It seems that I was just a short time ago reviewing the 6th model in the wildly-popular Canon "Digital Rebel" DSLR line (the T1i/500D), but now we are already experiencing the 7th - the Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D (Kiss X4 in Japan). With the exception of the low-end Canon EOS Rebel XS/1000D, each new Rebel model introduced has been a better camera than any Rebel models before it - and often with some features better than models lines above it. And this again is the case with the T2i.
With this new Rebel model iteration, some key features don't change: small size, light weight, low price and excellent image quality - especially in low light. These features are frequently desired by those wishing to step up from point and shoot models and by those looking for top-of-the-line image quality but needing to keep the carry size of their DSLR small - such as for travel.
Here is a quick summary of the new and advanced features found in this DSLR:
Along with fast phase-detection autofocus, amazing image quality is one of the big drivers for the popularity of Digital SLR cameras, so let's jump right into this review with a look at the Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D's image quality. One of the upgrades in the T2i over its predecessor, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i / 500D, is the new, up from 15.1 MP and Canon EOS 7D-matching, 18 megapixel sensor. While sharing the same photosites, the T2i implementation has 4 readout channels instead of 8 as found in the 7D. The resolution difference from the T1i is not dramatic - I'll look at it in depth below, but first, a comparison chart.
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||1.9x||18.7 x 14.0mm||4.3µm||4352 x 3264||14.3||f/6.9|
|Canon PowerShot G12||4.7x||7.4 x 5.6mm||2.7µm||3648 x 2048||10.0||f/4.3|
|Canon PowerShot G9||4.7x||7.6 x 5.7mm||2.5µm||4000 x 3000||12.1||f/4.0|
|Canon EOS M||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.87x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.85x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.87x||95%||f/6.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.7µm||4752 x 3168||15.1||.87x||95%||f/7.5|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.7mm||5.2µm||4272 x 2848||12.0||.85x||95%||f/8.3|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.2µm||4272 x 2848||12.2||.87x||95%||f/8.3|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.81x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.80x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||6.4µm||3456 x 2304||8.0||.80x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel||1.6x||22.7 x 15.1mm||7.4µm||3088 x 2056||6.3||.80x||95%||f/11.8|
|Canon EOS 60D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.95x||96%||f/6.9|
|Canon EOS 50D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.7µm||4752 x 3168||15.1||.95x||95%||f/7.5|
|Canon EOS 40D||1.6x||22.2 x 14.8mm||5.7µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.95x||95%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS 30D||1.6x||22.5 x 15.0mm||6.4µm||3504 x 2336||8.2||.90x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 20D||1.6x||22.5 x 15.0mm||6.4µm||3504 x 2336||8.2||.90x||95%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 10D||1.6x||22.7 x 15.1mm||7.4µm||3088 x 2056||6.3||.88x||95%||f/11.8|
|Canon EOS 7D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.3µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||1.0x||100%||f/6.9|
|Canon EOS 6D||1.0x||35.8 x 23.9mm||6.54µm||5472 x 3648||20.2||.71x||97%||f/10.5|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.25µm||5760 x 3840||22.3||.71x||100%||f/10.1|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.4µm||5616 x 3744||21.1||.71x||98%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 5D||1.0x||35.8 x 23.9mm||8.2µm||4368 x 2912||12.8||.71x||96%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1D X||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.9µm||5184 x 3456||18.1||.76x||100%||f/11.0|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||1.3x||27.9 x 18.6mm||5.7µm||4896 x 3264||16.1||.76x||100%||f/9.1|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||1.3x||28.1 x 18.7mm||7.2µm||3888 x 2592||10.1||.76x||100%||f/11.5|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||1.3x||28.7 x 19.1mm||8.2µm||3520 x 2336||8.2||.72x||100%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II||1.3x||28.7 x 19.1mm||8.2µm||3520 x 2336||8.2||.72x||100%||f/13.2|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.4µm||5632 x 3750||21.1||.76x||100%||f/10.2|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||7.2µm||4992 x 3328||16.6||.70x||100%||f/11.5|
* DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture) is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the
aperture where diffraction begins to visibly affect image sharpness at the pixel level.
Diffraction at the DLA is only barely visible when viewed at full-size (100%, 1 pixel = 1 pixel) on a display or output to a very large print.
As sensor pixel density increases, the narrowest aperture we can use to get perfectly pixel sharp images gets wider.
