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Canon Rebel T2i Digital Camera Review$899.99
The Canon Rebel T2i uses the MPEG-4 codec to compress video and it has a number of shooting modes. You can record Full HD video using a 24p or 30p frame rate, 720p HD video using a 60p frame rate, or standard definition video that shoots at a resolution of 640 x 480 with a 60p frame rate. There's also a cropped 640 x 480 option that gives a telephoto effect of roughly 7x. Video files are saved in the MOV format. These are the same options that you'll find on the T2i's more expensive cousin, the Canon 7D.
In addition to these options, you can also switch the T2i over to PAL mode and shoot using 25p or 50p frame rates in lieu of the 24p and 60p options we talked about in the paragraph above. While many users will probably overlook this feature, it is a good option to have if you do a lot of videography in Europe and any other areas that use the PAL standard instead of NTSC.
Canon states that you should be able to store roughly 49 minutes of HD video on a 16GB memory card. With the standard definition mode the capacity basically doubles to 1 hour and 39 minutes of video on a 16GB memory card. However, the camera does have file size limitations of 4GB or 30 minutes — at which the clip will automatically stop recording when reached. You can begin recording again as a new clip, but you must press the record button to start recording again. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
The Canon Rebel T2i has both an auto and manual exposure mode for recording video. In auto mode you can still adjust exposure manually, but shutter speed, aperture, and ISO cannot be set.
The T2i does not have a continual autofocus setting, which is the case for most video-capable DSLRs (we've only seen continual autofocus on Micro Four Thirds or other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras). What this means is that you must press a button in order to have the camera perform an autofocus. This focus system can often take up to five seconds to bring an image into focus, which is far slower than what you get on any dedicated camcorder.
The auto exposure on the T2i wasn't too bad, and it did produce adjustments in a smooth, gradual manner. The exposure changes were a bit too slow, however, and they weren't nearly as quick or precise as what we normally see from a consumer camcorder.
Zoom is controlled by rotating the zoom ring on whatever lens is attached to the camera. The kit lens for the T2i is an 18 - 55mm lens, which is equivalent to roughly a 3x optical zoom.
As we said earlier, there is no continual autofocus in video mode on the T2i. You can set focus manually while recording video (using the focus ring on the lens), or you can press the autofocus button. In addition to taking quite a bit of time to perform the auto focus, the system is not smooth like you get from a regular camcorder — and the process is also extremely noisy.
All three of these settings can be adjusted manually on the Canon Rebel T2i's video mode, but exposure can only be set when the camera is in auto exposure mode. Aperture and shutter speed can be set manually when in manual exposure mode only. Each of these settings can be manually adjusted prior to or during video recording, which is always a great option to have.
ISO can also be set manually in video mode (in manual exposure mode only), and, like the other manual controls, it can even be changed during recording. Other controls available in video mode are a variety of color and image presets that we showed examples of in the Video: Color section of this review. There's also a feature called Highlight Tone Priority that expands the dynamic range when recording in video mode (gradation between grays and highlights should appear smoother). This can only be set when the camera is in manual exposure mode.
If you want to record audio with the Canon Rebel T2i you have two options: you can record monaural audio with the built-in microphone, or you can connect an external mic to the 3.5mm mic jack on the left side of the camera. If you actually care about capturing good audio to match your video, you should probably stay away from using the built-in mic. It picks up lots of unwanted operational noise and the quality of the audio is downright awful. Whether you use the built-in mic or an external mic the T2i compresses audio using the linear PCM codec.