CANON EOS T2i/550D Review - Shoot to Kill? - Digital Photography School

CANON EOS T2i/550D Review – Shoot to Kill?

canon-eos-t2i-550d.jpg

Background on the Canon EOS T21/550D

With entry-level DSLRs, Canon has long walked a path of gradual development. When a new model pops out of the factory, the model it replaces stays in the catalogue but is sold at a lower price. It’s smart marketing.

Canon pitches the 550D at the top end of its Entry Level DSLR group, which stacks up like this (basic kit lens, US $):

550D            $900             18mp

500D            $800             15mp

450D            $650             12mp

1000D           $550             10mp

It’s a nice, logical spread of products, more so than Nikon’s 3 models and two sensor sizes. As I said: smart marketing. Predictably, the 550D borrows much from the 500D it one-ups. And just as predictably, it fires a second torpedo across the bow of the good ship Nikon whose D90 has reigned supreme in the <$1,000 DSLR market for 18 months. The first one was the 500D, and it didn’t really connect.

Value Proposition

Canon sums it up like this: Creative control with no compromise on quality.

The press release elaborates: ‘The EOS 550D redefines the boundaries of Canon’s consumer DSLR range, incorporating technologies and features more commonly found in semi-professional DSLRs into the compact, lightweight body favoured by consumers. With a newly-developed 18 Megapixel (MP) APS-C CMOS sensor, coupled with Canon’s advanced DIGIC 4 image processor and the ability to shoot Full HD movies, photography enthusiasts are empowered to explore new levels of creativity.’

What Canon did was to reach into the parts bin and put the 18mp sensor from its semi-pro 7D (with a couple of corners cut) into an entry-level body. Other features that come with the 7D sensor is an ISO range of 100 – 6400, 14-bit image processing for smoother tonal gradation and advanced iFCL exposure metering with 63-zone dual-layer sensor. And the cherry on the grapefruit: full HD video recording with selectable frame rates, manual control and support for an external stereo microphone.

Amazing Results, No Matter the Light. It’s a bold claim, as we’ll see. First, I have a simple question: who needs 18 megapixels in an entry level camera? Processing RAW images from a sensor that big on an ordinary PC is arduous task. Files are 25 – 30 mb each. The obvious answer is that Canon thinks that more pixels is what most of us want. Are we that gullible? I think it’s more likely boys with their toys stuff, Canon flexing its technology muscles at Nikon, ‘look at me, look at me …’

Sense and Sensors

Canon says its new gapless microlens design made it possible to raise the pixel count to 18mp while also raising the 550D’s high ISO capacity. The pixel density is 5.5MP / cm² compared to the Nikon D90’s 3.3MP / cm², and the Canon sensor has a smaller area as well (328 vs 370mm). The 550D sensor isn’t in quite up there with Nikon’s in DxOMark ratings http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database but it isn’t that far behind, so there’s some truth in Canon’s PR.

Source: Canon

Canon EOS T21/550D Build Quality and Handling

So the 550D is a 7D without the fast burst mode, the tough body and the dust sealing, but it’s well-enough built with polycarbonate over a stainless steel frame. The body is compact, no bigger or heavier than the Pentax K-x I tested last month, and just as black. The matt plastic looks classy and the camera feels good in the hand. Rubberised patches on the handgrip front and back make sure your fingers don’t slip. The bright 3” 3:2 format LCD monitor with 1 million dot resolution is a beauty.

The test camera came with the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, which looks more plasticky than its $500 price tag suggests. It’s also 50% longer than equivalent lenses from other makers, and a bit bulky for a walkabout lens. Worse, the inner tube droops when you walk about, at least on this sample. It doesn’t have a USM AF motor and, at 50mm, f/5 is as open as it gets so it’s not that fast across the zoom range.

Menus and modes

The layout of basic controls is pretty logical. The main differences from the Pentax or Nikon layouts are:

  • an on-off button next to the mode dial
  • an upright wheel for changing shutter speed, aperture and so on
  • A dedicated ISO button between the wheel and the mode dial
  • A Quickview button for quick access to the main settings

Navigation is pretty straightforward but I’m puzzled by the Quick View button. It gives you quick access to settings like flash compensation, white balance correction and image quality, but it also covers ISO setting, exposure control, focus mode, white balance and picture style, settings which already have dedicated buttons on the 4-way control and the camera body. Canon could’ve provided access to other functions instead.

Viewfinder

The Canon EOS T21/550D’s viewfinder feels a touch cramped next to the Nikon D90’s but looks generous compared to the D5000. It covers 95% of the scene with 0.87x magnification, and it’s bright with very clear numbers on the bottom row. The penta-prism of the Nikon D90 is an advantage when composing shots carefully and focusing manually, but I have a feeling that this isn’t the kind of shooter the 550D is aimed at.

Creative Options

That becomes obvious when you probe more deeply into the treasure chest of facilities. Alongside the usual PASM and scene modes, we have CA and A-DEP modes. CA stands for Creative Auto, which lets you adjust an on-screen slider to choose how much blur you want in the background of your subject. A second slider lets you adjust exposure compensation.

The touch-screen style composition makes getting the desired depth-of-field a doddle, while the A-DEP option simply adjusts the aperture in the opposite direction so that everything in the photo is sharp from front to back.