DLA does not mean that narrower apertures should not be used - it is simply the point where image sharpness begins to be compromised for increased DOF and longer exposures. And, higher resolution sensors generally continue to deliver more detail well beyond the DLA than lower resolution sensors - until the "Diffraction Cutoff Frequency" is reached (a much narrower aperture). The progression from sharp the soft is not an abrupt one - and the change from immediately prior models to new models is usually not dramatic.
Check out this specific diffraction comparison example using the ISO 12233 chart comparison tool. The mouseover feature will show you the degradation at f/11 compared to f/5.6.
The T2i's very slight additional resolution over the Rebel T1i can be seen using the mouseover feature in this Canon EOS Rebel T2i vs. Rebel T1i resolution comparison using an ISO 12233 Chart.
They have identical sensor densities and the T2i shows similar resolution in a Canon EOS Rebel T2i vs. EOS 7D comparison.
Eighteen megapixels of quality image is a very strong T2i feature - I'm sure this will be a helpful marketing feature. And looking good physically always helps with marketing.
Comparing apples to apples. Identical camera setup, identical targets, identical lighting, identical framing and identical processing. These manually-exposed samples were shot from a Foba Gamma Studio Camera Stand-mounted Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens set to 100mm and f/6.3. RAW images were captured with auto white balance, no noise reduction and the "Standard" Picture Style. Sharpness was set to "1" (very low).
I use Canon's Digital Photo Pro (DPP) image processing software (free/included) for my RAW file processing. DPP is easy to use and delivers image quality as high as or higher than anything else available (though more full-featured and easier/faster/nicer to use software is available - such as Adobe Lightroom). And DPP always supports the latest Canon camera models. RAW images were converted to 16 bit TIFF files and Photoshop CS4 "Save for Web" was used to create the 70% quality JPG crops shown below.
With those details out of the way, let's review the comparison images. There are many MB of files required to be downloaded to make all of the mouseovers and mouseclicks on this page function properly - please be patient while they load.
Looking at the 10.1 megapixel Rebel XS/1000D image crop overlaid on the same image crop from the Rebel T1i/550D shows how far 18 megapixels takes us in the same size sensor. All things being equal, the outline of the Rebel XS image simulates how much of a full T2i image can be cropped while retaining 10.1 megapixels of image. This difference equates to the additional "reach" of the T2i's sensor (bird and distant wildlife photographers know what I'm talking about). The same comparisons apply to the 7D as it has the same sensor density.
What I'm primarily trying to show in this comparison is how much noise is present in images at various ISO levels with no noise reduction applied. The solid color blocks make the noise very obvious.
The Rebel XS/1000D produces a sharper image but has noticeably more high ISO noise than the T2i. The XSi/450D comes closer to the T2i in both resolution and high ISO noise, but the T2i is still the winner in this comparison - showing less grainy-appearing noise at high ISO values. Obvious is that the T2i provides 3 additional stops of high ISO settings compared to these bodies - an advantage it does not hold in the rest of the provided comparisons.
I intentionally positioned the Rebel T2i/550D results between the T1i/500D (the previous Rebel model) and the 7D (the other 18 megapixel DSLR). While the brighter image delivered by the T1i/500D makes a comparison slightly more difficult, I'm still seeing reduced noise in the T2i - by an amount that exceeds my expectations. And the T1i has slightly less noise than the 50D.
The EOS 7D delivers the most-comparable image in both resolution and in noise performance. I don't see a significant difference between the images from these two cameras, but give the T2i the slight edge. In my opinion, high ISO noise performance is not a differentiator between these two cameras.
With its high resolution full-frame sensor, the 5D Mark II leads this contest with impressive image quality.
I usually use the lowest ISO setting that will give me the exposure parameters I want for a shot. And I consider the T2i's ISO 12800 an extreme last resort for capturing an image. Images are barely useable for even a small output size at this ISO setting. Sure, having the option is better than not having the option, but I will not be using ISO 12800 very often.
The with-noise-reduction examples have a range of noise reduction added - from 1,2 (Luminance, Chrominance) at ISO 100 up to 8,16 at ISO 12800. These examples show that noise reduction (which could be applied at various stages in the image processing pipeline) clearly reduces the visible noise - and reduces the fine details as well. Since low noise and high detail resolution are both strongly desired, the next set of comparisons looks at how much detail is retained at higher ISO levels.
