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Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (350D) Review

by Bob Atkins, 2005 (updated February 2011)

The Canon Rebel XT is small. I know the specifications give you the size, but there's nothing like picking up the camera and holding it. In fact for me the Canon Rebel XT is on the verge of being too small. Now I'm a 6ft male, so my hands are, I guess, fairly large. If I was a 5ft female, maybe the size would be perfect. The image below shows the Canon Digital Rebel XT compared to several other cameras:

compare_sizes.jpg (38031 bytes)

As you can see, the Rebel XT is significantly smaller than the EOS 20D. It's almost hard to hold in my right hand. It's comparable in size to the HP945 digicam and the old Canon IX lite APS (film) camera. The Digital Rebel is 4.98" x 3.71" x 2.63", the EOS 20D is 5.7" x 4.2" x 2.8".

Where to Buy

You may be able to find a used Digital Rebel XT in Photo.net's Classified Ads section. Otherwise, check out Canon's newer Digital Rebels from our partners. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.


The Canon Digital Rebel XT feels less "sturdy" than the Canon EOS 20D. Part of this I'm sure is due to it being lighter. It's also finished in slightly rough hard plastic. The 20D has a softer rubberized finish in the grip areas, which is easier to hold. Looking through the viewfinder it's evident that the image is pretty small. The illustration below gives you some idea of the relative sizes of the viewfinder image in the EOS-3, EOS 20D and Canon Rebel XT:

viewfinder.gif (5092 bytes)

Some people don't like small viewfinders, but personally I could live with it. Sure it's smaller, and larger would be nice, but it's by no means a deal breaker for me.

Operationally the major differences between the Rebel XT and the Canon 20D are in terms of convenience and ergonomics rather than functionality. For example setting flash exposure compensation is done on the EOS 20D using a button and control dial. On the Canon Rebel XT it is done by going into the menu, selecting the appropriate page, scrolling down to the appropriate entry, hitting "set", selecting the amount of compensation using the scrolling buttons and hitting the "set " button again. Both work, but making changes is faster and easier on the Canon 20D. Actually in one case the use of the menu turns out to be an advantage though. Setting white balance on the Canon Rebel XT is done via the menu screen, and the options are given as symbols with descriptive text. With the 20D you set WB via a button and control dial, but the display is on the data LCD and all you see is a tiny symbol, which is not only difficult to make out, but remembering which symbol corresponds to which WB setting!

The cursor buttons also act as dedicated buttons for ISO, AF, WB and metering mode. You press one of the buttons, it brings up the menu screen, you select the option with either the control dial or the cursor buttons, then you have to remember to push "SET". If you don't push "SET", the new setting will not take effect - and you won't know it hasn't unless you check on the data LCD or in the appropriate menu.

The menu screen of the Canon Digital Rebel XT is a little harder to see in daylight than that of the 20D due to the structure. The Rebel XT uses a "Powershot" style menu with 5 selectable pages. However the page text is somewhat "grayed out" in a low contrast mode until the cursor is moved onto the page. The Canon 20D uses a longer, scrolling menu screen, but all the entries are at full contrast all the time.

Another Rebel XT/20D difference is in the battery charger. The Rebel XT charger glows red while charging and green when charged. The Canon EOS 20D charger shows the state of the charge in 4 levels by means of flashing LEDs. No big deal, they both charge batteries, but the 20D charger does does it with more user feedback. Since the battery used in the Canon Rebel XT is the same as that used in many of the lower priced "Powershot" digicams, I assume the same (less expensive) battery charger is used. It works fine of course.

Shutter Noise

The shutter noise of the Rebel XT is lower and less "harsh" than that of the 20D. Since I can think of no reason anyone would want a louder shutter, score one for the Canon Rebel XT! However the 20D shutter is faster, has a higher sync speed, has less viewfinder blackout time and a shorter lag time, so you are trading off noise for performance. Below are plots of the recorded audio of each shutter.

xt_shutter.jpg (23131 bytes) 20d_shutter.jpg (24274 bytes)

Click for sound of Canon Rebel XT shutter

Click for sound of EOS 20D shutter

If you click on the links you should hear a sequence of 4 shutter firings for each camera. They were recorded with the microphone about 2" behind the camera. [Note: these are 250KB .wav files]

Image Noise

One of the critical parameters of any digital sensor is its noise level. Consumer digicams suffer badly from noise due to the small size of their pixels and most aren't really usable above ISO 400. DLSRs are much better, with usuable ISO ratings of ISO 1600 or even ISO 3200. The Canon Rebel XT has a maximum ISO setting of 1600 (the 20D goes to ISO 3200).

An obvious comparison to make is the noise level of the Canon Rebel XT vs. that of the EOS 20D. The images below are 100% crops from images of a grey card shot at each ISO setting

Canon Rebel XT vs. Canon 20D Noise Levels

As you can see, noise levels are very similar. If there are differences, they're too small to matter. For all practical purposes the noise level of the Canon Rebel XT is the same as that of the Canon EOS 20D.

Sensor Resolution

In theory the resolution of the Canon Rebel XT sensor should be the same as that of the EOS 20D sensor, since they are approximately the same size and have approximately the same number of pixels. Below are two shots which are 200% crops from the center of the image of a resolution test chart, shot with a Canon EF 300/4L at f8 using a Canon Rebel XT and an EOS 20D

Canon Rebel XT Sensor Resolution

It's pretty clear that, as expected, there's no significant difference in resolution between the 8.2MP EOS 20D and the 8MP Canon Digital Rebel XT.

