Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi)+ EF-S 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (approx. EUR 765)
The previous two models, EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) and EOS 350D (Rebel XT) were major milestones. The EOS 400D (Rebel XTi) has some specifications and useful features that make it appealing.
The CMOS sensor, the processing algorithms and the DiGIC processor all contribute towards great images at high ISO settings. Canon is still the undisputed high ISO king.
The IR sensors that turn the LCD display on or off help conserve energy, while at the same time there’s no viewfinder glare.
The EOS 400D is compatible with all EF and EF-S Canon lenses, along with all Canon mount third party lenses. This is what makes this camera particularly appealing, and offsets its high price a bit, since high-class L lenses can be used to make superior images. If thy cup runneth over not when it comes to money, it makes more sense to buy a better lens than to buy a higher level camera, such as the EOS 30D. A huge selection of over 60 lenses, some of them very specialised, is reason enough for some photographers.
Also, the camera has a sensor cleaning system, along with a software anti-dust solution.
Canon also increased the camera's value by including a relatively capable software package, the Photo Studio.
Compared to the competition, the camera doesn't have spot metering - the only one in this class to omit this useful feature – and it also doesn't have sensor-based image stabilisation. Instead, very expensive image stabilised lenses have to be used. I believe that sensor-based image stabilisation is very important to the enthusiast photographer, especially those who can’t or won’t afford expensive image stabilised lenses.
The EOS 400D should be interesting for all enthusiast photographers who want good image quality at high ISO settings and no problems with sensor dust. For those who need special application lenses, this is the only camera in this class (along with the 350D) that will take tilt-shift lenses, variable magnification macro lenses etc. Also, for those of you who aren't really into software piracy, the bundled software is capable enough for enthusiast use, so there's no need to buy extra software. This is the added value that offsets the camera's initial higher price.
Main pros: Antidust system, software dust removal, IR display toggle, excellent image quality at high ISO, bundled software, use of EF lenses.
Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT) + EF-S 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
The EOS 350D is still available. Since the camera has 8 MP, the DiGIC II processor and great image quality at high ISO, it's still a contender. With its relatively low price, it's a reasonably good buy, too. There are no major differences between the two cameras, apart from the looks and the screen, I saw no need to go into details. In any case, the EOS 350D should be considered by anyone who wants to use the whole EOS system, a decent amount of megapixels and a decent price.