Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR Review

Click for our main menu

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi

Camera Design and Features

The EOS Digital Rebel XTi shares its body design with its predecessor, the XT. The body is small and lightweight, with dimensions nearly identical to the diminutive Pentax *istDL and, at 18 ounces, weighting only 1.4 ounces more. The XTi's small size is a perfect fit for all but the largest hands, and its ergonomics are ideal, with a comfortable rubberized grip and controls that are both easy to reach and hard to accidentally actuate.

The body consists of a chassis made of stainless steel, and a mirror box made of high- strength engineering plastic. The mirror box, to which the lens mount and image sensor are attached, is fixed very securely to the chassis to obtain the same body strength as the EOS 20D. This helps prevent the flange focal distance from changing due to the static pressure of the attached lens.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D

As with the EOS Digital Rebel XT model, the EOS Digital Rebel XTi camera's top, front and rear covers are made of special engineering plastic known for light weight, excellent strength and electromagnetic shielding: ABS resin, polycarbonate resin, and polycarbonate mixed with special conductive fibers. Both titanium silver and satin black body colors will be offered.

CMOS Imager

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D

Canon's large-area CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensor captures images with exceptional clarity and tonal range, and offers the most pixels in its class. This APS-C size sensor (22.2 x 14.8mm) has the same 3:2 ratio as film cameras, enabling an effective angle of view that is 1.6x the normal EF Lens focal length. With an effective pixel resolution of 3,888 x 2,592, the EOS Digital Rebel XTi offers superb detail and clarity, even in large prints, and generates finished files that open at approximately 30MB in your image-editing software. On Canon's CMOS sensor, each pixel is captured with fine detail to create images of tremendous depth and resolution, ensuring enough information for even poster-sized prints.

Several engineering features account for the sensor's wide ISO range (100 to 1600), low noise, high dynamic range, and low power consumption. The configuration of each photo diode in each pixel has been optimized; detail processing has been improved, and a greater portion of each pixel is now sensitive to light. The microlens array which gathers light for the sensor has a new design, shared with the microlenses in the EOS-1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II and 30D that reduces the gaps between the lenses. This narrow-gap array gathers light more efficiently and loses less light between the lenses.

Self Cleaning Sensor Unit

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D

No matter how careful photographers may be to change lenses in dust free areas and to keep their equipment as clean as possible, dust often ends up on their cameras' sensors, creating distracting spots on recorded images. The Digital Rebel XTi's integrated hardware and software solutions make trouble with dust a thing of the past. The Digital Rebel XTi is the first digital EOS SLR camera to feature this important technology: by ensuring the sensor is free of dust and debris, the camera delivers a cleaner image.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D

To combat against stray dust that enters the camera and adheres to the image sensor during a lens change, the Digital Rebel XTi features an all-new, Canon-designed Self Cleaning Sensor Unit. The low pass filter cleans itself automatically with ultrasonic vibrations, removing dust from the sensor assembly.

Dust Delete Data Detection

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D

Dust that has been missed by the Integrated Self Cleaning Sensor Unit can also be erased with software included in Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Version 2.2. The Digital Rebel XTi's imaging sensor is able to single out the dust particles on its surface, then plots out their location coordinates within the image. This data is transmitted along with the image, whether JPEG or RAW, and can be either manually or automatically erased in Canon's DPP 2.2. This added software option ensures the cleanest possible image, perfect for printing or archiving.

EF Lens Mount

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The EOS Digital Rebel XTi uses a Canon EF lens mount (full electronic control type) and accepts the over 60 available Canon EF lenses from 14mm ultra-wide-angle to 1200mm super-telephoto including the new EF-S type.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Available only in the Digital Rebel XTi kit, Canon's compact EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens 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 lens is also smaller and lighter than conventional lenses because of the shorter backfocus distance.

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 specifications

    Angle of view - 74° - 27°. The lens is constructed of 11 elements in 9 groups. Minimum aperture is f/22-36. Minimum focusing distance is 0.28m. Physical size is 69 x 66.2 mm/ 2.7 x 2.6 in. Weight is 190 g / 6.7 oz. Filter size is 58mm. Hood - Canon EW-60C.

Autofocus System

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Utilizing a 9-point autofocus system inherited from the 30D, the Digital Rebel XTi is capable of analyzing where a subject is -- even when it is off-center - and almost immediately bringing it into focus. It can also analyze subject movement and automatically select locking or tracking AF modes as needed. These features simplify the camera's operation and optimize its performance. The Digital Rebel XTi allows users to select locking or tracking AF modes independently, adding a new dimension of creative control. The DIGIC II chip actually help increase the speed of autofocus calculation and hence the responsiveness of the autofocus itself.

