Canon Rebel XTi
Well, it's been a while since I bought the Rebel XTi, and I thought I'd post a brief review. I've got a few other cameras that I'm comparing it too - a Canon 30D, a Fuji Finepix S3000 and S9000, a Canon Powershot A80 and A740 (those are all the cameras that I'm moderately to seriously familiar with). Since I'm not a professional photographer, I'll be talking about a few things that matter to me. I certainly won't be comparing every aspect across all the cameras, but I thought I'd give an idea about my "camera background" as it were.
Well, compared to any point-and-shoot, the XTi is a clear winner. The 9-point AF is the same one used in the Canon 30D - that basically means it is professional quality. It's quick and it works well, and that's really all there is to it.
The UI of the camera is really easy to master. Picture review is simple and powerful, with an incredible zoom. The 2.5" screen is great, bigger than most point-and-shoots and really clear and easy to see. The controls all seem to be right where my fingers want them to be, and most times when I'm wondering how to do something, I can figure it out in a matter of moments. I haven't had one of those disconnects yet - everything has been easy. For instance, I was trying to increase the ISO of a particular low-light shot. I'd never done it before, but I thought, "I'll bet I just turn the wheel" and BAM, new ISO. That's just one small example of how easy everything is.
I don't think I really need to say anymore on that front.
Custom Shooting Modes
Do you normally find yourself doing a particular set of customizations to a shot (ISO, aperture value, etc.)? Then program it and use it whenever you want. I think you can do some of this with, say, the Canon A740, but in general, point-and-shoots don't give you that kind of control.
Weight and Feel
One of the complaints I've read about the XTi is that it is very small. I'll be honest - I don't get that. I mean, yes it is small, but I am certainly not going to complain about it. I have huge hands and I don't have any problems using this camera. I don't understand why other people would. It feels good and light and I have the feeling that I could take it anywhere, almost like it is rugged. My partner can use it (she of the small, girly hands) and I'm pretty sure that a child could hold it and use it. Unless your hands are exceptionally large, I don't think it's too small at all. It is certainly much less bulky than the 30D - I guess it's a personal preference thing.
This was mildly disappointing - the stock 18-55mm lens isn't fantastic. I mean, it's not too bad, but I certainly wasn't doing backflips over it or anything. I went out and picked up a 75-300mm to augment what I have (I got a Canon 75-300mm USF used for about a hundred bucks) and at some point I'll pick something better in the 17-85 department, though that would be a far in the future purchase. For the nonce, these are good enough lenses.
The Canon A740 has a pretty decent little lens on it, actually, which is probably comparable to what I have. It's a pretty decent little camera.
Well, it certainly costs more than a point-and-shoot, but at the end of the day, a DSLR of this quality for under a grand is hard to argue with. I mean, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the 30D and is a lot more portable.
To sum up
I've gotta say I really love this camera. I waited a long time to buy a DSLR and I'm really happy with the one that I ended up getting. I'd certainly recommend it as a great DSLR to start with and build on.