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Nino Film Blog | November 26, 2014

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UPDATED with short film “FEBRUARY” – Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i review (pre-production model)

UPDATED with short film “FEBRUARY” – Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i review (pre-production model)

Check out my new short film, “FEBRUARY”, entirely shot on the Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i (pre-production model)!
I used NO GRADING, just the “flattened” picture preset, and shot mostly at ISO100 (day) & ISO1600 (night).



Check out the new COLOR GRADED version of this short here.

Shot in 1080p at 25fps, except for the slow-motion sequences, they were shot in 720p at 60fps and later reconformed to 25fps using Apple’s CinemaTools.

You can watch this short in 1080p “Full HD” too, over here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xfEw2P6M10 – just make sure your computer is powerful enough as this is quite demanding.

Music:
“Living Waters” by Philip Glass from the The Truman Show (MP3 Download)

Lenses used:
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens (kit lens)

I used this really cheap – but quite heavy – tripod setup for all of the tripod shots in the film above. Watch out for a review of this tripod here on the blog soon. Have been using it for over 8 years now, nothing comes close regarding price if you want something stable that performs well in windy situations, or if you need to go really high!

Before I start drooling over this new camera from Canon, I have to tell you that I am relatively new to the whole HDSLR field.

Over 14 months ago, I was doing detailed research on what HD camera to buy – I needed a real workhorse for “real” commercial jobs, for many of which a DSLR camera is just not suitable. Also, at that time, only the 5Dmark2 with its 30 fps recording was available, and that was of course unacceptable (I live in Austria, and of course it’s a PAL country like the rest of Europe).

Canon EOS 550D

I went with the EX3 and have never regretted that choice. It has enabled me to do lots of great work so far – work which would just have been impossible to do with my old Panasonic DVX100A, which served me well for over 7 years.

That's me with my EX3 (photo by Stefan Fleig)

Nevertheless, I always – of course, like everybody else – was striving for a filmic look on some jobs and projects. At that point already I decided that a DoF adapter like e.g. a Letus wasn’t the way to go for me. I don’t want to loose more light and is an overall too bulky setup to use on a regular basis. It might be true that the overall quality of images shot with these adapters is still a bit more “organic” than DSLR footage, but the bulkiness just won’t allow you to shoot much of the stuff you’d be able to shoot with a DSLR for exactly three reasons:

Size, weight and light sensitivity.

To make a long story short: I decided a while ago that I needed an additional camera for a different purpose to supplement my EX3 setup. And I think I might have waited long enough with the purchase – because I just found my future camera with the new Canon EOS 550D (or Rebel T2i, how it’s called in the US).

Thanks to a friend who’s working for an Austrian IT magazine, I was able to get my hands on this new sensation early. After he tested the camera, I was also given the opportunity to have a close look at it and shoot some test footage.



I have to mention that this is a pre-production model – Canon explicitly told us that there might be some changes until its final release. Nevertheless, looking almost exclusively at the video mode, I found nothing to enhance on the firmware (I have version 1.0.3 on the model right here). I also heard that this camera will start shipping this or next week already, so what I have in hand might be close to the final thing.

So why exactly is it a sensation?

This one is easy to answer: Without having a 7D here to do a side-by-side comparison, it delivers a very similar video picture to the Canon 7D in practically every video mode. It offers all the frame rates the 7D offers: 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p30, 720p50 and 720p60.

550D NTSC movie resolution & framerate options

550D PAL movie resolution & framerate options

It offers an HDMI port, a mike-in port, and even an autofocus mode for video (!) which isn’t always as useless as you might think, because it only focuses when you slightly press the release button, just like in photo mode (and you can calibrate the autofocus matrix the way you like – by the way, it uses the same autofocus system the 7D uses as well). I wasn’t able to test the resolution the HDMI port delivers, sorry for that – I know this is important, but somebody else will have to check this out as I already had to return the camera.
EDIT:  Zak Melms commented on Vimeo the following regarding HDMI:
“In case folks are wondering, no HD output when recording, and no clean video signal either, it drops out for a second when you start and stop and when you arent recording you get all of the display controls.”
EDIT on March 2, 2010: Jay Friesen has taken a detailled look on HDMI with the Rebel T2i / 550D – you have to check this out!


