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The larger LCD on the XSi necessitated a change of layout for the controls on the back from that of the XTi. Overall, I think I like it better than the older design with Menu, Disp, Review, Jump, and Delete buttons down the left side.
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Like all the entry-level models, the XSi provides a full-auto option and a handful of scene modes, in addition to dSLR-class manual and semimanual exposure modes.
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Like Nikon, Canon ships the XSi with an optically stabilized update of its 18-55mm kit lens. Although optical stabilization lets you preview the stabilized results, sensor-shift stabilization allows for cheaper comparable lenses in the long run.
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ISO 100 and ISO 800 are the XSi's sweet spots when it comes to noise, but for a budget model the camera does quite a good job across the entire range.
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As with many kit lenses, the XSi's is relatively slow, which necessitated shooting this at ISO 800 (1/100 sec, f/5.6). As you can see, however, the results are quite sharp.
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Visually and by our test numbers, the XSi renders accurate, consistent color. For example, this was shot at ISO 800, and there's no color shift or any notable artifacts.
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Of course, if accurate color isn't your thing, you can play with Canon's Picture Styles and tweak reality. Frankly, I think you're always better off shooting the most accurate color possible--you can always pump it up later, but you can never recreate reality from a tweaked original. That's why I tend to discount features like this.
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You can bring up the exposure on the XSi's photos without inflicting excessive noise on them. The flash didn't fire for this shot of Kendra, but I was able to fix the exposure suitably for Web use. I don't think I'll be printing it at 13x19, though.
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori GruninDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
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An inexpensive but longer model with many of the same characteristics of the 18-55mm kit lens, the 55-250mm comes in handy as a supplement if you want to roll your own two-lens kit.
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