Camera Review: Canon EOS Rebel T1i

canon rebel eos t1i

caroline using the cameraI’ve always been a believer that it’s the photographer, not the camera, that makes a great photo. But I knew one day I would want to trade in my point and shoot, a dependable Canon Powershot SD1000 Digital Elph, for a digital SLR. There are plenty of positives and negatives to traveling with a DSLR, but I’ll tell you why I picked this model, as well as the pros and cons of traveling with it.

Pros

    • Lightweight: Compared to my mom’s Nikon D80 that I’ve borrowed many times, the Canon Rebel is as light as a feather. Since it doesn’t have a motor for the lens, it’s not as heavy as other models, which is important while traveling. The body alone only weighs 1 pound.
    • HD Video: I’ve had video features on previous cameras, but none as clear as on my Canon. All you do is press the focus button on the subject before recording.
    • Photo quality: You can’t argue with the results. On the no-flash setting it can get a bit blurry, but otherwise the photos are crystal clear.
    • Easy to use interface: As with all Canon cameras, the interface is user-friendly. And for an entry-level DSLR, this makes for a great starter camera if you’re just getting into photography.
    • Great for low lighting: This is one aspect I love about this camera. I can take photos in low lighting, in a restaurant for example, and they don’t come out blurry or too dark.
    • Add on lenses: I also purchased a 18-55 mm lens with image stabilizer for my camera, since most companies only sell the body, but if you want to purchase additional lenses for higher quality zoom and macro settings.
    • HDMI port: You can plug your camera straight into the television to watch a slideshow of your images or even that HD video you captured.
    • JPEG or RAW: If you want larger images, as most magazines do, the Rebel has the option of saving in RAW format.
    • Manual or auto focus: If you’re not quite ready for manual settings, you can use the camera’s autofocus and treat it like a point-and-shoot.
  • Battery life: I hardly ever have to charge my camera, unless I’m continuously shooting for hours on end for multiple days. There’s nothing worse than having a dead camera battery while traveling!

canon rebel eos t1i

Cons

    • No auto-focus for video: I knew this before I purchased the camera, but it was a trade-off for the light weight aspect. I didn’t think it would bother me, but once I started testing the video features, I found it to be difficult to manually focus after pressing record.
    • Size: As with any DSLR, it takes up significantly more room than a simple point-and-shoot. It takes up most of the space in my purse and I occasionally use a camera bag with enough room for chargers, cords and extra lenses.
    • No Live View: Many DSLRs have live view, like the digital point and shoots, where you can view the subject on the screen instead of through the viewfinder. The Canon Rebel does not have this feature. It gets annoying when I ask people to take a picture for me and I have to explain where to look.
  • Price: The body alone is about $500, not to mention all the things you need to purchase for it, like lenses, filters and a nice case. This is why it took me so long to get one.

If you’re thinking about buying a DSLR, go to an electronics store and play around with one. You may find features that you like better than in other brands. Overall, I would still choose my Canon Rebel T1i DSLR for traveling for its great photos, HD video and light weight.

Where to Buy

Amazon sells both the camera and the lens, which you can sometimes get a bargain on if going for used or refurbished. I bought mine from B&H Photo. My top tip is to shop around in order to find the best possible price.

Photo of camera taken by christianulf.

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Laura King says

    Great review!! My Nikon D60 was stolen, so I had to start over. I went to Wolf and they let me take a sampling of photos with the Canon, Nikon, and the Sony Alpha. They kept the memory cards separate and developed all 3 sets of photos for me, without my knowing which camera took which photos. It really is amazing some of the differences, but these only showed up in 1 or 2 shots. On the whole, all 3 cameras took great photos. So, knowing this, I was able to choose the one that was most cost effective AND had live view, and a fold out live view screen so that I could put the camera down and take the photos from odd angles. I chose the Sony Alpha and have loved it. With the cost savings, I was able to get the 18-55 and the 75-300 lenses. My only complaint, probably my inexperience, is that to get the close up details of wildlife from far away, I have to zoom way in. Once you put this on the computer to look at the pictures, you lose some sharpness. I too, loved the Canon, because of some water shots a friend took, but just couldn’t resist the value of the Sony.
    I love reading your blogs! Keep it up!!
    Laura

  2. Ali says

    Great advice Caroline! I’m about to buy a DSLR but haven’t actually done any research yet, so this is nice to read since it seems like so many people buy this camera.

  3. Glen says

    Good review but if I am not mistaken, the Canon T1i does have LIVEVIEW. I notice that the picture shown in the article is the 500D. Is there any difference between the 500D and the T1i.

  4. JD says

    Thanks for the thoughtful review — I have a Canon T2i and love it — seems to be a popular model and also has a surprisingly long battery life. Overall my experience with Canons has been really great (had a point-and-shoot before).

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