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(No use flooding this blog post with a bunch of crazy photos – see more photos along with commentary on them at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/trentchau/sets/72157623389534149/)
When the T2i was rumored a short while ago I was pretty meh about it (All my Canon rumors come from www.canonrumors.com). As the day progressed though, more concrete information came out, and when it was announced that full 1080p manual video was available I just had to have the camera. Quickly putting the spare T1i up on market, I’ve been salivating at the idea of the T2i coming in.
Read more of the tech specs, changes, and information regarding the T2i (550D) at Dpreview.com.
This morning,Showcase in Atlanta got my camera (I buy most all my camera bodies from them, to support local market/ hey camera bodies all cost the same no matter where you get them) and of course I was there within the hour to pick it up. It’s always pretty exciting to have new equipment in your hand.
On the 1 hour road trip back home it dawns on me, why not do a whole blog/video/picture post reviewing the t2i. Setup a couple of shoots, do a couple of shoots for school, and also do a video test and comparison to a 5D Mark II. Thus this was born.
Soon this page will be updated with my experiences with the T2i, along with samples of photographs and videos taken with it. The camera will be ran through a gamut of situations including a whole spectrum of Canon professional lenses along with comparison to my Canon 5D mark II. Note that I said comparison, and not competing. You’re obviously going to get a lot more for the price difference between the two.
Oh before I go to far, I want to thank the following 2 groups for helping me with any topics that may be placed up here. I’ve sent out request to them concerning any issues or curiosities they have about the T2i. If you haven’t had the chance to see or join these two groups, I highly implore you too, they are absolutely wonderful.
Flickr Canon DSLR Group – http://www.flickr.com/groups/canondslr/discuss/72157623389604359/
Photography on the Net – http://photography-on-the.net/forum/
There’s not much to say other than the T2i feels like a easier to grip rebel T1i. The buttons are bigger for easier access, the screen is bigger which is nice. There’s a nice ridge on the back right now that makes holding that area with your thumb easier. Oh live view has exposure lock now, and pressing the AF button down a little is autofocus.
I was asked if there was live view in the auto modes now, and there is. The AF during live-view is still clunky but does seem to respond a little faster. Overall the ergonomics were impressive. As someone who uses a gripped camera pretty much all the time, the t2i was easy to carry and not uncomfortable the whole day today.
Video is still that funky SLR video feel that started with the 5D Mark II. Instead of set, the video record button is a little higher which is either bad or good depending on the individual. With less weight the camera seemed a little more susceptible to shake compared to the 5D Mark II. Overall, it’s so so out of the box, but once you put it in a custom bracket the camera should be great ergonomics wise.
Basic Shooting and comparison to the 5D Mark II
After a short 30 minutes the battery was fully charged and it was time to break it in. I decided to do a simple comparison test. I mounted the T2i with a Canon 50 1.2L, and my 5D Mark II with a 85 1.2L II. This would allow roughly the same composition from both cameras without me moving from my spot. I called Kayleigh up for some last second modeling, and much to my happiness she obliged.
Here are some following samples of Studio and Available light photos Taken of Kayleigh, and also the 5d Mark II comparison shot.
Click the t2i link above for more – click the image for full size.
Comparison Images between a t2i and 5d Mark II.
Images shot with the same settings (ISO, AP, Picture Style, Shutter). Processed in Lightroom to add watermark. JPG files used (Raw not currently available for Lightroom)
Update : I realize the Auto Lighting Optimizer was on for the Rebel, and this could of been an issue with the jpgs placed up. Michael was quick to say that the Rebel photos were a little flat, and I agree with him. I can’t convert the raws right now in Lightroom, but will try in Canon’s software later tonight to see if the results differ.
Here’s a cute little video of Kayleigh after the shoot, shot with a T2i – Kayleigh! How cute a hello (Video)
T2i and figure work
After Kayleigh left, I did a quick test shoot with a figure model in Athens named Clara. To keep this thread PG, I am just posting a link to the set. It will have photos from both the T2i and 5D Mark II in it.