The big image quality difference between the examples in this comparison is directly related to the resolution of the camera's sensor. The T2i resolves significantly more detail than the 10.1 megapixel Rebel XS. The rest of the Rebel models fall in line between these two.
Here is one last review of resolution - a direct comparison between the Rebel T2i/550D and the Rebel T1i/500D.
Both images (100% crops actually) were shot RAW and processed using the Standard Picture Style (DPP) and Sharpness = "1" (very low). The T2i has more resolution, but I would not call this specific upgrade compelling. The older the Rebel model is, the more compelling the upgrade becomes.
Like most of the recent Canon EOS DSLR cameras, the T2i captures 14-bit RAW images (vs. 12-bit - for smoother color transitions - JPEG is an 8-bit format). 14-bit high resolution RAW file sizes tend to be large. Here is a comparison (in MB) using the same RAW files reviewed in the comparisons above. Notice that detail increases file size and that high ISO noise is detail in this regard. The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.
|Model / Example File Size in MB @ ISO:||(MP)||100||200||400||800||1600||3200||6400||12800||25600||51200||102400||204800|
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||(14.3)||19.1||19.6||20.2||20.9||21.7||23.1||24.9||26.2|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1||(18.0)||23.7||24.2||24.8||25.8||27.1||28.7||30.8||33.4||37.2|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i||(18.0)||24.1||24.5||25.2||26.1||27.6||29.0||31.1||33.7||37.4|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i||(18.0)||25.5||25.9||26.6||27.5||28.7||30.3||32.4||34.9|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i||(18.0)||25.5||25.8||26.5||27.4||28.6||30.2||32.3||34.9|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i||(15.1)||20.6||21.0||21.5||22.4||23.4||25.0||27.1||29.8|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3||(12.2)||17.8||18.0||18.3||18.9||19.7||20.6||22.0|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi||(12.2)||15.4||15.9||16.6||17.5||18.7|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS||(10.1)||10.4||10.6||10.9||11.3||11.9|
|Canon EOS 60D||(18.0)||25.2||25.6||26.2||27.0||28.3||29.9||32.2||34.8|
|Canon EOS 50D||(15.1)||20.3||20.7||21.3||22.1||23.2||24.7||26.7||29.5|
|Canon EOS 7D||(18.0)||24.1||24.5||25.3||26.2||27.3||28.6||30.7||33.2|
|Canon EOS 6D||(20.2)||25.3||25.6||26.0||26.7||27.9||29.2||30.9||33.1||35.3||38.6||42.5|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||(22.3)||28.6||29.0||29.5||30.3||31.6||33.1||35.3||37.8||40.6||44.7||49.2|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||(21.1)||26.9||27.1||27.7||28.6||29.7||31.3||33.6||36.7||41.2|
|Canon EOS 1D X||(18.1)||23.7||23.9||24.3||24.8||25.7||26.7||27.9||29.7||31.8||34.5||37.4||41.3|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||(16.1)||22.0||22.2||22.8||23.4||24.3||25.3||26.7||28.5||30.8||34.2||35.9|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||(10.1)||13.0||13.3||13.8||14.5||15.3||16.4||17.8|
|Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III||(21.1)||25.6||26.5||27.4||29.0||31.0||33.4|
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more. :)
The T2i uses SD/SDHC/SDXC cards for storage with SDXC cards being the new-for-Canon card format. Use the figures above to get a rough estimate of the size card you need. Of course, the JPG file format is significantly more storage space efficient and has various levels of image quality that also adjust space requirements downward dramatically. Shoot RAW and buy lots of memory - it is cheap and is also useful for temporary archiving and backup use.
Overall, the T2i's image quality is excellent. I don't have any complaints - especially for the price of the camera. Proper exposure is important for a quality image and to this end, the T2i inherits the Canon EOS 7D's new 63-zone iFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance) Metering System that takes focus, color and illumination into account when establishing the proper exposure. Spot metering is available along with the other usual modes - Evaluative, Partial and Center-weighted.
I shoot in auto white balance mode more today than I ever did before (though I may tweak this setting when post-processing my shots). But, Auto White Balance historically has had trouble balancing tungsten light properly. The reds are always too bright. I typically change my in-camera white balance to the Tungsten or a specific Kelvin setting in these conditions. No need for this setting change with the T2i. The 7D was the first Canon DSLR to handle this strongly-red-toned lighting properly and now the T2i matches this impressive capability. Very nice.
