The Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D marks a break from Canon's norm. Newly introduced Rebel DSLRs are usually the most feature-filled and highest priced models in the line - the Rebel XS / 1000D (Kiss F in Japan) was not. In addition, the Rebel XS introduction was on July 8th - an unusual date for a Canon DSLR-related announcement.
At announcement time, I thought this new model made a lot of sense. At the rate people are upgrading to DSLRs, having a low-end model targeted at point and shoot users sounded very reasonable to me. Unfortunately, when the Rebel XS hit the streets, the more-feature-filled Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi / 450D's price had fallen to only a small amount higher than the Rebel XS's initial street price. For that reason, the XS no longer made sense to me - at that time. I was recommending the XSi over the XS and didn't put the effort into writing a prompt review of the XS.
Now, 10 months later, I just finished the latest top-of-the-model-line Rebel T1i/500D Review. Taking the momentum from that effort along with new street prices, I am once again giving attention to the Rebel XS. The current (as of this review) price of the Rebel XS Kit is $150 less than the similar XSi Kit. The XS model once again makes a lot of sense - it is now a good option for those wanting DSLR image quality and performance at a low price.
The Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D is a unique blend of Rebel XSi/450D and Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / 400D. It features the body, controls, DIGIC III processor, battery, SD/SDHC card slot (like most point and shoot cameras), flash control menu, Auto Lighting Optimizer ("detects dark areas of an image and automatically adjusts brightness and contrast") and Live View of the XSi/450D and the 10.08 MP sensor, 2.5 inch (diagonal) rear LCD and 12-bit analog-to-digital conversions like the XTi. Oh, and a Rebel XT/350D-like 7-point AF system that uses the XSi / 450D AF algorithm. Canon has made a useful Canon EOS Rebel XSi, XS, XTi Comparison Chart (.8 MB PDF) available for a more-graphical overview of the differences betwen these cameras.
The result of this mashup is a small, light, inexpensive and adequately-featured-for-most DSLR body that delivers excellent image quality - and all this for a very low price.
With their much larger sensors, DSLR image quality far surpasses point and shoot image quality - especially in lower light situations. While 10 MP of resolution was impressive not many years ago, it is now low end. Following are a pair of image comparisons between several current-at-this time Digital SLR cameras - the first of which incorporates detail that shows resolution differences. All images were taken with identical settings (including the important RAW file format) and under identical conditions.
There are many MB of files required to be downloaded to make all of the mouseover and mouseclick links on this page function properly - please be patient while they load.
As you likely already know, the amount of light recorded in a specific amount of time (shutter speed) and at a specific lens opening (aperture) doubles with each doubling of the ISO sensitivity value. Because image quality degrades as the ISO setting is increased, using the lowest ISO setting the particular shot scenario will allow is desired. Not enough light is the usual reason for selecting a higher ISO setting.
There are many comparisons that can be made from the above samples. What is noticeable to me is that the higher resolution sensors are pulling more detail out of the scene (as expected) and that the Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D image is very sharp - maybe too sharp for this finely-patterned subject.
While high ISO noise can be hidden by noise reduction, detail is also removed. The XS / 1000D images remain sharp right up to its highest ISO setting - 1600.
Knowing that details are not being removed by noise reduction, evaluating noise is now easy in the nearly-detail-void color block comparison below.
I know, it is a stretch to compare the 5x more expensive Canon EOS 5D Mark II to the Rebel XS, but it helps maintain perspective.
The low end Rebel XS does not give up anything in high ISO performance (within its available range of settings) to the higher end Rebels in this comparison. Throw a point and shoot into this comparison and the advantage of the Rebel XS would be very clear (I last included a Canon PowerShot model in the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi / 450D review).
One of the advantages of a lower resolution sensor with 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion (there are not a lot) is that file sizes are smaller - requiring smaller memory cards and less space on hard drives and backup medium and allowing faster downloads. Following is a file size comparison using the Raw files from the above comparison. Notice that detail increases file size and that high ISO noise is detail in this regard.
|Model / RAW File Size in K Bytes at ISO:||100||200||400||800||1600||3200||6400||12800||25600|
|Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS / 1000D||10.7||10.9||11.2||11.4||12.2|
|Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i / 500D||21.1||21.5||22.1||23.0||24.1||25.6||27.8||30.5|
|Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi / 450D||15.8||16.4||17.1||18.0||19.2|
|Canon EOS 50D||20.9||21.2||21.9||22.7||23.8||25.4||27.4||30.3|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||27.6||27.8||28.5||29.3||30.4||32.1||34.5||37.6||42.3|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||26.3||27.1||28.1||29.7||31.8||34.3|
The Rebel XS/1000D uses SD/SDHC cards for storage. Use the figures above to get a rough estimate of the size card you need. The JPG file format is significantly more storage space efficient and has various levels of quality that also adjust space requirements. My recommendation is to shoot RAW and buy lots of memory - it is cheap and is useful for temporary archiving and backup use.