Macro Video Snippet
Here’s a little snippet of a video shot with the 100 2.8L IS and full manual on the camera. Yeah the focus was a little off, my bad 🙂
The day started a little late, and somethings aren’t going to go as planned shooting wise, but all negatives aside it’s a beautiful day here in Georgia. I realized some mistakes were made yesterday starting with Auto Lighting Optimizer being turned on in the T2i. Since I couldn’t process raw files from the camera yet without going through steps I didn’t want too, I placed up images that were not a consistent comparison between both cameras. This morning the new version of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional was installed so I can process the raw files, along with turning off ATO in the camera itself. Since portraits may not be done today, I’m going to concentrate more on video and macro today with the camera, and also high iso shooting.
Strolling around Athens
No doubt the Canon T2i will be used by mainly people first foraging into digital SLR photography. I wanted to emulate the feel of walking around a popular location and taking photographs using mostly automated features. Fellow photographer Michael and I walked around Downtown Athens, GA on an absolutely stunning day today, and I shot several shots with the T2i. The camera worked like a charm, and the ergonomics behind it made complete sense to me. It wasn’t difficult navigating for any buttons and was very easy to change anything I needed to fit the given scene. Using a mixture of the 16-35 2.8L, 24-70 2.8L, and 70-200 2.8L IS I was very happy with the results from the T2i. Definitely will be a camera that allows both new and old DSLR users to get great results, and from an extremely low weight package.
I did a test on High Iso tonight for photography, and the T2i surprisingly isn’t too bad for a 18 megapixel camera. I personally dislike shooting high ISO, but you never know when you need to just get the shot and high ISO is the solution.
Here is a link to a single scene shot from iso 100 to 12800. No award winning Pulitzer type image, but you’ll get the idea. Iso 3200 isn’t that bad looking.
Interested in seeing the Raw files? Go here – Trentchau.com | Canon T2i Raw files and download any raw file from 3200 to 12800.
Here’s an image shot at ISO 3200 long exposure. Not perfectly clean, but pretty usable don’t you think?
Along with high iso photography, I also shot some high iso video. It’s pretty noisy honestly at iso 6400, but really if you are going to just shrink it and put it on the web it’s really good.
Check out this video at iso 6400, not to bad. If it was going to an Iphone or something, it would pretty much look perfect.
Canon XSi compared with Canon T2i
I wanted to compare the image quality of the 12mp XSi to the 18mp T2i shot in a controlled and reproducible environment. Using Michaels XSi, we setup a quick studio setup with 2 backgrond lights, and a Norman ML600r as our key, and a reflector as our bounce. Both cameras were set to ISO 100, 1/200, F11 using a Canon 85 1.2L II. My studio neighbor Leah (who also makes a mad hot chocolate at the Expresso Royale Company) volunteered most awesomely to sit in and be the victim of our rather boring and quick test.
Here are the pictures, you decide. Personally I think the AF may have missed slightly on the XSi. It looks like it’s a little soft. Weird that at the same exact exposure the backgrounds are off color.
Yet another late starting day. Spent most of the night editing and watching Braveheart (one of the best movies ever) and lo and behold it was 3am before I knew it.
Well today is the last day of this fun weekend with the T2i, and I’m pretty much looking forward to filling out all the gaps. Not much is planned today. Here’s the list of items I will be covering. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any last second request, as I’ll be out in the field without access to any forum updates for request.
As said before, it’s off the to races! Thank you so much everyone who has commented and contributed to the blog.
Rushing out the house at 2:45, I went to the outskirts of Athens to take some landscape photos. There wasn’t much time to take photos because of having to meet a new possible person to shoot with at about 3:30, I just ended up taking about 3 to 4 landscape shots with multiple exposures.
Concerning HDR. One of the new pitching points about the T2i is that you can select up to 5 stops up and 5 stops down now on the EV scale. Bad part is…if you do AEB, you’re limited to 2 stops up and 2 down for 3 images. Come on Canon, how about some more shots in a bracket now. Otherwise the camera worked really well. All images were shot with a Canon 16-35 2.8 at F16, Iso 100.
Verdict for landscape photography is that the camera is pretty good. At iso 100 you get lots of detail and crop room at 18 megapixels. With a 10-22 EF-S you can easily hit wide, while there are plenty of options for telephoto based landscape imagery. The camera produced great sharpness, and good values in colors out of the box. Post production only made it better.
