Canon Rebel XS review: Canon Rebel XS

Photo samples from the Canon EOS Rebel XS

Overall, in CNET Labs' tests the XS outperforms all but the D60 for shooting speed. It goes from power-to-photo in a bit less than 0.2 second. At 0.4 second in good conditions, the XS' JPEG-shooting lag matches the rest; its 0.8-second duration in dim conditions is quite good for any class--just a bit slower than the D60 and inexplicably far better than the XSi. Once focused, shot-to-shot time typically takes about 0.7 second for raw shots--oddly, JPEG shooting is a much faster 0.4 second (these days there's typically no difference between raw and JPEG speed in dSLRs). Adding flash-recycling time bumps it to only 0.8 second, which is also very good for any class, and is the same as the D60. Burst JPEG shooting outpaces all but the K200D, however, that camera is limited to about five shots per burst--the XS goes to at least 85. It's pretty close to the D60's burst rate, however. The raw shooting slows after three frames and, like the XSi, maxes out at six frames; you'll have to move to another class of camera if you take shooting your childrens' soccer games really seriously.

The Rebel XS' only really obvious advantage over the competition is its photo quality, which is quite good, especially at high ISO sensitivities. In general, color and exposures are accurate (as accurate as you can get when the situation doesn't require a spot meter), it renders a relatively broad dynamic range, and the kit lens delivers sharp photos for its class.

All of which leads us to two burning questions: is it worth the extra bucks for the XSi over the XS? And how does the XS stack up overall compared with its sub-$700 competitors? As to the first: if you crop a lot, need a spot meter, or merely want the larger LCD, then it's worth paying a little extra for the XSi; otherwise, the XS will probably serve your needs well. (For more information, check out EOS mio! Which Canon dSLR?) And if you want the best photo quality and/or need fast, low-light focus, the Canon Rebel XS outshines its competitors. However, it doesn't deliver the best value for the money overall; that nod goes to the Pentax K200D. You can read more about the competition in Digital SLRs on a shoestring.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Raw shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim light)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Alpha DSLR-A200
0.5 
0.6 
1.2 
0.3 
Canon EOS Rebel XS
0.2 
0.7 
0.8 
0.4 
Nikon D60
0.4 
0.5 
0.7 
0.4 
Pentax K200D
0.2 
0.5 
1.3 
0.4 
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
0.2 
0.4 
1.2 
0.5 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Canon EOS Rebel XS
2.9 
Nikon D60
2.8 

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