Here are some specs for sensor comparison.
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||1.9x||18.7 x 14.0mm||4.3µm||4352 x 3264||14.3||f/6.9|
|Canon PowerShot G12||4.7x||7.4 x 5.6mm||2.7µm||3648 x 2048||10.0||f/4.3|
|Canon PowerShot G9||4.7x||7.6 x 5.7mm||2.5µm||4000 x 3000||12.1||f/4.0|
|Canon EOS M||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.87x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.87x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.7µm||4752 x 3168||15.1||.87x||95%||f/7.5|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.7mm||5.2µm||4272 x 2848||12.0||.85x||95%||f/8.3|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.2µm||4272 x 2848||12.2||.87x||95%||f/8.3|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.81x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.80x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||6.4µm||3456 x 2304||8.0||.80x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel||1.6x||22.7 x 15.1mm||7.4µm||3088 x 2056||6.3||.80x||95%||f/11.8|
|Canon EOS 60D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.95x||96%||f/6.9|
|Canon EOS 50D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.7µm||4752 x 3168||15.1||.95x||95%||f/7.5|
|Canon EOS 40D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.95x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS 30D||1.6x||22.5 x 15.0mm||6.4µm||3504 x 2336||8.2||.90x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 20D||1.6x||22.5 x 15.0mm||6.4µm||3504 x 2336||8.2||.90x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 10D||1.6x||22.7 x 15.1mm||7.4µm||3088 x 2056||6.3||.88x||95%||f/11.8|
|Canon EOS 7D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||1.0x||100%||f/6.9|
|Canon EOS 6D||1.0x||35.8 x 23.9mm||6.54µm||5472 x 3648||20.2||.71x||97%||f/10.5|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.25µm||5760 x 3840||22.3||.71x||100%||f/10.1|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.4µm||5616 x 3744||21.1||.71x||98%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 5D||1.0x||35.8 x 23.9mm||8.2µm||4368 x 2912||12.8||.71x||96%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1D X||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.9µm||5184 x 3456||18.1||.76x||100%||f/11.0|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||1.3x||27.9 x 18.6mm||5.7µm||4896 x 3264||16.1||.76x||100%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||1.3x||28.1 x 18.7mm||7.2µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.76x||100%||f/11.5|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||1.3x||28.7 x 19.1mm||8.2µm||3520 x 2336||8.2||.72x||100%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II||1.3x||28.7 x 19.1mm||8.2µm||3520 x 2336||8.2||.72x||100%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.4µm||5632 x 3750||21.1||.76x||100%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||7.2µm||4992 x 3328||16.6||.70x||100%||f/11.5|
* DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture) is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the
aperture where diffraction begins to visibly affect image sharpness at the pixel level.
Diffraction at the DLA is only barely visible when viewed at full-size (100%, 1 pixel = 1 pixel) on a display or output to a very large print.
As sensor pixel density increases, the narrowest aperture we can use to get perfectly pixel sharp images gets wider.
DLA does not mean that narrower apertures should not be used - it is simply the point where image sharpness begins to be compromised for increased DOF and longer exposures. And, higher resolution sensors generally continue to deliver more detail well beyond the DLA than lower resolution sensors - until the "Diffraction Cutoff Frequency" is reached (a much narrower aperture). The progression from sharp the soft is not an abrupt one - and the change from immediately prior models to new models is usually not dramatic.
Check out this specific diffraction comparison example using the ISO 12233 chart comparison tool. The mouseover feature will show you the degradation at f/11 compared to f/5.6.
Included in the table above are the viewfinder specs. Characteristic of the Rebel / xxxD line is a small, 95% pentamirror (not as nice as a pentaprism) viewfinder. The Rebel XS viewfinder seems especially small with its .81x magnification. Of course, size is relative and most point and shoot users will think this viewfinder is huge. The current ISO setting is now visible in the viewfinder - a very nice feature.
Other characteristics of the current Digital Rebel line include small, light, moderately-well built chassis and a logical, attractive design. The Rebel XS body reflects the Rebel XTi and Rebel XSi mashup. Use the mouseover links below to compare the top of several Canon EOS models.
The top of the XS shows a smoother, more rounded design than the XTi - more like the XSi. Gone is the silver ring around the mode button. Also like the XSi is the addition of an ISO button on the top - a very useful feature in my opinion.
The back of the XS is much more similar to the XSi than the XTi - in both shape and layout. And that is a good change in my opinion. The new design is both more visually attractive and easy to use.