The CA mode also gives you quick access to the 550D’s image effects, like smooth skin tones for portraits or vivid blues and greens that will spice up landscape shots. Again, these picture styles have a dedicated button on the 4-way control. For adjusting contrast, saturation, colour tone within these styles, a trip to the menu is required.

Canon Can

Options for more demanding users include Auto Exposure Bracketing and White Balance Auto Bracketing. Canon also adds Auto Lighting Optimiser, Highlight Tone Priority and Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction, which work their magic on photos to fix any blemishes before they come out of the camera. Canon is pushing technology hard and here is the low-down on ‘how-do-we-do-it?’ http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=MultiMiscPageAct&key=EOS_Advantage_IQ&fcategoryid=139

Performance

The proof is in the eating, they say, and lovely photos came out of the 550D from the moment I started shooting. I was struck by colours that are very accurately rendered and excellent sharpness, from close-ups to landscapes. This is clearly a competent camera, with fast autofocus, crisp shutter action, spot-on metering in most situations and natural transitions in high contrast scenes. This is an easy camera to use and to like. It even cleans the sensor for you every time you turn it off.

The lens turns out to be very capable of resolving all the detail the 18mp sensor collects. Canon claims that the Image Stabilisation built into this lens provides four f-stops of shutter speed advantage. That’s a big claim and I have enough shaky shots to make me doubt it, but then again it could be me.

The only real stumbling block was RAW – none of my RAW converters had yet learned about the new Canon 550D files, which meant I had to install the one Canon supplied with the camera. In the end I decided I didn’t really need to learn yet another RAW converter. Also,  the RAW + JPEG files I shot were around 30mb in size, which is ridiculous for anything but professional purposes IMHO. Therefore I settled on the finer of the two 8mp JPEG settings on the menu. The shots were as sharp as ever, and a lot more manageable.

Low-light Shooting

I’d looked forward to testing the 550D in poor light, and it is competent here if not as good as Canon claims. Shots taken at 1600 are clean, shots taken at ISO 3200 are acceptable but I’d leave 6400 for emergencies and forget about 12,800. This one was shot at ISO 3200.

I’ve put more high ISO shots (and others) in the 550D photo gallery on my blog http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/canon-eos-550d-gallery.html

The low-light performance of the 550D is comparable to that of the Pentax K-x and Nikon D90/D5000. Nikon has a slight edge in DxOMark performance but that’s less obvious in the real world.

The Canon has a slight edge in colour rendering, to my eye at least. On the ‘Faithful’ setting (don’t you love it?), the D550 does a minimum of in-camera processing and the colours that come out of it are very natural.

Live View and Movie modes

The same button next to the viewfinder activates either, depending on the mode dial. Live View has the same problems with slow focus as its competitors, and an articulated screen would be nice to have for both these functions. Canon puts those screens on digicams, so it’s hard to understand why it’s missing here especially for video capture. The 550D’s video is now true HD format, has user selectable frame rates and provides control over apertures and shutter speeds.

Using it is easy as pie: Switch to movie mode, focus and press the liveview/movie button to start recording video. Pressing the shutter button while you are recording a video will stop the video and record a stills image. Check this site for some examples http://www.outbackphoto.com/CONTENT_2007_01/section_gear_cameras_2010/20100306_Canon_550D/index.html

Image Quality

On the whole, the 550D’s image quality is excellent, and it’s comparable to the Nikon D90’s output while providing much more resolution. I’m not sure what the average user would do with that much of a good thing, and I find the 18 megapixel sensor puzzling given Canon’s bold turnaround with their recent digicams.

18 months ago, Canon was leading the megapixel charge with the G10, which boasted 15mp. Then late last year, the G11 and S90 surprised the market with a 10mp sensor. Less of a surprise was that these cameras delivered improved image quality, less noise and better low light performance. So how come Canon’s DSLR division didn’t follow the same logic?

The DxOMark data show that, despite all that new technology, the 550D is not that far ahead of the 3-year old 10mp 40D. That makes me wonder if Canon couldn’t have produced a D90-beating sensor if it’d settled for 12 megapixels. Or 10.

 

 

Verdict

Does Canon have a winner? Yes. The market Canon is targeting with the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D is the buyer who wants quality equipment but doesn’t get carried away with the finer points and the creative possibilities they offer. Think of this camera as a serious point-and-shoot machine with a lot of clever automation. This isn’t meant as a put down to 550D buyers – I suspect a lot of sub-thousand dollar DSLRs are used in Auto mode these days, with a single 18–200 lens on the front.

The upside is that cameras like this make it easier for more people to take better photos, the downside is that refinements like those served up by the 550D will do away with the need to learn the basic principles of photography. Sure, you could argue that that’s been happening since the Kodak Instamatic saw the light of day.

The reality is that the DSLR market is under pressure from pumped-up digicams, and DSLR vendors have to make their low-end models more feature-rich yet easier to use. Nikon is heading the same way as Canon with the D3000 and D5000.

For advanced users who buy the 550D for what it is capable of, Canon has provided more than enough control, so the camera can serve two different masters. In other words, a keen shooter and a partner who’s an occasional shooter can happily share the same camera. The 550D really is as easy as you want to make it. I find some of the operational duplication distracting but others might see extra convenience in it.

Competition

Canon EOS 550D vs Nikon D90

The Nikon D90 is due for a major upgrade or replacement later this year. Right now, the 550D has more pixels, more automated shooting options for novices, 14-bit colour processing, a higher on-paper ISO option (12,800 vs 6,400), better live-view and better video facilities.

