Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canon's new Rebel T2i "...Delivers a very similar picture to the 7D in every video mode"

One of the first in-field video shoots with the new Canon Rebel T2i is on the interwebs. According to Nino Leither, the Vienna-based cinematographer who shot the footage, the video from the T2i is virtually indistinguishable from that of the Canon EOS 7D, which costs twice as much. For professional videographers and cinematographers, the 7D is hardly expensive, but the Rebel T2i will cost $899 with a kit lens and is priced to be a "step-up" DSLR for consumers who want more than a point-and-shoot. The fact that you can shoot HD video with cinema-level depth-of-field control and interchangeable lenses using a DSLR that costs less than a high-quality consumer camcorder, at a data rate that no consumer camcorder can touch, is amazing.

One thing that's gone largely unnoticed is that Canon's DSLRs, along with models from most other manufacturers, come with software that allows the cameras to be configured and controlled over USB. You can configure white balance, gamma, exposure modes and much more from your PC. In Canon's case, you can even monitor the Live View display and shoot video or stills remotely. Professional video cameras use devices called CCUs (Camera Control Units) that do the same thing, but they cost thousands of dollars. (There are some camcorders that allow settings to be stored on a memory card and then swapped between devices, but they obviously don't allow live control.) The ability to bring multiple cameras to the same settings, and even operate them remotely, with a piece of free software is amazing.

Just as Canon's 5D and 7D set new standards for HD price/performance, the T2i will push that bar even further.

Update, 26 February 2010: Gizmodo has gotten its hands on two more videos shot with preproduction T2is. One video was shot in Beijing's Zhongguancun shopping district, which is apparently China's answer to Akihabara in Tokyo. The other one was shot in New York City. Again, the videographers said that, subjectively at least, the video shot by the T2i is very close or equal to that from the 7D.
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