updated 11:30 pm EST, Wed January 23, 2008
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
Canon helped inaugurate next week's PMA show tonight by upgrading its entry digital SLR. Now dropping "Digital" from the camera name, the EOS Rebel XSi jumps from 10.1 to 12.2 megapixels while also using the same DIGIC III image processor as higher-end cameras such as the 1D Mark III. The switch provides a 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion process, better autofocusing, highlight tone priority, and noise reduction at high ISO levels up to the camera's ISO 1600 peak; these features are the first for a camera in the class and are joined by auto lighting correction that adjusts brightness and contrast on the fly.
The DIGIC processing is also responsible for boosting the burst speed of the new Rebel, Canon says; the XSi can shoot at a sustained 3.5 frames per second for either 6 shots in full-quality RAW or 45 images in its JPEG equivalent. This occurs despite the new Rebel's switch to SD and SDHC cards over CompactFlash -- while less familiar to pros, this helps point-and-shoot owners graduate to a full digital SLR without replacing memory, Canon claims.
A larger, more color-accurate 3-inch LCD boasts an improved live preview and is helped by a new battery pack that provides roughly 50 percent more shots without affecting the camera dimensions. Canon ships the XSi in April as a body-only version for $800 but also provides a kit with a new 18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized lens for $900.