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Tracking the Trends at PMA

(March 2008) posted on Tue Mar 11, 2008

A handful of new DSLRs took center stage at this year's show.

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By Clare Baker

The XSi features Canon's DIGIC III processing engine. The redesigned electronic system works with the CMOS sensor to produce images with optimal detail and color. The camera also uses a nine-point AF system with a newly developed AF sensor, which features a cross-type AF measurement that reads a wider variety of subject matter than single-axis AF sensors, thereby increasing the camera's ability to autofocus. Canon also reports that the XSi is the fastest firing Rebel, capturing 3.5 frames per second for bursts of up to 53 images in fine JPEG mode and 6 frames in raw mode.

Additionally, the XSi features Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions as well as Canon's Auto Lighting Optimizer technology, which automatically corrects image brightness and contrast. Also, the DSLR has Live View capabilities with a new 'Live Mode' contrast-detection auto-focus (AF) function that allows the camera to automatically focus during Live View without lowering the reflex mirror. Users can view their images on the 3-inch LCD monitor. The camera also features four metering patterns including 4-percent spot metering, a wide range of exposure modes from fully automatic to fully manual, depth of field preview, and mirror lock.

The camera's EOS Integrated Cleaning system shakes dust particles off of the low-pass filter in front of the sensor and is activated each time the camera is powered up or shut down. Users can also use the Digital Photo Professional software included with the camera to map out dust spots that may remain on the sensor and subtract dust spots from the final image during post processing. A manual sensor cleaning function is also available.

The DSLR is fully compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, as well as EX-series Speedlites, an optional Battery Grip, and remote control and viewfinder accessories. Unlike the previous Rebel models which use CF type memory cards, the ESi utilizes SD and SDHC memory cards. The camera also uses Canon's new high-capacity LP-E5 lithium battery pack which provides 50% more exposures per charge than earlier Rebel models. The body of the ESi is stainless steel and polycarbonate embedded with glass fiber and available is black and silver finishes.

The camera is expected to ship in April 2008. Price: $800; $900 for a lens kit version that includes the EF-S1855mm f/2.5-5.6 IS zoom lens.