Canon’s ‘digital rebel’ line is about to evolve once more with the new Canon XSi (or 450D as it is known in some parts of the world).

Just as the XTi leapfrogged in some ways the semi-pro 20D/30D with automatic sensor cleaning and more megapixels, the XSi brings features from the 40D plus some more into a smaller, more affordable package.

Canon’s optional bundled standard “kit” lens has also improved recently from the pretty weak EF-S 18-55 to the new EF-S 18-55 IS (the ‘IS’ means it is ‘image stabilized’ so you don’t have the be quite so steady in holding the camera).

One feature new to Canon’s DSLR’s is Auto Optimization. It adjusts exposure/brightness/contrast curves automatically to make for more ‘appealing’ looking images right out of the camera. Images from digital SLRs often look ‘flat’ or ‘dark’. Basic controls have existed to adjust contrast or saturation of all images but they’re too simple. Auto optimization appears to do a MUCH better job and will be a big win for those (like me!) who don’t like to spend HOURS editing images on the computer!

I have a 40D, which is a GREAT camera, but I’m wondering if I might prefer the XSi, perhaps with its optional grip to make it feel a bit more substantial. One thing holding me off though is that the 40D is a MUCH faster camera for burst shooting, doing 6.5 frames per second vs., I believe, 3. I don’t need this every day but for shooting horses jumping over fences, faster is better!

The 40D also has a glass pentaprism vs. the cheaper pentamirror in the XSi so the 40D should have a brighter viewfinder although I’ve not compared them yet.

The XSi is 12.2 megapixels (vs. 10.1 for the 40D) which will impress the easily impressed, 🙂 but this is likely to be at the expense of a bit more noise in images at higher ISO settings.

Anyway, hat tip to Canon for delivering another EXCELLENT camera!