Canon EOS Rebel T2i Preview

Canon is adding a new Rebel to their lineup of cameras. The Canon EOS Rebel T2i has an 18MP APS-C crop sensor, full HD video capability at 1080p with frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p, and will become their flagship model in the Rebel series. It’s a hybrid between the Canon EOS 7D and the Rebel T1i, sharing characteristics of both models, with a few new features unique to the Rebel T2i (new 3:2 ratio 3" LCD, with a 1.04 million-dot resolution, new “Movie Crop” mode).


Rebel T2i Key Features

  • 18MP CMOS sensor with a 4-channel readout (the 7D has an 8-channel readout)
  • ISO 100-6400 (up to 12,800 with boost)
  • DIGIC 4 Processor
  • 3.7 fps continuous shooting speed (34 high-quality JPEGs, 6 RAW)
  • 9-point auto focus system
  • metering is 63 zone dual layering
  • movie mode: 1080p at 24, 25, and 30 frames per second (fps), 720p at 50 and 60 fps
  • manual exposure (like the 7D)
  • external stereo mic input
  • new movie crop mode
  • new 3" LCD with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1.04 million dot resolution
  • Quick control button
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (adding compatibility with SDXC cards)
  • size/weight: 5.1×3.1×3.0 inches (close to the T1i) weight 18.7 oz
  • number of shots with battery: 550 shots with battery

The Rebel T2i gets a boost in megapixels—18MP, same as the 7D (compared to 15MP on the T1i). The new hi-rez resolution on the 3" LCD screen outshines the 920,000 dot resolution on the 7D and the T1i, and the new CMOS sensor is designed specifically for the Rebel T2i.

The continuous shooting speed is increased to 3.7 fps (the T1i is 3.4 fps), but lags behind the 7D, which shoots 8 fps. The buffer can now hold up to about 34 large/fine JPEGs (or 6 RAW images). The T2i has a 9-point AF system with a center cross sensor (high precision when used with lenses f/2.8 or faster) (same as the T1i, the 7D has a 19-zone AF system).


As stated above, the T2i gets the same video performance as the EOS 7D: full HD 1080p video resolution at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second (fps), or 720p at 50 or 60 fps. This certainly is a step up from the T1i with its 1080p HD video at only 20 fps. Also similar to the 7D is the in-camera movie editing feature: you can clip or cut some of the movie and resave to a new file in camera. A new feature unique to the T2i is the “Movie Crop” mode. This mode uses the middle part of the sensor to magnify by 7×. This mode only works in Standard Definition.

The Rebel T2i is like a baby brother to the EOS 7D, sharing many characteristics, and with features more advanced than the T1i. Overall, the Rebel T2i looks like a strong contender in the crop-sensor DSLR market. In the Rebel line, the XSi will be discontinued, the XS is positioned as the entry-level model, the T1i is the mid-level model, and the T2i will become their flagship Rebel DSLR.

Pricing and Availability

The price point ($799 for the body only) is about $1000 less than the EOS 7D, and the same as the initial release price of the T1i, $899 for the kit (with the 18-55 IS lens), and will be available in early March.

A few accessories will also be available for the Rebel T2i.

  • new battery grip, the BGE-8
  • new battery LP-E8 (no news from Canon as to why they’re releasing a new battery)
  • new remote control RC6

Original text ©2010 Hannah Thiem.

