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- Canon EOS Rebel T2i
Canon Rebel T2i Digital Camera Review$899.99
Lens & Sensor
If your lens causes vignetting in the corners of your photos, the T2i has a Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction tool. This setting uses data from a large variety of Canon lenses to digitally adjust for vignetting, based on the specific lens you're using.
The Canon T2i has a 1.6x apparent magnification factor compared to shooting with a 35mm camera; that is, the 18-55mm kit lens is roughly equivalent to a 29-88mm. The photos below show the framing at three zoom settings, shot from the same spot.
The Canon T2i has an 18-megapixel 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS sensor — the same size and resolution as the sensor found on last year's excellent Canon 7D. (The 18-megapixel resolution is higher than the 15-megapixel spec on the T1i.) As before, the T2i has a built-in sensor cleaning system that activates when the camera is turned off. You can also activate a sensor cleaning function manually.
If the built-in cleaning doesn't successfully clear the sensor of all dust particles, the included Canon Digital Photo Professional software can remove particles digitally, using a photo of a white background for reference. (In the camera, this is called the 'Dust Delete Data' feature.)
Like its predecessor, the Rebel T2i has an APS-C sensor. The APS-C sensor size is significantly smaller than the 35mm full-frame sensor used on Canon's 5D Mark II, and slightly smaller than the APS-H sensor size of the Canon 1D line. The smaller APS-C sensor means you multiply the focal length of a lens by a 'crop factor' to get the equivalent length for a 35mm sensor (in this case, 1.6x). Packing 18 megapixels into a relatively small sensor tends to negatively impact noise levels, as we saw on the 7D and here on the T2i.
The T2i viewfinder is identical to that of last year's T1i. The viewfinder has a 95% field of view at 0.87x magnification and a diopter range of -3.0 to +1.0 m-1. Beneath the viewfinder is a small proximity sensor, which deactivates the LCD when you put your face up to the viewfinder.
The view through the eyepiece is detailed below:
The T2i ships with an eyepiece cover: a small bit of flexible rubber that can be used to keep light leaking in through the viewfinder from affecting exposure readings during tripod photography. The cover is conveniently attached to the neck-strap, but it inconveniently requires you to remove the eyecup for each use. Sliding that eyecup off is fairly annoying and it makes you feel like you're breaking the camera — not to mention the fact that you could easily misplace the eyecup once it's off. Still, the cover is a nice feature for an entry-level model, even if you only use it occasionally.
Canon has given consumers a slight increase in LCD resolution this year, with the T2i's 1,040,000-dot, 3-inch display. This high-res screen is great for sharp image playback and a more accurate manual focus in Live View. In comparison, the Nikon D5000 LCD is much lower in resolution (only 230,000 pixels), but it is articulated: the user can unfold the LCD and view it at different angles.
This year, Canon recycles the same Quick Control Screen interface seen on the T1i. When the shooting settings are displayed, pressing the Q button will switch the user into Quick Control mode. Though the two modes look nearly identical, in the Quick Control Screen, you can use the directional pad to navigate through the various options. Once you've highlighted a function, the name of that function is displayed at the bottom and you can use the dial to adjust it. If you press the Set button, a more detailed setting display appears.
The screen color option allows you to choose from one of four color schemes for the LCD: black on gray, white on black, white on brown, or green on black. The LCD can also be set to one of seven brightness levels.
The monochrome LCD panel you'll find on many higher-end SLRs is, understandably, missing from the $900 Rebel T2i.
The T2i comes equipped with a built-in pop-up flash. The built-in flash has a range of 43 feet (13 meters) at ISO 100. The T2i can also be used in conjunction with a large variety of external flashes. Canon's EX-series of Speedlites is fully compatible with the T2i, allowing for variable flash power. The EZ/E/EG/ML/TL-series Speedlites are also compatible, but only at full power. Finally, non-Canon flashes can sync with the T2i, but only at shutter speeds of 1/200 of a second or slower — and not while in Live View mode.
The flash has the usual red-eye reduction tool, which fires two flashes to help keep your photos free of evil red pupils. It can also be set to 2nd curtain sync, which causes the flash to fire at the end of the exposure rather than the beginning. This can help you create artistic light trails with moving subjects. Strangely absent is the option for slow sync, which cameras often employ in order to properly expose the background of a low-light image.
As we see with many SLRs, users can use the T2i's built-in flash as an autofocus assist tool: a quick series of strobes will activate in order to give the camera more light for an accurate autofocus. This is definitely a handy tool for low light portraiture, but it can be distracting — if not disorienting — when shooting candid photos.
In addition to the SDHC card slot and battery compartment, there is a sizable port cavity on the left side of the Canon T2i. Beneath a flexible rubber casing lie four ports: microphone, remote control, AV out, and mini-HDMI. The former is a brand new addition for the T2i, giving the camera a bit more flexibility as a video recording device. This mini-mic port is the same as the port found on Canon's camcorder lineup.
The mini-HDMI port is a standard size; the camera does not ship with an HDMI cable, but any standard mini-HDMI cable will work. The A/V output, on the other hand, is compatible only with the proprietary cables that ship with the T2i or are available through Canon.
The Rebel T2i uses the LP-E8 Lithium ion rechargeable battery, which is rated for approximately 550 shots per charge (using the viewfinder only). Naturally, the battery life is severely limited by use of Live View, providing only 200 shots or 1 hour 40 minutes of video recording.
The T2i records both still photos and video footage to SD/SDHC memory cards, and Canon is also supporting the new high-capacity SDXC format, which is likely to gain popularity once card prices come down. If you want to shoot video, you'll need a Class 6 (or faster) SDHC card to handle the required data transfer speed.
One thing we love about the memory card slot on the Canon T2i: it's mounted on the side of the camera, separate from the battery cavity. That means you should have no trouble accessing the memory card, even when the T2i is mounted on a tripod.