Bird in Flight
A member of the Canon DSLR flickr group was very interested in the performance of the T2i on Ai Servo paired with the 70-200 2.8L IS taking pictures of Birds in flight. Well I gave it a try….and failed. After about 15 minutes of standing out in the cold I did come to the conclusion that it’s not the cameras AF system (which by the way is pretty snappy on AI Servo) that was fail…it was me. Massive respect to you guys who do this. This is totally not my thing. Of course there is examples of my 1 success, and of course failure.
It’s pretty safe to assume that the T2i is going to be good for macro photography. Pretty much all cameras should be. You’re taking the most well designed, sharpest lens of the whole system and taking a photo with it. If the macro photo isn’t great, it’s probably not the camera but the photographer. Still though it’s always fun seeing a new camera do something that we are all used to seeing, as to confirm that it isn’t a red headed step child waiting to ruin your precious photos.
My macro setup was simple. Took a thin mint cookies (god bless the Girl scouts), topped it with whip cream, placed a strawberry on it, and than sprinkled it with sugar. I setup the 2 580ex II’s as my source of light, with one on a softbox and the other shooting through a glass underneath the subject. While this isn’t MICRO photography at it’s tiniest, it’s still great than 1:1 and does count as Macro/Micro.
Here are some macro photos
I attempted another macro video – and kinda ended up with fail.
You be the judge – Strawberry Plop
I just booked a test shoot for tomorrow night though, so I’m going to extend this by a day and hopefully get some off camera flash style photographs and then call it quits. Conclusion will probably be placed up tonight after the macros 🙂 I’ll just shoe horn in that last piece somehow.
Conclusion – Part 1
And so starts the end of my weekend with the T2i. It’s pretty darn hard trying to photograph so many different types of photography and make it at least passable. It was an absolutely awesome weekend both in just fooling with the camera, and also this absolutely amazing weather we’ve had all weekend. I hope that everyone was at least amused by this write up, and hopefully even learned something.
So how did the camera do?
I liked it! It gives you an incredibly huge amount of bang for the buck. The 18 megapixel sensor is just as good as the 7D’s in my opinion, and I’m saying this as a former owner of a 7D. Iso 100 files were clean, sharp, and great off camera. Post production only made them better. If you held a print from this camera, a 7d, a 5D Mark II at ISO 100 I doubt any client can really tell what camera it came from. The inclusion of full manual video was a massive surprise to me, and from the samples I’ve seen running on my computer the videos are off incredibly excellent quality. I’ll write up a little about video in just a little bit.
So here’s what I like about the Camera.
With every good also comes bad, here are things I didn’t like about the T2i.
Right now those are my general good and bads about the camera. I’m really happy with how Canon placed it. The fine options that the 7D has like the AF system, and the commander unit for flash I think are reasonable things they left out of the Rebel to make the products differentiate. I’ve been asked by about 5 people about what they should purchase between all these cameras. The good news is they are all capable so you aren’t really losing too much when you buy one or the other. Here’s the kicker though guys. This whole test this weekend was pretty much done one really nice Canon glass. That should tell you something. If you can afford to get a T2i, and 2 L series lenses, or 1 7D with a kit lens….I assure you that your work and photography would love a lot better with the t2i. Invest in the glass if you can, bodies have a shorter life span and technology in camera bodies trickle down fast.
This is where I think the T2i really shines. I can say without a doubt that the T2i will be a game changer because of the inclusion of manual movie mode. The fact that Canon included this in their entry level camera both shocked and surprised me. Guys, the T2i does some amazing video…and here’s why it’s going to be a game changer. It brings broadcast level 1080P video to the masses for a really cheap price. Yes there are flip devices, and also Iphone, but now we have a fully controllable way of taking video. I wrote on Flickr about the idea of indy photojournalist taking pretty much a t2i, 24 gigs of sd cards, a 50 1.4, a 18-300 lens, a cheap rode mic, a tripod, and for less than $1600 you can produce an incredible piece of video with it. With proper technique and also other videography skills, you can easily produce something that rivals what major studios put out. Oh an no insult to professional videographers, because they will be the ones picking up this camera like hot cakes. Videographers are not only smart, but they are extremely inventive people and I bet we will see them embracing video on the T2i like they did the 5D Mark II.
Everything about video on the t2i outside of it’s quality screams value, and it’s going to be a major influence on the industry. What I mean by that is in comparison to prices of CF cards, SD cards are super cheap. The EF-S mount on the Rebel lets videographers use pretty cheap lenses like the 18-55IS, 55-250IS, Sigma 30 1.4, and various other lenses and save money compared to what L series users have to spend. Yes the 7D can also, but that’s still $900 more than a T2i. So you could get 2 T2i’s, and the same amount of lenses for the price of 1 7d. 2 T2i’s would be perfect for any indy video house.
I’m pretty subjective here guys, do you agree with me?
Thanks everyone for reading this blog. I am extending it for one more day. The proper thanks you, acknowledgment, and finally end conclusion will be put up tomorrow. Til then guys, have a great night.
Here are the final two points I’m going to hit
So one last extra day talking about the T2i. Today I met with a new possible model for my Athens area classes by the name of Mary. I told her about testing out the T2i, and using a fisheye and outside strobist style shooting today and she was complete game for it. We also did a little French/Italian inspired black and white photo session to cap of the day. Here’s a few more samples guys, and then the last part of my conclusion about this great little camera.
Strobist (and a little fisheye action)
As a strobist style camera, the T2i really shines. It’s portable, light, and gives absolutely wonderful results. I’m a fan of Canon and Nikon for this because also there’s a huge amount of great lenses that can be used for a relatively good price for strobist style photography, along with very capable ettl and manual flash heads. I took the easy way out today and just brough the T2i today, mounted a 16-35 2.8L and a 15mm Fisheye, took a long ETTL cord and attached it to my 580ex II with a softbox. Put the Camera on AV mode, set the exposure down 2 stops, put the Flash exposure up 2, and shot away. Of course High Speed Sync was turned on just in case I broke the 1/250 sync barrier (which I did) but all and all the results came out great. I’m sure with the 18-55 IS kit lens with it’s four stops of power, and a SB-24 one could easily make the T2i (or pretty much any camera) a great little strobist camera. TTL is even better if you want to break the rolling shutter black out issue.
Concerning the Fisheye…the affect really isn’t as pronounced, but an 4 inch focus sure is nice. I’m sure there’s ways to use this is in the future.
Nonetheless here’s some sample images
Picture Style : Black and White
So here’s my last topic. Right before Mary and I went outside to shoot, we did a quick studio session. Nothing fancy, just one light, 1 reflector, and black and white in the picture style settings. These photos are shot as black and white using the Picture Style Monochrome setting on the camera. A little French/Italian fashion flair going, but nothing to crazy.
Some sample images (click on the link way above to see more)
Conclusion (Part 2)
And so guys, this is my official conclusion about the T2i. What can I say? It’s a great camera. It’s definitely a Rebel. Has the same plastic feel, has the really light weight, and small size that has been the standard for over half a decade now. But the quality of the photographs that come out of the camera as always is top notch. It’s funny you hear people complain about generations of xxD series cameras, like how the 40D wasn’t great, the 50D was so so…but you never really hear people complaining about the Rebel series. Canon does always seem to put a lot of bang for the buck in these little guys, and really it shows with the T2i.
The only time I was disappointed in the camera was when I did something wrong picture wise. Otherwise it worked like a charm and kept on cranking along.
Personally I’m really happy to show everyone a massive amount of different type of photographic style done with the camera, because we all know the Rebel will end up doing the most diverse amount of photography among all the cameras. It matched well with the lenses (albeit some lenses are very front heavy on this camera). So without sounding like a broken record, please check above for the meat and potatoes about how I feel about this camera. From here I want to say thank you’s.
Thanks to the following
Well guys, this ends the blog. Now to let the T2i rest a little. It’s earn it’s badge of “A great buy”. If this is the first massive blog post you’ve read from me, hopefully you’ll come again soon. I’m constantly trying out new bodies and lenses (whatever I can get, or afford) and writing a little about it. Maybe one day Canon will send me stuff to review 🙂
Please anyone feel free to send me any comments, critiques, corrections for this post.