The Nikon D90 has the better viewfinder, better sensor, slightly better ergonomics, an LCD on top of the body, and Active D-Lighting said to more effective than Canon’s Lighting Optimiser. If you’re not a novice and mainly shoot stills, the decision will be tough but the Nikon may win. If you shoot a lot of video, then the Canon will be it.

Canon EOS 550D vs the rest

The 550D and D90 are about the same price – $900. You could save $150 and settle for a Nikon D5000. You’d lose the big penta-mirror viewfinder but keep the D90 sensor and gain an articulated screen. Or you can save nearly $300 and buy a Pentax K-x, which uses the same sensor as the D90 (I’m told), is well-built, comes loaded with features but misses out on a few conveniences.

You could also opt for the cheaper Canon 500D. If you already own one, the 550D probably doesn’t have enough extras to make you want to change over. In fact, the 550D is being squeezed by siblings on both sides. The price of the semi-professional 50D has dropped to – you guessed it – $900 (body only). It’s an older model but comes with a magnesium alloy shell, a bigger penta-prism viewfinder, 6.3fps continuous shooting, an upper LCD information screen and more. What the 50D doesn’t have is video of any kind.

Summary

The competitive picture above is merely a snapshot in time. The current $900 price tag for the 550D may seem a bit steep but the street price will drop over time. It’s not surprising that the 50D has dropped so much since it’s about to be replaced, and it’s telling that the Nikon D90 price has held rock-steady for 18 months. Nikon may not be in such a hurry to replace it but, when it does, you can rest assured that Canon will have a countermove already in the pipeline. These two companies watch each other like hawks. Meanwhile, the EOS 550D is a highly competent and desirable camera.

Get a Price on the Canon EOS T21/550D

Get a price on the Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens at Amazon.

A word on my methodology

I don’t test or review cameras the way DP Review or Steve’s Digicams do. I test cameras as a user, and that means I look for good design, ease of use and logical operation and navigation. Good design is about a great user experience, something very few companies are good at. Here’s a piece of my mind on the subject http://www.technoledge.com.au/pdfs/user-experience.pdf

Additional Resources

If you want all the gory details, look no further than DPReview

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos550d/page29.asp

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_550D_Rebel_T2i/noise_JPEG.shtml

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/eos_rebel_t2i-review

Summary
Reviewer
Kim Brebach
Review Date
Reviewed Item
CANON EOS T2i/550D
Author Rating
4

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Kim Brebach is a marketing professional whose experience spans over 3 decades in the IT industry. His interests include photography, cool technology, great music, theatre and books, wine and food, tennis and chess. You can find his photo blog at Get the Picture.

  • http://www.frombrandon.com Brandon

    I recently purchased this camera, and bought it after using the XSi (450D) Rebel for two years. I am definitely loving the upgrades, especially the better low light ISO handling. The screen is also gorgeous and is a pleasure to look at.

    The main reason I chose to upgrade, though, was for the video capabilities. I absolutely LOVE the HD video that comes out of this camera, however you should not buy this camera specifically for the video. DSLR video is still pretty clunky and it’s definitely not a “point-and-shoot” system just yet. Again, the video is amazing, but just like simply having a DSLR doesn’t make great pictures, neither does it make great video. It’s a tool, and you must learn how to use it well.

  • michael

    I just went with the Pentax k-x after comparing these two cameras I would say the pentax has much better build quality and I like the ergonomics better. With the money I saved I purchased a 50mm/f1.4 lens and I love it, getting great results.

  • Richard Salgado

    I was torn between the T2i and the Pentax K-x. I ended up purchasing the T2i because I did not want to buy another set of lenses. I am very happy with my purchase and still trying to learn every bit of it.

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason Collin Photography

    I teach photography lessons and have had a student recently with the T2i, as well as past students with the T1i:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2010/5/12/dslr-photography-lesson-with-mohammad-at-vinoy-park.html

    To me, the ergonomics alone would push me toward Nikon, from the buttons available on the camera body, two dials compared to one, the top LCD, etc. Nikon just needs to hurry up and get the D90 successor out.

    The photos from the T2i I saw from my student looked good, and Canon’s video ability is obviously better than Nikon, but I just cannot get passed the awkward ergonomics and lack of a top LCD.

  • ddr

    i thought it was well established that you get much more camera than a d90; the sensor in a 550D is almost identical, if not exactly the same, with a 7D. it performs better in low light and retains better details than a d90. the d90 has better dynamic range if i remember correctly. It was deemed that the 550d vs d90 comparison wasn’t exactly a fair one because the 550d was more technologically advanced and so much newer than the d90. the successor for the d90 will probably be better than the 550d (minus the video department), but at the moment the 550 is certainly best bang for buck.

    i think it was amateur photographer magazine that did an exact comparison between the two models.

  • http://crellen.com David Crellen

    Kim,

    Is the 7D superior enough to justify a $700 price difference from the T21/550? If so, can you explain why? I just shot a Canon “vimeo.com/Beyond The Still” video with a rented 7D and was not that impressed with the HD outcome. It doesn’t pan well, no smooth, auto zoom and the auto-focusing is nearly worthless. But, is the video capabilities of the 7D better than the T21/550? I assume the lenses are interchangeable between the two.

