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Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT, black version. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Canon announces EOS Digital Rebel XT (UPDATED)
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 06:05 EST)

Canon has today announced its new EOS Digital Rebel XT, the long-rumored "successor" to the EOS Digital Rebel - although that word is rather of a misnomer, since the original Rebel is actually to remain in Canon's lineup at a reduced price.

Slated to cost just $899 body only, or $999 as part of a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm lens (exactly the same price as the original Rebel when announced eighteen months ago), the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT is expected to begin shipping next month. The camera incorporates a whole raft of improvements (detailed further below) that, given the pricing, will have Canon's rivals paying close attention. Perhaps equally impressive is that the original EOS Digital Rebel will continue to ship for a jaw-dropping $799 inclusive of a zoom lens - the same price as the body-only kit currently retails for. This is likely to impact sales not just of competing SLRs, but of the more expensive consumer point-and-shoot cameras as well.

But enough of our speculation on the impact we believe Canon's move will have on the higher end of the consumer digital camera market - what's new in the Rebel XT? Well, the short answer is "quite a lot". Imaging Resource readers thrive on the details, however - so here's a summary of the most important changes:

  • Size and Weight: The Rebel XT has a 23% lower volume, and 13% lighter weight than its predecessor - making it the smallest and lightest EOS Digital camera ever. We don't have figures for the exact volume of various digital SLRs (simply calculating their volume from height, width and depth ignores the fact that the cameras are not rectangles). With that said, we feel confident in saying that the Rebel XT is amongst the smallest digital SLRs we're aware of, and certainly the lightest digital SLR we're aware of (excluding battery, flash card, lens and accessories).
  • Sensor / Resolution: Resolution rises from six to eight megapixels. This equates to around a 27% increase in the total number of pixels, but a less dramatic 12.5% increase in linear resolution as compared to the original Rebel. Note that the image sensor is not the same as that used in the EOS 20D. At 22.2 x 14.8mm, it is just slightly smaller than the 22.7 x 15.1mm sensor in the original Rebel (the EOS 20D sensor is 22.5 x 15.0mm), and we understand it has been designed for lower production costs than the 20D's sensor. Until we have a chance to try the camera in our exhaustive testing, we won't know whether the Rebel XT shares the excellent image quality and noise characteristics of the EOS 20D.
  • Burst Speed / Depth: Despite the higher resolution / file size, burst speed and depth improves from 2.5 frames per second for four JPEG / RAW frames (Rebel) to 3.0 frames per second for 14 JPEG frames or five RAW frames (Rebel XT). Even in the JPEG + RAW mode, the XT still manages four consecutive frames at this speed.
  • Startup Time: Where the Rebel took two seconds to power on, the Rebel XT will take just 0.2 seconds.
  • Focusing / Metering: Focus mode and metering mode choices are no longer tied to the camera's operating mode. This was one of the major bugbears of the original Rebel, and we're very pleased to hear the restriction is gone in the XT. Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Manual modes of the Rebel were restricted to AI Focus AF mode - if you wanted to select One Shot or AI Servo AF mode, you had to switch to one of the Basic zone modes. Likewise in the original Rebel, center-weighted metering was not available in Program, Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority modes, while Manual mode didn't offer Evaluative metering.
  • Custom Settings: The Rebel XT now has 9 custom settings menus with a total of 24 settings (including Mirror Lockup), conspicuously absent from the original Rebel
  • RAW format: RAW files from the XT are now saved in Canon's new CR2 RAW format, and offer a choice of saving just a RAW file, or a RAW and Large JPEG simultaneously. The original Rebel offered only a medium JPEG embedded in the RAW file. The choice of CR2 RAW also means that you can convert the images in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software (which will come bundled with the camera).
  • DCF 2.0 / JPEG format: The Rebel XT complies with the DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0 specification, allowing JPEG files to be tagged as Adobe RGB in the header - so applications such as Photoshop that are aware of this will automatically open them in the correct color space.
  • Power Source: Where the original Rebel used BP-512 batteries, the Rebel XT will use NB-2LH batteries (one of the reasons Canon was able to reduce the size of the camera).
  • Image Processor / Battery Life: The previous item might seem like a bad change in terms of battery life (since the new battery has a lower watt-hour capacity) - but the Rebel XT uses Canon's DIGIC II image processor, which offers power consumption savings in the region of 35%. We're told that battery life will be around 600 shots per charge without flash, and around 400 shots with 50% flash use - the same as the original Rebel. DIGIC II also accounts for the Rebel XT's higher speed and should offer better color reproduction, as well as faster direct printing speeds.
  • White Balance: The Rebel XT gets the same two-dimensional white balance compensation and bracketing adjustment feature we praised in the EOS 20D.
  • Flash: Flash exposure is now calculated using Canon's E-TTL II, rather than the original Rebel's E-TTL system. The original E-TTL worked on the assumption that the autofocus point would cover the subject - a logical assumption that was usually the case, but was thrown off when you prefocused and then reframed the image. E-TTL II works to correct this problem with a combination of ambient light and pre-flash metering, plus distance information from the lens (if available).
  • Monochrome Mode: The Rebel XT now offers a monochrome mode, similar to the EOS 20D.

