Canon announced updates to both of their consumer DSLR lines. The Rebel T3i will replace the Rebel T2i and entry-level Rebel T3 (notice the lack of the “i”) will replace the Rebel XS.
The Rebel T3i is a modest improvement of the T2i, basically a T2i with an articulating screen. The internals are nearly identical to the T2i with the important exception of being able to wirelessly control off-camera Speedlites.
The Rebel XS, being nearly two-and-a-half years old looked extremely old compared to many other offerings making us wonder if it would be a one-off experiment in the entry-level DSLR category, but the Rebel T3 gives the new entry level segment something better than what consumers buying the Rebel T1i two years ago. The sensor is assumed to be sourced from the Rebel T1i, and the lighting and metering system match that of everything announced since the EOS 7D, namely 9-point autofocus and 63-point light metering.
The key to these new cameras is to make it easier for anyone to pickup and shoot with a DSLR. Creative Auto mode gets better explanations to each function and the new Automatic+ brings Canon’s Scene Intelligent Auto technology from the PowerShot lines to the Digital Rebel. Note, that for anyone familiar with the workings and functions of a DSLR, these changes bear little improvement to you.
The new Digital Rebels will also include “filters” similar to they way Photoshop or iOS apps like Hipstamatic can add creative features to your shots. The Rebels will keep the original JPEG as well as the filtered JPEG for you.
Both cameras will feature a new kit lens, although there does not seem to be any improvement in the optics. Details suggest, the new lens only bears cost savings for Canon with negligible difference to the consumer. The Rebel T3i, however, will also be offered with a EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens which may interest some.