As we have also seen implemented in the 7D and the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, my long-awaited full Auto ISO feature has now landed in the Rebel Series. Auto ISO now uses the full range of ISO settings up to ISO 3200 or ISO 6400 in most modes (Portrait and with flash are the exceptions). The maximum auto ISO setting can be limited to a specific value set in the shooting menu. Although only full-stop ISO settings can be selected on the T2i, auto ISO will utlilize in-between settings when it needs to. This is an important feature as a 1-stop change will often be too much.
Manual Mode is where I most-wanted an Auto ISO feature. This creates what is essentially an Aperture AND Shutter Priority Mode. I can dial in the M mode fixed aperture and shutter speeds I want and let AE determine the ISO setting needed. I can set the shutter speed I need and the aperture I want to track subjects under changing light conditions. No way is provided to set exposure compensation while using M Mode - a shortcoming that I'm still hoping Canon will fix in their future bodies - or via a firmware update.
I frequently say it, but if the shot is OOF (Out of Focus), the best image quality in the world is not going to save it. AF performance matters (unless you are using manual focus of course). The Canon EOS Rebel Series DSLRs historically have an entry level AF system with basic functionality. The T2i's 9-point AF System is derived from the Canon EOS 30D's AF system. The center AF point is a cross-type center point sensor while the other 8 AF points are horizontal line-only sensitive. With an f/2.8 or faster/wider aperture lens, the center point operates with greater precision.
While not exactly the newest AF System available, the T2i works great in Single Shot mode. Focusing is fast (WAY faster than point and shoot cameras) and accurate.
In AI Servo mode, all Canon DSLRs attempt to predictively focus the attached lens at the precise location the subject will be at the moment the shutter opens. A camera's ability to focus track a subject rapidly approaching the camera is a differentiator between camera models. Model introduction timing puts an entry level DSLR evaluation in the wake of a review of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV - the best autofocusing camera I've used. Keeping perspective, the 1D IV is designed to be the best professional sports camera available - and costs more than six times as much as a T2i. So, considering its price, the T2i's AI Servo AF performs very well. I want to do more varied testing when time permits, but I'm getting a fair AF hit rate at around 60% with moderately-challenging subjects when using one of the best focusing lenses available - the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens. Nearly 100% of the OOF AI-Servo closing-action shots are backfocused - which is normal for misfocused DSLR AI Servo shots in my experience.
Serious sports photographers will want to move up to at least the xxD series bodies (the Canon EOS 50D is the current model) or better yet, to one of the xD series bodies for the best AF performance (and other action-oriented features).
As usual for Canon's non-1-Series bodies, the T2i requires a lens with a maximum aperture of at least f/5.6 or wider (as reported by the lens) for AF to function. If you are using AF, you are likely using the viewfinder. And the first thing point and shoot users will notice when peering into the T2i's viewfinder is that it is big. And the first thing that 50D (or similar body) users will notice is that the T2i's viewfinder is small. It is all about what you are used to, but the T2i has a relatively small body size with a relatively small viewfinder to match it.
As noted in the first chart in this review, the T2i viewfinder provides 95% coverage. You are going to have a little more subject in your image than you see in the viewfinder. I seldom hear people complaining about this - you get used to it. But you might need to crop out something unintentionally present in your image during post processing if you are not careful.
A never-seen-before-on-a-Canon-DSLR feature present in the T2i is the wide 3:2 aspect ratio LCD - matching the aspect ratio of the image sensor and better-matching the 16:9 HD Video aspect ratio. Probably we are all scratching our heads with the question - what took so long to think of this idea?
The actual dimensions of the real estate used by the new LCD are about 2.0 x 2.8" (50.5 x 71.2mm) - the T1i LCD measures about 2.0 x 2.65" (51.4 x 67.4mm). The actual LCD area used for reviewing an image on the T2i measures about 1.64 x 2.5" (41.6 x 63.6mm) and 1.56 x 2.4" (40 x 60.6mm) on the T1i. The small caliper number differences do not match my impressions - the change on the back of the camera looks bigger than the numbers indicate. I like what I see - I hope we will see the 3:2 aspect ratio concept continued.
The T2i's LCD is 3" and contains 1.04 million dots (a relatively small increase from the 7D's 3" 920,000 dot/VGA resolution) but it is not the new solid structure-type Clear View II LCD screen. The new LCD image quality is better than the T1i LCD - sharper, improved color and better contrast.