Continuous shooting Frame Rate

Canon specifies that the Canon Rebel XT should be capable of shooting a 3 frames/second (vs. the 5 frames/second of the EOS 20D). To check this I shot a series of images of a running stopwatch. Below are the first and last shots of a 9 frame burst (large/fine JPEGS). That's as much as the XT buffer holds.

Canon Rebel XT Frames per Second

As you can see the 9 frames took just about 3 seconds, confirming Canon's specification of 3 fps.

White Balance

The image below shows the white balance under tungsten and fluorescent lighting for both the EOS 20D and Canon Rebel XT. These are crops of a shot of a Kodak 18% gray card.

Canon Rebel XT White Balance

The bar below the images shows what a theoretical 18% grey patch should look like. The small numbers in white are the Red, Green and Blue (RGB) intensity values. As you can see neither camera gets it quite right under any of the white balance settings! All Canon cameras seem to bias towards red/yellow for tungsten in both AWB and Tungsten modes. Some have suggested that this is because people expect indoor shots under Tungsten lighting to be a little red/yellow, so Canon built in that bias. The best neutral performance is shown by the 20D using AWB under fluorescent lighting.

The images below show the same gray card shot under daylight illumination from a cloudy sky.

Canon Rebel XT Auto White Balance

Again there are differences, but they are not so noticeable. In both cases, Auto WB does a slightly better job than selecting Cloudy white balance. The aim is for all three numbers to be the same (which is what makes a neutral gray). It's noticeable that the Canon Rebel XT images in all these tests are slightly lighter than those from the 20D. In theory, a shot of an 18% gray card in sRGB color space (gamma=1.8) should be RGB 117:117:117.

Note that in all cases and under any given lighting, if you use the custom white balance function you will get a neutral color balance, by definition. You shoot a gray (or white) card under the desired lighting and use that as a reference. This results in similar shots of the gray (or white) card being exactly neutral.

The next two shots are the exact same scene shot with the Rebel XT and the Canon EOS 20D so you can see what a somewhat neglected lawn looks like in the rain! White balance was set to auto.

Canon Rebel XT Color Balance

As you can see, on a real world image (rather than a gray card), color balance looks similar (I'd say slightly magenta). The 20D shot is still a little darker. If you convert both images to grayscale, then average the whole image, the average RGB value of the XT image is 108, that of the 20D image is 98 so in this case both meter slightly darker than 18% gray (117) on this scene. Both look better with slight level and color tweaks though, as shown below:

Canon Rebel XT Corrected Color Balance

In these and other "real world" exposure tests I saw the Canon 20D give, on average, about 1/3 stop less exposure than the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. This is with both cameras using exactly the same lens at the same aperture and the same parameter sets and other settings, and it was independent of metering mode (evaluative, partial etc.). This appears to be due to metering differences, not ISO differences, since at a given aperture the Canon 20D seems to select a shutter speed about 1/3 stop slower. Whether you regard this as a defect or a feature could, I guess, depend on your point of view. The 20D images are a little darker - on the other hand they give you 1/3 stop more "headroom" for highlights under default conditions. Whether this difference is intrinsic to the camera metering algorithms and was designed that way by Canon or simply represents sample to sample variation in these two particular cameras, I don't know since I only have one sample of each to test.

I don't currently have the ability to check or compare color accuracy in any scientific way. I can say that the XT and 20D seem pretty similar in normal use on normal subjects in normal lighting. I've been using the 20D for a while now and have had no real color problems, so I'd expect the same to be true for the Canon Rebel XT.

Infrared Capabilities

While no DSLR is specified for IR use, many people are using them for IR work. Sensitivity isn't high and exposures are long, but I have seen some pretty good examples shot with cameras like the 20D and Digital Rebel.

Below is a comparison of shots taken with the EOS 20D and Canon Digital Rebel XT using a Hoya R72 filter. This blocks most visible light and allows most IR over 720nm to pass. There wasn't a lot of IR around for these shots. Conditions were overcast

. Canon Rebel XT Infrared Sensitivity

There are a couple of things worthy of comment. First, to get roughly comparable image brightness the Canon Rebel XT needed an exposure of 2.5s when the EOS 20D needed 15s, so the Rebel XT seems more sensitive to IR. However this may not be as good as it seems. As you can see from the histograms, the Canon Rebel XT's blue and red pixels seem to respond to whatever gets through the R72 filter, while in the EOS 20D most response seems to come from the red pixles. Whether this results in lower contrast is hard to say, but the Rebel XT's image is lower in contrast than that of the 20D. Note these histograms are for images taken using Auto White Balance. However the same general conclusions hold true for the various fixed white balance options. Using custom white balance is a better option, but since it uses an image shot with the camera as a reference, channel response differences cancel out, so it's not the best option if you wantto know what's going on!

Canon Rebel XT Infrared in Black and White

Of course IR images are usually converted into black and white (as shown above), and with enough manipulation both image can be made to look similar, though the XT's image needs stronger corrections Note the central "hotspot" in the XT's image. This is a phenomenon which has been observed with many DLSRs and which depends on the lens in use. Some "hotspot" much more than others. It appears to be due to some sort of back reflection from the surface of the sensor or sensor filters interacting with the lens. Whatever the cause, it seems to be significantly worse for the Rebel XT than for the 20D. So from these tests it seems that though the sensitivity of the Rebel XT to IR is higher (and exposure times therefore shorter), the intrinsic image quality (contrast) is lower and the hotspot sensitivity is higher.

