At first glance Canon’s newest entry-level DSLR, the Rebel T2i, might trick you into thinking that it’s merely a repackaged version of its predecessor.
That’s a mistake.
This new Rebel definitely has a cause. It’s been hopped up under the hood with a re-designed 18-megapixel image sensor, a Digic 4 processor and a 3:2 aspect ratio LCD (it’s about friggin’ time).
It’s also got high-end, full HD movie-making capabilities in a variety of flavors and frame rates, making this camera a great way to flex your filmmaking muscles.
The T2i’s still-image performance gets a boost from the 63-zone metering system (almost twice as robust as the T1i) that yields quicker more accurate exposures and a faster 3.7 fps frame rate. The aforementioned Digic 4 image processor has noticeably improved white-balance fidelity, which is an absolute must when shooting video with the T2i.
Canon also added creative flexibility by bumping up the exposure compensation from +/- 2 stops all the way up to +/- 5. Like its competitors, Canon has bolstered its noise-reduction technologies and the T2i keeps things fairly tight up to ISO 1600 with acceptably sharp prints up to ISO 3200 (assuming you’re willing to do some post-production manipulation).
If you’re keen to explore moviemaking, then this Canon is a good place to start. The new image sensor and processor pave the way for full high-def 1080p recording with the option for manual controls (you can switch to Auto with the swipe of a finger, too) so you’re able to achieve a very film-like shallow depth of field at 24 fps.
Like its big brother, the 7D, the Rebel T2i has a dedicated video Start/Stop button on the back of the body, so when you’re ready to shoot moving pictures, the button you need is within thumb’s reach.
In spite of the vast motion picture possibilities of the T2i, let’s be clear from the get-go: These newly hybridized DSLRs aren’t your typical flip-screen, handheld, point-and-shoot videocams. The T2i and its ilk are feature-laden for sure, but are truly meant for a more considered approach. Oh, you can definitely run and gun with it, but the video and audio results may disappoint (even with an image stabilized lens like the 18mm-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS in this kit).
To give yourself a better shot at superior footage with smooth pans, really steady shots and clear sound, we’d recommend using a tripod with a fluid head and an external shotgun microphone. And if you get really serious there are scads of aftermarket rigs for better handheld operation.
But if a feature-rich DSLR with a low barrier of entry is what you’re on the hunt for, you could do a lot worse than the T2i.