Number six on our list is the Canon Rebel XS (1000D).
No DSLR is a compact per se, but I wanted to include one compact DSLR on this list. My thoughts immediately went to Olympus, who recently announced the E-620, easily the most fully featured small DSLR available today. The E-620 packs in-body image stabilization, a fully articulated LCD, seven point autofocus (5points cross AF sensor / 7 points twin AF sensor), and more into a body which is slightly smaller and lighter than the competition. Nikon, Sony, and Pentax also make fine "entry level" DSLRs.
Any of the those would be a great choice, but my personal pick would be the Rebel XS for the following reasons:
- Costs just $510 including a sharp, image stabilized standard zoom lens.
- Can use an inexpensive, well performing, compact, light, and fast autofocus prime at the 35mm equivalent focal length (EF 24/2.8). Combine that lens with the even lighter, less expensive and faster EF 50/1.8, and one has a terrific two prime kit covering the traditional 35mm and 85mm views.
- Offers good noise performance, dynamic range, and viewfinder size compared to the competition
Other than a slow burst mode in RAW (1.5fps) and lack of spot metering (both of which I can personally live with), the Rebel XS has all the basics covered very well. At $510 including the EF-S 18-55mm IS, it is a bargain and my current pick amongst the small DSLRs.