Canon Head-to-head: the 350D/Rebel XT vs. the 400D/Rebel XTi – Part 1

We put these two cameras through their paces with noise tests shot at the same time, same lens, same tripod and same subject.
Canon’s successor to the 350D/Rebel XT, the 400D/Rebel XTi digital camera, has not been met by enthusiasm by all. So, since I have both cameras, I decided to do a head-to-head comparison.

All shots were taken with the same lens, a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro, on the same tripod, with a cable release and sequentially one camera after the other. The RAW files are naturally available on the camera test page. Warning. Both sets of files use the same naming convention, so when you click on them, right click or control click on the Mac, and save then to disk in different directories or folders.

But first, some observations of usage.
Canon 400D/Rebel Xti digital camera

On first sight you find the 400D very familiar if you are a 350D user. Size is the same, control placement the same (except on the back.

Canon 400D/Rebel Xti digital camera
From the top they are also identical, except for a chrome shutter release button on my 350D and a black one on the 400D.
Canon 400D/Rebel Xti digital camera

It is from the back that they are markedly different. Gone is the small LCD settings screen and instead we have a large, bright color LCD. I must say I was put off by this but found I came to love it. The settings are much more visible on the big screen against the white background than on the 350D. The eye sensor to turn this display off works well. One other noticable change is the moving of the Menu button from top left to one button down.  This has caused annoyance but something you get over quickly enough except if you work with both cameras. The other change on the back is the addition of a grip pad for the thumb.

People have criticised the 400D for being too small but I must say I do not find this. If I want a bigger camera I can mount the power grip. Otherwise I can benefit from a very small camera that I must say fits my relatively small hands perfectly.

Other changes are inside, to the focusing system and the addition of the dust removal system, a welcome addition. Still missing is a spot metering mode and this is, sadly, a major miss.

Ok, now onto the shooting tests. Part 2 compares daytime image noise.

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