    Thanks
    –David

  • http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/ Kim Brebach

    David, the difference in the bodies – the 7D is a much bigger lump made of magnesium allow, dust-sealed and so on.
    If you don’t need the rugged body and extra bulk, the 550D is pretty close, check this link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYif6YYVlAw here’s a comparison of the video performance

    and here’s one that compares video performance – again very similar
    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/canon-rebel-t2i-550d-squares-off-with-eos-7d-in-video-performa/

    I think DSLR video on the whole still has some growing up to do.
    Kim

  • JAK

    For those that are not aware, Adobe now has the Raw update that includes the 550D-so no more using the Canon utility.

    I love this camera-I was a bit leary of buying it (was going to go with the 7D), but it has actually exceeded my expectations. It is well worth the money-a very good buy. Spent just under ~$1000 (US) less than I would have buying the 7D, and lenses…

  • JAK

    P.S. To answer the above question…The reason I went with the 550D instead of 7D ultimately, is because I wanted something that was less expensive, so then down the road when Canon’s (or other) next camera comes out-I can splurge on that-and then have two cameras. Instead of going with one that may be upgraded or similar to obsolete in the near or somewhat near future.

  • Sanddlife

    I just purchased the 7D, in fact, it arrived yesterday. The T2i is too small for my taste. Also, I wanted the faster shooting speed, build quality, and off-camera flash support. The T2i is probably a great camera, but to me, feels cheaply made.

  • con

    Love my T2i. Bought it two months ago.

    I’m very, very careful with my camera, so frankly, I don’t need a camera that has the structural integrity of a boulder.
    The ISO performance is great.
    The HD is great, and I use it quite often for projects. That was a big selling point for me. Mic input and all.

  • gametian

    Nice review. I have this camera for barely a month now. It was worth the purchase. I love the features. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the viewfinder as it only covers about 95% of the actual image. But now I was able to manage that limitation.

  • Gene

    Kim,
    I enjoyed your review but had more questions. Like David I was wondering the main/most important differences between the 7D and the T2i. Can you outline them? I saw your reponse but did not see what part or what about the 7D would justify paying the bigger price difference. I want to get the 7D but now that this camera is out I might be able to save some money. I am a semi pro, I get hired once in a while and plan on expanding my workload in the near future and I think the 7D would still fit for me mostly because it is more rugged. What do you think?

    “David, the difference in the bodies – the 7D is a much bigger lump made of magnesium allow, dust-sealed and so on.”

  • Gene

    I forgot to add, thanks in advance for any comments you leave…

  • http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/ Kim Brebach

    Gene, I don’t know the 7D that well. Your best bet is to check these two links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYif6YYVlAw here’s a comparison of the video performance

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/canon-rebel-t2i-550d-squares-off-with-eos-7d-in-video-performa/

    Best
    Kim

  • ahmet

    It is amazing that Canon still cannot beat the two year old D90 in terms of ergonomics and image quality.
    I sold my Rebel XSI due to the cumbersome manual control (more on this below if you are interested) and bought D90 and never looked back. T2i is the same as XSI camera by all practical purposes (except the movie mode).

    ———-
    My major ergonomics problem with XSI:
    I shoot with my left eye in manual mode. This means you need to be able to change aperture and the shutter speed as you compose through viewfinder. Canon designers were overly smart and placed the button that enables you to change the aperture right under your nose. I always found my right thumb fighting against my nose. I found this a very annoying and poor design. In addition, the hand grip is extremely small (and I have average size hands). My right pinkie is very happy with the D90 since it has its own place now.

  • kytra

    Nowadays Pentax K7 sells for 900 USD at reputable sellers.

    That is a steal price for a semi-pro DLSR so, except for the users with bigger investments in Canon gear, the Pentax K7 could be a very good option.

  • Qk

    Do you have experience with RAW format of 550D on linux? I wanted to buy this camera but I got some pictures from my friend and I have troubles with RAW format – in every soft I tried I got just zone from left top conner with crazzy colours…

  • http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/ Kim Brebach

    as I said, qk, I had enough trouble with the new RAW format in Windows using ACDSee. I’d imagine that open RAW converters will take a bit longer to cacth up.
    Kim

  • http://backpackcinema.com John Green

    I purchased a Canon G11 just before Christmas, and just got the new Canon Rebel T2i last month. I read with interest your comments about the 18mp sensor vs. the 10mp sensor on the G11, and I think I have an answer for why they didn’t try to beat the D90. The T2i/550D is, I think, targeted at videographers and cinematographers looking to get in on the HD-DSLR video revolution.

    These cameras truly are incredible: the T2i’s images are bigger and better at full resolution than my $5,000 prosumer video camera. As a freelance video producer, the T2i was like a dream come true: didn’t want to drop the money on a big budget still camera like the 5D Mk II knowing that its replacement, probably to be announced late this year or early next, will be the camera to wait for, while I acquire a set of good prime lenses and take advantage of the already stunning image quality of the T2i. I’ve already shot a promo on the T2i; can’t remember taking any stills on it yet except by accident.

    Keeping in mind that HD images are still only 2 megapixels, it makes sense to offer a high megapixel-count camera to HD cinematographers. You don’t need 18mp for stills, as I am well aware from my wonderful experiences with my G11. But for HD video, you’re looking for the kind of sharp image quality that 18mp provides in the compressed H.264 format the camera records to, especially when shooting 720p for the 60p fps rate you need to make smooth slow motion video.

