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Having squeezed more pixels than most of us actually need into DSLRs in every price range, manufacturers are focusing on incorporating cutting-edge features normally reserved for mid and upper-level DSLRs into their less-pricy consumer DSLRs. Nowhere is this clearer than Canon's 6th generation digital Rebel, the EOS Rebel T1i, which is available as body-only or with a Canon 18-55 IS kit lens.
For an entry-level DSLR, the new Rebel has a laundry list of attributes that a year ago would have seemed highly unlikely to be found in a camera selling for well under a thousand dollars… very unlikely. Topping this list is the Rebel T1i's ability to shoot HD 1080p video, which is an industry first for an APS-C format DSLR. For less-pressing video capture or longer recording times, video can also be captured in 720p. Canon's recently introduced full-frame EOS 5D Mark II also shoots 1080p video, but it costs a cool $2000 more than the new Rebel.
Now we're not saying the Rebel T1i can produce the same level of resolving power or tonal range as a 5D Mark II, nor is the Rebel as ruggedly built or sealed against the elements as the Mark II, but for the price of a 5D Mark II body you can buy a Rebel T1i and a couple of L-series lenses to go along with it, which if you're a serious amateur looking to get the most bang for your precious-earned bucks, is something worth pondering.
Other improvements found in the Rebel T1i include a 15.1Mp APS-C CMOS sensor that, thanks in part to the camera's DIGIC 4 image processor, can be pushed as high as ISO 12,800 for shooting noise-managed low-light images without need of a flash. The DIGIC 4 image processor also ensures quick start-up and response times, as well as responsive, balk-free performance.
The T1i's optical eyepiece allows you to see 95% of the total image area through the camera's finder, which can be dioptically adjusted from -3.0 to +1.0. The full image area can be viewed post capture or in real-time in LCD Live mode off the Rebel T1i's very user-friendly 3”, 920,000-dot Clear View LCD. To avoid distracting your attention and reduce viewfinder glare the camera's rear LCD goes dark when you lift the camera to your eye.
For optimum image quality, RAW files can be captured at 14-bits as well as 3 levels of JPEG compression. Images can also be recorded in a combination of RAW+JPEG at burst-rates up to 3.4 fps. In JPEG mode up to 170 full-size images can be captured in a single burst, 9 in RAW. For low-light shooting, or simply to open up the shadows when snapping portraits outdoors, the Rebel T1i features a pop-up E-TTL II flash. The T1i is also compatible with all of Canon's EX-series Speedlites.
The new Rebel offers you a choice of 13 preset shooting modes, 7 preset White Balance settings (plus custom), 6 Picture Styles (including 3 custom Styles), and you can meter these scenes in a choice of 4 metering modes (35-Zone Evaluative, Center-weighted, Center Spot 4% or 9%).
Quick, positive focusing is achieved with the help of an AF system supported by 9 sensors including a central cross-type point with what Canon describes as a 'high precision sensor' for optics sporting maximum apertures equal to or faster than f/2.8.
To keep your image files shmutz-free the new Rebel features Canon's Integrated Cleaning System, which shakes loose pesky dust particles each time you power up and power down. In order to keep dust particles out of the image's light path, anti-static coatings are used on the sensor's low-pass filter. For truly stubborn dust bunnies Canon's Dust Delete Data program (bundled with the included Digital Photo Professional software disk) can be applied in-camera for post-capture cleanup.
Other apps found in Digital Photo Professional software include a comprehensive RAW editing program and a host of other post-capture image enhancing tools.