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Canon Rebel T1i Digital Camera Review$799.99
Buttons & Dials
For those familiar with last year's Rebel XS, the Rebel T1i's button layout will hold few surprises. It's practically identical, with a single control wheel and most buttons serving double duty.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
On some entry-level SLRs, including the recently reviewed Pentax K2000 and Olympus E-620 , you'll find a number of interesting filters and effects you can apply to the image. The Canon Rebel T1i has nothing so obvious, but offers more subtle image controls. The Picture Style controls allow for sharpness, saturation and contrast to be adjusted while shooting. If you're shooting black and white, color filters and tones can be added to the image. The camera also has a custom function called 'auto lighting optimizer' which tweaks exposure and contrast, and can be set to standard, low or strong when it is enabled.
Since the camera lacks few dedicated buttons for shooting options, they are instead accessed from the T1i's menu interface. Fortunately, the menus are easy to read, and fairly simple to navigate. Each tab has only a single page of options, saving you from scrolling in order to see all a given menu's choices.
The T1i manual is written well, has very clear diagrams, and explains difficult terminology quite simply. However, the entire book is organized in order of least complex to most, which means that similar settings aren't lumped together, but can be scattered across the entire book. This means if you find a setting you want to know more about, you can't just read the pages around it, instead having to dig deeper and deeper in a seemingly random order. The index references the rest of the manual well, and looking for topics in it doesn't leave you feeling like anything is missing. While the table of contents is lengthy and mentions each sub-section, the problematic layout of the manual makes looking for subjects in it more difficult than it should be.
Canon also includes two additional booklets, one about macro photography, the other on image stabilization. The image stabilization is mostly advertorial, extolling the virtues of the Canon IS lenses. The macro booklet is actually pretty good, and includes some useful information and suggestions about how to shoot close-up.
Canon also offers a tutorial-based website, the Digital Learning Center, and while the lessons pertinent to the T1i are a bit thin right now, there are plenty for older Rebel models which are still applicable.