E5 Battery Pack, LC E5 charger

  • PictBridge printer compatible

  • Weighs approx. 16.8 oz./ 475g (body only)

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi is available for an estimated price of $799.00 US - body only

In the box:

  • Rebel XSi Body (Black or Silver)
  • Eyecup Ef
  • Wide Strap EW-100DBIII
  • Video Cable VC-100
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-200U
  • Battery Pack LP-E5
  • Battery Charger LC-E5
  • EOS Digital Solution Disk and Instruction Manuals
  • "Great Photography is Easy" Booklet and "Do More with Macro" Booklet

Physical Views

(Shown here in Black, the XSi is also available in Silver)

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450D

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450D

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450DCanon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450D

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450D

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/EOS 450D

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Canon EOS Rebel XSi / EOS 450D Specifications

Digital, single-lens reflex, AF/AE camera with built-in flash
Recording Medium
SD memory card, SDHC memory card
Image Format
22.2mm x 14.8mm
Compatible Lenses
Canon EF lenses (including EF-S lenses)
(35mm-equivalent focal length is approx.1.6x the lens focal length)
Lens Mount
Canon EF mount
Image Sensor
High-sensitivity, high-resolution, large single-plate CMOS sensor
Effective pixels: Approx. 12.20 megapixels
Total Pixels
Total pixels: Approx. 12.40 megapixels
Aspect Ratio
3:2 (Horizontal : Vertical)
Color Filter System
RGB primary color filter
Low-pass Filter
Located in front of the image sensor, non-removable
Recording System
Recording Format
Design rule for Camera File System 2.0
Image Format
JPEG, RAW (14-bit Canon original) RAW+JPEG
File Size
(1) Large/Fine : Approx. 4.3MB (4272 x 2848 pixels)
(2) Large/Normal : Approx. 2.2MB (4272 x 2848 pixels)
(3) Medium/Fine : Approx. 2.5MB (3088 x 2056 pixels)
(4) Medium/Normal: Approx. 1.3MB (3088 x 2056 pixels)
(5) Small/Fine : Approx. 1.6MB (2256 x 1504 pixels)
(6) Small/Normal : Approx. 0.8MB (2256 x 1504 pixels)
(7) RAW : Approx. 15.3 MB (4272 x 2848 pixels)
Exact file sizes depend on the subject, ISO speed, Picture Style, etc.
White Balance
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom
Color Temperature Compensation
White balance correction: �±9 stops in full-stop increments White balance bracketing: �±3 stops in full-stop increments
Blue/amber direction or magenta/green direction possible
Eye-level pentamirror
Vertical/Horizontal approx. 95%
Approx. 0.87x (-1m with 50mm lens at infinity)
Approx. 19mm (from eyepiece lens center)
Dioptric Adjustment Correction
-3.0 to +1.0 diopter
Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4L IS USM or shorter lenses)
Viewfinder Information
AF information (AF points, focus confirmation light), exposure information (shutter speed, aperture, AE lock, exposure level, ISO speed, exposure warning), flash information (flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation), monochrome shooting, white balance correction, maximum burst, SD memory card information
Depth-of-Field Preview
Enabled with depth-of-field preview button
TTL secondary image-registration, phase detection
AF Points
9 AF points
AF Working Range
EV -0.5-18 (at 73�°F/23�°C, ISO 100)
Focusing Modes
One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)
AF Point Selection
Automatic selection, manual selection
Selected AF Point Display
Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD monitor
AF-assist Beam
Small series of flashes fired by built-in flash
Effective range: Approx. 4.0m/13.1 ft. at center, approx. 3.5m/11.5 ft. at periphery
Exposure Control
Metering Modes
35-zone TTL full-aperture metering
  • Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)
  • Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)
  • Spot metering (approx. 4% of viewfinder at center)
  • Center-weighted average metering

Metering Range
EV 1-20 (at 73�°F/23�°C with EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100)
Exposure Control Systems
Program AE (Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Program), shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, depth-of-field AE, manual exposure, E-TTL II autoflash
ISO Speed Range
Basic Zone modes: ISO 100-800 set automatically
Creative Zone modes: ISO 100-1600 (in 1-stop increments), Auto
Exposure Compensation
Manual: �±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments (can be combined with AEB)
AEB: �±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments
AE Lock
Automatic: When focus achieved with evaluative metering and One-Shot AF
Manual: By AE lock button
Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speeds
1/4000 sec. to 1/60 sec., X-sync at 1/200 sec.
1/4000 sec. to 30 sec., bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode.)
Shutter Release
Soft-touch electromagnetic release
10-sec. or 2-sec. delay or 10-sec. delay plus continuous shooting
Remote Control
Remote Switch RS-60E3
Remote Controller RC-1/RC-5
Built-in Flash
Retractable, auto pop-up flash
Guide Number
13/43 (ISO 100, in meters/feet)
Recycling Time
Approx. 3 sec.
Flash-ready Indicator
Flash-ready icon lights in viewfinder
Flash Coverage
17mm lens angle of view
Flash Exposure Compensation
�±2 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments
External Speedlite
EOS External Flash or Dedicated Speedlites
E-TTL II autoflash with EX Series Speedlites
PC Terminal
Drive System
Continuous Shooting Speed
Max. approx. 3.5 shots/sec. (single shots possible)
Max. Burst During Continuous Shooting
JPEG (Large/Fine): Approx. 53, RAW: Approx. 6
RAW+JPEG (Large/Fine): Approx. 4
Based on Canon's testing standards with a 2GB SD memory card, ISO 100, and Standard Picture Style
Varies depending on the subject, SD memory card brand, image-recording quality, etc.
LCD Monitor
TFT color liquid-crystal monitor
Screen Monitor size
3.0 in.
Approx. 230,000 pixels
Approx. 100%
Brightness Control
7 levels provided
Image Display Format
Single image, Single image + Image-recording quality, shooting information, histogram, 4- or 9-image index, magnified view (approx. 1.5x-10x), rotated image, image jump (by 1/10/100 images, or shooting date)
Highlight Alert
Provided (Overexposed highlights blink)
Image Protection and Erase
Single images can be erase-protected or not
Single image, check-marked images, or all images in the card can be erased (except protected images) at one time
Direct Printing from the Camera
Enabled with the Print/Share button
Compatible Printers
PictBridge-compatible printers
Power Source
Battery Pack LP-E5 (Quantity 1)
AC power can be supplied via AC Adapter Kit ACK-E5
With Battery Grip BG-E5, size-AA batteries can be used
Number of Shots
Temperature Shooting Conditions
No flash 50% flash use
At 73�° F/23�° C approx. 600 approx. 500
At 32�° F/0�° C approx. 500 approx.400

Battery Life
The above figures apply with a fully-charged Battery Pack LP-E5
The figures above are based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) testing standards
Battery Check
Power Saving
Provided. Power turns off after 30 sec., 1, 2, 4, 8, or 15 min.
Back-up Battery
Built-in secondary battery
Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Approx. 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 in./128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm
Approx. 16.8 oz./ 475g (body only)
Operating Environment
Operating Temperature Range
Operating Humidity Range
85% or less
Working Conditions
Working Temperature Range
Working Humidity Range
85% or less
Note: The camera's specifications and physical appearance are subject to change without notice.

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