Product: EOS Digital Rebel T2i
Manufacturer: Canon
MSRP: $900
Lowest Historical Price: $810 History

Introduction
Move over T1i, the Canon EOS Rebel T2i is here to take the mantle as Canon's newest flagship entry-level DSLR. The T2i boasts an 18 megapixel sensor, 1.04 million pixel 3:2 LCD screen, as well as a 63-zone metering sensor and improved movie functionality -- features borrowed from its big brother, the Canon 7D. Add to the mix some full-featured HD video recording, and I knew I had to take the plunge and check it out.



Specifications
Canon seems to have pulled out all the stops for this model and stuffed it with features that put it very close to the next model up, the Canon 7D. With a similar 18 megapixel sensor, 63-zone iFCL metering and full HD video mode with manual exposure control and selectable frame rates, those considering their first DSLR or a second one for shooting video would be hard-pressed to not give this camera some serious consideration. Rounding out the rest of the features is a 3.0” 3:2 1.04 million pixel LCD screen, 3.7fps continuous shooting, 100-6400 ISO, and an external microphone socket.



Review
At first glance, the T2i looks and feels like any other DSLR from Canon's Digital Rebel line: compact, lightweight, and plasticky. The build quality is nothing to write home about. The camera body with kit lens is small and lightweight-feeling, and the handgrip is deep and more than adequate. These qualities, together with Live View, make shooting one-handed easy and secure. Since the buttons are fairly small, it's easy to accidentally press the wrong one. Still, the T2i is a far cry from the early days of bare bones entry-level DSLRs, which Canon pioneered.



The menu system for the T2i is straightforward, easy to read, and very intuitive. The camera inherited the ”quick control” button from the 7D, which allows you to change various shooting settings onscreen, eliminating the desire or need for many external one-use buttons.

Continuous shooting speed is a decent 3.7fps, an improvement over the T1i at 3.4fps and adequate for anyone who's looking at a camera in this price range. Autofocus is speedy and locks on quickly. However, using autofocus in conjunction with Live View slows AF quite a bit, although it's still very accurate.

Image quality is excellent with low noise across the entire ISO range. Some images are not the sharpest when viewed at 100%, but that's likely the fault of the kit lens and not the camera itself. Upgrading to higher quality optics is a must if you want to bring out the most in this camera. Compared to the sub-300k pixel LCDs of past digital cameras, the one on the T2i is amazing to look at. It features an anti-glare and anti-smudge coating and over a million pixels in a 3:2 format, so you don't have to deal with black bars when viewing pictures you've taken.

One of the T2i's headlining features is the greatly expanded movie mode for a camera in this price range. It can record 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24 frames per second or 720P at 60 or 50 frames per second. Throw in the ability to manually adjust exposure and use an external microphone, and you have the perfect camera for any budding filmmaker.



Conclusion
The number of improvements and features added to the T2i are impressive, but they come at a price. At the time of this review, the T2i runs for about 850 USD with kit lens. For a camera in this price range, the build quality and general feel are somewhat lacking. Many cheaper alternatives with slightly lesser specs, such as the T1i or the Nikon D5000, are available for the budget-minded first-time buyer. I would still recommend this camera to those looking for a worthy upgrade or anyone in the market for a backup DSLR.

Image Gallery


Sample Pictures

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    daihung Ben's cred: 26
    Posted 1:34 pm PDT 06/2/10

    I want one!

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    TheBS Ben's cred: 129
    Posted 1:51 pm PDT 06/2/10

    Putting the build quality aside, the T2i is an outstanding camera at an outstanding price. It doesn't have all of the advanced controls, but anyone who isn't a dSLR expert really won't appreciate them anyway. The T2i is a great mid entry-level camera, and the features are the best in its class. It's worth the few extra bucks over a typical entry-level dSLR.

    If build quality is really an issue, I'd skip the Nikon D5000 (sorry, I care none for Nikon D40/D60/D3000/D5000 units -- I'd go right to a D90 or better) and go for something like the sub-$500 Pentax K-x. You'll save a lot of money and get one heck of an entry-level camera for the price. The K-x w/18-55 and 55-300 lenses is often under $700 total.

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    madpunter Ben's cred: 44
    Posted 2:07 pm PDT 06/2/10

    Got mine at Beach. Cash back from Bing. Bought the packaged printer, got the $400 rebate, sold the printer on ebay.

    At the end of the day, I got the camera and kit lens for <$600.