    My only real complaint is that the lack of a swing-out viewfinder like the G11 has makes it very difficult to get a lot of shots. If they had put one of those on there, I guarantee it would have cut into the market share of the 7D. I’m betting the 5D Mk III has that swivel LCD; if it does, it will be an acknowledgment of the true power of the new DSLRs as HD cinematography tools.

  • http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/ Kim Brebach

    Thanks for that insight, John – hadn’t thought of video. Makes sense but, as you say, it makes no sense not to have an articluated screen like other Canons or the Nikon D5000.
    Kim

  • http://crellen.com David Crellen

    I recently shot a film using a rented 7D and used the video out connected to an external monitor. This works nicely by mounting a small, quality LCD monitor onto your tripod (or boom stand). Then, you can easily point and set the camera. Although I didn’t take any stills, this should also work in Live View mode for stills. I am assuming this also works with the Rebel T2i as that is what I am buying.

    I don’t think you can have a live feed into an iPhone or iPad. That would make a fantastic replacement for a swivel LCD. Does anyone know how to do that?

  • Rahul

    Planning to start learning Manual Mode 550D.. tips pls :)

  • http://millionclues.com Arun Basil Lal

    I bought the same last week, results are stunning so far. Even the very ordinary shots that I used to take with my point and shoot look so different with this one. This is my first DSLR, so I have to assume this is the way DSLR’s generally behave ;)

  • Cal

    Any recommendation for a memory card suitable for HD video? I noticed that my video is choppy and I assume it is because I don’t have a high speed memory card.

    A tip on cannon’s website ( canon.cameratips.com/t2i/canon-rebel-t2i-memory-card ) says “In order to shoot video on the T2i, you must have an SD card with a Class 6 rating or higher. Canon specifically states that with anything less than a Class 6 memory card, you will see problems with video recording and playback.” This person recommends “Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card with USB Card Reader TS16GSDHC6-P2″ going for $42 on amazon.

    Any experience with Transcend? A memory card survey on this website seemed to indicate Sandisk was nearly universal. It seems like an equivalent card by Sandisk costs considerably more (SanDisk Extreme HD Video – Flash memory card – 16 GB – Class 6 – SDHC SDSDRX3-016G-A21 $159.99 @ Best Buy).

    Am I comparing apples to apples? Thanks for any suggestions.

  • http://briard.typepad.com/get_the_picture/ Kim Brebach

    David, the tethering your desrcibe should work with Live View on this camera.

    Rahul, manual is pretty easy with these things, because the meter still works and tells you whether you need to increase or decrease exposure. This camera also has a magnificent screen so you can check your shots and make adjustments.

    Cal, I’d love to help but I’ve had no experience with SD cards for video.
    Maybe some of the other guys can shed some light on the question.
    Kim

  • Andry Larsson

    I wanna to get a new 550 viewfinder, anybody used Canon 550D Gigtube Digital Viewfinder? Self-portraits viewfinder,High-angle (position) viewfinder,Off-camera remote shutter release,Low-angle (position) viewfinder,but the screen pixels,is perfect if more higher

  • Elan

    Any one can suggest me, I am planning to buy digital SLR and I shortlisted Canon T2i and Nikon D90…..
    Still confusion with selection, any one suggested which one is the best with good quality of the pictures.

    I love photographic so I need good suggestion?

    If u could share your experiance so that would be help to find good camera.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/arunbasillal/ Arun Basil Lal

    @Elan

    I own a Canon 550D and the results are mind blowing. It doesn’t feel like an entry-level DSLR at all. I haven’t used a Nikon D90, but I can tell you this. Every penney you invest on a Canon T2i would be worth it :_

  • http://canoneosrebelt2ireview.net/ Rex Driscoll

    I’m still new in using a DSLR and I’m using the Canon EOS Rebel which is cool maybe because it its shocking features but it also even print some posters and billboards with good quality.

  • Raymond

    When you stated ” Who wants a start up camera with 18 pixles?” I think Cannon was targeting the semi-pro guys like me, who love to do online video but have always had issues with quality. I love that the T2i is loaded, through out and I love strapping it on my shoulder rig and putting the Rodes shot gun mic on it, Its probably because I think I look cool. Great blog, MY QUESTION IS HERE… I use Adobe I just got out of HD camcorders and bought the t2i… I do mostly wildlife and nature. What is the best settings for slow motion editing? I plan to do a lot of Slow motion in and out of my finished clips but I heard horror stories of jumpy effects if the settings are not aligned properly.

  • http://vimeo.com/user4375616/ Rob

    When it comes to any electronics (from vacuum cleaners to TV’s) I am very anal in my research before I buy and I have considered many things before ordering the 550D.

    The HD capabilities on this camera are unrivaled at this price range, which is my main interest, and I don’t have the extra £1000 to get a Sony Z1, which is really the only comparable HD camcorder IMO. I recently shot a promo music video (http://vimeo.com/20590376) and had the privilege of borrowing a 5D mk II. I don’t need to say how great it is; it earns its £2500 price tag, but like all DSLR’s it needs prepping to shoot video, but put in the time to learn and the results are great.

    From what I have seen the difference in price between the 7D and 550D is build and better rate of fire in still mode – usually only required for the serious photographer, which I am not.

    As for slo-mo Raymond, 720p at 60fps is obviously the main settings and I get better results in AE than Premiere, but for truly great results use Twixtor, for the other details try commenting on these good slo-mo vids (http://vimeo.com/groups/37794/videos/15439549).