As we said, quite a list of changes! At first glance, it looks like the Rebel XT will prove a much more well-rounded camera than the original Rebel, and at the price will even offer the 20D quite a run for its money, so long as you're not looking for a bulletproof body and can live without the 20D's slightly higher specification (shutter speed, AF, ISO sensitivity, burst speed, etc.)

With a digital SLR lineup now spanning the range from entry level (Rebel and Rebel XT), through the semi-pro (EOS-20D), and up to the specialised professional models (EOS-1D Mark II and EOS-1Ds Mark II), Canon is looking extremely strong these days! We wait with interest to see the company's competitors bring their answers to the table...

Full specifications for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (to be known in Europe as the EOS 350D Digital, and in Japan as the EOS Kiss Digital 2e) follow below, along with numerous photos from all angles. We also have photos of the overseas versions, and of both color variants of the Rebel XT (matte black and brushed silver patina).

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Consumer SLR
Manufacturer Canon
Model Number Digital Rebel XT (USA)
EOS Kiss Digital 2e (Japan)
EOS 350D Digital (Europe)
Dimensions 5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5"
126.5 x 94.2 x 64.0mm
Weight 17.0 oz
485.0 g
Planned Price $899.00 (body only)
$999.00 (kit with lens)
Planned Availability Mar 2005
Image Capture
Sensor Type APS-C Canon CMOS
8.20 megapixels (total)
8.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.60
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Image Dimensions 3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
2496 x 1664 (4.2 megapixels)
1728 x 1152 (2.0 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 3.0 frames per second for 14 frames
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, eye-level SLR with fixed pentamirror and AF point indication
95% field of view
0.8x magnification (-1 diopter, 50mm lens at infinity)
21mm eyepoint
-3.0 to +1.0 diopter adjustment
Fixed focusing screen
LCD 1.8", 115,000 pixels
100% field of view
5 level brightness adjustment
Playback Zoom 10x max
Lens
Lens Type Interchangeable Lens
Lens Mount Canon EF (compatible with EF-S)
Focusing System 7-point phase detection (TTL-CT-SIR CMOS) with AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Manual focus point selection possible
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Auto, Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 35-zone SPC: evaluative, 9% partial, center-weighted
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3 or 1/2EV increments
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom, Manual
Determined using Image Sensor
Flash E-TLL II auto-popup with red-eye reduction
Guide Number: 13
External flash via hot shoe
Acts as AF assist beam
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night portrait
Self Timer Yes, 10 seconds
Time Lapse No
Storage
Recording Medium CompactFlash Type 1, CompactFlash Type 2, Microdrive
File System FAT16 / FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format CCD-RAW, CR2 RAW, JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary NB-2LH
Product Bundle
Battery / Charger Proprietary NB-2LH Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone No
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes, Metal
Remote Control Yes, RS-60E3 wired or RC-1 / RC-5 infra-red
Operating System Compatibility Windows, MacOS
More Photos
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (Silver)
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT Miscellaneous
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT kit with lens. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS Digital Rebel XT kit with lens
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT case. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS Digital Rebel XT case
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel XT CMOS image sensor. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS Digital Rebel XT CMOS image sensor
Canon's EOS Digital Rebel compared with the Digital Rebel XT. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS Digital Rebel / EOS Digital Rebel XT
Canon's EOS Kiss Digital 2e digital SLR. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS KISS Digital 2e (Japan)
Canon's EOS 350D digital SLR. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
EOS 350D Digital (Europe)
 