Real World Images

What I'm sure many people want to know most is how the image quality of the Canon Digital Rebel XT compares to that of the EOS 20D. I shoot a couple of comparison shots at ISO 100 and a couple at ISO 1600. Both cameras were set to the same parameter set (set 2, all setting "normal") and the same lens was used. Lighting was normal outdoor daylight.

My conclusion from looking at these few images is that image quality is very very close. In fact I really couldn't see any significant difference in terms of sharpness or noise levels, even at 200% in PhotoShop. I'm not saying there's no difference. What I'm saying is that if there is a difference, it was to small for me to see based on "normal" shots of a "normal" subject.

Rebel XT Details Compared (39060 bytes)

Above are sample crops at 100% from the images. The top row were shot at ISO 1600, the bottom row at ISO 100. Can you tell the difference between camera "A" and camera "B"? One is the EOS 20D and the other is the Canon Rebel XT. If there's enough of a difference for you to worry about, the you're too picky!


It looks very much like the image quality of the Canon Rebel XT is up to that of the EOS 20D. It's also evident from using the Rebel XT, that it's a Rebel, i.e. a camera aimed at the consumer entry level, while the Canon 20D is clearly aimed at the more experienced and serious photographer. Ultimately in many respects the cameras will be capable of yielding almost identical results, it's just that doing it with the 20D will be a little easier. Of course there are some things the Rebel XT doesn't do as well. It has a slower frame rate, a smaller JPEG image buffer, a lower capacity battery, the AF system is different and, as mentioned, the viewfinder is smaller. However for many people saving $400-$500 will make up for all those things. Personally, I'd buy the 20D, but that's just me. Many people will buy the Canon Digital Rebel XT and be very happy with it. Given the image quality and sensor resolution and long with the low price, I'd say that it's currently the best performing camera in the "entry level" digital SLR group and I can certainly fully recommend it.

Where to Buy

You may be able to find a used Digital Rebel XT in Photo.net's Classified Ads section. Otherwise, check out Canon's newer Digital Rebels from our partners. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

All original text ©2005 Bob Atkins.

Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Dan Funk , February 18, 2005; 03:30 A.M.

Jesper de Jong , February 18, 2005; 04:38 A.M.

About the software that's going to ship with the DR XT / 350D: You will get a new version of Digital Photo Professional with it, version 1.6. It will have some new features and it will be faster (specifically loading thumbnails should be 5-6x faster). It will also be made available for download for other Canon DSLR owners; also the D60 will be supported in DPP 1.6.

Thomas Gardner , February 18, 2005; 09:15 A.M.

"CF cards up to 2GB (type I and Type II) can be used"

A nit's worth of correction:

The 350D supports FAT32 filesystem, so you can use CF cards larger than two gigabytes.

"The EOS 350D is compatible with either Type I or Type II CompactFlash cards, it also supports the FAT32 filesystem which means you can use cards over 2 GB in capacity."

Kin Lau , February 18, 2005; 04:50 P.M.

One noteable cost cutting move, is that Photoshop Elements is no longer included in the bundle.

Elaine Roberts , February 18, 2005; 05:04 P.M.

Ahhh, man....I saved up for 3 years to get the Digital Rebel...and bought one this Christmas to get the rebate...if only, if only...The extra resolution would be nice, but is hardly vital; what I miss is the faster speed writing to the CF card, and the option for 2nd curtain sync...plus a little more compact...Well, nothing for it now. I'll just have to be happy w/what I've got...

A.J. Bautista , February 19, 2005; 12:35 A.M.

Unleashing the limitations of the Digital Rebel 300D will make the XT 350D a serious competitor to the Nikon D70. That certainly was the case with me, which is why I changed my mind, and just placed my pre-order for the Canon.

This is going to be a long month of waiting...

Bob Atkins , February 19, 2005; 12:47 A.M.

PhotoShop Elements 2 isn't a huge loss. It's probably better than the ArcSoft program they're including with the XT, but it doesn't do RAW conversion and as I recall it doesn't even have curves.

You're probably better off buying Elements 3 or better, JASC Paint Shop Pro 9.0, both of which are around $100.

Fazal Majid , February 19, 2005; 02:52 A.M.

I'm in no hurry to upgrade my 10D, but from what I see, I would prefer the Rebel XT over the 20D. The original DRebel was too crippled, but the XT has mirror lockup, FEC and metering. The clincher is the weight - the 10D is quite heavy on the shoulders after a few hours of lugging it around.

Erb Duchenne , February 20, 2005; 10:37 P.M.

I like the smallness of the 350D. Without a grip and perhaps with a 17-85mm it's truly a handy walkabout camera. Add a grip and your big lens and you have a pretty pro setup on the loose. :P

Erik Haugen , February 20, 2005; 10:48 P.M.

Regarding Photoshop Elements 2.0:

> it doesn't do RAW conversion and as I recall it doesn't even have curves.

You can get curves for PS Elements 2.0 for free: http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-elements-curves.html

And dcraw is free as well, if you don't like DPP for raw: http://www.insflug.org/raw/software/tools/dcraw.php3

Ryan Joseph , February 21, 2005; 09:27 P.M.

AM I the only one who is VERY angry at Canon for changing the battery standard of the Rebel? I own an original 300D, and needless to say invested good money into a dual battery charger and four 511 batteries. I would have sincerely upgraded to the 350D if Canon hadnt abandoned its previous customers. I really wanted to buy a 350D and keep my 300D as a backup camera, but now that is immpossible thanks to Canon's totaly pointless move. Then again what do I know, not many people seem to be complaining about this so I could just be sour grapes.