  • phil

    man im just soaking all of this in im thankful for all of your post i have both cameras but i only been using my t21 im new with cameras what is the best lenses you guys recommend ?

  • Pat McAlexander

    I use a USB cable to download pictures to my computer. Can I get a USB cable to use with the Canon T2i?

  • nik

    i’m using 550d.. don’t hav any problems with it.. except when i click in medium light…when i increase my iso i get little noise…. i compared with nikon d5100 keeping same settings.. my pictures are too dark than the nikond5100.. is my sensor so bad??? what is the problem??

  • LT

    Hi Kim
    For a person who is not interested in video capabilities, what are your thoughts on going for a used 40D vs a new Ti2? I’m mainly interested in image quality and am thinking that investing in good lenses rather than a new body might be the way to go. My interest is in landscape/outdoor photography. Overall, how does the 40D stack up against the 550D in that regard? 10MP vs 18MP?

Some older comments

  • LT

    November 17, 2011 04:38 am

    Hi Kim
    For a person who is not interested in video capabilities, what are your thoughts on going for a used 40D vs a new Ti2? I'm mainly interested in image quality and am thinking that investing in good lenses rather than a new body might be the way to go. My interest is in landscape/outdoor photography. Overall, how does the 40D stack up against the 550D in that regard? 10MP vs 18MP?

  • nik

    November 7, 2011 11:29 pm

    i'm using 550d.. don't hav any problems with it.. except when i click in medium light...when i increase my iso i get little noise.... i compared with nikon d5100 keeping same settings.. my pictures are too dark than the nikond5100.. is my sensor so bad??? what is the problem??

  • Pat McAlexander

    August 22, 2011 08:13 am

    I use a USB cable to download pictures to my computer. Can I get a USB cable to use with the Canon T2i?

  • phil

    April 9, 2011 10:09 am

    man im just soaking all of this in im thankful for all of your post i have both cameras but i only been using my t21 im new with cameras what is the best lenses you guys recommend ?

  • Rob

    March 4, 2011 09:07 pm

    When it comes to any electronics (from vacuum cleaners to TV's) I am very anal in my research before I buy and I have considered many things before ordering the 550D.

    The HD capabilities on this camera are unrivaled at this price range, which is my main interest, and I don't have the extra £1000 to get a Sony Z1, which is really the only comparable HD camcorder IMO. I recently shot a promo music video (http://vimeo.com/20590376) and had the privilege of borrowing a 5D mk II. I don't need to say how great it is; it earns its £2500 price tag, but like all DSLR's it needs prepping to shoot video, but put in the time to learn and the results are great.

    From what I have seen the difference in price between the 7D and 550D is build and better rate of fire in still mode - usually only required for the serious photographer, which I am not.

    As for slo-mo Raymond, 720p at 60fps is obviously the main settings and I get better results in AE than Premiere, but for truly great results use Twixtor, for the other details try commenting on these good slo-mo vids (http://vimeo.com/groups/37794/videos/15439549).

  • Raymond

    February 25, 2011 04:01 am

    When you stated " Who wants a start up camera with 18 pixles?" I think Cannon was targeting the semi-pro guys like me, who love to do online video but have always had issues with quality. I love that the T2i is loaded, through out and I love strapping it on my shoulder rig and putting the Rodes shot gun mic on it, Its probably because I think I look cool. Great blog, MY QUESTION IS HERE... I use Adobe I just got out of HD camcorders and bought the t2i... I do mostly wildlife and nature. What is the best settings for slow motion editing? I plan to do a lot of Slow motion in and out of my finished clips but I heard horror stories of jumpy effects if the settings are not aligned properly.

  • Rex Driscoll

    February 11, 2011 12:05 am

    I'm still new in using a DSLR and I'm using the Canon EOS Rebel which is cool maybe because it its shocking features but it also even print some posters and billboards with good quality.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    November 27, 2010 11:36 am

    @Elan

    I own a Canon 550D and the results are mind blowing. It doesn't feel like an entry-level DSLR at all. I haven't used a Nikon D90, but I can tell you this. Every penney you invest on a Canon T2i would be worth it :_

  • Elan

    November 27, 2010 03:21 am

    Any one can suggest me, I am planning to buy digital SLR and I shortlisted Canon T2i and Nikon D90.....
    Still confusion with selection, any one suggested which one is the best with good quality of the pictures.

    I love photographic so I need good suggestion?

    If u could share your experiance so that would be help to find good camera.

  • Andry Larsson

    August 21, 2010 01:14 pm

    I wanna to get a new 550 viewfinder, anybody used Canon 550D Gigtube Digital Viewfinder? Self-portraits viewfinder,High-angle (position) viewfinder,Off-camera remote shutter release,Low-angle (position) viewfinder,but the screen pixels,is perfect if more higher

  • Kim Brebach

    July 22, 2010 11:06 am

    David, the tethering your desrcibe should work with Live View on this camera.

    Rahul, manual is pretty easy with these things, because the meter still works and tells you whether you need to increase or decrease exposure. This camera also has a magnificent screen so you can check your shots and make adjustments.

    Cal, I'd love to help but I've had no experience with SD cards for video.
    Maybe some of the other guys can shed some light on the question.
    Kim

  • Cal

    July 22, 2010 02:36 am

    Any recommendation for a memory card suitable for HD video? I noticed that my video is choppy and I assume it is because I don't have a high speed memory card.

