Canon has announced the latest update to its sales-leading entry-level Rebel DSLR. The New Rebel XSi (called the 450D elsewhere) offers some major improvements over its already popular predecessor: a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, larger (although lower resolution) LCD screen with live view, and spot metering (a first in an entry-level Canon). Although its prism is still a mirror-box, the viewfinder has much higher magnification, a much-needed improvement in our opinion. It's also the first Rebel to take SD cards, including the high-speed SDHC variety. Continuing a questionable Canon tradition, it is also available in a rather spectacularly tasteless silver plastic finish.
The new camera hits all the marks. The $800 asking price might seem a tad steep compared to the current cutthroat competition, but not to worry: the kit lens is the newish 18–55mm IS lens, which can be purchased for a mere $100 extra, a record-setting price for a lens with IS. (The lens is a bargain at its regular price of $200.) Nine hundred dollars isn't chicken feed, but the camera-lens kit combination gives you pretty much everything you could want to do really high-quality photography, circa early 2008—and there's also to be an auxiliary 55–250mm (~90-400mm-e) telephoto in case you'd like to do birds, critters, sports, or obsessive surveillance on your ex-wife.
It looks like the world's leading DSLR has been decidedly improved, the better to continue its winning ways.