Canon T1i review

I bought the Canon Digital Rebel T1i, the 10-22mm Canon lens and the 70-200 F4 L lens + 1.4 extender, along with the kit lens, 18-55mm.
T1i Camra Pic

Having previously owed the original digital Canon Rebel, I found my T1i to be light years ahead of the original. But I was expecting that, having researched things so completely, while I was waiting for the dollars to be able to buy the thing. I could have bought the T1i earlier, but I was actually considering Nikon briefly, since I was starting from scratch after being robbed of all my original gear. So, I was actually buying into a system – and that’s very important to think about in a camera if you are doing more than family snaps. You need to look to see if the system has the range of lenses and parts that you want for your photography.

So what do I think, having had this thing for a month and shot a thousand odd photos? No regrets here, mate. I shot several sessions at the Calgary zoo,

Lion grimace

Deer nursing

and have gotten a ton of great photos I would not have gotten with a point and shoot. I wandered around downtown with the 10-22mm wide angle and got a ton of building shots that I never would have gotten with a P & S.



I have shot skyline and sunset pictures out of my “room with a view” and have been blown away by the results.

Sunset tree

Sunset NW glow

But to be honest, most of that is due to the lenses. Image stabilization is very nice, especially on the 70-200 F4. The 10-22mm is making me learn a whole new area of photography : ultra-wide angle. The kit lens is a nice range, with IS which is hugely useful in low light with non-moving subjects – You’ll get sharp pictures at 2 stops slower speed than normal, unless you’re shaking like a leave. Don’t assume the kit lens is garbage quality either – it’s not tank like build, but the quality of the shots is as good as any mid-range lens out there in my opinion. So, I am happy with the lens end of things, and frankly, don’t see buying anything else beyond a 50mm F1.4 in the near future. The real big improvement between the Digital Rebel and the T1i is improved sensitivity of the sensor at low ISO. This camera is good to 1600 ISO – a little noisy there, but tolerable, especially if you’re just going to downsize them for 4X6 prints or web publishing. The problem is, there is no good number for the camera makers to show quality- so you just get increases in mega pixel quantity, which doesn’t matter anymore. Quality of pixels is everything now. I suggest looking at ISO tests on review sites and evaluate for yourself.

As far as the camera itself, I’m still getting used to the controls. I like having an ISO button to quickly change what is now your third most important parameter behind speed and aperture. I can quickly adjust my exposure, and being able to delete a picture right after taking it; it’s great for those ooops moments. I like the fact that the display turns off when I put my eye up to the viewfinder.

What’s bugging me about this camera

– Canon has cheapened the charger – no longer does it use that brilliant 1 – 3 flashes to tell you it’s 1 – 3/4 full – now it’s just a red light for charging and a green light for full. They’ve reserved the “good” charger for their more expensive cameras. Come on – it’s just a bit of silicon programing, for gawds sake!

– One of my biggest beefs with the original Digital Rebel was the stupid rubber door you have to pull back to put the USB cable in to download pictures. I have to hold the rubber back with my thumb, while inserting the cable in with my other hand:
Stupid rubber port door

Doesn’t help that the USB spec gives you a cable that is not obvious which way around it goes in. Nothing has changed here. Give me a metal door than pops open without having to hold it, like my Panasonic Lumix P & S.

– Canon needs a swift kick in the ass for it’s North American naming scheme. We have the T1i, which was preceded by the XSi, XTi, XT. Why not use what the rest of the world uses “500D”. The previous models there were 450D, 400D, 350D. Much more obvious. I’m sorry if you live in Japan and have to live with that even more ridiculous “Kiss” series nomenclature. Maybe it sounds better in Japanese. Don’t get me started on the just announced 7D, which breaks what few rules Canon has about naming cameras – I was expecting full frame camera, not a 1.6X factor sensor.

-15MP – who cares? I turn mine down to 8MP to save space. I really don’t see a quality difference at 15MP. I was trying to photograph Jupiter at the time, which really would benefit from a resolution improvement. It’s not there, as far as I can see it.

-Liveview is sloooow. It’s tolerable using the regular AF (which blanks the view for a second). Stick with the viewfinder, expect for those occasional situations where you might need to hold the camera over your head to get a picture – then liveview is useful, albeit, slow.

-Can’t go between pictures in zoom mode. Sometimes, I take several pictures in a row. I zoom into an area to evaluate the sharpness. It would be so nice to be able to go between pictures, retaining my zoom and view area between pictures. Alas, I can’t do this.

Overall, if you having been holding back upgrading your 3+ year Digital Rebel, run out to your photography dealer and buy the new T1i, with kit lens NOW. If you have not yet had IS, you will be amazed at what you can hand-hold in low light, and the improvement in quality of sensor is huge.

About ralph

Just another blog to share some thoughts with the world.
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