Here is a visual comparison of many Canon Digital SLR bodies.
Reviewing the differences between the Rebel T2i and the Rebel T1i/500D: First, the LCD size difference is obvious - and the LCD now takes up the space used by the button labels on the right. So, another new concept was employed - non-round buttons that have the labels printed directly on them. I'm not finding the shape of the buttons to be a significant difference in use. They both work fine when you get used to their location and feel.
Still round and in a completely new position is the video/Live View (now ubiquitous) start/stop button. Positioned right under your thumb, this button's new location is much better suited to the video task. The task of starting and stopping a video without camera motion is now easier to accomplish.
What you get with the T2i is very similar to the 7D's feature set (a very nice upgrade from the T1i's relatively limited video feature). Here is the list: MPEG-4 AVC video compression, variable (averaged) bit rate, Full HD 1920x1080p at 30/25/24 fps, HD/SD 1280x720p/640x480 at 60/50 fps (actual frame rates match the NTSC or PAL standards such as 29.97 for NTSC), .MOV file format and linear PCM audio recording. Full manual exposure control is available including ISO settings ranging from Auto (allows fixed aperture and shutter speeds), up to 6400. Auto exposure modes use center-weighted average metering. A new movie crop mode captures a 640 x 480 video from a small area at the centre of the image sensor - essentially providing an optical zoom mode.
The T2i includes the usual built-in, get-the-job-done monaural microphone and a 3.5mm jack for an external stereo microphone such as the Rode Stereo Video Mic. All compatible lenses can be used.
Video memory card requirements for video are Speed Class 6 or higher SDHC or SDXC. Recorded file size is limited to 4 GB per video clip (12 minutes at 1080p) and a single video cannot be longer than 29 minutes and 59.
DSLR video is a great feature that is being used by more and more people/companies/businesses. DSLRs, with their huge-to-video-camera-standards sensors, deliver impressive video image quality. The large sensor combined with the huge range of lenses available gives even those on a tight budget the ability to create incredible video projects utilizing shallow DOF and low/available light.
DSLRs are not a perfect-for-everyone video package. Though settings can be set fully automatically, recording a quality T2i video requires some forethought. Here is why: First, AF during video is available but not recommended - even by Canon. The contrast detection AF (using the shutter release button) that is available in video mode is slow and can completely ruin a segment while it tries to find the right focus distance ("focus pulling" is what the pros do). All lens focusing sounds are audibly recorded by the internal mono mic as are the aperture changes made by the auto exposure feature (unless exposure is locked or Manual Exposure Mode is used). If zooming or panning in auto-exposure mode, changes in scene brightness will cause undesirable exposure changes in the recorded video. All other camera sounds including image stabilization noises will be picked up - along with wind noise unless an external mic is used.
Put the camera on a tripod, manually focus the lens and life is much better. The quality from the built-in mic is not bad, but an external mic will definitely produce better results. And again, video quality is very, very high. HD video is a very nice and valuable feature added to an already great and affordable DSLR. If high end production video is for you, this camera quickly becomes bargain-priced.
Getting back to the above camera comparison ... Taking the place of the old video/Live View start/stop button is the new Quick Control Button. Press the "Q" and navigate an LCD full of settings using the Cross Keys. When the setting you want to change is selected, press Set and make the change desired.
Like the rest of the Rebel Series, the T2i has no top LCD. Shooting information is displayed on the rear LCD - until your eye is positioned near the viewfinder (sensors then turn off the LCD) or the shot timer expires (simply awake the camera to reactivate the display)
The Rebel series continues to utilize Cross Keys for making setting changes and for image review. The additional controls, including the Rear Control Dial, found on the higher model lines improves the user experience, but the Cross Keys work fine.
The T2i grip feels the same as the T1i - it works fine (and has a rubber surface) but is small. As for size, the T2i is obviously much smaller than some of the other Canon DSLRs (especially the 1-Series bodies) and not much larger than a Canon PowerShot G-Series camera. Small size is great for portability and for small hands. Those with large hands may find this little body somewhat hard to use - a larger body is definitely easier to control - especially with a large lens mounted. Adding the optional and easily removable Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip goes a long way to making the T2i more controllable.
