review has been completed, using a production model camera.
Product shots have been updated where necessary, and all
sample photos are from the shipping model.
there was one camera that really changed the landscape of digital
photography in 2003, it's the Canon Digital
Rebel. The 6.3 Megapixel Digital Rebel, also known as the
Digital Kiss and EOS-300D (depending on where you live), is the
first digital SLR with a list price of under $1000. In fact,
it's just $899 for the body only kit, or $999 for the body plus
an 18 - 55 mm lens. The other camera companies must be
did Canon pull it off? Well, they took the popular EOS-10D (see
our review), took out a few features, and put everything
into a plastic body. Here's a comparison of the two cameras (dimensions
and weight are compared later):
balance can be set by color temperature
to 4 shots, 2.5 fps
to 9 shots, 3 fps
to Medium/Fine JPEGs only
be used with any size/quality JPEG
Sharpness*, +1 Contrast, +1 Saturation
Shot, AI Servo
One sharpness step on the Rebel is equal to two steps on
** Camera uses evaluative metering by default; in P/A/S/M/A-DEP modes,
you can use the AE lock button to use partial metering; center-weighted
average metering is used in M mode.
*** Data provided by Canon; times listed are approximate.
there you have it. Suddenly those $1000 fixed-lens cameras don't
sound as appealing as they did last month. Is the Digital Rebel
the D-SLR for the rest of us? Is the 10D worth the extra $500?
Find out now in our review!
the Digital Rebel and EOS-10D are so similar, text from the
10D review will be reused here where appropriate.
in the Box?
I mentioned, there are two configurations of the Digital Rebel:
one with a lens, and one without. Here's what you'll find in
6.3 (effective) Mpixel Canon Digital Rebel camera
- F5.6, 18 - 55 mm EF-S lens [lens kit only]
Li-ion rechargeable battery pack
featuring EOS Digital Solutions 6.0 and Adobe Photoshop Elements
page camera manual + software manual (both printed)
SLRs do not include a memory card -- it's up to you to buy them.
The Digital Rebel can use Type I or II CompactFlash cards, including
the big new 4GB Microdrive. It is compatible with the FAT32 format.
Digital Rebel uses the same BP-511/512 batteries as the 10D,
PowerShot G3/G5, and several other Canon cameras. This 7.4V,
1100 mAh battery has a total power rating of 8.1 Wh. You can
expect to take about 600 shots without the flash, and 400 with
it, using the battery. One thing to note about proprietary batteries
like this -- they're expensive at $50 a pop (third party brands
do work, though). Also, if you run out of juice in the field,
you can't just pop in some AAs to finish the day.
Included charger, with BP-511 battery inserted
it's time to recharge, pop the battery into the included CB-5L
charger. While it may look like it, this isn't one of those "plug
right into the wall" chargers -- you hook a regular power
cord into it. It takes 90 minutes to fully charge the battery.
you want more battery power, try the new BG-E1 battery grip ($140).
It holds two BP-511/512 batteries, which doubles the battery
life of the camera.
with all SLRs, there are tons of accessories available. First,
there are lenses and flashes, in all shapes and sizes. If you
want a remote control, you can get the RC-1 ($24) or RC-5 ($22)
wireless remotes, or the RS-60E3 wired remote ($29). If you want
a different eyecup or even an "angle-finder", Canon
has those as well. In terms of power accessories, you can get
the aforementioned battery grip, a dual battery charger ($110),
and an AC adapter ($65).
Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk includes the usual software:
ImageBrowser/ZoomBrowser (Mac/PC), PhotoStitch, Remote Capture,
and the File Viewer Utility. There are also TWAIN and WIA drivers
for Windows. All of the main programs are now Mac OS X native.
You will need to switch the USB communication mode to "PTP" in
the setup menu in order to get Mac OS X to see the camera.
is a simple photo for viewing and performing basic editing tasks
on your photos. It's one of the better programs of its kind.
PhotoStitch is my favorite program for creating panoramic shots.
RemoteCapture lets you control your EOS-10D on your computer,
via the USB cable.