    A tip on cannon's website ( canon.cameratips.com/t2i/canon-rebel-t2i-memory-card ) says "In order to shoot video on the T2i, you must have an SD card with a Class 6 rating or higher. Canon specifically states that with anything less than a Class 6 memory card, you will see problems with video recording and playback." This person recommends "Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card with USB Card Reader TS16GSDHC6-P2" going for $42 on amazon.

    Any experience with Transcend? A memory card survey on this website seemed to indicate Sandisk was nearly universal. It seems like an equivalent card by Sandisk costs considerably more (SanDisk Extreme HD Video - Flash memory card - 16 GB - Class 6 - SDHC SDSDRX3-016G-A21 $159.99 @ Best Buy).

    Am I comparing apples to apples? Thanks for any suggestions.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    July 8, 2010 07:57 am

    I bought the same last week, results are stunning so far. Even the very ordinary shots that I used to take with my point and shoot look so different with this one. This is my first DSLR, so I have to assume this is the way DSLR's generally behave ;)

  • Rahul

    June 21, 2010 02:35 am

    Planning to start learning Manual Mode 550D.. tips pls :)

  • David Crellen

    June 18, 2010 06:25 am

    I recently shot a film using a rented 7D and used the video out connected to an external monitor. This works nicely by mounting a small, quality LCD monitor onto your tripod (or boom stand). Then, you can easily point and set the camera. Although I didn't take any stills, this should also work in Live View mode for stills. I am assuming this also works with the Rebel T2i as that is what I am buying.

    I don't think you can have a live feed into an iPhone or iPad. That would make a fantastic replacement for a swivel LCD. Does anyone know how to do that?

  • Kim Brebach

    June 18, 2010 05:49 am

    Thanks for that insight, John - hadn't thought of video. Makes sense but, as you say, it makes no sense not to have an articluated screen like other Canons or the Nikon D5000.
    Kim

  • John Green

    June 17, 2010 02:00 pm

    I purchased a Canon G11 just before Christmas, and just got the new Canon Rebel T2i last month. I read with interest your comments about the 18mp sensor vs. the 10mp sensor on the G11, and I think I have an answer for why they didn't try to beat the D90. The T2i/550D is, I think, targeted at videographers and cinematographers looking to get in on the HD-DSLR video revolution.

    These cameras truly are incredible: the T2i's images are bigger and better at full resolution than my $5,000 prosumer video camera. As a freelance video producer, the T2i was like a dream come true: didn't want to drop the money on a big budget still camera like the 5D Mk II knowing that its replacement, probably to be announced late this year or early next, will be the camera to wait for, while I acquire a set of good prime lenses and take advantage of the already stunning image quality of the T2i. I've already shot a promo on the T2i; can't remember taking any stills on it yet except by accident.

    Keeping in mind that HD images are still only 2 megapixels, it makes sense to offer a high megapixel-count camera to HD cinematographers. You don't need 18mp for stills, as I am well aware from my wonderful experiences with my G11. But for HD video, you're looking for the kind of sharp image quality that 18mp provides in the compressed H.264 format the camera records to, especially when shooting 720p for the 60p fps rate you need to make smooth slow motion video.

    My only real complaint is that the lack of a swing-out viewfinder like the G11 has makes it very difficult to get a lot of shots. If they had put one of those on there, I guarantee it would have cut into the market share of the 7D. I'm betting the 5D Mk III has that swivel LCD; if it does, it will be an acknowledgment of the true power of the new DSLRs as HD cinematography tools.

  • Kim Brebach

    June 16, 2010 10:25 am

    as I said, qk, I had enough trouble with the new RAW format in Windows using ACDSee. I'd imagine that open RAW converters will take a bit longer to cacth up.
    Kim

  • Qk

    June 14, 2010 06:11 pm

    Do you have experience with RAW format of 550D on linux? I wanted to buy this camera but I got some pictures from my friend and I have troubles with RAW format - in every soft I tried I got just zone from left top conner with crazzy colours...

  • kytra

    June 10, 2010 05:35 am

    Nowadays Pentax K7 sells for 900 USD at reputable sellers.

    That is a steal price for a semi-pro DLSR so, except for the users with bigger investments in Canon gear, the Pentax K7 could be a very good option.

  • ahmet

    June 10, 2010 05:19 am

    It is amazing that Canon still cannot beat the two year old D90 in terms of ergonomics and image quality.
    I sold my Rebel XSI due to the cumbersome manual control (more on this below if you are interested) and bought D90 and never looked back. T2i is the same as XSI camera by all practical purposes (except the movie mode).

    ----------
    My major ergonomics problem with XSI:
    I shoot with my left eye in manual mode. This means you need to be able to change aperture and the shutter speed as you compose through viewfinder. Canon designers were overly smart and placed the button that enables you to change the aperture right under your nose. I always found my right thumb fighting against my nose. I found this a very annoying and poor design. In addition, the hand grip is extremely small (and I have average size hands). My right pinkie is very happy with the D90 since it has its own place now.

  • Kim Brebach

    June 9, 2010 06:20 am

    Gene, I don't know the 7D that well. Your best bet is to check these two links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYif6YYVlAw here’s a comparison of the video performance

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/canon-rebel-t2i-550d-squares-off-with-eos-7d-in-video-performa/

    Best
    Kim

  • Gene

    June 9, 2010 03:53 am

    I forgot to add, thanks in advance for any comments you leave...

