Last update (Aug 21, 2009): T1i / 500D field test report at Photocrati.
This post is a compilation of Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D / Kiss X3 digital SLR camera professional and user reviews, owner opinions and experiences, tests, conclusions, ratings and feedback.
Full attribution is given by linking to the source and where available, the author’s homepage or photo gallery.
The T1i / 500D field test report / review at Photocrati has Jack Neubart issuing the following observation on the camera’s weight:
Sometimes a lightweight camera is what you need-sometimes not. But on occasion, it does feel good not to be weighed down by a ton of gear around your neck. And I’ll admit, I liked that feeling when working with the T1i, even if it was merely a temporary reprieve from my everyday camera system. So, yes, the kit combo is a decidedly good match where weight is concerned-and size. And there’s a good balance between body and lens. The camera itself has a good, rubberized and contoured grip on the front, with a rubberized thumb grip on the back, making the body easy to grasp securely.
Photozone reviews the Canon T1i / 500D, and issues the following verdict:
The EOS 500D is yet another milestone in Canon’s success story in the popular consumer DSLR class. An excellent all-round camera for beginners but also for enthusiasts who are looking for a light-weight DSLR at a very fair price level.
Christian Harris, the reviewer, gives the camera an overall rating score of 4.5 5 stars, and says:
Canon’s EOS 500D provides an impressive array of features. It’s not the most extravagant camera in terms of characteristics, but it provides pretty much everything all but the most demanding of photographers demand. The camera is very easy to use — at least for a DSLR — not least because of the selection of scene modes and My Menu feature that lets you choose six menu items that you use the most and consolidate them in one place. Performance is also very strong for both images and video, although it doesn’t match the hugely expensive EOS 5D Mark II.
Mason Resnick, the reviewer, concludes:
Although the lack of an external mic is a minus for those who care as much about sound as they do about visuals, and the viewfinder is a bit on the squinty side, the T1i’s overall performance was excellent and image quality very good, especially when shooting JPEGs (although it turned in an above-average performance when shooting RAW. It gives snapshooters more creative control over image quality, thanks to the Creative Auto and Picture Style options.
Ben Long wrote:
Canon’s Rebel line has been very strong for a while now, so the most astonishing thing about the T1i is that Canon has managed to dramatically improve the image quality. Overall image quality is great, and the camera does a startlingly good job of shooting in low light at high ISOs. While the previous Rebels began to suffer above ISO 800, the T1i delivers fantastic results at ISO 1600, and even produces usable images at ISO 3200. This supposedly lower-end camera delivers high ISO results that are better than you’d have seen with the pro cameras of just a couple of years ago.
Ben awarded an overall rating score of 4 out of 5 “mice” (stars) to the camera.
- Studio scene comparison (JPEG), Canon EOS T1i vs. Nikon D5000.
- Studio scene comparison (JPEG), Canon EOS T1i vs. Olympus E-620.
- Studio scene comparison (JPEG), Canon EOS T1i vs. Canon XSi.
- Studio scene comparison (RAW), Canon EOS T1i vs. Nikon D5000.
- Studio scene comparison (RAW), Canon EOS T1i vs. Canon XSi.
- Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivities, JPG). ISO 800, ISO1600, ISO3200, ISO6400 and ISO12800 are compared. Nikon D5000 takes the high ISO performance crown.
- Resolution Chart Comparison (JPEG).
- Resolution Chart Comparison (RAW).
Richard Butler assigns a “Highly Recommended” rating to the T1i, and concludes:
If you currently own an EOS 450D or another fairly recent entry-level DSLR from an image quality point of view there is not necessarily a need to upgrade to the EOS 500D. However, the HD video mode, new high-resolution screen or extended ISO range make it easier to justify the expense if you’re likely to use these features. For anybody buying their first DSLR the 500D is an easy recommendation but you might want to have a look at the Nikon D5000 as well. It comes with a similar feature set to the 500D (‘only’ 720P video though) and performs slightly better in low light.
