I recently picked up the Canon EOS 550D Rebel T2i DSLR with my friend and collaborator, Nadia Tan (we had initially planned on buying a 7D before reading about the release of this little camera), and while on a location scout in Toronto’s Chinatown East on Tuesday I shot this footage at Wong’s Aquarium. The video specs of the T2i match those of the 7D exactly: It shoots 1080p HD @ 23.98fps (as well as 25 and 30) and 59.94fps in 720p, it has the same 18.7 megapixel CMOS sensor of the same size (22.3mm x 14.9mm , APS-C dimensions), it has an ISO range of 100-6400 and extended to ISO 12800, it shoots the same 16:9 H.264 codec, and the camera body, albeit noticeably smaller than and not as rugged as that of the 7D, includes the same bright, beautiful 3″ LCD screen. Like the 7D, it also has the problem of disabling Live View mode when sending a signal out to an external monitor via mini HDMI, so unless you can bypass this problem by operating off of an onboard and sending a signal to additional monitors from that, you’re pretty much stuck with only being able to offer playback as a means for others to see what you’re shooting.
On a 16GB SDHC card I can shoot 48 minutes of footage at 1080p… perfect for some of the plans I have to take this camera out on doc shoots, and a short narrative being shot on my T2i is already in the works for early April. I’ll post tests and samples as I get them.
In the meantime, check out my scene from Wong’s Aquarium- and if you’ve been thinking of buying a 7D primarily for its video capabilities, I strongly suggest you consider the T2i instead!
To think that just five years ago I paid five times as much for my (standard def!) DVX100a… HD is now remarkably inexpensive and the glorious, lush selective focus possible with the larger sensors offered by these HDSLRs means filmmakers need no longer equate “video” with “infinite depth of field” and a therefore “uncinematic” look. On top of this, the accessibility of industry standard quality is creating a shift in creative power and giving a leading edge to those with big ideas over those with big toys… I love perusing the vimeo and youtube channels and seeing what people are up to.