Fred Joseph , February 22, 2005; 01:10 P.M.

Seems from all the specification sheets currently available that this camera has been crippled: Nowhere does it say that flash sync can occur at higher speeds than 1/200 of a second using external accessory flashes. Perhaps someone else has more information on this?

Jean Merlin , February 22, 2005; 02:50 P.M.

Sounds like a good upgrade to my 10D...why not the 20D? Just because this 10D got me tired of heavy cameras...this 350XT is a small little package.

Eric H. Peterson , February 22, 2005; 04:20 P.M.

I have waiting until now to go digital (SLR). Now, I am very excited!! This is the camera that will allow me to make 16*20 inch prints with confidence and it has just enough features that I will be happy. How many people REALLY shot 5-8 frames per second, really now!!! And how many people really print photos over 8*10, really?? Ryan, I feel bad that you think it impossible to buy a second battery (30bucks max) for a superior camera that has much improved battery life, so you will only need one unless you plan on going days without electricity. I feel your pain, I have 4 digital point and shoots with different batteries, I have never found it impossible to buy another. (I know I am a bit crazy.) Now I just have to wait a few weeks and read all the nitpickers go at it??

SRXy 400 , February 24, 2005; 07:24 A.M.

I just bought the original 300D...it costs GBP550 in london at the moment...in south africa we pay between R10000 and R12000 ($1700-$2000) for a 300D!!! so $999 (~R6000) would be awesome!!! As far as I'm concerned at the moment the hacked 300D does most of the things I need at the moment...the 300 XT would be nice but is not worth whatever they will charge for it in South Africa which will most likely be R14000-16000 ($2500-$2800...yes we are getting charged way too much

Matt Pearson , February 24, 2005; 12:34 P.M.

6 to 8 MP-- not such a big deal.

16x20 prints were mentioned-- is there such a big difference between 150DPI and 170DPI?

I'm sure that this is a very nice camera (especially for the price), but I don't think that the movement to 8MP is a tremendous advancement (I know that's not all this offers over the EOS 300D; I'm just throwing that out there :-) ).

Olger Ojaste , February 27, 2005; 01:35 P.M.

Here, in Estonia, many people are selling their 300D for about $700-$800 with kit lens to buy 350d or 20d.I got my 300d for $800 brand new from USA :D

Mike Abadie , March 18, 2005; 01:58 A.M.

Anyone think prices for the 20d will drop soon?

300d = $700 350D = $900 Total= $1600 for 2 Digital cameras.

Only $100 more than the $1500 20D.

People had already been questioning spending a few hundred more for the 20D over the 300D. Now I see questioning spending $600 more for a 20D over the 350D.

Why not just spend $100 more (than the 20D) and get a 350D and 300D for a backup?

Patrick (Washington, DC) , March 23, 2005; 01:55 P.M.

Regarding 20D pricing: the street price of that camera is already down to around $1,360. No big surprise there.

Secondly, I don't agree with the assessment that "while the 20D is clearly aimed at the more experienced and serious photographer." This would imply that someone contiously selecting the DRXT/350D because of the lower weight/size/shutter-noise is less 'serious' as a photographer?!

Needless to say, the target group for the DRXT are people moving up from digital point & shoots and not people looking to replace there 1D.

Greg Chappell , March 23, 2005; 03:00 P.M.

The comment made about flash exposure compensation is exactly what I noticed when I first started inspecting the various modes- now being able to change metering and AF modes is nice but FEC is what I use most. Today I mainly use a 10D but also have an original Digital Rebel with the Russian hack installed, which gives users of that camera instant FEC with the pushing of one button while still looking through the viewfinder. That is quite an advantage to the new Rebel XT's menu system. For someone like myself using an original Digital Rebel as a backup and/or travel camera, I just don't see enough there to made the upgrade.

Bob Atkins , March 23, 2005; 03:02 P.M.

What I meant was that the Rebel line, both film and digital, is aimed at the casual user or those new to (D)SLRs.

It doesn't mean you can't to good work with a Rebel, it's just that the design is done with a primary focus of minimizing cost, not maximize utility. This means some things are left out or done done as well as on models designed for more "serious" users and which, of course, cost more.

The Rebel cameras are "entry level" cameras. They don't pretend to be anything else. That's not putting them down, it's just stating a fact.

Eric H. Peterson , March 23, 2005; 03:44 P.M.

I have been using this camera for a couple weeks now. (A real XT veteran). I have a few comments. It is a little small; especially when I slap a 17-40 or 70-300 DO on it. It hasn?t been a real issue. If it was really cold or I had gloves on I would want the strap around my neck. The image quality is awesome. The auto focus is pretty good, I have successfully been able to pan with the 70-300 DO in IS panning mode and take pictures of motorcycles coming down a curving mountain road and get about 70% sharp images out 10 shots in a row at 3 FPS,using Servo, center spot auto focus. The battery thing is a non-issue for me, I used it a lot over the period of 2 days and finally had to change the battery after about 300 shots(chimping a lot), the extra battery only cost me 29 bucks. I have read complaints about the weird shutter noise. Please people get a life. The shutter is way less noisy than the 20D, 10D or 1D MarkII. These are the only Digi SLR's I have used. I shoot indoors a lot and this camera is by far the most discreet. I have had 2 problems with this camera. 1. My first Copy had a bad pixel and I had to return it. 2. When I use my 28-135 IS lens I get an error 99 message. The lens stopped down and the shutter fires, making it seem like I took a photo. Then the error comes back and I have to take out battery again. When I got home NONE of the photos taken with this lens made it to the CF card. I tried the lens on my ÚČín 7 and the photos came back just fine, so I don?t think it?s the lens. Firmware update?? I am very pleased with this camera, I am no Bob Atkins but I hope you find this useful. Thanks Bob for the review. I will start posting some photos from this camera in my workspace when I get some worthy photos.......

