The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. (or megapixels and HD Video?)
April 1, 2009 12:17 AM   Subscribe

Buy the Canon 450Xsi or wait for the 500TSi?

I have been on the ledge about to take the leap to DSLR from point and shoot. I have read previous posts for newbie’s, read the reviews, went to a store picked the associates brain for a half an hour, picked up and tried (as much as you can in a store) the different brands and models. I finally justified spending $700+ for a Canon 450xsi. This week was going to be the week. And what does Canon do to reward me for my future purchase? They announce a new version of the camera to be released "early May".

Would it be more beneficial to wait till "early May" for the Tsi (the extra $200 isn’t going to be an issue if it's worth it)? Or take the plunge and buy the Xsi (even though with the new release the XSi will probably drop in price in "early May")

Question is not so much "What should I do?" rather "What would you do?"

Video wouldn’t be a huge selling feature, I have a decent Vid cam, just not HD.
posted by DrAlbin to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Moving to DSLR is a big jump from point and shoot, and whatever model you get, it will be far more than adequate for your uses I expect. So in terms of usefulness, I don't think you should wait. There will always be a newer, better model coming out soon.

The only relevant question really is price. Yes, there will be a price drop. So, do you wait for that, or go out and get it now? I mean, if you wait two years you could probably get the 450Xsi for practically nothing. It's your choice. Me, I'd go and buy the damn thing.
posted by wilful at 12:24 AM on April 1, 2009

Oh, yeah, I really like DP Review. A very quick look suggests they aren't necessarily huge fans of the xsi. Not that I know a thing about it.
posted by wilful at 12:29 AM on April 1, 2009

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that simply buying a Nikon (D90) would make a significant difference in your quality of life. :)

That being said, unless you have a compelling need for such a camera right now, why not wait a month or two for one generation's worth of improvements? It will make the camera last that much longer for you.
posted by zachawry at 12:39 AM on April 1, 2009

And, as I've found out with my D90, simply having video available in your DSLR will come handy once in a while (especially if you have kids), since the DSLR is (for most people) always out and handy while the video camera is usually not. That, plus the ability to use your various lenses for video, makes it a whole new animal compared to the video camera.
posted by zachawry at 12:45 AM on April 1, 2009

I would suggest waiting. Not necessarily to pick up the 500D, but to pick up the 450D at the huge discounts I'm assuming it's going to be getting. Then spend the extra on a decent lens. That'll give you far more satisfaction. If the price difference ends up being rather small, then I'd opt for the 500D for the small but significant enhancements that end up being in every new model. And hey, high quality HD video doesn't hurt, right?
posted by Magnakai at 5:40 AM on April 1, 2009

Short answer:
Buy the cheapest camera and spend any remaining money on more or better lenses.

Much longer answer...
If you're new to DSLRs and don't have a hankering for video then you're not likely to appreciate the differences. From memory the 500D's basic upgrades are more megapixels, increased ISO and video (but I could have forgotten something).

Modern DSLR sensors can capture more detail than what the kit lenses can resolve. In fact the 15MP sensor in the 50D (almost identical to what will be in the 500D) reveals the optical limitations of professional lenses worth 2, 3 and 4 times the cost of the camera. The aforementioned's continued emphasis on 'pixel-peeping' is doing newcomers a great disservice - what they're effectively measuring these days isn't first and foremost the camera, its the lenses. And they're doing so in a controlled environment (tripods, studio lighting, optimal apertures selected) that bares almost no resemblance to how most people - especially newcomers - actually use their cameras. Quite simply the differences that they're pointing out are very rarely ones that would make *any* difference whatsoever to your, or anybody else's, enjoyment of the photos you have taken.

Unless you have some fairly unusual and specific photographic interests then the best way to get better quality photos for almost any total budget is to buy the cheapest camera in any manufacturer's range (or at least the cheapest body with in-body stabilisation if you buy into a system that doesn't put the stabilisation in the lenses) and spend your remaining money on lenses (and a flash - head over to to find out more on that front).*

My advice is to start with the basics and work out for yourself what the limitations are to taking better pictures (and in most cases if you're honest with yourself you'll find the answer to that is an artistic eye, and a proper understanding of how the camera works, not the gear you own)

* In my own case I own an old Canon 400D, 3 lenses worth three times as much in total, and three flashes that cost one and a half times as much, so I practice what I preach. Having said that I'm thinking about buying a 50D, but not for the sensor - just for better autofocus, less shutter lag and the ability to self correct front- and back-focussing lenses.
posted by puffmoike at 7:22 AM on April 1, 2009

I find myself in precisely the same predicament as you. I have some money burning a hole in my pocket, and I'm torn between buying the 450D/XSi now and waiting for the 500D/T1i to come out. The good news is if you buy the XSi from Amazon (which is what I was planning to do), they have a 30-day price guarantee and will refund you any difference if the price decreases within 30 days of your purchase. They don't do it automatically; you have to watch the prices and email them if it drops, but I've done this in the past on other big-ticket purchases and they've always given me the refund promptly. So perhaps you could buy the XSi in mid-April and still take advantage of any early-May price drops that might occur.

However, I have read enough reviews complaining about auto-focus problems with the 450D/XSi that it makes me want to wait a bit, at least to do some more research on it before taking the plunge. I recognize that a lot of DSLR "problems" can be attributed to new-user-error, but a lot of the comments I've read regarding this focus problem seem to be from well-educated users. So I'm not sure what to think.
posted by Nothlit at 7:58 AM on April 1, 2009

I have an older Rebel XT (350D). The XTi (400D) didn't really tempt me. The XSi was tempting mainly for the larger viewfinder. The T1i has both the XSi's larger viewfinder + HD video recording capability. If I didn't already have a perfectly decent DSLR, I'd probably spend the extra on the T1i.

Even if you decide the XSi is good enough, I'd wait to see how it gets priced with the T1i comes out. I'm not sure I'd expect its price to change much though, because I thought it was still going to be produced, with the T1i coming in at a different price point.
posted by Good Brain at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2009

As a data point I have the XSi and I like it a lot. A Lot. So if the XSi sees a price drop I would recommend getting it, and investing the difference in some nice lenses.
posted by nfg at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2009

I recently picked up a 450D, having owned a 300D for years. It seems that every dslr has some group of people complaining about bad focus. This camera focuses awesome (zoom the image to 100% and have a look at the butterfly's eye). Of course, if I get bad focus in a handheld macro shot like this one I attribute it to myself rather than the camera…

I'm sad I missed out on HD video, but in reality I probably wouldn't use it that much anyway.

Only on a tiny proportion of shots do I think more pixels would be a benefit.
posted by jepler at 9:41 AM on April 1, 2009

Nothlit wrote: "The good news is if you buy the XSi from Amazon (which is what I was planning to do), they have a 30-day price guarantee and will refund you any difference if the price decreases within 30 days of your purchase."

That is no longer true. As for the topic at had, I'm in the similar situation and am leaning towards just getting XSi since the video won't be 24fps on the T1i and the price difference isn't worth it for an entry level DSLR owner. My only concern is that there will be a price drop, so I'm not sure if I want to wait however long it takes for it to bottom.
posted by cgomez at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2009

Thanks for the heads-up, cgomez. It's been a few months since I last used the post-order price matching, and had no idea they'd discontinued it. What a shame.
posted by Nothlit at 10:35 AM on April 1, 2009

« Older joystick games   |   Is there any recourse if you are fired for conduct... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.