File Viewer Utility does just what it sounds like; it lets you
view images on your camera and local disks. You can also use
it to convert files in RAW format to standard formats like TIFF.
final piece of the software bundle is Adobe Photoshop Elements
2.0. This is an excellent program for beginners and enthusiasts
alike, and I'd recommend it even if you don't buy the 10D. It
may just sound like a stripped down version of Photoshop (it
is missing some of the advanced features of the full version),
but it also has many tools for photo enthusiasts not found in
Photoshop. This includes numerous "recipes" for repairing
photos, one-touch image enhancement, panorama creation, special
effects, and more.
Digital Rebel's manual is a smaller version of the one included
with the 10D. In terms of quality, it's above average. I like
how Canon puts the button icons in the table of contents, which
helps you find what you're looking for a lot faster.
Digital Rebel doesn't really look like the 10D or D60, and it
doesn't feel like it either. You'll know as soon as you pick
it up that the body is plastic. It's well constructed, though,
much like Canon's other consumer cameras. Like with most SLRs,
the Digital Rebel is very easy to hold, with a nice right hand
grip, and plenty of room on the lens for your left hand.
a look at the Digital Rebel and EOS-10D, side-by-side:
official dimensions of the camera, sans lens, are 5.6
x 3.9 x 2.9 inches (W x H x D), and it weighs just 560 grams.
For the sake of comparison, the numbers for the 10D are 5.9 x
4.2 x 3.0 and 790 g, respectively.
let's get our tour of the Digital Rebel underway, starting with
most important difference between the Digital Rebel and the D60
can be found by looking at the lens mount. While both cameras
support EF lenses, the Rebel also supports EF-S lenses. The bundled
18-55mm lens uses the EF-S lens mount, since that was the best
way to create a high quality and lightweight wide-angle lens.
To support the EF-S lens, Canon made a larger mirror chamber,
shrank the mirror itself, and had it flip back as well as up.
This, along with having the lens extend further toward the sensor
(see below) is what made the 18-55 lens a reality.
kind of hard to see here, but if you look at the EF-S lens (on
the left), you can see how it extends further back, past the
contacts. One last thing: you use the red dot on the lens mount
for EF lenses, and the white dot for EF-S lenses.
of what lens mount you use, you still have to deal with the camera's
1.6x focal length conversion factor. So that 18 - 55 mm lens
is really 28.8 - 88 mm. And said lens is quite nice -- compact
and very lightweight.
that out of the way, let's continue our tour.
to the right of the lens mount is the lens release button.
above the lens mount, you can see the built-in flash. The working
range of this flash depends on many things, including the ISO
setting and what lens you're using. Using the included lens at
ISO 100, the range is 0.7 - 3.7 m at wide-angle, and 0.7 - 2.2
m at telephoto. Being an SLR, you can use any number of external
flashes if you need to.
to the upper-left of the lens mount is the redeye reduction lamp,
which doubles as the self-timer lamp. To the lower-left of that,
you'll find the remote control sensor.
Digital Rebel uses the flash as an AF illuminator in the same
way as the EOS-10D. Therefore, you must have the flash popped
up to use it, and when you do that, the camera automatically
takes a flash picture as well. But unlike the 10D, you cannot
disable the flash and still have the AF illuminator working.
back of the Digital Rebel is quite different from Canon's previous
D-SLRs. It has more in common with the PowerShot cameras than
the EOS cameras. Gone are the various dials -- there's a four-way
controller now -- making menu navigation a whole lot easier.
the center of it all is the Rebel's 1.8" LCD display. With
118,000 pixels, the resolution is quite good, as is the screen
brightness. You can adjust the brightness in the setup menu,
if you desire. One thing I hope I don't have to remind you of
is that D-SLRs cannot preview shots on the LCD before they are
taken -- it's for menus and reviewing shots you have already
above the screen is the LCD info display, which has previously
been on the top of the camera on earlier models. The info display
shows exposure info, remaining shots, and much more. By pressing
the backlight button to the right of it, you can put a nice orange
backlight behind the camera.
upward, we find the large optical viewfinder, which shows 95%
of the frame. Looking through the viewfinder, you'll find exposure
info and shots remaining settings in green text below the frame.
The camera includes an Ef eyecup, and Canon has others available
for sale. A diopter correction knob, located above the viewfinder,
helps focus things for people without perfect vision.
