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Old Dec 21, 2006, 7:00 AM   #1
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Santa came early to my house... and brought me a Canon Digital Rebel XTi. (AKA EOS 400D) This is my sixth digital camera... starting with a 1 megapixel Olympus point-and-shoot, then a 4 megapixel Minolta, two different Panasonic Lumix cameras, and the Canon EOS 10D. The Rebel XTi stands head-and-shoulders over them all. It's very impressive.

I've been using it for about a week now, and shooting a LOT of photos to really see what it can do. Of course, I had read all the reviews and knew quite a bit about the camera before I ever put my hands on it, but the thing that I didn't really pick up on in all the reviews was how much progress Canon has made at making this camera useable at high ISO settings. With all the other cameras I've used, even the EOS 10D, there was some very significant noise as you got up in to the higher ISO settings. This was especially noticeable with the Panasonic cameras, and I learned to use third-party noise reduction software to clean up the pictures.

But after a week with the new Digital Rebel, I have to tell you that I'm impressed! Finally a camera that really can shoot at high ISO settings without unacceptable levels of noise! I'm not saying that there's no noise... just that there is WAY less noise then I've ever seen before from a camera... and that the it really does allow you to take pictures in natural light and get good results.

But don't take my word for it... the proof is in the pictures. Absolutely no noise reduction software has been used on these photos after they came out of the camera.

[align=center]ISO 800



[align=left]Every winter, thousands of Monarch Butterflies spend the winter in a grove of Eucalyptus trees a mile or two from my house. I put a 200mm "L" series lens on the Rebel XTi and pointed it up in to the trees. It was pretty dark among the trees, because not only did the trees block out a lot of the light, but it was a cloudy day to start out with. So, I bumped the camera up to ISO 800 and was able to shoot in natural light with no problem.

[align=center]ISO 1600[/align]


[align=left]Every Thursday night they block off the main street in San Luis Obispo and turn it in to a big street party... complete with lots of food and entertainment. This shot was taken at around 7 O'Clock at night, long after the sun went down... and the only lighting was a few street lights. There was so little available light that I crossed my fingers and bumped the camera up to ISO 1600. I was shocked when I got home and looked at the pictures on my computer. I didn't just get one or two lucky shots where there was enough light... every shot I took that night had enough light and was of acceptable quality.


[align=center]Another shot at ISO 1600[/align]


[align=left]A cute little shopping complex in Downtown San Luis Obispo. Again, there was no problem capturing it with just available light at night. You can see some noise in the exterior walls of the building, but I do not find it objectionable. It's certainly better than what I could have got with high speed film, I think.


[align=center]Now an example at ISO100[/align]


[align=left]This is a Pelican on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can't make it out due to the depth of field, but the side of the cliff directly behind him is actually covered with dozens of Pelicans.

Disclosure: I like highly saturated images, so I shoot in RAW mode and then bump the saturation up before converting the photo to JPG. No noise reduction has been added at all, though. Also, since I don't own any image-stabilized lenses, I used a tripod in most of these pictures to eliminate camera shake.

- Jim Zim
Grover Beach, California

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Old Dec 21, 2006, 12:20 PM   #2
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Well at the size posted, almost any current dSLR will give nice pictures at ISO1600. I am not syaing that the XTi is bad or anything but I think correct exposure if the key for great low light shots at higher ISOs and usually canons are very good at it.

Here is ISO1600 from my 30d and 400mm f5.6 with cheap 1.4xTC. Almost full frame.


Shot is RAW and no pp.
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