Cast off the old, embrace the new. Rebel against the way things were. Grow a beard or burn your bra. Change is in the wind and things left standing in the middle of the road are in great danger.

In a technological, engineering, manufacturing and branding stroke, Canon has taken the high ground in the exploding digital camera market by introducing their bad-boy image EOS Rebel single lens reflex camera in its first digital form, the EOS Digital Rebel. Or is it the EOS 300D? Naa, it's the Kiss Digital in Osaka.

Thank you, Mr. Canon, for giving America some other presence in our minds than yet another VXG-5988-DXR-B type designation. The digital camera field is rife with cameras that are known by their apparent stock numbers, but the beginning of the end of that practice may be at hand.

This one has an image --The Rebel-- which seems rather Johnny Yuma, Ram Tough, Route 66, F & L in Las Vegas, Adding Life, Reaching Out and Touching Someone, Having it My Way and encouraging me to wonder Where I Want to Go Today. In other words, it's an image name that suggests a lifestyle rather than a part number, and every time I pick it up, I break with tradition and strike out to the beat of a different drum. If the name alone can do all that, just think what the price point and feature set might accomplish.

With an original base price of $999 including a unique 18 to 55 mm zoom lens that behaves like a 28.8 to 88 mm zoom on a 35mm SLR, the Digital Rebel cuts a new swath across a market that is ready and eager to jump up to higher quality digital photographic gear. Barely six months earlier, Canon had introduced the 10D, a $1,499.95 digital body with the same 6.3-megapixel image chip, and while it represents a solidly professional digital camera to many professionals, it was over the magic thousand dollar barrier by exactly half.

Update, November, 2004: You can buy this bad boy for even less now. We've seen it for as little as $630 on the Internet. Google it.

Being too smart by half is not always a good thing. More than a few photographers have noticed over the last few years that $300 SLRs exist for film photographers --including lenses-- so why, oh why, can't someone make a dSLR for a reasonable price? Canon's top of the line dSLR body (EOS 1D) with 11-megapixels topped the scales at nine grand. What's with THAT?

As Canon bided its time and pushed harder and harder into developing CMOS technologies while it moved to garner market share in the digital camera fields of professional and consumer gear, a contingent within the company was working on the prosumer dSLR.

A 35mm EOS Rebel can find its way into your hands for well under three or four hundred dollars, depending on the model, and the Digital Rebel appears to borrow heavily from the engineering that went into these entry level film SLRs.

But being digital and competing with the compact digital cameras that have won the hearts and minds of consumers over the last three years, the Reb had to deliver something more than My First dSLR in order to compete.

Compact cameras are getting more and more sophisticated and they do things the Rebel just doesn't. Time-lapse, live viewing off angle and at arms length, best shot selection, long strings of motor drive shots, panoramic image assist, perspective correction, movies with sound, hip pouch carry, white balance live manual setting and factory set fine tuning, electric zoom, Internet picture co-generation and so on.

Then again, the Digital Rebel does something they can't do: See the image directly through the lens, gauge flash with true TTL sensors, rapidly auto focus through a non-image chip focus appraisal system, change lenses, crunch shutter lag down to tolerable fractions of a second and deliver an image that is much more pixel perfect and noise free.


It's what we want in life. If something we bring into our world has the perception of value, its role in our lifestyle is assured. Advertisers and marketeers always claim that this quality is present in everything, but ask yourself, is it?

Today's Digital Rebel may bring amused reminiscence a few years from now when every feature in today's 11 megapixel super cam sells for $500, but in today's digital camera market, a functioning dSLR for >well< under a grand --with lens-- is a perceived bargain. Especially something this talented.

It's a basic SLR, in a traditional sense, but with enough digital bells and whistles to be worth the leap. Four fast motor drive shots in a row, seven-zone focus lock, continuous autofocus after shutter half-press to follow focus on moving subjects (there's a trick to this), scene mode preferences, bulb exposures with a low-cost external release, killer RAW files -- even a shooting mode that instantly attempts to include your nearest and farthest subjects in a computed depth of field.

Nikon and Canon are the top SLR camera manufacturers. I've always had the feeling that Canon enjoys pushing newer, more clever technologies into production while Nikon takes its time about adopting crazy notions like auto exposure, auto focus and this new digital thing.

Democrats and Republicans. Liberal and Conservative. Canon and Nikon. In this era of rapid product evolution, Canon seems to be out front, daring Nikon to catch up. Nikon, on the other hand, seems to be pushing the compact digital camera format further, faster. It's a great race to us observer/consumers because there is no "finish" line and every time a new product appears, the front runner can change camps. But watch out, Canon, when Nikon picks up the gauntlet, they know how to slap back.

The winner in all this: we the photographers.

Breaking the thousand dollar barrier was a bold move, but it won't be the last sub-grand dSLR. Nikon brought out their D70 in Spring, 2004, for around the same price. Minus, that is, a lens.

Now that they see what the Digital Rebel has achieved with its modified 28-90 optical design (left) re-computed as the 18-55 kit lens (right that extends so far into the camera body that it won't function with 35mm film bodies), Nikon might want to re-think that last point. Offering a "First Digital SLR" with a lens is a Wise Thing.

News: 1/28/04: Nikon has indeed introduced the D70 for $999. Its 18-70mm lens (27-105mm equivalent) adds $300. (Available now.)

Wave at the Future

This site is being created to track the Canon point of view, or perhaps point of perception, as good solid prosumer dSLRs come down in price, rise up in features and extend the digital photographic horizon. Eventually another eBook will likely trickle out of the observations. For now, this site will offer challenges, information and news when it becomes available.

Image Qualities

One of the major achievements of Canon is the large CMOS sensor that they make in-house. By putting their faith and design talents behind this particular technology, Canon has bet on a winner. The per-pixel image refinement of this sensor plus Canon's Dig!c processor bring out images that exceed the per-pixel performance of the Sony series of Hyper-HAD image chips that populate most of the compact digital camera models.

Meaning that there's a good chance that Canon's 6.3-megapixel image has more detail in it than the 8-megapixel images from Sony's 828. We shall see.

Lesson/Challenge/Puzzle Number One: A Big Deal

...has moved. Check it out here.

Get the eBooks

For your Canon Digital Rebel- DSLR: Canon Digital Rebel EOS 300D eBook is already on the shelf. DSLR: Canon Digital Rebel XT is next. Then DSLR: Canon 20D follows. These are great cameras with a great deal inside them, so we put a great deal of information into their eBooks. You'll find things here that nobody else ever told you about and not even Canon knew or could discuss.

The existing iNova eBooks, DSLR: Nikon D70 has become the most popular premium eBook of all time. Mastering Nikon Compact Digital Cameras and The SONY Advanced Cyber-shot eBook are also available. Click on the image for the appropriate order page.

itscanon is © 2005, Peter iNova. All rights reserved. Images by the author. They're © 2006, too.
Note: This is a private series of page not supported by or associated with Canon Inc.