Although the Rebel XS is still available at a discount until the remaining stock is sold through, the Canon T3 is essentially a replacement for that camera, and as such marks the new entry-level point to the company's SLR lineup. On paper, it's an interesting design, with a mixture of significant upgrades in some areas, and features that have been pared back in others.
Based around a newer 12-megapixel image sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 offers up a very worthwhile expansion in its upper sensitivity limit, which now tops out at a useful ISO 6,400 equivalent. It also adds two focus points, and switches to Canon's clever dual-layer iFCL metering chip, which takes account of color information when determining exposure variables. Canon has also slightly increased the T3's LCD display size, added high definition video capture capability, and updated the kit lens to provide an even more effective stabilization system.
With a pricetag some $100 below that of its predecessor at launch, though, something had to give. While the Canon T3 has a new optical viewfinder, it actually has just slightly lower magnification and a significantly tighter dioptric correction range than that of its predecessor. Burst shooting speed is also towards the lower end of the range, compared to its main competitors--and that's in JPEG mode. Switch to raw or raw+JPEG shooting, and the burst speed and depth is low indeed. In addition, Canon has removed the mechanical portion of its EOS Integrated Cleaning System, leaving the T3 reliant solely on antistatic coatings and software mapping to combat the adverse effects of dust on image quality.
To find out whether one hand gave more than the other took away--and whether the Rebel T3's aggressive pricing makes it easy to overlook the occasional shortcoming--you'll want to read our Canon T3 review.