The inclusion of Live View is undoubtedly a key decision that will help to entice customers to choose the XS over one of its competitors. Live View is essentially the ability to compose shots using the LCD monitor rather than the viewfinder, and is a feature that tends to divide experienced DSLR users. Some admit to finding it extremely useful, while others dismiss it as little more than a "point and shoot" gimmick.
Arguments aside, there can be no doubt that it makes certain types of photography – macro work, for example - far easier, as well as enabling certain shots to be framed that would otherwise be physically difficult if not impossible. It also allows the camera to be connected directly to a computer, so that images can be composed directly on the monitor, which effectively gives the XS a screen of unlimited size.
Although Live View may have only limited appeal to experienced DSLR photographers, Canon might once again have demonstrated a canny understanding of the market with the inclusion of this feature, which is notably absent from the Nikon D60. The XS is aimed pretty squarely at first-time DSLR purchasers, most of whom will be upgrading from a point and shoot. Such users will almost certainly find composition with the LCD more familiar than with the viewfinder, so should feel immediately at home.
In another bold stroke, Canon has included a superior lens in the standard kit version of the camera: an image-stabilized version of the EF-S 18-55mm lens that was supplied with the XTi. The new lens is a significant upgrade, which according to Canon is capable of equivalent performance to their range of high end IS lenses. This is a result of increased element size, improvements to the lens coatings, and an all-new simplified stabilization mechanism that is highly effective while adding almost nothing to the size and weight of the lens.
Canon claims that the new lens allows sharp handheld shots to be captured at shutter speeds four stops slower than with standard glass. Stabilization of that order is another feature calculated to appeal to new DSLR users, who might be uncertain of their ability to capture high quality images without this kind of technical assistance.
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