The info screen in record mode
the left of the two LCDs are five buttons:
- shows current settings (record mode, see above) or exposure
info (playback mode)
- quickly go forward or back 10 images (playback mode)
on the other side, you'll find two buttons plus the four-way
controller. The topmost button adjusts the exposure compensation
(-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV increments), and is changes the aperture
(in conjunction with the main dial) when in manual mode. The
button below that turns on the LCD info display backlight.
four-way switch is used for menu navigation, and also adjusting
the ISO and white balance. You can choose from ISO sensitivities
of 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600. Unlike on the 10D/D60, there
is no ISO 3200 option available. In terms of white balance, there
are plenty of choices. Select from auto, daylight, shade, cloudy,
tungsten, white fluorescent, flash, and custom. You cannot select
a white balance by color temperature like you can on the 10D.
final items of note on the back of the Digital Rebel are the
two buttons at the top-right of the photo. They are for AE/AF
lock and focus point selection in record mode, and thumbnail
viewing and zoom & scroll in playback mode. The focus point
selection tool lets you choose one of seven areas of the frame
in which to focus.
the top of the camera, you'll find a few more dials and buttons,
plus the hot shoe.
of which, the hot shoe will let you attach most EX-series Canon
Speedlites to the Digital Rebel. The camera will most likely
work with non-Canon flashes, though you'll have to use both the
camera and flash in their manual modes. The fastest flash sync
speed on this camera is 1/200 sec.
to the right, we find the mode dial, with the power switch around
it. The mode wheel has scene modes, auto modes, and manual shooting
modes. Here are the items on the mode dial:
(auto depth of field) - attempts to put all subjects, even
at varying distances, in focus.
manual mode - choose both the shutter speed and aperture yourself.
Ranges listed below.
priority (Av) mode - you choose aperture, camera picks appropriate
shutter speed. Range depends on lens; on the 18 - 55 mm, it's
F3.5 - F36.
priority (Tv) mode - you choose shutter speed, camera picks
aperture. Shutter speed range is 30 - 1/4000 sec; a bulb mode
is also available, allows exposures as long as 2.5 hours (!)
mode - automatic but with access to all menu options. Program
shift lets you scroll through several shutter speed / aperture
combinations by using the main dial
mode - fully automatic, most camera settings locked up
mode - these are all scene modes
off - also disables the AF illuminator
button to the right of the mode dial controls the "drive" mode,
letting you select from single-shot, continuous shooting and
self-timer/remote control modes. Continuous shooting mode will
take up to 4 photos at 2.5 frames/second -- not nearly as nice
as on the 10D.
the top-right of the photo, you'll see the main dial (used for
adjusting manual settings), as well as the shutter release button.
this side of the camera, there are a couple of things to notice.
Just to the right of the lens mount, there are two buttons (three
if you count the lens release). The top one will pop-up the flash
(it's an electronic, not mechanical release), while the bottom
one is used to preview the depth of field.
to the right, under a rubber cover, you'll find all the I/O ports
on the Digital Rebel. Let's take a closer look:
ports include digital (USB 1.1), video out, and remote shutter
release cable. Note that the Rebel lacks the PC flash sync port
that was on the 10D/D60.
on the other side, you'll find the CompactFlash slot, which is
behind a plastic door. This is a Type II slot, so the Hitachi
(formerly IBM) Microdrive is fully supported.
the bottom of the camera, you'll find a metal tripod mount as
well as the battery compartment. There's an additional compartment
for a CR1016 lithium battery that stores your camera's settings
and the date/time.
tripod mount is inline with the lens, as you'd expect.
the Canon Digital Rebel
took my Digital Rebel about three seconds to "warm up" before
I could start taking pictures. This number may vary a bit, depending
on what kind of memory card you are using.
speeds were excellent, with a wait time of under 1/2 second.
If the camera has to hunt, it may take more like a second. When
the flash is used to assist in focusing, the camera still locks
focus very quickly -- much faster than with a regular
AF illuminator. Even if you're not using the AF-assist flash,
the camera still focuses well in low light.
the shutter lag is longer on the Rebel than on the 10D, you'll
have a hard time noticing. Regardless of what shutter speed you're
using, the camera responds almost instantly (Canon says 128 ms)
-- and that is why you're considering a D-SLR, right?
shot-to-shot speed is also impressive, as you'd expect. This
is one of those cameras where you can really shoot as fast as
you can compose (or at least until the buffer fills up).
you take a photo, you can hit the delete button to delete the
shot you just took.
