Canon EOS Rebel T1i Review
The Canon Rebel T1i is considered the successor of the Rebel XSi; they are both very similar in design and weight. It's been followed up by the T2i, but since it costs a few hundred dollar less, that doesn't automatically mean you should buy the Rebel T2i. In fact, we think the T1i is a smarter buy for certain buyers, especially for entry level users.
On the outside, the Rebel T1i feels like just plastic, but the grip of the camera is comfortable, with rubber lining on areas held the most often. It features a 3'' LCD screen and the buttons are in a layout to make single-handed shooting possible. The buttons have different textures and shapes so it is easy to distinguish between each of them. The controls in general are well-placed, and very easy to locate.
On the top right panel of the camera, you'll find the main controls: power button, shutter button, command dial and mode dial. The dial is set on the opposite end of the dial, making switching between still photo and video unnecessarily awkward. There is also a pop-up flash on the T1i that is also on its predecessor, which pops ups 55mm above the lens. This is great if you like taking snapshots, but if you're planning to focus on flash photography, you might want to consider investing in a Speedlite.
On the back of the T1i is a 3 inch LCD screen. Around here, you'll find buttons to start video recording of activate live view. We like the LCD screen - it's big, bright, and you'll have no trouble looking at it in bright sunlight. When using live view, AF is pretty slow, but tolerable.
Shooting in live view is easy - just focus on a specific area and wait for the area to turn green to signify the area is in focus. You can also use face detection to set focus based on faces. If you want, you can also switch to Quick Mode, and manually choose an autofocus point from any of the 9 phase detect autofocus points. This method is pretty similar to using the optical viewfinder. No matter which method you use, the T1i will show you on the LCD what the final image will look like before you press the shutter. Very useful when you want to see the result of adjusting a certain setting. Though most "expert" photographers prefer to use the optical viewfinder, we think entry level buyers will actually use the live view more since the T1i's optical viewfinder is dim, and pretty small.
Let's discuss performance, one of the highlights for the Canon T1i. The T1i can load and shoot in 0.2 seconds, blazingly fast and certainly among the best in class. In bright environments, it can focus and shoot in 0.3 seconds; in low light it can do it in 0.6 seconds. Shot to shot times are also good, taking .4 seconds for both RAW and JPEG. The buffer size was greater than 20 for JPEG, 8 for RAW, and 5 for RAW + JPEG. When continuously shooting, one can achieve about 3 to 4 frames per second, making it able to keep up with objects or people in motion.
During our field tests, we found it hard to shoot fast moving animals and kids, especially in RAW. The buffer quickly filled up after just a handful of shots. We recommend using Large JPEG if you encounter this issue. That said, most beginners probably won't encounter this buffer limitation, but just want to keep you guys informed. Overall though, the T1i performs well in every aspect, and definitely among the best you'll find in an entry level DSLR.
Since the Rebel T1i featured a sensor with more mega-pixels, it's hard not to degrade image quality, but we're glad to say that even at high ISO settings, photos will be clear and sharp. In fact, the image quality for the T1i is probably the best in its class. We even cranked up the ISO to as high as 3200, we noticed few artifacts. Photos tend to turn out bright and saturated. Most cameras opt to make their colors more juicier, brighter, vivid and punchier to satisfy the normal consumer, in exchange for technically accurate colors, and T1i is no exception. But there comes a point where it's just a bit too much, and colors are far from accurate. We're glad to say the T1i doesn't stray too far.
The 18-55mm EF-S kit lens that comes with the T1i exceeded our expectations, and is a great value, adding just $100 to your total cost. We compared this lens to past versions, and the kit lens displayed better sharpness and less coma and chromatic aberration. Details are decent at wide angle, with good sharpness in the corners. Since the kit lens comes with image stabilization, you shouldn't have any problems in low light situations. If you're just starting out in your journey to photography, we highly recommend getting the kit lens, it's not too shabby. Experts may want to buy a more expensive, higher quality lens.
The new feature to the Rebel T1i is of course, the ability to record HD videos. The T1i offers a choice of 720p or 1080p. However, at 1080p, the camera operates at 20fps; for 720p, 30fps. Because of the lower fps at 1080p, you can expect jerky, or choppy videos if there is a lot of movement. The video can be set to autofocus, which will allow for clear videos, but requires little or slow movement of the camera. You can't change the shutter speed, aperture priority or ISO sensitivity, so it's not 100% perfect.
That said, it is kind of cool to be able to use a variety of Canon EF/EF-S lenses to shoot wide angle to long telephoto video shots.
The camera uses mono audio, but the video feature is still high-quality for its kind. However, there is no external microphone support. Like with most cameras, recording videos will take up a lot of space and a lot of battery.
-DSLR Camera with 3'' LCD Screen
-ability to record HD videos
-Light sensitivity ranges are ISO auto 100-3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12800
-Continuous shooting speed up to 3-4 fps
-Video uses built-in mono microphone
-Field coverage: 95%
-Optical stabilization prevents blurry pictures
- 3 inch LCD Screen
- High resolutions
- Takes photos well under low light and high ISO settings
- Fast continuous shooting speed
- CA Mode to easily change settings
- Videos can record up to 1080p
- Dial makes switching between video and photo awkward
- Video records in 1080p at 20fps, may end up in choppy look
The Rebel T1i is one of the best choices as an entry-level DSLR. It is easy to use, easy to understand settings, has a high resolution, large LCD screen, and the ability to record videos.
You shouldn't get it if you're just looking for a DSLR that can record videos; it is just an extra feature on the T1i. It works well under low light and high ISO settings and takes pictures fast. For those of you who have the money, we do recommend stepping up a few hundred dollars more to buy the T2i, but if money is a concern, the T1i is still a great option.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
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Prices last updated on: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:33:38 PST