Eric H. Peterson , March 23, 2005; 04:32 P.M.


biker photo

Bob Atkins , March 23, 2005; 05:16 P.M.

I just tried my 28-135IS lens with the XT and it works fine. Must be a problem with your lens I guess. I don't know why it would work on an Elan but not on the XT, but from what you say that does seem to be the case. You might want to give Canon a call and ask them what you should do. Even if the lens is out of warranty, it's possible that they will fix it for free it it doesn't work with your new camera.

However, like I said, mine works just fine.

Lukas Kisiel , March 23, 2005; 05:17 P.M.

This thing is supposed to compete with D70? What's up with the price so high? Aren't DSLRs supposed to be getting cheaper and cheaper? Or we forgot about that already? I am not complaining, it's just an observation.

Bob Atkins , March 23, 2005; 05:32 P.M.

They are getting cheaper. The price on the Original Digital Rebel dropped by $200. You can now buy one brand new for under $650 from a major photo retailer. They were $899 when they came out in August 2003.

What we are seeing now are better, higher performance, DSLRs for the same price.

Eric H. Peterson , March 23, 2005; 05:55 P.M.

Some people on Steves digicam fourms had similiar Error 99 problems with the 28-135 IS. I havent tried it with the my second XT, I will go home and give it a shot and report back later, maybe it was just the first body.

John Schroeder , March 23, 2005; 09:06 P.M.

I've had a Rebel XT in the store for about two weeks. I must say that I am very impressed. Canon fixed everything that needed to be fixed. Except they really dropped the ball on the viewfinder. I would rate it as marginally passable. The change in battery is questionable. I personally would prefer the higher capasity of the BP511. I do understand that changing the battery allowed them to make the camera smaller and lighter.

I keep seing refrences to "Hacking" the firmware of the D-Rebel. Where are people getting these hacks?

Pradeep Raghunathan , March 23, 2005; 09:12 P.M.

Jeroen Wenting , March 24, 2005; 06:31 A.M.

And it's still cheap plastic...

The 300d is too small, with too cramped a viewfinder, and cheap plastic. This replacement makes all that worse and is supposed to be a better camera?

Alberto Pareto , March 24, 2005; 10:31 A.M.

No ISO setting in the viewfinder yet. Why?? It would be very useful. Alberto

Rene Braun , March 24, 2005; 01:07 P.M.

Plastic degradation is unpredictable and begins as soon as the camera leaves the factory. With time the materials lose their resistance and flexibility, leading to hardening and cracking.

In the case of ultraviolet rays, degradation speed is proportional to light exposure time and intensity. Recent plastic products are more resistant because manufacturers add better stabilizers and additives that filter ultraviolet rays.

The bottom line on plastic degradation is that not much can be done to prevent it.

Bob A , March 24, 2005; 08:16 P.M.

There are differences on my screen - the camera "B" looks more detailed with less noise.

Eric H. Peterson , March 25, 2005; 12:48 A.M.

Plastic degrading, give me a F*&@ing break, that's the best you can do. I am just sure when the plastic fails in 25 years you will be using the same camera. LOL. Please dont buy it beacause its plastic, thats a good reason.... Ohhhh yea take all the plastic off your car, and those pesky buttons on your shirt dump them.... OK.... come back... breath............ 123

I have run the 28-135 IS test on my new XT. In review... The first body I got gave me an error 99 message everytime I used the lens and no image ever made it to the CF card.... I tried it on the new camera(XT had to return first one due to dead pixel) and this is what I found.... I used the lens with no IS. The photo worked!!! I used the lens with IS, the photo worked. I used the camera with the pop up flash...... Error 99... dam it. Take out battery repeat same results... I am wondering if a firmware update will fix it, I have sent the info to canon. It might just be the plastic body.... hummmm

Bob Atkins , March 25, 2005; 01:28 A.M.

Mine's fine with the 28-135, with the IS on and with the popup flash activated.

I doubt it's a firmware problem, or they'd all do it. I guess it's possible you have a somewhat flakey 28-135IS. If the IS was drawing too much current for some reason, it might give problems, and if you add in the current draw of the flash, it might make things worse. Just a guess.

Bob A , March 25, 2005; 01:36 A.M.

I had an Err99 with my 28-105 + 20d. Cleaned the lens contacts with an eraser then wiped off with alcohol. Ho probs so far (knocking on wood).

Eric H. Peterson , March 25, 2005; 12:37 P.M.

I ll try to clean the contacts again, I have been leaning toward selling it and buying the Tamron 28-75, because I often need 2.8 for indoors and the 28-135 at 70 even with the IS on does nothing to make a moving object clear, thats where the extra F stops would come in handy for more shutter speed.... Thanks for your help...

Dave Luttmann , March 26, 2005; 12:52 P.M.

Actually Matt, it's 128DPI vs 146DPI at 16x20. Remember, the aspect ratio is 16x24....cutting off the 4 inches doesn't increase the resolution. As an aside, both are not truly adequate for detailed landscape work at 16x24.


Pradeep Satyaprakash , March 27, 2005; 02:13 A.M.