UPDATED 2005-02-17 06:25ET: Four sample images apparently shot with the new Digital Rebel XT can be found on Canon Japan's website .

Original Source Press Release:

NEW EIGHT MEGAPIXEL EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT SLR ADDS RESOLUTION, SPEED AND CREATIVE CONTROL TO THE IMAGING INFANTRY

Consumer’s Choice: Second “Rebel” Joins the Digital Revolution

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2005 – The Canon EOS Digital Rebel? camera that rocked the world of consumer digital SLRs little more than a year ago now has a new, faster, even smaller, big brother. Sibling rivalries aside, the 8.0 megapixel Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR, which will be showcased at PMA 2005, February 20-23 (Canon Booth #3503), in Orlando, Fla., adds resolution, speed, an extra dollop of creative control and enhanced comfort in the hand, to one of the smallest and lightest digital cameras in its class. Despite its advancements in ergonomic design and technology, this easy to use EOS digital camera is compatible with all of Canon’s EF lenses including the EF-S lenses and still retains the sub-$1,000 price point, proven crucial to entry-level digital SLR consumers.

“As we have with the Digital Rebel’s 35mm film-based cousins, we are expanding the line-up of Digital Rebel SLRs, offering consumers a wider variety of features and price points based on their needs and budgets,” said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc, a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ). “Even though we have increased the resolution, speed, responsiveness and energy efficiency on the new EOS Digital Rebel XT camera, we have decreased its size and weight, making it more comfortable to hold and use. Indeed, it is nearly three ounces lighter and more than a half-inch smaller than the original EOS Digital Rebel model.”

Rebel Without A Choice No More
In stores beginning in March, the EOS Digital Rebel XT camera will take its place alongside the original 6.3 megapixel EOS Digital Rebel camera that first placed an affordable, high resolution digital SLR into the hands of Canon consumers. The EOS Digital Rebel XT model is offered in two kit configurations: with and without Canon’s high-quality EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. The estimated street price for the zoom lens kit will be $999* while the estimated street price for the body only kit will be $899*. The original Digital Rebel will be available at the same time for a reduced estimated street price of $799* for the zoom lens kit. Standard accessories in both camera kits include a battery pack and charger, software, manuals, interface cables, neckstrap and Canon U.S.A. limited warranty. The EOS Digital Rebel XT camera will be offered in both the stylish brushed silver patina and the sleek Canon matte-black finish.

While many of the feature advancements and innovations on the new EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera are inherited from Canon’s recently introduced EOS 20D “prosumer” SLR (which carries a and estimated street price of approximately $1,599*), the two cameras’ most striking technological similarities are their use of Canon’s newly-developed, large single plate, high sensitivity, high resolution color CMOS imaging sensor technology. While the size of the APS-C CMOS sensor on the EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR is fractionally smaller than the APS-C CMOS sensor on the EOS 20D camera (22.2 x 14.8 mm versus 22.5 x15.0 mm respectively) accounting in part for the cameras 8.0 vs. 8.2 megapixel resolution rating, individual pixel dimensions are identical, and they both provide the same effective angle of view, equivalent to 1.6 x the normal EF lens focal length.

