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Canon 30D vs XSi

The Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2006 and January 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 30D has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 30D
versus
Canon XSi
Canon 30D   Canon XSi
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
8.2 MP – APS-C sensor 12.2 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
144 x 106 x 74 mm, 785 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 30D and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 30D and the Canon XSi. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 30D vs Canon XSi
Compare 30D versus XSi top
Comparison 30D or XSi rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon 30D. Moreover, the XSi is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the 30D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 30D nor the XSi are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 30D gets 750 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the XSi can take 500 images on a single charge of its LP-E5 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
2.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 70D 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 60D 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 7D 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 50D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 400D 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
13.
 
Canon 350D 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
14.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The XSi was launched at a markedly lower price (by 43 percent) than the 30D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the XSi is 3 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the XSi uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 3) than the 30D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 30D and Canon XSi sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the XSi offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 30D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 6.42μm for the 30D). However, it should be noted that the XSi is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the 30D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The resolution advantage of the Canon XSi implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the XSi for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 30D are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 30D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

30D versus XSi MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
2.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
3.
 
Canon 70D APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
4.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
5.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
6.
 
Canon 60D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
7.
 
Canon 7D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
8.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
9.
 
Canon 50D APS-C 15.1 4752 3168none21.811.469663
10.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
11.
 
Canon 400D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
13.
 
Canon 350D APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
14.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
15.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
16.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
The XSi offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 30D lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 30D and the XSi are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 30D has a higher magnification than the one of the XSi (0.56x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 30D, the Canon XSi, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 70Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T3optical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon 60Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/8000s 5.3/s Y n
7.
 
Canon 7Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
9.
 
Canon 50Doptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 6.3/s Y n
10.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon 400Doptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Canon 350Doptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One feature that is present on the 30D, but is missing on the XSi is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The 30D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the XSi uses SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 30D and Canon EOS Rebel XSi and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 70DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon T3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon 60DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon 7DYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon 50DY- / ---mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 40DY- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Canon 400DY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Canon 350DY- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
15.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 30D (unlike the XSi) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the 30D and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 30D was replaced by the Canon 40D, while the XSi was followed by the Canon T1i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 30D and the Canon XSi? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 30D:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.56x vs 0.54x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2006).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 3 vs DIGIC 2).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 144x106mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 261g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (43 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

30D 07:07 XSi

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 30D and the Canon XSi place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 30D or the XSi perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
2.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 70D5/5+ +..83/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T3..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon 60D5/5+..79/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 7D5/5+ +..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
9.
 
Canon 50D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 40D..+ +..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 400D..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
13.
 
Canon 350D..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
14.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 30D vs Canon XSi

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 30D Canon XSi
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2006 January 2008
    Launch Price USD 1,399 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon 30D Canon XSi
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.5 x 15.0 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm
    Sensor Area 337.5 mm2 328.56 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27 mm 26.7 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.42 μm 5.19 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 3.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 2 DIGIC 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 736 692
    Screen Specs Canon 30D Canon XSi
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.56x 0.54x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 30D Canon XSi
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 30D Canon XSi
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 30D Canon XSi
    Battery Type BP-511A LP-E5
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 106 x 74 mm
    (5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 785 g (27.7 oz) 524 g (18.5 oz)
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