The Canon Rebel XT was my first DSLR. Actually, to be more precise, it’s the first DSLR I kept. A little known fact, even for my photography friends in Austin, is that I first bought a Nikon DSLR.
Back in 2006, my friend Bill let me use his Canon D60 for the weekend. That was all it took to convince me, and more importantly my wife, that a DSLR was worth getting. I got amazing shots of my kids that I could only dream of previously. Back then Canon was clearly in the lead in sensor technology, even Nikonians would acknowledge that, I think. I was leaning towards Canon but I didn’t have a strong brand preference.
The now defunct Wolf Camera had a great deal on a Nikon D50 with a house brand Quantaray lens for somewhere near $500, if I remember correctly. I jumped on the deal. The high ISO performance wasn’t that great, even for back then. I changed out the first camera for another D50, but both had stuck pixels on the sensor. Ultimately, after a few days, I returned the camera. That was the fate of my first DSLR. Nothing against Nikon. It just wasn’t in the cards back then.
I ultimately got the Rebel XT. The Canon EFS 18-55mm kit lens was notoriously bad back then so I opted for the EF 24 – 85mm. All told, I spent close to $1000 on the set. Going with Canon made sense for me. It had the class leading sensor performance. Perhaps more importantly, Bill who got his 1D Mark IIN by then, was nice enough to lend me some of his Canon lenses. He was also my first instructor, giving me valuable technical tips.
I must have shot at least 30,000 to 40,000 frames on that camera. I added extra lenses over the years and an external speedlite. Family and friends were my main subjects. I shot kids at school and gave them year book pictures. I even did some election coverage for a friend that successfully ran for county judge. I didn’t begin shooting urban landscapes until I joined Flickr, my first social site, back in 2009. By then, I was already shooting with a Canon 20D.
I should have sold my Rebel XT long ago but I held out hope that my older son would use it. He even took a black and white film class once at a community center. He seemed to like it for a while but ultimately didn’t get into photography. He is more interesting in shooting virtual targets on his Playstation 3. The camera just sat there collecting dust in this room.
Despite being my first DSLR (that I kept), the silver plastic machine didn’t hold much sentimental value. Perhaps an old school, metal bodied camera might have elicited more tactile attachment, but these modern cameras really fail in this area. I recently got rid of the Canon Rebel XT, the Canon 24 – 85mm and the surprisingly good 18 – 55mm IS lens that Canon released years after I got my Rebel. I didn’t get much money for them, but I was in a mood to clear out all the old stuff and get rid of the cropped sensor equipment. The EF 24 – 85mm is actually compatible will full frame but that was jettisoned too since I was getting the excellent 24 – 105 f4 L with my 6D.
I searched through my archives to find urban landscapes taken with the XT. I found a few. There weren’t too many since the 20D was the primary and the XT was only used as the backup. I took these back in 2009 and in many ways my photos haven’t changed too much, I guess. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. My HDR processing was more overt. The technical image quality, lower. But the roots of my current style was certainly starting to form.
Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail.