Canon EOS Rebel T2i Review
Canon's DSLR cameras are as popular as they can get and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i is no exception. It's a great choice for photography enthusiasts, and beginners alike. If you're looking for a camera that offers the best value in performance and photo quality for under $1000, the Rebel T2i should your first option.
From the outside, it is clear that the Rebel T2i is small and compact for a SLR camera, weighing just 18.6 ounces. It is easy to hold and has a comfortable grip, making single-handed shooting possible. However, the dial on the top panel does not turn 360 degrees so switching from movie to a standard picture mode can be annoying.
The exterior and layout is similar to that of the T1i. The only changes are minor: the buttons are a little flatter, and they added a new dedicated button for entering the quick control panel. Like most of Canon cameras in the past, the T2i has a creative auto mode, which allows the user to change modes to create the desired look on their photos. Users can change the flash, depth-of-field control, exposure, shutter speed, and more. This mode is beginner-friendly because all the function changes made are automatic and one would not have to insert aperture numbers or exposure compensation numbers and anything too advanced.
Another change in the Canon T2i is a new button for live view and movie recording. It's located in an extremely convenient location, to the right of the optical viewfinder. In its old location is the quick menu button, which enables you to quickly adjust settings in the status display. The LCD screen also features a new 3:2 aspect ratio, so you now have a bigger screen to view your images. Overall, we found the Canon T2i one of the easiest, and intuitive cameras to use, and beginners and experts alike should have no problem getting adjusted.
Let's talk about photo quality. The image quality of the T2i is among the best in its class. This is not surprising since the sensor is very similar to that of the Canon EOS 7D (which is considered a more high-end camera). No matter what ISO sensitivity you use, colors are accurate with excellent dynamic range. Color accuracy is something a lot of experts argue about. Most cameras sacrifice accuracy in order to deliver vivid, bright, over-saturated colors. This is because this is generally considered more visually pleasing to most consumers. The Rebel T2i, on the other hand delivers more accurate colors, even if they will appear subtle to most people. If you prefer over-saturation, you can easily change the color settings.
The noise profile is solid, although nowhere near as good as competing cameras. When using an ISO of 800 and below, we noticed very little to no noise. When we went up a notch to 1600, some of our images lost some detail, but still managed good prints. When we went up to 3200, we noticed quite a bit of color noise, and you'll only be able to reproduce small print sizes at this high ISO sensitivity. When compared with other cameras like the Pentax K-X, the Rebel T2i displays a bit more noise at all the ISO levels. The K-X also preserves sharpness better as well, as details are softened more in the T2i, especially in higher ISO's. That said, the K-X does show more artifacts, and some people actually prefer the softness/more noise to the preservation of sharpness. It's all subjective.
The performance of the Rebel T2i is fast, and is considered one of the fastest in its class. It takes 0.3 seconds to take the first shot, .25 seconds to focus and shoot in good lighting, .3 seconds to focus and shoot in dim lighting, .6 seconds for shot to shot in RAW, .5 seconds for shot to shot in JPEG, and continuous shooting speed clocks in at 3.4 frames per second. The burst mode speed is the only area where the T2i is average compared to the rest of its competitors. But unless you're shooting extreme action sports, most people will be fine with this burst rate.
The Rebel T2i's most interesting feature is the ability to shoot high-quality videos that almost look like they came out of a movie. It is one of the best cameras under the $1000-range that capture with great video quality. Even though we don't usually buy cameras for the video quality, you never know when you'll feel the urge to experiment with shooting and playing around with videos. So, the ability to shoot video in manual is a great innovative feature, and it'll at least make you think twice before buying a handheld camcorder.
The 18-55mm kit lens is pretty fast, there is a lot of follow focus and depth of field, and the camera can perform well under many conditions, including with low light. It definitely beats kit lenses we've seen from Olympus, Pentax, and Sony. There are a few complaints we have though, such as obtrusive autofocus noise. Overall, it's a good value kit lens and only adds $100 or so to the price. If you're a beginner, definitely get the kit lens. If you're an expert, just buy the body only, and buy a better lens.
However, there is a skew when moving the camera around quickly. The autofocus of the camera may too slow, despite the quality of the video produced, leaving you with the option of manual focus. Because of this, you may want to think about getting a cheap tripod or a way to keep your video stable.
Like with your photos, you can edit video settings, particularly depth of field and focus if you want to experiment. In addition, there is a jack on the camera that you to insert an external microphone. If you're planning to use the video feature often, we suggest you buy an external microphone because the one built in is tiny and sound quality is not the best. However, on the Rebel T2i and most other cameras, videos take up a lot of space on your memory card and will use up your battery quickly. One minute under the highest resolution can take up about 300-350 MB of your card.
- 3 inch LCD screen
- Record HD videos
- Light sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400/12800
- Continuous shooting speed 3.7fps
- Can record in 720p at 60fps; 1080p at 30fps
- Average battery life of 550 shots
- Uses 9-point Autofocus center cross-type
- Excellent photo and video quality
- Compact size
- High resolution LCD screen
- Video resolution up to 1080p
- Features like CA Mode
- Performs well under low light
- Dial is inconvenient (Movie and Auto are on opposite ends)
- Videos may be shaky and have slow autofocus
The Canon Rebel T2i is a great choice and an amazing value. It serves lots of purposes, from taking pictures on a casual outing, to a vacation, to a formal event, and more.
You can experiment with features using the CA mode and enhance your photos. It's one of the better (and pricier) Rebel models, but is the improved one. With a video mode with resolution up to 1080p, it's hard not to take advantage of this feature. The quality of the video will make you feel like a professional.
Anyone interested in photography and wants to get started or needs a new, improved, and versatile camera should consider getting the Rebel T2i. Whenever a beginner to photography asks us what DSLR to buy, we almost always recommend the T2i. You'll be hard pressed to find another DSLR that offers this combination of excellent performance + image quality for this price.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:11:43 PDT