Canon gently updates its entry-level dSLR and accessories lineup

For the first time in ages, the company announces a new model at the bottom of its dSLR line, the EOS Rebel T3, along with a modest update to the T2i at the top, an iteration of its kit lens, and two enhanced low-end flash units.

The Canon EOS Rebel equipped with the new 18-55mm IS II kit lens. Lori Grunin/CNET

With today's product announcements, Canon bookends its sub-$1,000 dSLR lineup with two new models--the entry-level EOS Rebel T3 and the slightly more advanced T3i--as well as introduces an updated version of its 18-55mm kit staple lens and two enhanced low-end Speedlite flash units. Rather than introduce new dSLR models at bargain-basement prices as Pentax and Sony tend to do, Canon traditionally lets its slightly higher-end models gradually fall in price until they're the de facto entry-level models. But its current starter, the EOS Rebel XS, and which the T3 will replace, has been around since the summer of 2008 and even Canon must think it's looking a bit dowdy compared with competitors that, while old, aren't quite that old. Especially since the more expensive Nikon D3100 has overtaken it in sales. The T2i, however, is still quite competitive and selling well; Canon plans to keep that model in its line at a cheaper price.

With the cameras, Canon is also rolling out an update to its current 18-55mm IS kit lens; the new IS II version basically adds a potential extra stop of image stabilization, from a maximum of 3 stops to 4.

Here's an overview of Canon's sub-$1,000 lineup, including the outgoing Rebel XS.

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