Just like the 7D, the 550D uses a sensor that delivers 18 Megapixels (17.9 to be exact, 5184 x 3456 pixels) in photo mode, which isn’t irrelevant for video mode: because of this same resolution the images are – at least to my eyes, as I said – indistinguishable to video images from a 7D. BUT Canon pointed out that it is NOT the same sensor! Unfortunately I don’t have a 7D to borrow to do a side-by-side comparison in the field, this is up to somebody else. I am very curious if somebody can note any difference performance-wise. From what I’ve seen shot on a 7D, I certainly can’t see much difference. There might be a little more grain at 1600 ISO, but I can’t say that for sure – might have been circumstantial when I shot yesterday (lots of fog).

That is of course also true for the “disadvantages” of the 7D: The picture is considerably less “sharp” compared to the 5Dmk2 or a “real” FullHD camera like the EX1 or EX3 (probably a mathematical problem resulting from the necessary line-skipping in the sensor which has a much higher resolution than the necessary 1920*1080), and of course there’s sometimes bad aliasing. Check out Stu Maschwitz’s blog on that matter to find out more.

The LCD screen is super-crisp. In fact – 7D owners won’t like to hear this – according to the specifications it has even a slightly higher resolution than the 7D (10% better): the 550D sports a 3 inch display with approx. 1.04 million pixels, while the 7D has a display of the same size with 920.000 pixels!


The 550D uses slower internal processing than the 7D, which means you can only shoot 3.7 images per second in photo mode (compared to 8 on the 7D). I think this difference is irrelevant to movie modes, at least I didn’t find any limitations while I was out shooting. Just like on the 7D, 1080p recording is limited to 12 minutes per take.

ADDED on March 4, 2010:
I clarified the 12 minute recording issue with Canon today, once and for all. We were told that the real reason for the 12 minute recording limit is – as many have said for a long time – the FAT32 format on the card. The FAT32 file system has a maximum file size of 4GB which equals 12 minutes of 1080p. Canon simply has no technology in place that allows the seamless linking of the files, therefore enabling the cameras to record seamless takes that span over multiple 4GB files. We were told that this recording limit has nothing to do with overheating or other issues.
It’s weird Canon still doesn’t seem able or willing to fix this with a simple firmware update – other cameras like the XDCAM EX line by Sony are recording in FAT32 too, but they have proper technology in place to allow continuous recording. The files are later even joined by the software when you transfer the footage from the cameras onto your computer.

There is one thing in particular which shows that Canon is really trying to dominate the market for HDSLR shooters in the long run: They didn’t employ a lower bitrate, something which many – and maybe rightfully so – were fearing at first. It offers the same 44-45 MBit a second as the 7D. You really get the idea here that Canon always seem to built into the camera what’s technologically feasible at the moment, not what their marketing department would probably prefer (I’m looking at you, Panasonic GH1).

With its higher bitrate and a multitude of frame rates and resolutions, the 7D was a big step up from the 5D, albeit of course with a smaller sensor and the resulting loss of light sensitivity and the resulting increase in focal length (1.6 increase, same with 550D).  With less and cheaper components, they were obviously able to give us practically the same thing with the 550D.

Now, the $800 550D is in some ways more versatile than the $2.500 5Dmk2!

(A firmware update for the 5Dmk2 adding the new framerates was announced long ago, but people are still waiting for it to arrive.)



By the way, rolling shutter is of course just as bad as on the 7D – but I think not as bad as on the 5Dmk2 (again, probably because of the smaller sensor).