let's take a look at the many image size and quality choices
on the Digital Rebel:
images on 128MB card (not included)
3072 x 2048
3072 x 2048
2048 x 1360
1536 x 1024
big changes from the EOS-10D to note. First, file sizes are much
larger on the Digital Rebel then they were on the 10D, and I'm
not sure why. The other change is with the RAW+JPEG mode; On
the 10D, you could choose the size and quality of the JPEG that
is recorded along with the RAW image. That's not the case anymore,
as the camera always uses a Medium/Fine JPEG.
case you're not familiar with it, the lossless RAW format's big
advantage is the file size: it's at least a third of the size
of a TIFF. Another advantage is the fact that you can "fool
around" with the image in software since it's the raw CCD
data. You will need to process it on your computer before you
can save it into a more common format, like JPEG or TIFF.
are named using the following convention: IMG_####.JPG, where
# = 0001 - 9999. File numbering is maintained as you erase and
switch memory cards.
of that, let's move onto menus now.
Digital Rebel's menu system has more in common with the menus
on the PowerShot line than Canon's other D-SLRs. Folks upgrading
from PowerShots will feel right at home. The menu choices are:
bracketing - auto exposure bracketing takes three shots
in a row, each with a different exposure value. Exposure
can be set in 1/3EV increments.
bracketing - similar to exposure bracketing, but for
white balance; ±3EV in whole-stop increments
WB - use a white or gray card to set manual white balance
(Parameter 1, 2, Adobe RGB, Set 1, 2, 3, Set up) - store
your custom settings here for easy access. For sets 1-3,
you can customize the following. More details below.
(-2 to +2)
(-2 to +2)
(-2 to +2)
tone (-2 to +2) - lower numbers give reddish tone;
higher numbers are yellowish.
- prevent images from being deleted
- rotates an image
Order - DPOF print marking
playback - slide show
(on, on w/info, off) - whether picture shown on LCD after
it is taken; on w/info option shows exposure info and
time (2, 4, 8 sec, hold) - how long it's shown for
power off (1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30 mins, off)
rotate (on/off) - automatically rotates images for proper
numbering (Continuous, auto reset) - whether the camera
maintains the file numbering described earlier
(English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian,
Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese)
system (NTSC, PAL)
(Normal, PTP) - Mac users may need to select PTP
version - shows the current firmware version. Mine was 1.0.1
want to talk briefly about the parameter options in the record
menu. The default option that the Digital Rebel uses is parameter
1, which is +1 contrast, +1 saturation, and +1 sharpness. Do
note that 1 stop of sharpness on the Rebel is equal to two stop
on the EOS-10D. Parameter 2 has all those values at zero. Adobe
RGB will use that color space, as opposed to sRGB. There are
also three custom sets, in which you can set the contrast, sharpness,
saturation, and color tone.
BIG thing missing on the Rebel are all of those custom functions
that the other models have. I think the typical Digital Rebel
buyer won't miss them (those upgrading from other D-SLRs may).
enough about menus, let's do photo tests now, all of which were
taken with the 18-55mm lens.
you'd expect, the Digital Rebel produced a near-perfect macro
shot of our test subject. Colors are right on, and detail is
nice and smooth. The minimum distance to the subject will vary,
depending on your lens selection. The 18-55 lens in the kit will
only get you as close as 28 cm.
must apologize for the night test shot above -- turns out that
5 seconds was not long enough of an exposure! I'll try to do
this again, weather permitting.
the night shot above is impressive for its very low night and
smooth subjects. Purple fringing does appear in many places,
as well. Full manual controls make it easy to take shots just
like this one (hopefully better!).
way to bring in more light is to crank up the ISO sensitivity.
I took the shot above at all the available ISO ratings. Have
get pretty noisy at ISO 1600 -- but if you can't find a tripod,
it may be worth trying! The ISO 200 shot was what I was hoping
to get at ISO 100 -- the perfect amount of light.
you'd expect on such a wide-angle lens, the 18-55 shows a fair
amount of barrel distortion.
don't get to say this very much: the camera did a perfect job
in the redeye test -- there wasn't any! And I'd expect it, with
a flash that is so from the lens.