Here is a DSLR top view:
Perhaps the first change from the T1i that caught your eye is that the Mode Dial is black with white printing again. The Mode Dial grip is also changed - I liked the T1i Mode Dial grip better (it was not as coarsely grooved), but the change is insignificant and both are very usable.
The T2i has a total of 14 modes available via the top dial. These modes encompass all needs from fully manual to fully automatic (green square mode) with many preset and creative modes in between. The recently introduced "CA" (Creative Auto) setting is again included. Creative Auto mode allows the photographer to adjust the shot settings using easily understood words instead of using f/settings and 1/zzz time value shutter speeds. These settings are displayed on the rear LCD while adjustments are being made.
As I mentioned before and as you will notice when comparing to the larger DSLRs, the T2i has no top LCD. All settings are visible on the back LCD. The ISO and shutter release buttons are the lone T2i top buttons - the rest of the buttons are found on the camera back.
Here is a size and weight comparison table of the various Canon DSLRs:
|Model||Body Dimensions||CIPA Weight|
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"||(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)||18.8 oz (534g)|
|Canon PowerShot G12||4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9"||(112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3mm)||13.7 oz (389g)|
|Canon PowerShot G9||4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7"||(106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5mm)||12.9 oz (365g)|
|Canon EOS M||4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"||(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)||10.5 oz (298g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"||(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)||14.4 oz (407g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)||20.5 oz (580g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)||20.3 oz (575g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm)||20.1 oz (570g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.7 oz (530g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.6 oz (527g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"||(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)||17.5 oz (495g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||18.4 oz (522g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"||(126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)||17.5 oz (497g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"||(127 x 94 x 65mm)||19.9 oz (564g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"||(127 x 94 x 64mm)||19.0 oz (539g)|
|Canon EOS 60D||5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1"||(144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm)||26.6 oz (755g)|
|Canon EOS 50D||5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"||(145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)||29.1 oz (826g)|
|Canon EOS 40D||5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"||(145.5 x 112 x 73.5mm)||29.5 oz (836g)|
|Canon EOS 30D||5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"||(144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm)||28.1 oz (796g)|
|Canon EOS 20D||5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8"||(144 x 106 x 72mm)||27.5 oz (781g)|
|Canon EOS 7D||5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9"||(148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm)||32.2 oz (914g)|
|Canon EOS 6D||5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"||(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)||26.6 oz (755g)|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"||(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)||33.5 oz (950g)|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"||(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)||31.9 oz (904g)|
|Canon EOS 5D||6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0"||(152 x 113 x 75mm)||32.0 oz (906g)|
|Canon EOS 1D X||6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"||(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)||47.6 oz (1349g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 157 x 80mm)||48.5 oz (1374g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 157 x 80mm)||47.6 oz (1349g)|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 158 x 80 mm)||55.5 oz (1574g)|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"||(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)||49.5 oz (1404g)|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"||(156 x 158 x 80 mm)||55.2 oz (1564g)|
Again, like the rest of the Rebel DSLRs, the T2i is small and light. I'm still waiting for a T2i shutter durability rating spec from Canon, but here is how the rest of the DSLRs stack up.
|Model||Shutter Durability Rating|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||100,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||50,000|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||50,000|
|Canon EOS 60D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 50D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 40D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 30D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 20D||50,000|
|Canon EOS 7D||150,000|
|Canon EOS 6D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||150,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||150,000|
|Canon EOS 5D||100,000|
|Canon EOS 1D X||400,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||200,000|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||300,000|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||200,000|
|Model||fps||Max JPG||Max RAW||Startup||Shutter Lag||VF Blackout|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.0||28/1140||7/8||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D||5.0||22/30||6/6||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D||5.0||30||6||.1s||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D||3.7||34||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D||3.7||34||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D||3.4||170||9||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D||3 / 2||830||5||.1s||110ms||150ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D||3.5||53||6||.1s||90ms||130ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D||3 / 1.5||n/a||5||.1s||90ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D||3.0||27||10||.2s||100ms||170ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D||3.0||14||4||.2s||100ms||170ms|
|Canon EOS 60D||5.3||58||16||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 50D||6.3||90||16||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 40D||6.5||75||17||.15s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 30D||5.0||30||11||.15s||65ms||110ms|
|Canon EOS 20D||5.0||23||6||.2s||65ms||115ms|
|Canon EOS 7D||8.0||110/130||23/25||.1s||59ms||100ms|
|Canon EOS 6D||4.5||73/1250||14/17||.1s||<60ms|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark III||6.0||65/16k||13/18||.1s||59ms||125ms|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||3.9||78/310||13/14||.1s||73ms||145ms|
|Canon EOS 5D||3.0||60||17||.2s||75ms||145ms|
|Canon EOS 1D X||12/14||180||38||.1s||36-55ms||60ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark IV||10.0||121||28||.1s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark III||10.0||110||30||.2s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II N||8.5||48||22||.2s||40-55ms||87ms|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark III||5.0||56||12||.2s||40-55ms||80ms|
|Canon EOS 1DS Mark II||4.0||32||11||.3s||40-55ms||87ms|
Again, Canon has not provided Shutter Lag and Viewfinder Blackout specs for the T2i. The Rebel bodies have never lead the frame rate race, but the T2i gains a slight speed improvement over its predecessors - but sacrifices the frame count buffer relative to the T1i.