The same-sized processor also results in a comparable sensitivity as on the 7D as far as ISO are concerned. I shot most of the night scenes in the test short at ISO 1600, which to me is the maximum tolerable amount of grain. As Philip Bloom has pointed out on the 7D, at 3200 ISO it starts getting really nasty. However, when I shot some tests last night in thick fog, you could see quite heavy grain even at 1600 ISO – see above by the end of my short “February” for these shots.
By the way, the Rebel T2i / 550D is somewhat limited in choosing ISO levels: you only get 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, whereas with the 7D and 5Dmk2 you can also choose from 160, 320, 640 etc.

I tested the 550D with the Kit lens, which is also the same as on the 7D (EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS). As you probably know, this is not a professional lens, but it is an exceptional value for just $300, and good enough for many keen amateurs who’re not looking to create the perfect film look. But don’t expect that lens to perform well in the dark.

To really get to the potential of this camera, you have to use a really fast lens to be able to shoot at low-light and with a very shallow depth of field because of a wide open iris. We were given the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, a lens worth twice as much as the camera. With the 1.6 increase in focal length this equals to roughly 110-320mm on 35mm.

Effectively this means that I was running around with something like a shotgun, mostly shooting hand-held without much support (my soon-to-be-replaced Manfrotto tripod is just to inconvenient to carry around for a long time, might finally have to go for Philip Bloom’s beloved Miller DS-20 or even a new Sachtler Speedlock with a FSB-8 head).

So please bear with me if there are some shaky shots in my demo short film. I can guarantee you, it’s not the camera, it’s me :-).

As far as handling and workmanship of the 550D are concerned, there are of course differences to the 7D (they have to start somewhere!). The form factor is exactly the same as on its not-quite-HD-shooting predecessor, the 500D, and it has the same “plasticky” feel to it. There is no weather proofing like on the 7D, and it is considerably lighter (which is not particularly a good thing for steadiness). The 7D is 820 grams body-only, while the 550D weighs only 475 grams. That’s almost half the weight!! So don’t take a leaf out of my book and get some good support for shooting with this camera!

The menu button layout is somewhat different from the 7D, but still quite comfortable for filmmakers. You have to switch to movie mode using the upper dial, Live View automatically turns on. The Live View button right next to the screen is therefore becoming the record button in movie mode. It is on the exact same position as the movie switch on the 7D.


Contrary to the other cameras, the 550D records to SD and SDHC cards. Which is great for me, because I have a legion of Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC cards from my EX3 lying around. At first we used the camera with a 4GB SanDisk Class 2 SD card, which is supposed to be too slow to stomach the constant video bitrate – however, quite strangely, we were able to shoot without interruptions. We changed to a 16 GB Class 6 SDHC card quickly though, because we didn’t want to risk any video corruption.

Personally, I think this camera will be another game changer, making “the film look” a ubiquitous commodity. Of course, cheap gear won’t create good filmmaking skill, but now even more young and aspiring filmmakers will have access to these tools, which will enable them to train their skills at an earlier age just because of the low price of the camera.

550D at 1600 ISO (video still frame)

550D at 100 ISO (video still frame) - somebody with a 7D photographed with a 550D - oh, the irony!

Quite oddly, you can now hear the huge broadcast accessory industry moan – their prices haven’t really dropped much despite comparatively cheap HDSLRs have been available for a while now, and they keep saying that good quality has its price. That is of course true – but it is also true that producing in higher volumes would enable them to drop prices significantly in most cases, reaching a much wider audience. In the end this will most likely also lead to much higher profits. It’s unjustifiable to go out, buy and stick a loupe for half the price of the camera itself onto the 550D. This is not simply not sustainable and most of the 550D buyers won’t even consider buying one.

550D at 1600 ISO (video still frame)

These companies should look at what Canon themselves are doing: They are giving their entry-level DSLR the very same video features as its big brother, the 7D. They sure will make tons of money of it. The lower the price, the more people will be able to afford it – and most of these future buyers wouldn’t ever have bought a $1.700 7D for sure. Just my 2¢ on that whole accessory prices matter.