The XT is a fine camera and a winner by many regards. If you complain about the small size, get a BG-E3 grip and you'll be fine. I initially didn't like the smaller size, but after using it for a while now, I am used to it and it doesn't bother me at all. I'll still get a BG-E3 for better balance with large and heavy lenses, but the XT as it is well balanced and it is all a matter of personal taste. I am willing to bet that Canon is going to introduce more SLR cameras in the future that will be small like the XT.

Yakim Peled , March 29, 2005; 03:02 A.M.

>> 300d = $700 350D = $900 Total= $1600 for 2 Digital cameras. Only $100 more than the $1500 20D.

If I had that sum to spend on a DSLR I'd rather have one 20D.

Happy shooting, Yakim.

Jonas Welinder , March 29, 2005; 06:07 A.M.

Why compare the 350D to 20D? The 20D cost much more and of course the 20D will be faster, better handling and more rugged. It is the same when you compare 20D to 1D.
I think it is more interesting to compare the 350D against the 300D or the D70.

Greg Chappell , March 29, 2005; 09:11 A.M.

The comparison seems logical to me. More people looking at this are probably trying to decide whether to upgrade their current Canon body to the more expensive 20D or the less expensive body like the Rebel XT than are looking to one brand or another. You can't win doing something like this. Everyone has their opinion as to what they want to see. If you don't see it here, that's what DPReview and google are for.

Cameron Scott , March 30, 2005; 09:47 A.M.

For those who have used both the XT 350 and the 20D, do you feel like you are missing anything - features, functionality, performance - when using the XT compared to the 20D? if so, what?

Dan Mitchell , March 31, 2005; 12:23 P.M.

After a lot of thought I purchased the Rebel XT over the 20D. Most of my photography is done "in the wild" so the smaller size of the XT trumped the arguably better features of the 20D - though, to be honest, many of those features are not critical to the way I work.

The smaller size (and lighter weight) turn out to be an advantage for me - a half pound less to carry and it fits into smaller space. However, I agree that the small body and grip may bother some people. I noticed this right away when I began using the camera. However, I adjusted quickly and this is not a big enough issue to outweigh the other advantages for me.


Jean-Jacques Lemaire , April 04, 2005; 06:19 A.M.

I think it is logical to compare 350D with 20D. They have roughly the same functions for one-shot pictures. Of course the 20D is faster, have faster AF, bigger buffer... but where I could be satisfied with my EOS 50E, I could still be with a 350D. The viewfinder though might be a problem for manual focusing (I don't own one so I don't know yet). The smaller size of a 350D is definitely an advantage for me: backpacking. It's also quiter for wildlife. I just don't like its AF-assist flash pulses instead of a dedicated lamp (if you use the internal flash ;) ).

Eric H. Peterson , April 04, 2005; 01:49 P.M.

The problems I have been experiencing with my DRebel and Rebel XT are 1. focusing issues- It seems due to the small viewfinder and shorter depth of field you must be very careful while focusing.( no more focus lock and recompose) I am used to my A2 viewfinder and my eyes are not getting any better. 2. Focal length anguish. My brain is trained to think if I have it Zoomed to 75 I only need 1/50 sec to get a reasonably sharp hand held photo, problem is 75 = 120 which means I need 1/125 to get a sharp photo big difference and I am seeing it in my handheld low shutter speed photos. An example from yesterday. I was shooting a flag waving at F8 75mm in bright sun shutter speed was 1/500. Tack tack sharp. A shady road shot f/8 same lens (tamron 28-75 2.8) shot at 75 mm at 1/30 extremely unsharp. Time to dust off the tripod.....

Eric H. Peterson , April 05, 2005; 01:27 A.M.

I like to measure alone. Thanks for the offer.

Jeff Wilkinson , April 08, 2005; 05:55 P.M.

I recently got this camera. It's quality and affordability were what finally pushed me to make the jump from film SLRs (Minolta Maxxum 5) to digital.

My main nits:

- I'm coming from using Minolta's for the past 10+ years, so, for me the creative modes should let you optionally use the popup flash or not. Canon seems to default to it ON for most of them. Minolta lets you choose auto, always, or disabled. This makes these modes less useful in the Canon IMO. (arguably they are only for beginners anyway)

- placement of the Drive mode button. This is right where your thumb goes when holding the camera, so it's quite easy to accidently hit it and you're suddenly in timer mode. You can hit it again to cancel it before it fires, but you've probably just missed the shot.

- smallish viewfinder, ok, but small since I'm coming from the Maxxum 5, which has a particularly large and bright VF.

- manual focus on the kit lens isn't great. limited turning range means that slight adjustments make a fairly big difference in focus. I wouldn't recommend that lens if you are doing much close-up work.

Those nits aside, I love it. Image quality is excellent, it's light-weight, fast and has all the controls I need (so far). IMO, the negatives mentioned here and in other reviews are minor annoyances in an otherwise excellent camera for advanced amateurs (or anyone who wants DSLR capabilities but doesn't have $2k to blow on it).

E. Haque , May 09, 2005; 09:59 P.M.

I never used 20D or any other dSLR, but using my Rebel XT is totally easy. I heard the menu is awkward and not so good like the 20D. Its all relative. If you never used 20D you won't have any problem. Menu navigation is pretty fast and screen is bright enough. I have nothing to complain about this camera.

Picture quality alone is worth every penny and I feel sorry for those who bought 20D. I would rather buy two XTs anyday. ;)

Chanchai A. , May 22, 2005; 01:31 A.M.