  • Gene

    June 9, 2010 03:52 am

    Kim,
    I enjoyed your review but had more questions. Like David I was wondering the main/most important differences between the 7D and the T2i. Can you outline them? I saw your reponse but did not see what part or what about the 7D would justify paying the bigger price difference. I want to get the 7D but now that this camera is out I might be able to save some money. I am a semi pro, I get hired once in a while and plan on expanding my workload in the near future and I think the 7D would still fit for me mostly because it is more rugged. What do you think?

    "David, the difference in the bodies – the 7D is a much bigger lump made of magnesium allow, dust-sealed and so on."

  • gametian

    June 8, 2010 08:58 pm

    Nice review. I have this camera for barely a month now. It was worth the purchase. I love the features. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the viewfinder as it only covers about 95% of the actual image. But now I was able to manage that limitation.

  • con

    June 5, 2010 11:49 pm

    Love my T2i. Bought it two months ago.

    I'm very, very careful with my camera, so frankly, I don't need a camera that has the structural integrity of a boulder.
    The ISO performance is great.
    The HD is great, and I use it quite often for projects. That was a big selling point for me. Mic input and all.

  • Sanddlife

    June 5, 2010 12:36 am

    I just purchased the 7D, in fact, it arrived yesterday. The T2i is too small for my taste. Also, I wanted the faster shooting speed, build quality, and off-camera flash support. The T2i is probably a great camera, but to me, feels cheaply made.

  • JAK

    June 4, 2010 05:06 pm

    P.S. To answer the above question...The reason I went with the 550D instead of 7D ultimately, is because I wanted something that was less expensive, so then down the road when Canon's (or other) next camera comes out-I can splurge on that-and then have two cameras. Instead of going with one that may be upgraded or similar to obsolete in the near or somewhat near future.

  • JAK

    June 4, 2010 05:00 pm

    For those that are not aware, Adobe now has the Raw update that includes the 550D-so no more using the Canon utility.

    I love this camera-I was a bit leary of buying it (was going to go with the 7D), but it has actually exceeded my expectations. It is well worth the money-a very good buy. Spent just under ~$1000 (US) less than I would have buying the 7D, and lenses...

  • Kim Brebach

    June 4, 2010 09:24 am

    David, the difference in the bodies - the 7D is a much bigger lump made of magnesium allow, dust-sealed and so on.
    If you don't need the rugged body and extra bulk, the 550D is pretty close, check this link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYif6YYVlAw here's a comparison of the video performance

    and here's one that compares video performance - again very similar
    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/canon-rebel-t2i-550d-squares-off-with-eos-7d-in-video-performa/

    I think DSLR video on the whole still has some growing up to do.
    Kim

  • David Crellen

    June 4, 2010 07:35 am

    Kim,

    Is the 7D superior enough to justify a $700 price difference from the T21/550? If so, can you explain why? I just shot a Canon "vimeo.com/Beyond The Still" video with a rented 7D and was not that impressed with the HD outcome. It doesn't pan well, no smooth, auto zoom and the auto-focusing is nearly worthless. But, is the video capabilities of the 7D better than the T21/550? I assume the lenses are interchangeable between the two.

    Thanks
    --David

  • ddr

    June 4, 2010 05:26 am

    i thought it was well established that you get much more camera than a d90; the sensor in a 550D is almost identical, if not exactly the same, with a 7D. it performs better in low light and retains better details than a d90. the d90 has better dynamic range if i remember correctly. It was deemed that the 550d vs d90 comparison wasn't exactly a fair one because the 550d was more technologically advanced and so much newer than the d90. the successor for the d90 will probably be better than the 550d (minus the video department), but at the moment the 550 is certainly best bang for buck.

    i think it was amateur photographer magazine that did an exact comparison between the two models.

  • Jason Collin Photography

    June 4, 2010 04:42 am

    I teach photography lessons and have had a student recently with the T2i, as well as past students with the T1i:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2010/5/12/dslr-photography-lesson-with-mohammad-at-vinoy-park.html

    To me, the ergonomics alone would push me toward Nikon, from the buttons available on the camera body, two dials compared to one, the top LCD, etc. Nikon just needs to hurry up and get the D90 successor out.

    The photos from the T2i I saw from my student looked good, and Canon's video ability is obviously better than Nikon, but I just cannot get passed the awkward ergonomics and lack of a top LCD.

  • Richard Salgado

    June 4, 2010 03:27 am

    I was torn between the T2i and the Pentax K-x. I ended up purchasing the T2i because I did not want to buy another set of lenses. I am very happy with my purchase and still trying to learn every bit of it.

  • michael

    June 4, 2010 01:35 am

    I just went with the Pentax k-x after comparing these two cameras I would say the pentax has much better build quality and I like the ergonomics better. With the money I saved I purchased a 50mm/f1.4 lens and I love it, getting great results.

  • Brandon

    June 4, 2010 12:29 am

    I recently purchased this camera, and bought it after using the XSi (450D) Rebel for two years. I am definitely loving the upgrades, especially the better low light ISO handling. The screen is also gorgeous and is a pleasure to look at.

    The main reason I chose to upgrade, though, was for the video capabilities. I absolutely LOVE the HD video that comes out of this camera, however you should not buy this camera specifically for the video. DSLR video is still pretty clunky and it's definitely not a "point-and-shoot" system just yet. Again, the video is amazing, but just like simply having a DSLR doesn't make great pictures, neither does it make great video. It's a tool, and you must learn how to use it well.

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