“As tempting as it is to compare the EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera with the more advanced EOS 20D model based on their technological kinship, there are, of course, some very real differences between them. While the 20D SLR includes performance features such as faster continuous shooting speed (five frames-per-second (fps) vs. three fps) with larger burst capability (23 frames vs. 14) and custom function settings (18 vs. 9) that more than justify its heftier price tag, this new Rebel XT model was created for those dedicated SLR users who are migrating to digital for the first time and do not wish to give up the flexibility that an SLR system offers,” explained Hashimoto. “For that discerning yet still entry-level digital SLR consumer, having the EOS Digital Rebel and the EOS Digital Rebel XT cameras to choose from is Canon’s latest one/two combination, and it’s a real knockout.”

Finer Photos Faster
The new EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera can shoot up to 14 consecutive Large/Fine (8.0 megapixel) JPEGs, five RAW files, or four RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs at a rate of up to three frames-per-second. The EOS Digital Rebel camera’s smaller buffer permits bursts of only four Large/Fine (6.3 megapixel) JPEG or RAW frames at a rate of up to 2.5 frames per second.

While reprising the Digital Rebel SLR’s ISO range of 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, Canon raised the Auto ISO setting on the Digital Rebel XT model to 400 in order to help improve image quality, reduce camera shake and brighten the scene behind the subject when taking a flash photo. The new Digital Rebel XT camera also offers 12 exposure modes that are user selectable at the turn of a conveniently placed dial. The exposure modes take into account virtually all shooting conditions and preferences are: Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Program AE, Shutter speed-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual and Auto Depth-of-Field AE.

In addition to its lossless compression 8.0 megapixel RAW image file option, the Rebel XT Digital SLR offers users the option of shooting in a range of sizes and quality JPEG settings (based on shooter’s preference, need and end-use requirements) from large (8.0 megapixels) and medium (4.15 megapixels), to small (2.0 megapixels). Within each resolution option, the user may also select quality settings: large/fine, large/normal, medium/fine, medium/normal, small/fine and small/normal.

RAW Power
What’s more, where the original Digital Rebel camera required dedicated software to extract embedded middle/fine resolution JPEGs from the larger, uncompressed RAW image file, the new Rebel XT model saves RAW and large/fine resolution images as separate files on the Compact Flash card. The user also has the option of selecting RAW (8.0 megapixel) files only, saving valuable space on the CF card. As with the EOS 20D, the Digital Rebel XT camera’s RAW files are denoted by the CR2 extension.

Creative Control
Among the new features found on the EOS Digital Rebel XT camera are user selectable metering and AF modes, flash exposure compensation control, improved E-TTL II evaluative flash metering and for the first time in this product category, custom function control. The Digital Rebel XT SLR even offers a monochrome mode for consumers who enjoy the subtleties and shadings that only black and white images offer. These additional controls greatly increase the creative power of the Digital Rebel XT, without taking away any of the automated functions that made the original Digital Rebel so popular with beginning photographers.

The Rebel XT camera incorporates nine of the Custom Functions previously found on the EOS 20D model. Designed to fine-tune camera operation according to personal preferences, the custom functions offer users a set of programming options for the SET button/Cross keys, as well as control over long exposure noise reduction; flash sync speed in AV mode; AF start from the shutter button or AE lock button; AF assist beam; mirror lockup; E-TTL II metering patterns, and shutter curtain sync.

All This and DIGIC? II
Canon’s newest and most powerful SLR imaging engine, DIGIC II provides high-precision and high speed, natural color reproduction including high-saturation, bright subjects, improved auto white balance, along with increased white balance correction control and white balance bracketing (another legacy of EOS 20D advances), compared to the original Digital Rebel camera.