Eric wrote:

"...1. focusing issues- It seems due to the small viewfinder and shorter depth of field you must be very careful while focusing.( no more focus lock and recompose)..."

Not true : Smaller sensor yields greater DOF, so if you compare 350D with the 20D, with the same lens and aperture, the DOF should be the same. And if you're comparing it with 1D or Ds or film body, 350D will give you more DOF, ie: easier to focus lock and reframe image.

Mike Johnston , May 29, 2005; 07:55 P.M.

Patrick wrote: "Secondly, I don't agree with the assessment that 'while the 20D is clearly aimed at the more experienced and serious photographer.' This would imply that someone contiously selecting the DRXT/350D because of the lower weight/size/shutter-noise is less 'serious' as a photographer?!"


"Professional" and "serious amateur" and "entry level" and the like pertain in some respect to features, but mainly to durability, reliability, and longevity. The better cameras are simply designed to handle more and harder use.

I used to visit a camera repair shop in Washington, D.C. that repaired Nikons for photojournalists. I remember seeing a pair of F4's painted sand-color that were in for repair from a Gulf War photojournalist. They looked worse than most hobbyists' cameras would look after ten years. They were six months old.

The 350XT would not stand up to continuous professional use and rough handling, that's all. Nobody's saying that top-level work can't be done with them.


Prasanna Subash , May 30, 2005; 08:10 P.M.

To elaborate on what the previous commentor said, the a professional camera has a longer life for its shutter. Hence it 'lives' longer. There is no reason a 350D cant shoot the same thing as a 20d.

Jonathan Painter , May 31, 2005; 05:29 P.M.

I've had an XT for the last month, and I have to say the only issue I have with it is the viewfinder. The eye relief is very bad after a couple of hours of shooting. I'm a fairly large kid (6'4" tall) but I haven't really had any issues with the small size of the camera. With a flash bracket on there it's quite nice!

Gemma Fairchild , August 19, 2005; 07:16 P.M.

I'm totally new to DSLR so the 350 Digital Rebel XT is my first taste of 'real' photography. I love it, I guess I'm an example of who Canon aimed the camera at, I wanted more than point and click, entry level price and a camera to learn with.

The size is perfect (I've not used anything comparable so it doesn't feel small), I work in the field with wildlife and wanted a camera to capture images of some of the animals I see. Light weight is a real bonus, it was my main reason for choosing the Rebel over other bodies when I went to try some out (I had the budget to buy a more expensive body but liked the feel of the Rebel instantly)

Just thought I would give the view of someone starting out in photography with the Rebel XT.

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Alistair Windsor , September 07, 2005; 08:48 P.M.

Calling the Rebel XT crippled because it "only" has a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec is ridiculous. At 1/200 sec the sync speed of the 350XT is very respectable. The EOS 7NE, Canon's most recent prosumer film camera, has a flash sync speed of 1/125 sec. The "professional" EOS 3 has flash sync of 1/200 sec.

The Nikon cameras produce higher sync speeds by pulsing their CCDs as an electronic shutter.

The XT supports "high speed sync" if that helps.

John Andrews , September 18, 2005; 07:26 A.M.

I have moved from a D300 to a 20d and not used the 350 so I don't have a fair feel for the 350, but I love the 20d. All of the things about the d300 i disliked are gone. I shoot snapshots (street) and find the the heft of the 20d a comfort, the af and bigger buffer serve me very well. the rear dial is a dream to use. Yes it was more expensive but I am not sorry for choosing the 20d.

Andrew B , October 22, 2005; 11:43 P.M.

Brilliant review. I loved the fact that you compared the XT to it's bigger brother, and kept it fair. But most useful information for me were the noise comparison pics, grey charts, resolution charts, and histograms. I wish all reviews used these as a standard. Cheers.

Fred Morales , November 19, 2005; 06:09 A.M.

Well, I just returned from a week-long Europe trip and I LOVE this camera! It was simply a joy to shoot with and so easy to maneuver. I even liked the smaller size because it made it easier to conceal under a jacket in slightly dodgy areas (train stations, trams, etc.)

The custom functions were very useful because I was able to designate the SET button to select parameters on the fly; my Set 1 is configured with lower saturation and contrast to yield real muted tones, etc. Plus I love the BW setting and the filter and toning emulation; used this a great deal.

Now, I know, everyone will say "Why don't you just do that in Photoshop afterwards?" But working as a magazine art director, I spend my fair share of time at work doing photo edits, retouch and manipulation -- that's the last thing I want to do in my spare time.

Having used this cameras predecessor extensively, I can honestly say this one was worth the wait. The debate about flash exposure compensation doesn't really concern me; I hate using flash, but if I need to I can take the time and get it set right. For example, I shot a jewelry catalog with this camera using a Speedlite on a cable and just worked until I had the flash set right. (Had to compensate down by about 1.5 stops.)

Also, I've added the extra battery grip to give me a more substantial feel in my hands and vertical shooting buttons, not to mention the extra battery. Plus I just added a Delkin Pop-up Shade Pro to the back and now I'm set.

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Robert Earl Davis , December 10, 2005; 09:26 P.M.

I have found this review to be very helpful, as I?m getting ready to make to the plunge into digital, after many years using a canon 35 film camera, ???I did look at a 20D and found it more gratifying to hold and the looks, well look better??.but my eyes are still lingering on the 350 D... I?ll just have to make the decision on my own??.