My verdict is simple: BUY THIS CAMERA. For this price, I can hardly think of any reason not to get the Canon 550D / Rebel T2i. And if you already have a 5D or 7D, this is the perfect back-up camera.

I pre-ordered mine already, and I think it will sell like hotcakes – I do think they will definitely run out of those quite early if the demand is as high as I think it is!!

If you plan on buying the 550D / Rebel T2i and want to support this blog in order to keep those reviews coming, I’d appreciate it if you buy through one of these Amazon links (US store, UK store and German store). Greatly appreciated!!!

EDIT:

Upon popular request, I have uploaded a short RAW FOOTAGE CLIP straight off the camera, you can download it from here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=X46QO1ON

Also, I did a ROLLING SHUTTER TEST that you can watch right here:

As you can see, it’s really bad – which is unfortunately perfectly normal for cameras with a CMOS chip and HDSLRs in particular.

PHOTOGRAPHY with the 550D / T2i:

And for those also interested in taking PHOTOS with this camera (like me), here are some samples in full resolution (converted from RAW – can’t post the RAWs just yet because you won’t be able to open them in any editor, the format is too new!):

Canon 550D photo sample 1 - ISO 100 - me looking very strangely at the camera!

Canon 550D photo sample 2 - ISO 100

Canon 550D photo sample 3 - ISO 1600

EDIT:

Orange Wedding Films put up a side-by-side comparison between the video mode on the 7D and the T2i / 550D:

Philip Bloom compared low light capabilities of the 7D and T2i / 550D:

Check out Philips blog for his further thoughts on the new camera.

It’s great that my test film “FEBRUARY” was featured on Engadget – thank you all for the overwhelming response!!

Comments

  1. Ed

    Thank you for a very informative and un-biased review. I also want to commend you for your near-perfect grammar and punctuation – you put the majority of Americans (me excepted, of course) to shame.

    • Thank you Ed. So my time in England has paid off :-)

  2. finally a good review! cheers

    • Thanks Elliot, appreciate it.

  3. Heya Nino!

    Cheers for keeping us updated on the camera – the footage looks great, I’m sold!

    John

  4. Erika

    Nino – you should still get a PC though ;-)

    • The joke never gets old, Erika ;-)

  5. Fantastic! I want one…

  6. Thanks so much for this first look. Do the video files have the .264 extension, or .mov? Could you post some raw files at 1080p?

    • The video files are .mov straight from the camera.
      I will post two or three short raw files later today!

  7. Excellent review, I think you’ve covered a lot of very good points and I totally agree that this is the new HV20 but with bells on. And true, no more excuses, you either have talent or you don’t and the 550D will show this.

  8. Good review

  9. Just to let you know … the Canon EF-S 18-135mm is f/3,5-5,6 not f/5-5,6 ;-)

    • Oops … sorry, it’s corrected! Thanks for noticing.

  10. thx for that in depth preview … so ist a great “HD-DSLR-newcomer” Cam is guess worth the buy anyway … :) cant wait to see more footage … have to say this could really be my first own Canon HD-DSLR :) … we will see

  11. great review sir!
    but i’d really like to know the exact SDHC card you’re using, brand name, class and capacity.
    and how long will this card capture full HD 1080p25? still 12minutes?
    thanks!

    • Thanks for your kind comment!

      I am using 16GB Transcend SDHC Class 6 cards and had no problem with them whatsoever. Yes, the limit for recording is still 12 minutes, I think this is not dependent on the type of card used, but on restrictions within the camera.

  12. Thanks for the informative review, and the amazing looking footage.

    I was amazed until I realized I was watching in SD, then switched over and became double amazed!

    Well done!

    • Thanks so much Matt!

  13. Hi Nino

    Excellent review, made me seriously getting this camera. Quick question, how did you shoot the slow motion footage using the camera? Was there a setting on the camera?

    Brilliant film by the way, I was mesmerized!

