I shot using an 8GB SanDisk card and there was no problem in reading or writing,
meaning that the camera is FAT 32 compatible. I worked under all sorts of lighting
conditions, from shaded canyons to bright scenics, and handled highlights using
the center-weighted metering option (my preference) and AE lock. I also had
the choice of using one of seven autofocus points, with the points lighting
and confirming focus upon acquisition. In bright light I set ISO to the lowest
and the default setting of ISO 100, and worked at ISO 400-800 in open shade.
The camera allows, through a back toggle, for ISO settings up to ISO 1600. Noise
and contrast were fine at and up to ISO 400, with some excessive contrast starting
at ISO 800 and some noise at ISO 1600, but nothing that would scare you from
using it at its highest sensitivity.
The EOS Digital Rebel XT offers numerous options for defining
what Canon dubs "parameters." This shot was made at
ISO 100 with the Rebel XT's "kit" lens, and
18-55mm zoom. A +1 was set for color saturation, which brought
out all the red in these cliffs along the Rio Pueblo River in
Having the ability to change ISO on the fly is one of the greatest
benefits of digital photography. These flowers were shot at ISO
800 in very deep shade handheld, an exposure that would have been
difficult without a tripod if I had ISO 100 film loaded in a film
SLR. I found some noise at ISO 800, but not enough to be bothersome.
I did boost saturation slightly after exposure.
One drawback to the camera, and this being more from being spoiled by others,
is the LCD display. In low light and shade the 1.8" 115,000 pixel screen
is visible, but in sunlight the comparatively small screen is fairly unreadable
due to surface reflection. It's good that you can set many functions using
the manual toggles and LCD panel rather than the monitor, as using the monitor
for setting menus and reviewing images after exposure in any kind of direct
sunlight is very difficult. Pushing the ISO setting toggle, for example, opens
the ISO menu on the monitor, again difficult to see in bright light. The display
does have helpful information, such as overexposure warnings in image review.
Playback and deletion, as well as navigating through the many pictures you will
want to take with this lightweight camera, is fast and easy, as is accessing
Image Effect modes (AV, TV, Manual, and Program with Shift) and, if you will,
the Scene modes. Having depth of field preview is always expected in an SLR,
and appreciated in this model. And the battery-lasting power is indeed impressive,
providing you with plenty of power to shoot throughout a day without too much
Image quality overall is quite impressive, easily yielding impressive 11x14"
prints, thanks to that 8-megapixel sensor yielding a 24MB file. While some might
have to upgrade via the web to open the XT (CR2) raw files in their image-processing
software of choice, loading the simple but effective, and included, raw converter
in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software will do the trick. The
XT's success is hard to argue with, as it delivers very good quality images
and enough imaging options to keep even the most control-oriented photographer
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens allows you to shoot handheld in very
low light (given that you boost ISO accordingly). But it also
allows you to get shots with very, very shallow depth of field,
something that digital zooms that start at f/3.5 might not allow.
And the lens, which comes out to about 50mm (48mm to be precise,
given the Canon conversion factor), allows you to get close enough
so you don't have to stand way back to get even shallower
depth of field, a double bonus. While zooms are always appreciated,
having a fast, fixed focal length lens is a good addition to any
Sigma's 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens
For our tests we worked with both the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT kit lens and
the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 fixed focus lens. This new lens offers a large maximum
aperture ideal for working handheld in low light and for creating impressive
shallow depth of field effects, often difficult with zooms with narrower maximum
apertures. This EX DC HSM lens is designed to match the APS-C size image sensors
of digital SLR cameras but is not apt for 35mm or full-frame sensor use. The
Sigma lens is constructed with two SLD glass elements, designed to minimize
chromatic aberration. In addition, a glass mold aspherical lens in the rear
group of the lens reduces color aberration. The lens offers 40cm (15.7")
minimum focusing distance. Operation of autofocus was rapid and silent, this
being an HSM model; you can also manually override focus at any time.
For more information, contact Canon U.S.A., Inc., One Canon Plaza, Lake Success,
NY 11042; (800) 652-2666, (516) 328-5000; www.canonusa.com.