The Digital Rebel XTi has three user selectable autofocus modes: One-shot AF, AI Servo AF with focus prediction and AI Focus AF as well as manual focus. Going from autofocus (AF) to manual focus (MF) is accomplished by flipping a switch on the lens itself. The AF system is able to work down to 0.5EV at ISO 100.

The AF-assist beam is a series of stroboscopic flashes from the builtin flash or a near-IR patterned LED with a compatible accessory Canon Speedlite. With the built-in flash, the working range of the AF-assist beam is approximately 4 meters/13.1 feet at the center and 3.5 meters/11.5 feet a the other 6 AF points. Firing stops when the focus detection confirmation signal is detected.

E-TTL II Flash

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The camera's high profile, built-in retractable flash unit makes taking pictures with well-balanced foreground and background exposures simple thanks to Canon's E-TTL II (Evaluative Through-The-Lens) flash exposure metering system. When shooting in the AUTO mode or the Basic Zone modes (except landscape, sports or no flash mode), the built in flash will automatically pop up and fire in low-light or back lit conditions. In other recording modes you press the release button to pop it up when needed. The flash provides coverage for an angle of view of a 17mm lens, and has a recycling time of only three seconds.

E-TTL II takes effect when the built-in flash or an accessory EX-series Speedlite is used. E-TTL II does not assume that the AF point in use covers the main subject. Instead, when the shutter button is pressed completely, ambient light is measured just before a pre-flash fires. For each metering zone, the ambient reading and the pre-flash reading are compared.

Areas having a large difference between ambient and pre-flash readings are selected and analyzed. Extreme differences suggest a highly reflective or specular object; these areas are eliminated from calculations, avoiding underexposure. When a lens providing distance information is used, this data is also considered in determining the presence and location of a high-reflectance object. The selected pre-flash readings are added and averaged and the output of the main flash is calculated. Even if the subject changes position, reflectance or size, the flash metering remains highly accurate and stable.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D with Canon 550EX speedlight, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The XTi's flash system features:

  • User-adjustable flash exposure compensation up to +/- 2 stops in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments has been added.

  • Second-curtain flash synch via Custom Function 9-1. This function is effective with the built-in flash and also with EX-series Speedlites that lack secondcurtain sync control.

  • Coverage for the field of view of a 17mm focal length lens

  • The built-in flash has a guide number of 13/43 (ISO 100, meters/feet).

  • The XTi supports the new functions of Speedlite 580EX, including auto zoom for picture size and color temperature data transmission.

  • Flash exposure bracketing, FEB, is now effective when set with the 580EX, 550EX, MR-14EX or MT-24EX Speedlites.

  • Modeling flash is enabled with the 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, 420EX, MR-14EX and MT-24EX Speedlites. In the Creative Zone modes, press the depth-of-field preview to fire at 70 Hz for 1 second.

  • The EOS Digital Rebel XTi camera supports wireless flash with the flashes listed above and the ST-E2. Three-group slave control, a flash output ratio control, FEB and modeling flash (with flash output ratio) are all enabled. (The ST-E2 supports up to two slave groups with flash output ratio control, but not FEB or modeling flash.) Note that the 420EX can function as a slave only, while the MR-14EX and the MT-24EX can serve as the master unit only.


Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

The eyelevel viewfinder shows approx 95% of the captured image with 0.8x magnification via a pentamirror with a fixed focusing screen. There is a builtin -3.0 - +1.0 diopter adjustment. Around the viewfinder is a soft rubber Ef frame that fits comfortably against your face or eyeglasses, it provides a 20mm eye point.

Canon offers E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lenses (from -4 to +2 values), the Angle Finder C for 90° viewfinder applications, the EP-EX15 Eyepiece Extender and replacement Ef rubber frames.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D, image (c) 2003 Steve's Digicams

Inside the viewfinder are seven focusing points, the active focus point(s) are illuminated to indicate which AF zone(s) are selected. Viewfinder information includes - AF information (AF points, focus confirmation light), exposure information (shutter speed, aperture value, AE lock, exposure level, AEB in progress, exposure warning), flash information (flash ready, red-eye reduction enabled, red-eye reduction lamp on, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation), maximum burst, CF card information, White Balance Correction

Continue on to
Page Three

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.