    Beach shipped quickly and I received it in under a week.

    Now, on to choosing my next lenses...

    Ben, give us some deals on Ef/S lenses please

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    mrmorality Ben's cred: 57
    Posted 2:11 pm PDT 06/2/10

    Who cares what Ben's thinks of cameras? If you buy a camera on their advise you're about as stupid as you look.

    HAVE A SUCKER!

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    superd00d3 Ben's cred: 321
    Posted 2:41 pm PDT 06/2/10

    #4, by reviewing an item Ben can claim it as a business expense. Ben is just stickin it to the man. Smile

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    fossil Ben's cred: 39
    Posted 5:00 pm PDT 06/2/10

    get us out of the recession and spend like there is no tomorrow.

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    gsanchez Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 7:07 pm PDT 06/2/10

    #2 why would you skip Nikon? Just curious... I just bought my wife one for her B-Day for $850... Every time I make a big purchase I often feel a lil regret...

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    peanut_man Ben's cred: 17
    Posted 7:54 pm PDT 06/2/10

    #7, I think #2 is referring to build quality which means better material / manufacturer used for the camera body construction. But honestly, unless you are pro and looking to exceed the 300,000 to 500,000 rated shutter life, it's really just a 'feel good' factor for non-pros. And if you have $ to spend, that's not a problem.

    Unfortunately I think too many people spend way too much time digging thru spec numbers, and online reviews (oops sorry ben), and shots of test charts without actually taken the particular camera(s) and lens(es) out for a real photo session. (See "Online Expert: Level 0" here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/7.htm) In truth, the modern DSLR cameras perform so well, it almost doesn't really matter what you use. Individual photography knowledge and skill vastly impact the result more than what the camera itself ever could.

    That said, I bought the D5000 refurb with kit lens a few months back for $525 and I think I have gotten fantastic results with it. Here's my collection of pics taken from a D5000, mostly on the kit lens or the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G or the (cheap!) Tamron 10-24mm:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39280169@N04/sets/72157623525415850/

    Would you think my photos will be better if I have spend almost double that on a T2i? I highly doubt it. Your Camera Doesn't Matter: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm

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    jughead Ben's cred: 47
    Posted 9:28 pm PDT 06/2/10

    If the T2i has the color meter and new AF from the 7D, it's a keeper. The 7D is a huge leap forward for Canon.

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    watapolo Ben's cred: 11
    Posted 9:37 pm PDT 06/2/10

    Nice 1080p... I heard has similar processor as the 5D. It is just that T2I is cropped.

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    gsanchez Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 10:27 pm PDT 06/2/10

    #7 Those are some amazing pics, Thank you for the reply!! Makes me feel way better about the purchase!

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    fossil Ben's cred: 39
    Posted 11:05 pm PDT 06/2/10

    look at these measurbators. haha....

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    skygoing Ben's cred: 3
    Posted 12:14 am PDT 06/3/10

    After debating for a while I picked up a Nikon D5000 with the basic lens and a LowPro bag, 8 Gig card, extra battery, and wireless remote while on vacation in NYC the other day at B&H. It's a refurb, but for all that after tax I was still under $640 and I have to say, I'm in fricking love with the camera! I am one of those guys who'll deliberate for weeks without end before I buy anything more than $100 or so if there are similar products in the market for similar prices. After going back and forth between a T1i/T2i/D5000 I finally just put all of them in my hand and went with what felt the most natural. In the end all of them are great cameras and it's the photographers skill and creativity that'll make the difference, at this level of camera.

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    lawnsprinkler Ben's cred: 191
    Posted 3:59 am PDT 06/3/10

    Nikon D90 supposedly has better build quality but this has better features. If you need 1080p or a mic input for video, get this. If you're not intending to invest thousands more dollars on an integrated system that Nikon and Canon offer, get the much cheaper Pentax kx so you can buy an old Pentax k-mount lens or two & take advantage of the camera's built in image stabilization. According to dpreview, the Pentax kx has better build quality as well.

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    peanut_man Ben's cred: 17
    Posted 7:46 am PDT 06/3/10

    Not to offend anyone, but wanted to point out something interesting. #14 gives advices on the Nikon D90, Canon T2i, and Pentax Kx. But he/she doesn't own any of them.

    I find it interesting and quite amusing. And even better, I'm certain a lot of people reading this will take that advice to the heart.

