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Canon Rebel vs T1i

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (called Canon 300D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (labelled Canon 500D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2003 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Rebel has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the T1i provides 15.1 MP.

As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i belong to Canon's Rebel line of DSLR cameras. This range of APS-C cameras, which started out with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel in 2003, has been a big commercial success and the backbone of Canon's dominance in the digital camera market. The popularity of the Rebel cameras is the result of them inheriting much of the sensor and shooting technology from earlier released professional DSLRs, while being sold at a much more budget-friendly price point. The strong brand reputation of Canon and the comprehensive EOS system of compatible lenses and accessories further contributes to the appeal of the Rebel cams, including the Canon Rebel and Canon T1i. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon Rebel
versus
Canon T1i
Canon Rebel   Canon T1i
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
6.3 MP – APS-C sensor 15.1 MP – APS-C sensor
no Video 1080/20p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD – 118k dots 3.0" LCD – 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second 3.4 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
142 x 99 x 72 mm, 649 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon Rebel and the Canon T1i are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon Rebel vs Canon T1i
Compare Rebel versus T1i top
Comparison Rebel or T1i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T1i is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Canon Rebel. Moreover, the T1i is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the Rebel. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Rebel nor the T1i 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.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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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 Rebel 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899ebay.com
2.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T7i 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
10.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Canon 20D 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
14.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T1i was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 11 percent) than the Rebel, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 T1i 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.

Canon Rebel and Canon T1i sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the T1i offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 6.3 MP of the Rebel. 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 4.69μm versus 7.38μm for the Rebel). However, it should be noted that the T1i is much more recent (by 5 years and 7 months) than the Rebel, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon T1i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T1i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon Rebel are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T1i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

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.

Rebel versus T1i MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the T1i has a markedly higher DXO score than the Rebel (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455
2.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
3.
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.713.1158680
4.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.778166
5.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
6.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
10.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
11.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
12.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
13.
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162
14.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
15.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The T1i indeed provides for movie recording, while the Rebel does not. The highest resolution format that the T1i can use is 1080/20p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The Rebel and the T1i 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 Rebel has a higher magnification than the one of the T1i (0.55x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon Rebel and Canon T1i along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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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 Rebeloptical n1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
2.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
3.
 
Canon T7ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon T6optical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T6ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
10.
 
Canon XSioptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
11.
 
Canon XTioptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Canon XToptical n1.8 / 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
13.
 
Canon 20Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
14.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The Rebel writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the T1i 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 Digital Rebel and Canon EOS Rebel T1i 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 RebelY- / ----1.1---
2.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T7iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon T6Ymono / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T6iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon XSiY- / ---mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon XTiY- / ----2.0---
12.
 
Canon XTY- / ----2.0---
13.
 
Canon 20DY- / ----1.1---
14.
 
Canon 10DY- / ----1.1---
15.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---

Both the Rebel and the T1i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Rebel was replaced by the Canon XT, while the T1i was followed by the Canon T2i. Further information on the features and operation of the Rebel and T1i can be found, respectively, in the Canon Rebel Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon T1i Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon Rebel and the Canon T1i? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Digital Rebel:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.54x).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2003).


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.1 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 55%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/20p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 129g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (11 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the Rebel launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T1i is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Rebel 02:11 T1i

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon Rebel and the Canon T1i 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 Rebel or the T1i perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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 Rebel......+ +.... Aug 2003 899ebay.com
2.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
3.
 
Canon T7i4.5/5..3.5/580/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2017 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon T64/5o4/573/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449ebay.com
5.
 
Canon T6i5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
6.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649ebay.com
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
8.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599ebay.com
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
10.
 
Canon XSi..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799ebay.com
11.
 
Canon XTi..+ +..+ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799ebay.com
12.
 
Canon XT..80/100..+ +o.. Feb 2005 899ebay.com
13.
 
Canon 20D......+ +.... Aug 2004 1,499ebay.com
14.
 
Canon 10D......+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu 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 Rebel vs Canon T1i

    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 Rebel Canon T1i
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2003 March 2009
    Launch Price USD 899 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon Rebel Canon T1i
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.7 x 15.1 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 342.77 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.3 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 6.3 Megapixels 15.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3072 x 2048 pixels 4752 x 3168 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.38 μm 4.69 μm
    Pixel Density 1.84 MP/cm2 4.53 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/20p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 12,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 55 63
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 11.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 544 663
    Screen Specs Canon Rebel Canon T1i
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon Rebel Canon T1i
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s 3.4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDHC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon Rebel Canon T1i
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon Rebel Canon T1i
    Battery Type BP-511 LP-E5
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 99 x 72 mm
    (5.6 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 649 g (22.9 oz) 520 g (18.3 oz)
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