The XS grip is a definite shortcoming. It is the normal/current Rebel design that is about as small as it could be to comfortably fit my medium-sized hand, but missing are the rubberized areas that make the camera easier to hold onto. The rear thumb position is smooth plastic. The front of the grip is slightly rubberized, but the finish is not very tacky.
Like the other Rebels with no top LCD, the XS's rear LCD continues to be used for settings display and changes. Missing on the XS is the proximity detection feature that turns off the LCD when something (typically a face) is close to the viewfinder. With a white on black display, I don't find this missing feature to be an issue.
Carried over from the XTi is the XS's 2.5", 230,000 pixel LCD that seems old compared the the new T1i LCD.
In the menu, the XS gains a flash control option for separately controlling both the built-in, pop-up flash and an external Speedlite flash. Unlike in the T1i, FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation) is a top menu option and is available for registration in the "My Menu" tab.
Found on the XS but not the XTi is Live View mode. Live View (zoomed to 10x) is especially useful for precise manual focusing. Quick mode and Live mode (no face detection option) autofocusing are available. Live view AF uses contrast detection (slow) while the former utilizes phase detection (fast) but requires the mirror to drop which temporarily suspends Live View.
High-ISO Noise Reduction functions and Auto Lighting Optimizer features are included in the Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D. Highlight Tone Priority, Kelvin white balance and spot metering are missing.
Here is comparative look at many current and recent EOS DSLR models.
|Model||Body Dimensions||CIPA Weight|
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"||(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)||18.8 oz (534g)|
|Canon PowerShot G12||4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9"||(112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3mm)||13.7 oz (389g)|
|Canon PowerShot G9||4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7"||(106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5mm)||12.9 oz (365g)|
|Canon EOS M||4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"||(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)||10.5 oz (298g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"||(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)||14.4 oz (407g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)||20.5 oz (580g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)||20.3 oz (575g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm)||20.1 oz (570g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.7 oz (530g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.6 oz (527g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)||17.5 oz (495g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.4 oz (522g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||17.5 oz (497g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"||(127 x 94 x 65mm)||19.9 oz (564g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"||(127 x 94 x 64mm)||19.0 oz (539g)|
|Canon EOS 60D||5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1"||(144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm)||26.6 oz (755g)|
|Canon EOS 50D||5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"||(145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)||29.1 oz (826g)|
|Canon EOS 40D||5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"||(145.5 x 112 x 73.5mm)||29.5 oz (836g)|
|Canon EOS 30D||5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"||(144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm)||28.1 oz (796g)|
|Canon EOS 20D||5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8"||(144 x 106 x 72mm)||27.5 oz (781g)|
|Canon EOS 7D||5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9"||(148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm)||32.2 oz (914g)|
|Canon EOS 6D||5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"||(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)||26.6 oz (755g)|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"||(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)||33.5 oz (950g)|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"||(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)||31.9 oz (904g)|
|Canon EOS 5D||6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0"||(152 x 113 x 75mm)||32.0 oz (906g)|
|Canon EOS 1D X||6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"||(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)||47.6 oz (1349g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 157 x 80mm)||48.5 oz (1374g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 157 x 80mm)||47.6 oz (1349g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 158 x 80 mm)||55.5 oz (1574g)|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"||(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)||49.5 oz (1404g)|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 158 x 80 mm)||55.2 oz (1564g)|
The small size and light weight make the Rebel XS easy to take with you.
|Model||fps||Max JPG||Max RAW||Startup||Shutter Lag||VF Blackout|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.0||28/1140||7/8||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||5.0||22/30||6/6||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||5.0||30||6||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||3.7||34||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||3.7||34||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||3.4||170||9||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||3 / 2||830||5||.1s||110ms||150ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||3.5||53||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||3 / 1.5||n/a||5||.1s||90ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||3.0||27||10||.2s||100ms||170ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||3.0||14||4||.2s||100ms||170ms|
|Canon EOS 60D||5.3||58||16||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 50D||6.3||90||16||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 40D||6.5||75||17||.15s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 30D||5.0||30||11||.15s||65ms||110ms|
|Canon EOS 20D||5.0||23||6||.2s||65ms||115ms|
|Canon EOS 7D||8.0||110/130||23/25||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 6D||4.5||73/1250||14/17||.1s||<60ms|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||6.0||65/16k||13/18||.1s||59ms||125ms|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||3.9||78/310||13/14||.1s||73ms||145ms|
|Canon EOS 5D||3.0||60||17||.2s||75ms||145ms|
|Canon EOS 1D X||12/14||180||38||.1s||36-55ms||60ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||10.0||121||28||.1s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||10.0||110||30||.2s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||8.5||48||22||.2s||40-55ms||87ms|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||5.0||56||12||.2s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||4.0||32||11||.3s||40-55ms||87ms|
With a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC Card, ISO 100, a wide open aperture and a fastest-available shutter speed of 1/4000, the XS delivers RAW files at a s-l-o-w 1.3 fps rate as long as the shutter release is held down. The XS is definitely not a good choice for serious sports and action photography.
