Yes, you can buy happiness...

by Alan Graham

I've always been a big supporter of the "idea" of digital photography. I remember buying my first Apple Quicktake many years ago, and being tickled even though the quality wasn't really there. Two years ago I convinced my wife to go digital on a cross country trip. Since then we've been completely film free. She even stopped using her fancy Minolta SLR. During this time we've lived with the little idiosyncrasies of digital cameras and learned coping mechanisms to ensure a good picture. However, we recently had a new baby and we realized that our current "middle-of-the-road" camera would no longer cut it. Missed opportunities, blurred shots, bad lighting, poor flash performance, and abysmal battery life had turned her back to her film camera.

I was in trouble...I needed to turn her back to digital, but I had to solve these issues. I turned to our resident O'Reilly expert, Derrick Story, to recommend a new solution. We had five criteria:

a) Fast shutter speed

b) Better battery life

c) Faster flash regeneration or a hot shoe

d) SLR

e) Future growth options

I had found a number of solutions in the $600 range, but Derrick steered me in a price range much higher than I originally wanted to go...the $1,000 Canon Digital Rebel. The sticker shock made me think twice, but as I looked closer at the Digital Rebel, I realized that Derrick might just be right. Why compromise performance for price?

I picked it up last week at the Apple store in Richmond, VA (I was the envy of the sales people), and let me tell you, this camera rocks! Not only does it leave me speechless, but my wife decided to sell her Minolta on ebay. We've pushed the flash to the limit...not only is it always ready, the battery life has been amazing. At 6.3 megapixels we get the quality we want, and with it's speedy shutter, we no longer have blurred shots of something that looks like it might be an infant.

Thanks Derrick...I knew you were the right guy to ask!

Anyone else have one?


2003-12-04 08:15:19
Note for Canon SLR Owners
If you already own a Canon autofocus camera, all of your existing lenses and flashes will work on the Digital Rebel. You might be tempted to pass on the Canon lens offered with the Rebel (package price for both is $999). Don't pass on it! It's a good lens at a great price. And you need the wide angle coverage with the 1.6 magnification factor.
2003-12-04 09:41:10
I can't tell form teh description on the Amazon site, but is that 10x zoom a digital or an optical zoom?
2003-12-04 12:58:54
The 10x zoom they are talking about has nothing to do with TAKING pictures, but viewing ones you've already taken on the LCD.

As with any digital SLR, the "zoom" you get depends on the lens you attach to it. The bundled lens is 18-55mm, or a 3x (optical) zoom. It has no digital zoom (digital zoom is a bit of a farse anyway; you can do the same thing in Photoshop, etc.).

If that's not good enough for you, you can just buy another lens. That's the beauty of an SLR. Since Canon sells lenses from 14mm to 1200mm, plus a 2x telephoto converter, you can think of it as having a 171x zoom! Of course, you could buy a Camry for all that gear, but....

2003-12-04 13:03:35
Note for Canon SLR Owners
For wide angle coverage, I recommend the Sigma 15-30mm. It's not cheap, though, at around $500. But I've found it a great companion to my Canon D60 (an older brother of the Digital Rebel).