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The Complete Canon T2i Review

Now that the review of the Canon T2i is over and it has been shipped back to Canon, a complete round-up of postings done in the review diary and further thoughts can be given here. Overall, it is the best Rebel yet.

Day 1: Spent trying to get accustomed and used to the camera as well as citing observations.

Day 2: Tested out while at a party and get-together. All photos shot in RAW mode.

Day 3: Used while exploring Long Island, New York. People that use this camera will surely use it for sightseeing purposes.

On the set of a Podcast: The T2i performed wonderfully on the set of a video podcast for NerdBlerp.com

Recommended Items for the Camera: Those of you that are looking to purchase the camera may perhaps want to take a look at my essential items guide.

Used to shoot photos for the reviews I did over at 2D-x.com here and here.

Conclusions

Autofocus

One of the thorns in Canon’s side has been its autofocus system. However, in the latest generation of DSLRs like the 7D and 1D Mk IV, this has been corrected. It was a major flaw found in the 5D Mk II—but if you understand how it works then it is very manageable.

To be fair, autofocusing was greatly improved when the camera was coupled with a 430 EX II. Because of this, it is highly recommended that it be purchased with this camera. Otherwise, users may be plagued by some of the problems that previous Rebel users have suffered from.

The Canon T2i is essentially a 7D with lower end specifications and technical standards. Judging from this, one can possibly conclude that Canon will perhaps revamp the autofocus system in the successor to the T2i as it will be a huge drive for sales and could possibly really dig into its Micro Four Thirds competitors. According to sales statistics at the time of writing this posting, the T2i and other Rebels really do lead the charts.

Image Quality

Out of camera RAW image quality was stellar. Canon’s new files for the T2i require that users purchase the latest version of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Lightroom to edit. Otherwise, the packaged DPP program will convert to JPEG for you. Because of the large image files, write speeds can also slow down and it is recommended that users get a UDMA card with this camera or something like an Eye-Fi Pro card.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for out of camera JPEGs. The quality here is lacking for higher end or professional use. Those just casually taking the photos may be happy with them for their own personal uses. Part of the reason may perhaps be the single DIGIC IV processor coupled with the 18MP APS-C sensor. As the sensor is smaller, image quality can degrade when higher ISO settings are used.

As for movie mode, the image quality is on par with the 7D. If you want to purchase a 7D solely for videography purposes, perhaps you should consider looking at the T2i as it is much more economical.

Ergonomics

On a personal level, I’ve never been too much of a fan of the ergonomics of Canon’s Rebel line. For starters, there isn’t very much room at all between the grip and the lens. Additionally, the button layout at times can be awkward. The T2i was easier to use than previous Rebels though as some of the buttons are bigger and it is easier to manage your settings when shooting in video mode.

Something that I don’t like much is the placement of the mode dial. It should perhaps be on the left side of the camera. As a suggestion to Canon: Look at the Olympus EP-1. Their mode dial doesn’t come out from the camera very much and also allows for ease of use. Copying this standard for the next Rebel could work very well for Canon and will also help to eliminate accidental mode switches due to finger placement.

High ISO ability

Users of the T2i will be very, very pleased with the High ISO abilities in this camera. Able to shoot up to ISO 6400, the files are still very usable and post-processing will take care of most of the image noise problems. If not, editors can always get creative in their editing to use the image noise to their advantage as the files still do retain a lot of detail.

If coupled with the 430 EX II and shooting in extremely dimly lit conditions, one can shoot with ease at ISO 800 and still get very crispy shots while shooting handheld. This will come in handy if users happen to be shooting a party.

As a side note, this is all best done while shooting in RAW mode. Otherwise, the image noise will be harder to eliminate in JPEG mode.

Further, get rid of your kit lens. Shoot with something like a 50mm F1.8 II, 85mm F1.8 II or 24-105mm F4 L IS. And if shooting video, get a Rode Videomic if you need better sound.

Ease of Use

The learning curve for a camera like this is not very long. Users may either shoot in full auto or go for the more manual settings allowed from this class of camera. When importing the images to your computer, it is recommended that you use an SD card reader or the supplied Canon software. Otherwise, Lightrooom’s import feature is very handy in a situation like this.

Who Should Buy It

Party Photographers: as a backup and coupled with the 430 EX II. It could be used as a primary but requires better lenses like those listed above.

Wedding Photographers: I’ve seen lots of weddings shot with Rebels that have delivered fascinating results. Though it isn’t recommended, your 2nd shooter or assistants can probably make good use of it providing that good lenses are in front of the sensor.

Travelers: By all means, this is the camera for you. Just shoot in RAW.

Videographers: If you’re trying to justify the purchase of the costly 7D, look to this instead.

Hobbyists: The Rebel line was meant for you.

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