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The flange distance (distance from the mounting to film or sensor) on camera systems will vary. So sometimes it will need optical adapter to correct the issue so it will focus properly.
Minolta to Canon EOS requires an optical adapter to focus, but this will reduce the quality. Especially cheap ebay ones. The ones without a lens in them won't allow to focus to infinity and made for closeups.
 

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d[ o_0 ]b
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^pretty much exactly that

i have some minolta lenses and have researched it a decent bit and not only is it a pain to adapt minolta glass to canon cameras but you have to buy the adapters that have an extra piece of glass in them as askthem1 said. make sure you tell your cousin to carefully read reviews of the adapters. there are a lot of MC/MD adapters for EF mount that do not work. but in complete honesty its really truly a pain in the butt especially when you lose image quality because of the type of adapter minolta lenses require. any other old school lens will adapt without an issue usually

also i just remembered this and it is important to research this as well because im probably wrong but i highly suggest you check it out. i only mention this because when i tried to adapt a lens to my very old Canon 1DmkII the camera would not release the shutter because of the design of the mount on the camera body. check and make sure that the Rebel XSi can take MF adapted lenses because it would be a bummer to buy adapters and then find out later that the camera is too old to take adapted lenses. i cant remember what the issue was because once i found out that my 1DmkII just wouldnt take adapted lenses i gave up on further research
 

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if the glass is rare or exotic, you can remount the MC/MD to EOS. this will remove the optical element in the converter, but the process may not be reversible and the process is pretty labor intensive to do.
 
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