There is one question that is running around the head space,,, Len?s I was think about a tamron 18-200 for a one size fits all sort of idea , if anyone might be able to give a though or experience on this lens, suggestion, I would be most appreciative ,,,,,,,,I trivial around as a musician and im on the road a lot , see a lot of stuff, take lots o f photos as I move form place to place. The 350D is nice an light, which could be a real good thing,,,,,,,but it just feels, dare I say cheep,,,,,but ive read all the comments and done the home work ,,,,,so just have to put the long green down and make the plunge!!!!.......

Would really like to hear some thoughts on a good lens to go on the road with!!!

Thanks in advance

Bobby Earl Davis

Vuk Vuksanovic , April 08, 2006; 12:00 A.M.

"I was think about a tamron 18-200 for a one size fits all sort of idea , if anyone might be able to give a though or experience on this lens, suggestion, I would be most appreciative ,,,,,,,,"--robert


unfortunately, there are no simple solutions (as the one you propose) that will deliver quality results. i've not yet found a single zoom lens good enough to even make me accept it as a gift. that said, if you're a quick-shooting paparazzo who can routinely sell a hopelessly soft shot of a celebrity's tits or ass on the beach, then there may be a purpose...

Maciej Kluziak , May 13, 2006; 11:29 A.M.

What is it? - simply feels better in hand - has a bigger and brighter viewfinder - has usable ISO 3200 - has built-in Anti-Shake - has better in quality and loger (18-70mm) kit lens - is reasonably cheaper - has 2nd curtain flash sync - well, OK, has 2Mpx less CCD... - is no longer produced 'cause the company's been sold to Sony?

Lee Carruthers , May 23, 2006; 03:30 A.M.

I have to laugh at the comments re the small size of this camera. I like to travel with a backpack and the size of the new cameras is always a hassle. I recently bought an Olympus OM-1n (80s vintage) and it is tiny sitting beside even my Elan 7n. And, the viewfinder gives a bigger brighter view than the Elan 7n. My 5D (even with a 50/1.4) looks gigantic beside the Oly. And the EF lenses are also huge compared with the old manual focus lenses. I'm not a small man and my hands are large, and I have no problem with the tiny OM-1n.

I'd love to see Canon put their minds to building a truly compact (OM-1 size) DSLR with a set of lenses to match. The small size would make it easier to carry and also (importantly) less intimidating to the locals. I'd love to utilize the advantages of digital if they'd bring down the size. I'd also be happy to forego autofocus if necessary.

And, no, I don't want to use one of the compromise "all-in-one" digitals with their tiny, noisy sensors. I just don't get the trend toward huge cameras these days. Come on Canon, make 'em even smaller than the 350XT!

Karthik Rajagopal , June 21, 2006; 06:30 A.M.

I bought a EOS 350D kit 3 weeks ago. This is my forst transit to a DSLR. Previously I had been using Nikon FM10 and Canon EOS5. At first it felt very small in my hands. After shooting some days, I got used to it. Its the same feeling when you drive a car other than yours. The image is crystal clear upto 400 ISO. At 800 & 1600, it adds some noise, but still u can always use it, unless u are going for print sizes more than A4.

The only thing I miss is the quick dial. Dialing in compenstaion and aperture in M is little difficult. They cud have give another dial like in D70. U got to dig into the menu for flash exposure compensation.

The in cam color correctio is real beautiful. The greens and blues are gr8. The cam is realy weightless, whcih means that it will get along with u all the time. There is no point in having a SLR sleeping @ home. The kit lens is a wonder. Its small and yet good. Guys, Im not comparing with L lens. It has a gud macro capability also.

With my EF 28-135 IS this becomes an excellant travel photographers kit. I feel its not worth going in for a 30D, unless u are professional or have more money to spare. for that extra 600$ you can get beautiful lens instead...

For beginers its the best... get gud pics and then update urself to afull frame like 5D. Stop pondering on the equpment.. start clicking.

Shaun Dicker , February 13, 2007; 02:50 P.M.

Ive not used a 20D, and I bought the 350D to upgrade my p&s kodak Dc280.

Its a fantastic camera, in my opinion, akin to a canon A1 of the old days. Its good enough for 8x10 inch pictures, and the quality and resolution is more than adequate. Size is ok, battery life is very good.

I may be part of the group which this camera is aimed at, i'm not a pro!

Stop griping at plastic, look at the end result, why get a 20D?

fantastic! I wouldn't even get a 400d/rebel XTI, its not woth it!

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Angie M. , February 22, 2008; 11:43 P.M.

I just wanted to say thank you for this article.

Bob Dorman , April 16, 2008; 11:27 A.M.

As a relatively new user I'm finding that there is a color "washover" issue. It seems like the dominant color of the picture seems to wash over the entire picture. If the house and sky are blue the entire picture has a blue tint that seems to change the hue of the other not blue objects i.e. the grey bricks. Is this a user error that a setting can account for or is this the inherent nature of the Cannon Rebel. Thanks for any feedback for the new user. bd-

tom winberry , January 31, 2010; 01:23 P.M.

Although this thread is dated and probably not followed any longer, I thought I'd pose my question...

One question that was raised and not fully answered is the memory capacity of the CF cards. It came with 2GB. Can it go higher? As high as 16GB?

it's been years since I got my Rebel XT and I'm still learning how to use it... so this article is greatly appreciated.

R. Mar , August 18, 2011; 09:29 P.M.

tom winberry: "...the memory capacity of the CF cards. It came with 2GB. Can it go higher? As high as 16GB?"

It should.  Assuming the sector size is 512 bytes, FAT32 supports volumes up to 2Tb.

The maximum size of any given file on the volume is 2^32-1 or about 4Gb.

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