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Canon Rebel XS Operation

Like the XSi, the Canon Rebel XS relies on its slightly smaller 2.5-inch, color LCD screen for all user interaction. This makes for a very clear, highly visible user interface, but probably does contribute to slightly shorter battery life. Instead of being able to use a small monochrome status LCD found on higher-end models like the EOS 50D, the XS's LCD monitor has to be fired up any time you want to change a setting. One feature we miss from the XSi that's missing from the XS is the infrared proximity sensor that turns off the LCD screen when you hold the camera up to your eye. It not only conserves battery life, but also reduces glare from the LCD when using the optical viewfinder. The Rebel XS instead disables the LCD when the shutter button is half-depressed. (You can optionally leave it on until the DISP or Set button is pressed.)

Overall, the control layout places a few main controls (Power, Shutter button, Command dial, and Mode dial) on the right side of the camera's top panel, with most of the other controls on the back of the camera. Let's take a closer look at some of the user-interface elements:

Canon XS Rear-Panel LCD Monitor
Let's take a closer look at the rear-panel display. The image below shows callouts for all the information shown in the default display. (Illustration courtesy Canon USA.)

There are four Screen color options on the Status display, adjustable in the first Settings menu, under Screen color.


One time when color is used on the rear-panel display is when you adjust the exposure compensation. As soon as you press the exposure compensation button on the camera's body, the exposure compensation area is highlighted on the LCD display, as seen above.


Pressing any of the arrow keys to the right of the LCD screen immediately brings up a screen for the exposure parameter associated with that button. Once the option screen is displayed, you can use the arrow keys to scroll the cursor highlight through the options presented. When you've made the choice you want, pressing Set confirms it and returns you to the main shooting display. The icon arrangement allows you to just continue to press the same button and the highlight will scroll through all the options, wrapping around when it gets to the end of the list.


The AF-point selection screen is also very clear and straightforward. When you press the AF-point selection button in the upper right corner of the back panel, the display shown above appears. As you'd expect, you can use the arrow keys to select the point you want, and then exit by pressing either the Set or Shutter button.


Canon XS Live View, Playback & Record Review Displays

The Canon Rebel XS's rear-panel LCD screen can be used as a live viewfinder, which is enabled by pressing the Set button outside of a menu or settings screen. In Live View mode, the default display reports the current shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation setting, ISO setting and number of available images at the bottom of the screen. Pressing the DISP button enables a more detailed information display, and a third press displays a small histogram. Current exposure and white balance is simulated, so the impact of changing related adjustments can be seen. Through a Setup menu option, you can also enable a gridline display. See the graphic below for callouts of the info available in Live View mode. (Illustration courtesy Canon USA.)


Like the Rebel XTi and XSi, the Rebel XS shows each image as it's captured, though you can turn off this function through the Camera menu. The display mode used in Record Review is the same as was last used in Playback mode, or you can hit the DISP button to cycle to a different mode. Likewise, in Playback mode, you can cycle between the available display options by pressing the DISP button repeatedly. You can also select between the normal luminance-based histogram and the RGB histogram option via a Playback-mode menu item. The screenshots below show the various displays and options available.

Canon XS Image Display Options
This is the default display in playback mode. The file number is displayed upper right, the shutter speed and aperture in the upper left, and file sequence number and quality are shown below left.
A Playback Settings Menu option lets you choose between a conventional luminance-only histogram, as seen here, or separate red, green, and blue displays. More detailed information is also displayed here.
The XS's third playback display option shows both types of histogram and less detailed exposure information. If there are any blown highlights, they'll blink in these two histogram modes.
Pressing the DISP button cycles through the three available displays. This is the second option, image with no overlay.
You can also zoom in on an image, up to 10x at the highest resolution. The small navigator window in the lower right-hand corner shows you what part of the larger image you're currently viewing. The arrow keys let you navigate around the full image, and the zoom in / zoom out keys increase or decrease the magnification level.
If you press the Zoom Out button while viewing a single image on the LCD screen, it'll take you to a 4- and then a 9-image thumbnail display. The arrow keys let you navigate among the thumbnail images. The text displays the same basic exposure info for the currently-selected image as does the default single-image display.
Pressing the JUMP button takes you to a thumbnail display, but one that lets you skip through pages of nine thumbnails at a time.
Of course, you can also rotate captured images manually, either 90 or 270 degrees.
Pressing the Delete button brings up this display, giving you the option to erase the current image, or all (unprotected) images on the card. The Delete display will show either the full image or a thumbnail plus histogram, depending on the playback mode you've selected.