Not cool, Canon... not cool


— 2:25 PM on April 29, 2009

I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy a digital SLR camera last weekend. I've been shooting with a Canon PowerShot A570 IS for the past couple of years, and although it's a great little camera, I'm finding its limitations increasingly frustrating. What better upgrade than an entry-level DSLR?

As I'm wont to do, I perused countless online reviews and studied the competitive landscape before making my purchase. Canon's EOS 450D (a.k.a. Digital Rebel XSi) tempted me, but the lower-end EOS 1000D (Digital Rebel XS) seemed to have everything I needed—live view, a decent lens with image stabilization, a good sensor, and a good assortment of professional features—at a more attractive price.

I spent a little while shopping around to get the best price, too, of course. Here are some of the listings I encountered:

Those all look like the same camera with the same kit lens, don't they? One of them does say "IS" while the others don't, but the prices are the same, and one of the non-IS ones is actually more expensive. Surely Canon isn't peddling an inferior model without image stabilization for as much (or slightly less) than the rest. None of the reviews mentioned anything like that.

Well, I made a boo-boo—I ordered the €440.99 ($587) model and got a Taiwanese EF-S 18-55mm II lens in the box instead of the Japanese EF-S 18-55mm IS lens. The Taiwanese lens has no stabilization features, and a quick look around the web suggests it has lower-quality optics than its Japanese counterparts.

That'll teach me to pay closer attention to listings, I suppose. The frustrating part is that I'm all too used to online retailers getting model names slightly wrong or omitting details, and Canon doesn't exactly go out of its way to differentiate the two offerings. Seriously, why isn't there a price markup on the IS model despite the better lens? I did go for one of the cheapest listings, but opting for the most expensive ones above would have gotten me the same Taiwanese lens. That's unfortunate—especially since some buyers might not notice until they can no longer send it back.

In the end, I decided to return the 1000D for a refund, and I just placed an order for the 450D/Rebel XSi. (Yes, I made sure it said "IS" in the model name this time.)

   
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