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    • Wow - so many classes of camera's from Canon. I'm kind of confused. If the 50d and it's predisesors were suppose to be for the photo enthusiast, and Mark series for the Professionals, then what is the Rebel class for? My first answer was soccer moms, however this is a really nice camera for the price. This is easy a photo enhusiast/beginner pro in my opinoin. Do I have it all wrong?
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    • I have a 7D on my wish list. The T2i looks like it "might" give me very similar image and video quality as compared to a 7D. Any thoughts about this? I'm use to my 10D and 5D. I know I'd miss the rear control wheel but the $900 difference would fund some nice glass.
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    • Obviously I haven't had my hands on a T2i yet, so this is just a guess, but I suspect that image quality (at least at at lower ISO settings) will be very similar between the T1i and 7D. The 7D is faster because it uses dual processors and can read the data from the sensor twice as fast. The 7D also has a significantly more sophisticated AF system which I suspect will be better at AF tracking. I think Canon have said that the sensor in the T2i is not identical to that in the EOS 7D, but I think they also said that about the T1i and 50D. While they may not be the identical part, they appear to be very similar. So if the subject isn't moving fast and you don't need 8fps or a humongous buffer size and you're using ISO of (just a guess here) ISO 1600 or less then my guess is that the T2i will probably yield similar images to the 7D. I'm basing this on comparisons of previous Rebels with corresponding 10D/20D.30D/40D/50D models. The T2i does lack the rear QCD dial of course and I don't think it has AF microadjust either. It also only has a single cross type sensor (the 50D has 9). You may have to wait for the EOS 60D to get those!
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    • Beside what was stated above, the entry level is less robust, uses more plastic, and potentially smaller number of shutter actuation. No? Will there actually be a 60D? I assumed with the 7D going to a crop and with similar body specs to the xxD cameras; that they may have discontinued the xxD nomenclature.
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    • I suspect that Canon won't drop the xxD cameras yet. There's room between an $800 body (T2i) and a $1700 body (EOS 7D) for something else, probably priced around $1200, so I suspect that there will be an EOS 60D at some point and that it will be a camera with specs in between the T2i and 7D. That means an 18MP sensor, 9 point AF (all cross), 1080p HD video, 5-6 fps, 63 zone metering, ISO 12800, rear QCD, top deck LCD, upgraded rear LCD. If there is no EOS 60D then I think 50D sales may well start to drop significantly. I don't think Canon will leave a hole in their lineup for too long. Of course if the price on the 7D were to drop to, say, $1300 then a 60D wouldn't really be needed!
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    • And now with XSi or 450D has been discontinued, I wonder would there be any replacement for Canon Entry level consumer DSLR ? or will 500D will simply have its price reduced? because the competitor still got D3000 in its line up...
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    • How naive am I. I had always thought the Rebel was the "entry" level camera for DSRL's. lol
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    • Then I guess 450D is the entry level of the entry level DSLR's hehe...because, as a tight budget beginner with currently 400D in hand, I would personally wish for something like 450D, still with no video (to cut some budget) and hopefully a new metering system and sensor technology (adopted from 7D) as a replacement..hehe... :)
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    • Im planning on getting one of these. I've been holding out till the Rebel got up closer to 20 megapixels, so I can make almost full rez 16x20s. Looks like a winner of a camera. I skipped the last couple of Rebels, as I had the original, then the Rebel XT, then the XTi.
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    • Dxomark data indicates that it has less noise than 7D on ISOs between 100-800 and has about same noise upwards.
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    • Imho, the XXD series is one of the most influential series in photography. Pro quality camera's at a mid range price for the past 10 years! If anything, Canon should drop this new 7d "line" once it's cycle runs out, and replace the 50d AND 7d with a Canon 60d. Bring the best of both worlds into one body, and keep the bloodline going. The Canon 50d is in no way obsolete, and once replaced, will remain a key choice for photographers for years to come. This is evident in the 10d, 20d, 30d, and 40d which are still readily used.
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    • I've been a Rebel user since the XT, moved onto the Xsi, and will now likely get this new one. For those of us on a budget these cameras seem to offer the best bang for the buck, esp. if you follow the tech curve and upgrade every few years when a new feature (video in this case) or megapixels improve enough to make a difference. The light weight makes a big difference to me when climbing and skiing, and so far they have held up fine on many mountain adventures (I took the XT up Denali 5 years ago). I still pine for a 5DII, but can't afford to buy one of those every 3 or 4 years!
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    • I got one of these a week ago and I am absolutely delighted with it. Don't hesitate go out and get one. You will not be disappointed.
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    • I know that many here like the video aspect of the Canon T1i and T2i, but I wonder how much less they would cost without those features?
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    • Michael, I don't believe the video feature adds much to the cost at all.
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    • Some reviews I read say it feels plasticky like a toy. I did not like the feel of it that much UNTIL I put the accessory grip on it...and that sold it for me. I love this camera, and great value for what you get. Its like a miniature version of the 7D minus some of the more "professional" (traslation: complicated) features. I just paid 500 dollars for a professional photographer to take pictures at my wedding, and this camera takes far better pictures than than his camera (a Canon 20D). The kit lens is suprisingly good. However, I recommend getting a 100mm 2.8 or 1.4 EF lens...or even a wide 10mm or 18mm fixed lens (experst recomend it too at Canon EOS 550D reviews site) . This camera would be a great choice for semi-professional photographers who already had some good lenses, or just beginners with the kit lens. I wish it had a more rugged body, but you can buy camera armor for less than 50 bucks. Again, I love this camera and would recommend it to anyone.

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    • I started a summer photography project with a pair of 40Ds and ended up buying a 7D almost right away because of the better image quality at higher ISOs.  Much of my shooting was done in poor lighting where a flash was inappropriate.  My project was done on a volunteer basis but I had to try my best to impress my "customer" because there is a fair chance it could turn into a full time job. 

      For the last three months I have been running around with either a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 or 28-75mm f/2.8 on one camera and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 on the other.  Whichever lens I though I would use most was on the 7D.  I have repeatedly read about the T2i and wondered if it would make a better second camera for the 7D than my current 40D. 

      I have been shooting on full manual mode and like that the controls in this setting are essentially the same on the 7D and 40D.  Of course, both the 40D and 7D focus quickly and accurately no matter where I place the focal point. 

      Does anyone have any thoughts on how the T2i might do as a replacement for my 40D?  I think the ISO performance of the T2i would be a nice improvement but the single cross hair precision focal point seems like a step backward from the 40D.

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