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Canon EOS-350D / Digital Rebel XT with 18-55mm f3.5~5.6 II EF-S lens Gordon Laing, December 2005
 
Canon EOS 350D / Rebel XT verdict

Canon kick-started the budget digital SLR market with the EOS-300D / Digital Rebel, but rather than rest on its laurels with the 350D / Rebel XT, it's raised the bar. Indeed it's indicative that despite being the oldest of the current crop of budget digital SLRs, it arguably remains the best.




The 350D / Rebel XT delivers an almost unbeatable package of quality, speed, size and price. The most obvious selling point is of course its 8 megapixel resolution, and while the difference between this and its 6 megapixel rivals can be subtle, it's certainly visible in real life results. Thankfully the smaller pixel pitch doesn't compromise noise levels, and Canon's DiG!C II processor ensures silky smooth results at standard ISO settings, while allowing the use of a smaller, lighter battery without affecting lifespan.

For anyone familiar with the earlier 300D / Rebel, or indeed the 10D, it's the handling speed which really impresses. Startup time has been reduced to 0.2 seconds and the camera feels responsive and ready for action at all times. Of course this kind of speed was present in Nikon's original D70, so you could argue Canon was playing catch-up, but the 350D / Rebel XT is pitched at a lower price point.

It's not all good news though. The screen, especially today, is measly at just 1.8in, some re-positioned controls have become less convenient to use, the USM lens version would have made a preferable bundle and some may find the smaller body harder to hold. But that's really about it.

When launched back in February the 350D / Rebel XT easily took the lead from its rivals, and even now against the latest competition still holds it's own. Some may prefer the handling and build quality of the Nikon D50, the large detailed screen of the Pentax *istDL, or the built-in anti-shake of the Konica Minolta 5D, but overall the 350D / Rebel XT remains a tough camera to beat and the leader in the budget digital SLR market.

For an update of the best buys around right now, please visit our Budget DSLR Buyer's Guide

UPDATE: Find out how the 350D's successor compares in our EOS 400D / Rebel XTi review and video tour, and if you're undecided about which general-purpose lens to buy for your EOS 350D, check out our full Canon kit lens group test.


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UPDATE: Also see our 10 Megapixel DSLR group test to see how the Canon 400D / XTi compares against the Nikon D80 and Sony A100.



Good points

Higher resolution than rivals (albeit modest)
Natural image processing and low noise
Quick startup and overall handling
Compact and light body

Bad points
1.8in screen small by today's standards
Screen slightly dark with default settings
USM lens not in standard bundle
Body may be too small for some



Scores

(relative to budget DSLRs)
 

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

14 / 20
17 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
18 / 20

80%
 

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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