PJ Jacobowitz, the reviewer, has assigned 4 / 5 stars (VERY GOOD) to the T1i.
PJ makes comparisons with the Nikon D5000, and concludes:
A very close contender, the Nikon D5000, gives you a lot of the same features and comparable still images for about the same price, but it has a lower-resolution sensor, is less flexible in video mode, and is missing the T1i’s excellent screen. That razor-sharp Live View LCD is the clincher, and what makes the T1i our latest Editors’ Choice for budget D-SLRs.
There is also a related video review of the T1i, which you can view in HD on YouTube.
First impressions by Naim Choudhury
Read all about Naim’s first days with the T1i / 500D, and his comparison of the new camera vs his sold-off XSi.
Here’s a summary of his findings:
- He finds the T1i more than adequate for his freelance design and creative work. AF (autofocusing) on the T1i feels snappier and more confident than what he managed with the Canon XSi / 450D / Kiss X2.
- The new, 920,000-dot LCD screen on the T1i is a huge difference to the 230,000-dot version on the XSi.
- Image noise seems finer and better-controlled.
Expect to get a better idea of how well T1i / 500D performs in this review.
I look forward to regular updates over the long-term, but here are some interesting nuggets so far:
- Nothing beats using a fast lens for low-light videography, and the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG RF Aspherical Wide Angle Lens (Canon mount) was the lens used in the low-light samples.
- The video quality isn’t too impressive especially in low light conditions. Additionally, the presence of jaggies (stair-step artifacts) means that the overall video quality isn’t nearly as good as what you’d get from the Canon 5D Mark II.
Read feedback and opinions from owners of the T1i / 500D / Kiss X3 on Canon’s official web site.
The user reviews section features a useful, automatic summary of customer ratings with a count assigned to each review aspect.
Lucky guy is one of the first owners of the T1i / Kiss X3, and this is what he has to say about the high ISO performance of the camera:
I also really wanted to test the high ISO performance and see how much they improved it. I can say without any doubt at all, the ISO 1600+ is great. I took some shots at 1600, 3200, 6400 and 12800 and I was very impressed. 3200 ISO Kiss X3 shots look BETTER than 1600 ISO shots from the Kiss X2. Thats with all noise reduction turned off in camera even. Then after I ran the images through noise ninja in Photoshop I was blown away. Im very happy with this camera. I cant wait to start using it tomorrow.
Canon T1i / 500D First Look by Lori Grunin, Senior Editor at CNet TV
The video clip has a good overview of how the T1i would fit in your hands, and can be viewed here.
Alternatively, if you prefer, download the MPEG-4 m4v movie file (8.1 MB, right-click and save to your hard-drive).
First Take at CNet Asia
Leonard Goh of CNet Asia has the following opinions on the Canon T1i / 500D in his preview:
Following in the footsteps of the EOS 5D Mark II, the EOS 500D is able to record full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel)-quality video clips. This was made possible with the onboard APS-C-sized CMOS sensor which generates less heat when activated and hence is able to produce cleaner-looking videos. We gave it a quick hands-on session and found the clip recorded under fluorescent lighting to be extremely satisfactory. There is also an HDMI output port for viewing videos on a compatible HDTV. Kudos to Canon for delivering a once premium feature to an entry-level shooter.
- High ISO capability:
Canon has given the EOS 500D a big bump in ISO sensitivity from the EOS 450D‘s ISO 1,600 to ISO 12,800. While skeptics may argue that images taken at that sensitivity will be noisy, we believe it is a handy feature for shooting in low-light environments without using a flashlight. We took a sample shot at ISO 3,200 and found it to be very much usable and definitely printable up to 8R size.
Note that 8R in this context refers to a standard photographic print size of 8” × 10” (203 × 254 mm), or 2398 x 3000 pixels at 300 dpi.
Amazon has more owner and user reviews on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i / 500D / Kiss X3.