I own a Canon D60, I thought it would be nice to take a few comparison
shots. I used the same lens on both cameras (F3.5-4.5, 24 - 85
mm), and set them at their default settings. As I mentioned earlier,
the Rebel's default parameters are not the same as those on the
D60 -- I took care of that in this first set of photos:
of the differences between the D60 and the Rebel seem to be in
terms of color and exposure. Resolution seems about the same
to me, at least in my (very) limited testing. By cranking up
the parameters on the D60 (or the EOS-10D for that matter), you
can probably get these pictures to match.
of exposure, I wanted to mention a rather strange thing that
happened a few days ago, when I was taking photos for the gallery.
I was trying to take this shot:
I got instead was this:
staring at the LCD in disbelief, I again framed and took the
shot, obtaining the first image you seen above. This problem
only happened once, but I thought I'd mention it.
won't find better photo quality in a $900 camera than on the
Digital Rebel. It captures incredible amounts of detail -- down
to blades of grass and individual leaves on a tree. Images are
smooth, with nonexistent noise. Color and exposure were both
accurate, and purple fringing was kept to a minimum, at least
on the lenses I used. Have a look at the photo
gallery and see if you agree.
digital SLRs have movie modes.
Digital Rebel has a pretty standard playback mode (as do most
D-SLRs). Basic features include image protection, thumbnail mode,
DPOF print marking, and slide shows. There's also an image rotation
and scroll" feature lets you zoom in as much as 10X into
your photo, and then scroll around in the zoomed-in area. This
is a great way to check the focus on a photo. The addition of
the two zoom buttons and the four-way controller have made using
zoom & scroll a lot easier.
can use the jump button to quickly move ahead 10 images (or 9
in thumbnail mode), which is handy when you've got lots of pictures
on the memory card.
photos is easy, as there's a button right on the camera for that
purpose. You can delete one or all of the photos on the card.
I would've liked a way to select a group of photos to delete.
you'd expect, the camera tells you plenty about the photos you've
taken. A histogram is also shown.
mode has gotten faster since I used the pre-production camera.
It took about 1.8 seconds to go from record to playback mode.
Moving between photos took about half a second.
Does it Compare?
on the pages of text above, you probably don't need to hear my
conclusion. But I'll repeat it anyway: the Canon Digital Rebel
is a breakthrough product, bringing the digital SLR to the masses.
I must confess that my level interest in the Minolta A1 and Sony
DSC-F828 dropped immediately after the announcement of the Rebel.
Many will ask, "why spend $1199 on a fixed lens camera when
I get get a D-SLR and choose from scores of lenses and accessories
for $899?" That will be a tough decision for many people
over the holiday shopping season!
to the camera now: the Digital Rebel has excellent photo quality,
in terms of resolution, color, sharpness, and exposure. There
was that one exposure mishap, but I was unable to replicate the
problem. The 18-55mm lens included in the $999 package is an
excellent deal, giving you an effective 28 - 88 mm lens for just
$100 more. The Canon EF lens mount means that you can use almost
any lens compatible with that mount. I tried my own 24-85, 15-30
(Sigma), and 75-300 lenses, and got superb results from each.
If you like manual controls, the Digital Rebel has all the important
ones. The camera excels at both low light and fast action photography,
with nearly non-existent AF and shutter lag.
will say that I'm not a huge fan of using the flash as the AF-assist
lamp -- sure, it works great, but it always takes a flash picture,
which sometimes I don't want to do. The plastic body is well-built,
but not nearly as nice as the older (and more expensive) Canon
SLRs. The camera is much easier to use than those models, and
folks upgrading from PowerShot G3's will feel right at home.
As to the question of "should I spend the extra money to
get the EOS-10D instead", that's largely a personal decision.
Do read through the chart up at the top of this review, and decide
if you can live with the tradeoffs that come along with that
those who want top-notch photos, robust performance, and no gimmicks
-- and you can part with $900 or more -- the Digital Rebel is
the camera to get this holiday season.
noise, even at ISO 400
easier to use than previous Canon D-SLRs
the benefits of a D-SLR: lenses, flashes, and full manual controls
value for the money
I didn't care for:
burst mode performance (especially compared to EOS-10D)
limitations compared to 10D (noted in chart at top of review)
a fan of the flash as AF-assist lamp system
currently is no other D-SLR is this price range. Some other models
(with a higher price tag) to consider include the Canon
D100, and Pentax *ist D.
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try
out the Digital Rebel and its competitors before you buy!
got tons of photos in our gallery!
a second opinion?
out other opinions about this camera at Steve's
Resource, and DP
Feedback & Discussion
you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking
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