Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

The EOS 400D Rebel XTi is Canon's latest addition to the sub-$1,000 dSLR camera market. Technical improvements include an impressive 10.1 megapixels, 9-point autofocus, 3 frame-per-second image capture and 27-frame bursts. Add a self-cleaning image sensor, and the XTi looks like one hell of a camera. But while Canon was sleeping, the camera gods blessed consumers with the Sony A100 and Nikon D80 - two formidable opponents. Check out the results in our 4D bargraph and then hit the jump for our frankenreview: the best parts of every review blended into a succulent technosmoothie.

Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

Imaging

"The 400D / XTi still delivers silky smooth images, is usable at its highest sensitivities and feels very responsive overall."
"What I am seeing is a new tone curve. Reds, yellows, and oranges seem to be slightly darker while blues seem slightly lighter. The tone curve seems to push shadows darker - but the detail remains."
"...the XTi's measured and visible image noise was significantly worse than that of the CCD-based Nikon
D80 for any given ISO speed."
"The XTi uses Canon's Digic II chipset rather than the newer Digic III, and I wonder if the company might
have been able to eke out better performance and noise suppression with the latter."
"Canon has been renowned for their clean high ISO results. And, the new 400D is looking very good from this perspective."
"Focusing performance under low light has been improved by 1 stop."
- Canons traditionally need a lot of light, especially without image-stabilizing lenses.

Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

LCD

"The bigger screen, while long overdue, is also welcome."
"...the paper-white background gets distracting."
"It's easily visible under all but the very brightest conditions."
"...at the highest brightness settings...gamma is increased enough to make exposure hard to determine."
- Future so bright, you gotta wear shades.

Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

What the Camera Needs

"There is still no spot metering."
"I couldn't avoid severe underexposures of a backlit subject with the available metering tools..."
"...the only thing which seems to be missing from the standard 400D XTi package is anti-shake."
"This will undoubtedly have potential buyers carefully weighing it up against the Sony Alpha A100."
- Anti-shake lenses add $$ to this budget dSLR.

Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

Random

"The responsiveness of this camera makes taking a photo about as instinctive as blinking an eye."
"Sitting on top of the new sensor is another of the Canon EOS 400D Digital Rebel XTi's major improvements - a self-cleaning, sensor-sealing low-pass filter..."
"Ironically, my 400D/Rebel XTi came with the dirtiest-from-the-factory sensor I have seen yet. And no, the self-cleaning sensor didn't make a difference."

Gizmodo Frankenreview: Canon 400D Rebel XTi

Conclusions

"Canon already had a great product with the 350D / XT, but rather than resting on its laurels has upped the ante and delivered a worthy successor."
"If you don't yet have an investment in any particular manufacturer's lens system and want this year's best model for less than $1,000, you might consider the Nikon D80."

Specs

Sensor resolution
10.1 megapixels

Optical sensor type
CMOS

Effective sensor resolution
10,100,000 pixels

Gross sensor resolution
10,500,000 pixels

Light sensitivity
ISO 100-1600, ISO auto (100-400)

Shooting programs
Close-up, Landscape, Sports mode, Portrait mode, Night portrait

Max shutter speed
1/4000 sec

Min shutter speed
30 sec

Still image format
RAW, JPEG, RAW + JPEG

Continuous shooting speed
3 frames per second

Auto focus
TTL phase detection

Focal length
18 mm - 55 mm

Focus zones
9

Min focus range
11 in

Lens aperture
F/3.5-5.6

Optical zoom
3 x

CameraLabs
CNET
DP Expert
The Digital Picture (photo thanks)