Everyone fully expects this camera to be announced at PMA in January 2008. In fact, it would be downright odd if it didn’t show up then. Canon announced the current generation Rebel XTi in August 2006, which makes PMA 2008 the end of the 18 month product cycle for Canon entry-level cameras. There are some rumors surfacing that after the release of the Rebel XTi replacement, Canon will move to a 12 month life cycle for its entry-level cameras.
So what features can you expect on the Canon Rebel XTi replacement?
I think LiveView is a surefire bet. I think Canon wants to stay ahead of the curve and will make LiveView a standard across all of its DSLR product lines.
There’s also rumors of video capture capability. I think this makes sense too. If you’re going to roll out video in DSLRs, why not start on your consumer grade camera? This will be a very popular feature for this market audience. If DSLR manufacturers can do LiveView, then they are capable of doing video as well. I expect this to be a standard feature for DSLRs in years to come, whether we really want it or not.
An upgraded image processor is sure to come as well, likely to match the 40D’s 14 bit DIGIC III. This is just an evolution of technology and a hand-me-down to the little brother model.
I would also expect the LCD screen to go up from 2.5″ to a 3″ LCD. Again, now that the big brother has it, it will be passed down the line to the next Rebel XTi. This is another big marketing point, especially when considered in conjunction with LiveView and video capabilities.
ISO and FPS
Maybe the Rebel XTi replacement will get a boost in ISO to 3200 and an increase in frames per second rate up to 5 fps. I think both of these could be reasonably anticipated now that the Canon 40D has gone above and beyond these specs. It would certainly be welcomed by me.
What about Image Stabilization, you say. The question of whether Canon (or Nikon) will produce a camera with in-body IS has been asked time and time again in the various photography forums around the web. Well, I don’t really see that happening in Canon’s DSLR line . . . yet. Yeah, I know, Sony, Olympus and Pentax have it going on with in-body IS; however, Canon has taken the position in recent past that lens-based IS really is better. The tests that I’ve read seem to support this point.
What I would expect to see in the Rebel XTi replacement is a kit containing the new EF-S 18-55mm IS lens, which was announced in August. I think this is a viable option for Canon to market, not only as equivalent to the Sony, etc. kit, but as a better option because it’s lens-based IS. You may disagree with the statement; however, I think this is a viable marketing point that Canon can capitalize on.
Now, there are unsubstantiated rumors surfacing that Canon may move to some body-based IS for entry-level DSLRs in the future (i.e., 2009+); however, I think for present purposes we can look forward to the continued use of lens-based IS, pushed by this promising option of an IS kit lens.
I really don’t expect to see the Rebel XTi replacement moving above and beyond the 40D or the 1D Mk III in megapixels. I think 10 megapixels is plenty of prowess for all of us; however, I’m sure someone will jump out there in front with a 12 MP entry-level DSLR in 2008. I don’t think that someone will be Canon. I think Canon’s video feature and the IS kit lens will be big enough to market it past the megapixel crowd – for the generation at least. Maybe we’ll see 12 MP or more in 2009 from Canon.
I also don’t see Canon moving away from the small form factor body. A lot of people complain about the small size of the body on the Rebel series. It’s here to stay. Buy a BG-E3 grip if you don’t like it (I did), or better yet, a Canon 40D. Canon is not going to alienate women and entry-level users that prefer the smaller size of the Rebel series due to the cries of enthusiasts that really want a 40D for the price of the Rebel series cameras.
I think Canon has big things in store for the Rebel XTi replacement and I think we’ve only got a few more months to wait. If all this comes to fruition in early 2008, I may have to move on from my Rebel XT to the next iteration of the Rebel based on gadget factor alone. Expect the rumors to increase with frequency as we get closer to PMA 2008. As I see more rumors on the next Canon Rebel, I’ll post’em at the bottom of this post – so check back often.
1/16/08: Rumored specs surface on the “Rebel XTs”: same sensor, improved noise and dynamic range, UDMA support. (Read More)
1/5/08: Further support for the announcement of a Rebel XTi replacement / 450D at PMA. The 350D (Rebel XT) has been pulled from at least one 4th quarter ’07 Canon catalog. (Read more)
12/17/07: The Rebel XTi replacement may very well be announced by Canon on January 24th – just prior to PMA 2008. (Read more)
[tags]canon, rebel, xti, replacement, successor, 450d, xtx, eos, dslr[/tags]