    See my 'advice' on #8 post, where I actually own the D5000. Smile

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    anonymous8 Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 9:17 am PDT 06/3/10

    #15, your D5000 is a piece of crap if you don't rely so much on Photoshop. You should just stick with a PS camera and save your $ upgrading software. Hell yea equipment does matter!

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    peanut_man Ben's cred: 17
    Posted 9:41 am PDT 06/3/10

    anonymous8 wrote:
    #15, your D5000 is a piece of crap if you don't rely so much on Photoshop. You should just stick with a PS camera and save your $ upgrading software. Hell yea equipment does matter!


    LOL, I'm surprised it took a while before we see comment like this. I'm disappointed that there's no profanity, BTW. This is Ben's Bargains, after all.

    Now that you mention it, I do use PnS quite a bit. Here's some sample from my Canon G11 (which i since replaced w/ an S90 for ease of travel):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/39280169@N04/sets/72157623140602729/

    Nope, equipment doesn't matter. If you can take good pics, you can take good pics. Neither the D5000 nor the PhotoShop software take a trip to NYC or Colorado or PA, look at the scene, wait for the right time, frame it, set the aperture, shutter speed, etc. and finally press the shutter.

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    boogieman Ben's cred: 29
    Posted 10:01 am PDT 06/3/10

    I don't think the purpose of Ben's review is to start the discussion about which is better. His point is simply this is a good camera. It's no doubt Nikon lovers would say Nikons are better than Canon. At the entry or near entry level, if you also want to shoot 1080P video, then all Nikons are out. If you just want to shoot photos, then you can basically take your pick. Sporting a new camera with impressive numbers doesn't make anyone a photographer. However, after using the hardware a while, everyone develops a preference. The argument is only for the guy spending the buck in justifying their purchase. The rest of the world just wants to see beautiful pictures.

    BTW, great pix Peanut_man! Thumbs up from a Canon shooter appreciating art from a Nikon.

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    anonymous8 Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 3:42 pm PDT 06/3/10

    Peanut man...anyone that owns a camera can tell right away most of your pics were photoshopped. I am not trying to argue which one is better, but your claim about "equipment does not matter" is simply generalizing. Most of your landscape pic were photoshopped, or else, they won't look as good as they are on your flickr page.

    I own a Canon 5D Mark II and some nice L series lenses. Before this, I owned a Canon 40D with regular lenses. As many have pointed out, the L series lens with full frame body DOES make a difference especially if you are shooting under extreme condition, even if you are not a pro. Everybody knows that. You might start out as an amateur today but as your photography skills get better and better, I am sure you would want to upgrade to better equipments, with higher shutter speed, low noise to high ISO ratio, etc etc.

    #14 was just addressing his/her own opinion and you were stoning the comments. And you think you are the Nobel man trying to speak nice here? Lol.

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    peanut_man Ben's cred: 17
    Posted 4:17 pm PDT 06/3/10

    anonymous8, yes, I do use Photoshop extensively. So do million of great photographers out there. As the matter of fact, with your nice camera there, you no doubt shoot in RAW and that implies post-processing anyway. BTW, not all of my photos on Flickr are processed with Photoshop, there are plenty that I posted straight from camera. I produce images that I like. Camera, lenses and Photoshop are simply tools that I use.

    Canon 5D Mark II? L lenses? Great stuff. The fact that you have to gloat about your expensive equipment proves my point. People spend too much time worrying about equipment and spec and not really spending enough time to learn to take photograph (or how to use Photoshop, if you are still stuck at on that.). Equipment making a 'difference' (and I agree they do, technically) has nothing to do with making great photos. As the matter of fact, now I know why my comment about "equipment doesn't matter" is so offended to you. Smile See "Rich Amateur: Level 2": http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/7.htm

    Equipment does not matter. Give a Canon 1Ds-Mk IIIs to a monkey, it will produce garbage, if it can find the shutter release. Give an iPhone to a master, he will produce absolute art:

    http://www.chasejarvis.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=0&p=5&a=0&at=0

    Wants more proof? Look at the last 10 photo contests in dpreview.com. Only 2 out of last 10 winners were using full-frame camera. Buying expensive, technically high-spec camera does not make a person a better photographer:

    Challenge: Ewww What IS that?, winner uses Canon Rebel XS
    http://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=253139&View=Results&Rows=4

    Challenge: Sports played in the air, winner uses Canon 5D
    http://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Entry.aspx?ID=253004&View=Results&Rows=4

    Challenge: Beautiful women in odd environments..., winner u

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