"Good (and bad) first DSLR experience for this long-time digital camera hobbyist"4.0 starson by DigitalCameraMann
Pros: Nearly instant power-on. Extremely fast focusing with kit lens AND sharp pictures at all focal lengths. Fast multiple-frame shots (3 fps) even with slow (4x) CF card. Low image noise at high ISO #s
Cons: Full Auto Exposure setting uses ISO 400 (instead of ISO 100). No ability to frame shot using LCD; focus screen & mirror dirty after just 3 days (major SLR shortcomings). Small LCD; hard to see in sun.
Summary: Purchased Canon Digital Rebel XT with kit lens and 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM telephoto lens 3 days ago and have already shot 350 pictures. The ability to change lenses and low noise at high ISO settings were the primary reasons this long-time non-SLR digital camera user purchased his first DSLR. The very good reported user experiences with the original Canon Digital Rebel, the availability of the new 8.2 megapixel Rebel XT for US$999, and a reasonable total user package price of $1500 after adding an image-stabilized Canon 75-300mm USM telephoto lens clinched the deal. With these two lenses I can cover a 35mm equivalent focal range of 27mm to 480mm and shoot clear, hand-held outdoor shots over entire range at ISO 100. Indoor telephoto shots up to 480mm are possible without flash, but I find ISO must be increased to 800 or 1600 for sharp hand-held shots. Very happy with the image quality of kit 18-55mm EF-S lens and the very fast focus times of this non-USM lens. It is also very light weight. I have found I mostly use Program exposure mode, since I can control the ISO setting, white balance mode, etc. I’m not happy with Full Auto Exposure mode choosing ISO 400 for outdoor shots in full sunlight (and all other shots). Why not use ISO 100? Granted, there is no noise visible in outdoor ISO 400 shots until you zoom in on monitor-displayed image and the noise is not visible in 8x10 prints except in shadows. Using ISO 100 in Program mode eliminates this shadow noise. I have found the A-DEP exposure mode useful for ensuring wide depth of field and sharp exposures, especially for telephoto shots. I have experienced a few grossly underexposed indoor flash pictures under fluorescent lighting (5-15 foot range) in Full Auto Exposure mode. Not sure what the problem is. Overall, however, I have been very pleased with the quality of the majority of pictures taken so far including: macro shots, portraits, landscape photos, flash macro shots (no camera shadow), indoor flash pictures, and telephoto (all hand-held). Camera is ready-to-go the instant you turn it on. Can review pictures immediately on pressing review button and zoom in up to 10X. LCD can be hard to see (both pictures and camera settings) in bright sunlight. Increasing LCD brightness to maximum helps. Viewfinder is big, bright and clear with good eye relief for eyeglass wearers.
After an hour of outdoor shooting in windy conditions yesterday, however, a major problem developed. The focus screen located inside the top of the camera body and the internal mirror got contaminated with dust and yellow tree pollen. I only had the internal camera body exposed for maybe 90 seconds total during the course of 4 lens changes. I was able to get the mirror clean but I cannot completely clean the focus screen – it’s impossible to access with the dust blowers I have. If I cannot keep camera internals clean over course of 3 days, what will happen over 6 months or a year of use? What if the digital sensor gets dirty? Also, I find the inability to use the LCD to frame pictures BEFORE taking them a BIG negative. I realize this is a “feature” of SLR cameras, but it still sucks. For these two reasons, the camera will be returned. Guess I’m not cut out for a digital SLR. For those that are – the Canon Digital Rebel XT is a fine camera, and I can highly recommend the 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM lens.