To test burst rate, I shoot in M mode (wide open aperture, 1/4000 shutter speed), ISO 100, MF, IS off, lens cap on, and all noise reduction off. I clocked 8 shots in 2.192 seconds for a measured 3.65 fps rate followed by 1 frame every 1.05 seconds or so.
The T2i has a quiet shutter sound to go with its discrete size. Here are the MP3 clips.
Looking at the T2i / 50D burst rate comparison in another way: the 50D burst sequence is nearly twice as likely to have the exact frame you wanted in it. If you don't shoot burst sequences, the difference is irrelevant.
The T2i comes with a new battery: the small Canon LP-E8 Battery. I don't know what happened to the skipped LP-E7 battery name, but it is nice that the LP-E8 name matches up with the T2i's new Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip.
Canon rates the LP-E8 + T2i combination at 550 (440 w/ flash) shots. The T2i tracks 4 levels of battery charge on the rear LCD. With 1 bar remaining on my first LP-E8 charge, the shot count was 548.
My T2i battery disappointment is the new corded Canon LC-E8E Battery Charger that shipped with my T2i. I always love the Canon self-contained chargers that plug directly into an outlet - I don't want to deal with a cord - especially when traveling. A normal non-corded Canon LC-E8 Battery Charger appears in the user manual beside the LC-E8E. Why didn't this one ship in my kit instead?
Want more battery life? Shoot in portrait orientation a lot? Want more control over your camera? Add a Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip. It accepts two LP-E8 batteries (or 6 readily available AA batteries in the included tray). Better yet, the BG-E8 provides a complete vertical grip with the appropriate buttons. The BG-E8 adds a lot to the size and weight of the T2i but it definitely makes the small body easier to control. It is easily installed or removed to give you the best of both worlds.
A BG-E8 enhancement over prior Rebel Battery Grips is an improved vertical/portrait orientation grip that better holds onto your hand. I like the change.
The T2i is compatible with the small, inexpensive Canon wireless remotes including the Canon RC-1 Wireless Remote, Canon RC-5 Wireless Remote and the new Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote. Want to be part of your on family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord? This is the accessory you want.
When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses and other accessories. The camera body is of course the base and a lens is the other essential piece of kit. The T2i is available in a body-only or in a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. The kit lens is decent and is a good value when purchased this way. Because the quality of the lens makes a big difference in the image quality delivered by a DSLR, I recommend buying (now or later), one of the better Canon general purpose lenses available. As of review time, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens and Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Len are my most-recommended general purpose APS-C/1.6x lenses with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens being excellent alternatives.
The product support provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is. Repair service, though I have seldom needed it, is fast and reliable.
Writing a complete DSLR review is a daunting task these days. A complete walk-through of the features in the T2i would fill a book. So, I recommend the book that Canon wrote - the T2i owner's manual. It is 260 pages long and is linked below. The manual will tell you all about features such as Auto Lighting Optimizer, Peripheral Illumination Correction, remote control via a USB-connected computer, the Self-cleaning Sensor, the built-in flash, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority ... and many, many other topics.
The T2i is a great choice for someone moving up to a DSLR from a smaller, less-capable camera and a great upgrade for anyone shooting with a two or more generation old Canon EOS Rebel/zzzzD/zzzD body. Those with a Rebel T1i / 500D will need to look carefully at the new features before making an upgrade as these owners have the least to gain.
So once again, the Rebel Series has a new leader - the Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D.