|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.
UPDATE: Also see our 10 Megapixel DSLR group test to see how the Canon 400D / XTi compares against the Nikon D80 and Sony A100.
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Higher resolution than rivals (albeit modest)
Natural image processing and low noise
Quick startup and overall handling
Compact and light body
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
(relative to budget DSLRs)
14 / 20
17 / 20
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