The other big reason the XS is not a great sports photography camera is its comparatively somewhat-slow 7-point AF system. While perfectly adequate for most non-action scenarios, the XS struggles to keep up with action that is rapidly approaching or receding at a relatively close distance - such as a person running. A soccer match I shot with the Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS Lens produced mostly shots focused slightly behind the direction of the motion.
Sounding identical to the other recent Rebels, the XS is relatively quiet and not as crisp-sounding as the xxD and pro model lines above it. Here are some audio clips.
Canon USA recently provided me with the shutter life rating figures for the Rebel T1i, XSi and XS bodies (below). These were previously not disclosed by Canon - The 50D-matching values from this low end model surprised me. While some of us have no trouble shooting 100,000 frames in a year, this number of frames would represent multiple lifetimes for others.
|Model||Shutter Durability Rating|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||50,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||50,000|
|Canon EOS 60D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 50D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 40D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 30D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 20D||50,000|
|Canon EOS 7D||150,000|
|Canon EOS 6D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||150,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||150,000|
|Canon EOS 5D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 1D X||400,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||200,000|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||200,000|
Found on the XS is a self-cleaning sensor. Sensor cleaning ranks very high on the list of chores I dislike so I welcome this feature. While not the latest Fluorine-coated system, it is especially nice to see this feature on a base/entry level model.
The Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D utilizes the Canon LP-E5 battery pack (like the XSi and T1i). This battery charges in about 2 hours in the included compact LC-E5 charger. A fully charged battery is rated for 600 shots or 500 with 50% built-in flash use. This is an increase from the XTi's 500/360 shot ratings - mostly due to the increased capacity of the LP-E5 over the NB-2LH (1080 mAh vs. 720 mAh). In Live View, expect significantly fewer shots (about 1/3 as many). These are small batteries - carry another in your pocket if you need more life.
If your budget stops here, the Rebel XS will give you the real-DSLR functionality and the Canon DSLR image quality that you are looking to step up to. And even though it is an entry level model, the XS provides entrance into nearly the entire EOS system lenses and accessories available - including the top-of-the-line professional gear.
The only XS accessory requirement in addition to a memory card is at least one lens. Deciding which lens to buy can be as hard as or harder than deciding which camera to buy. The XS is compatible with Canon EF, EF-S, TS-E, and MP-E lenses and is available only in a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (the 18-55mm IS lens was not available with the XTi). The small, light kit lens is a good deal for the price and makes sense for someone seeking a least-cost solution. Better lenses are available - and will affect resulting image quality very positively. You can start your lens research with my Canon Lens Recommendations or by simply browsing the Canon lens reviews on this site.
Other accessories? The Canon BG-E5 Battery Grip is a great option for increasing control of the XS - it makes shooting in vertical orientation much more comfortable and allows two Canon LP-E5 Batteries to be used for twice the battery life. While the XS has a built-in pop-up flash, an accessory flash such as the Canon Speedlite 430 EX II Flash will give you more power and more options for significantly-improved image quality. Note: The XS, unlike the other Rebel models, is NOT compatible with the inexpensive and very useful Canon RC-1 and RC-5 Wireless IR Remotes. You will need the wired Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch for the XS.
Additional useful Rebel XS information can be found in the owner's manual (recommended reading) linked below.
As it is an entry level model, the XS will not be the target of an upgrade for most current Canon EOS Digital SLR camera owners. Current owners should set their sights on one of the higher models in the EOS line such as the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i / 500D or the Canon EOS 50D.
Even though the Rebel XS is clearly an entry-level DSLR body, most point and shoot users will be very impressed with the image quality and performance the XS upgrade will bring them. The affordable price point of the Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D will give it a lot of popularity.
I'll leave you with one more idea. My young kids continue to become more and more interested in photography. We love taking pictures together and they love reviewing their results with me later. Their select images show along with my own in the screen saver slide show that frequently plays on a laptop at mealtimes.
The Rebel XS is proving to be a great starter camera for the girls. Planning to shoot birds from a blind in the yard will set my 10-year-old into high anticipation mode for days. She uses the inexpensive Rebel XS and Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS Lens combination for this. The setup is light, sized properly for her and if the worst would happen, the loss is not that high. She is learning a valuable life skill and we are spending time together doing something we both love.