The white balance correction control is a digital color filter that works like a light balancing filter or a color-compensating filter. Both the blue/amber bias and the magenta/green bias can be adjusted to +/- 9 levels. While the blue/amber bias adjustment is standard on the original Digital Rebel model, the Rebel XT camera’s additional magenta/green bias adjustment provides increased color compensation from the earlier model.

The Rebel XT SLR’s white balance bracketing mode enables the camera to automatically take three images for every shot snapped, each with a different bias setting. The user can then select the best shot and discard the other two. White balance bracketing can also be used in combination with white balance correction. The benefit of all of this white balance wizardry can be found in the photographs with colors captured accurately and precisely under a wide range of conditions.

In addition to the legion of image quality improvements, DIGIC II speeds up the camera’s performance from start up that is ten times faster on the EOS Digital Rebel XT model than it is on the EOS Digital Rebel with the original iteration of DIGIC (.2 of a second on the EOS Digital Rebel XT model compared with 2 seconds on the EOS Digital Rebel camera).

Utilizing the same 7-point autofocus system as the EOS Digital Rebel camera, the new EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR is capable of analyzing where a subject is -- even when it is off center – and almost immediately bringing it into focus. It can also analyze subject movement and automatically selects locking or tracking AF modes as needed. These features simplify the camera’s operation and optimize its performance. The Digital Rebel XT allows users to select locking or tacking AF modes independently, adding a new dimension of creative control.

What’s more, even though both Digital Rebel SLRs use that identical 7-point autofocus system, the Rebel XT model’s new DIGIC II chip actually help increase the speed of autofocus calculation and hence the responsiveness of the autofocus itself. For greater creative control, both cameras also offer users the option of automatic and manual focusing point selection.

Another feature improved by the presence of DIGIC II is the speed of the direct printing function, which is PictBridge compatible. DIGIC II also produces faster startup times, faster CompactFlash card writing speed; and approximately 10X faster data transfer speeds thanks to the processor’s new USB 2.0 high-speed interface. As an added bonus, the DIGIC II chip is so efficient, it actually reduces the EOS Digital Rebel XT camera’s power consumption (and extends battery life) by approximately 35%. Indeed, this new Rebel XT camera is so energy efficient, it is powered by the same lighter-weight NB-2LH battery pack used by the PowerShot S60 (as opposed to the larger BP-511A battery pack used by the original Digital Rebel model). While the NB-2LH battery and charger are included with the Digital Rebel XT camera, both a new vertical grip (BG-E3) that accepts up to two NB-2LH battery packs or six AA-sized batteries and an AC Adapter Kit (ACK700) for powering from an AC outlet, are available as optional accessories.

E-TTL II: Exposure Control In A Flash
The new Rebel XT camera also features the next step in the evolution of evaluative- through the lens exposure control, E-TTL II. Though compatible with all Canon EX-series Speedlites, this “smarter” new E-TTL II system helps ensure that, even in situations with highly reflective subjects or backgrounds or when shooting in most other similarly difficult lighting situations, the image will be optimally exposed.

The E-TTL II system compares the ambient light with the reflected pre-flash off the subject reported in all 35 metering zones and selects the areas with a small difference to be weighted for flash exposure calculation. This system also helps eliminate or underweights areas with large differences, recognizing them as an extremely reflective object in the background or a highly reflective subject.

Bundled Software
Both the Rebel XT Camera and lens kit and the body only kit are shipped with three software discs including EOS Digital Solutions Disc 10 featuring ZoomBrowser EX, ImageBrowser and ArcSoft PhotoStudio together with other utilities, another disc containing Digital Photo Professional 1.6 for RAW file conversions, and a third disc containing PDF versions of the instruction manuals for each application.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. The Company is listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America and is rated #35 on the BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." Its parent company Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) is a top patent holder of technology, ranking third overall in the U.S. in 2004, with global revenues of $33.3 billion. For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

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All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.
Specifications are subject to change with notice.
* Pricing is subject to change without notice at any time. All prices are set by the individual dealer and may vary.

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