  14. Heh heh I mean “made me seriously want to buy this camera”

    Cheers!

  15. Luis Palha

    Very good review and very nice footage. i work with a 7D from December and I’m quite happy with it. Never managed to get that film look from previous cameras ( hdcam included ) . Of course i’m considering the 550D as a 2 camera for my wok. All very nice with the price and so on. The problem is that you MUST have very high quality lenses to achieve good results and those are expensive, very expensive and it seems they’ll continue so.

    • Lenses won’t get much cheaper, but in many cases there are good alternatives from Sigma or Tamron to the mostly more expensive Canon lenses. (But not all the lenses are of good quality!)

  16. So get the 550D rather then the 7D? I want film and photo, I don’t have many lens but was going to get this Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 with the 7D

    Now should I get the 550D with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8

    A lot of portrait, indoors, and biking shots, also short films of friends kids, and some commercial video work, mostly promo fashion clips…

    What should I do guys, this review blew me away and I need advice!! HELP

    rob at motionbug.com

    • Wait for a bit and somebody will do a side-by-side comparison between the 7D and the 550D.

      Canon, are you listening? I’d like to do that comparison :-)

  17. This is absolutely imrepssing.
    I´m studying HD-camcorders now for a couple of months and I still cannot decide, which one to buy.
    On the other side, I own a 20D, which is pretty amazing, but I always have to carry 2 machines.

    Now, as I see this review here, I´m thinking about to buy a 550D.

    but which editing tool you use?

    Is it possible to send me over a short sample of the original material as I wanna study it in Canopus Edius.

    This would be really great.

    Thanks a lot and keep up the good work

    T:K

    • I use Final Cut Pro. I want to put some raw footage from the camera online, but I’m afraid my provider won’t be able to cope with the massive traffic this would cause.

      • ah, ok, but FCP also recompresses, to let you work native, or?

        on windows there isn´t any proper avchd-(and/or)mov-tool,
        that let´s you work in realtime, I tried nearly every tool and the only ones, which are more or less good are vegas and edius neo booster (heavily depends on the original-video-file, that´s the reason, why I asked for it)

        thanks a lot

        T:K

      • ups..du sprichst ja auch deutsch…hatte ich in der eile übersehen :-D

      • Let’s stay in English here :-)

        This camera doesn’t record AVCHD, it’s pure H.264, but both are a pain to edit because the compression format really never was intended to edit with due to several technological reasons.

        Therefore, I think recompressing in another format is the only viable option right now.

        I have an 8-core MacPro and H.264 is a pain to edit even with this beast of a computer.

  18. C Wood

    Find a way to save that firmware off of that pre-release camera for future reference… just in case they decide to remove some ‘features’

    • My pre-production unit had firmware 1.0.3 on it, and it is being shipped now with 1.0.6. No removal of features as far as I know.

      I don’t think Canon will do this, they have a good track record of rather improving on the firmware and not forcefully limiting it.

  19. Anthony

    I happened to stumble across your twitter page earlier in the week during my quest to research the T2i. I have been looking forward to seeing what quality of video you could produce with it, and I am impressed! Thanks for getting the footage out there! Also while I was here I checked out a bunch of your other videos, awesome, awesome stuff! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much, Anthony!

  20. Johannes

    Hey!

    Schön zu sehen, dass endlich mal auch Leute aus Österreich (bin aus Graz) im Video DSLR-Bereich bloggen und so tolle Reviews machen. Sehr nützliche Infos, hoffentlich gibt’s bald noch mehr über die 550d zu berichten – bitte, bitte, bitte :)

    And for all those of you, who prefer English:

    Great to finally see an Austrian Blog about Video DSLRs!

    With Regard to the 12-minute-limit:
    Correct me, if I’m wrong, but I think that Philip Bloom mentioned in one of his blogs, that this video restriction is due to tax reasons. It has to be that way, otherwise it would be classified as a camcorder, which is more expensive tax-wise.

    Unfortunately, I can’t remember where exactly I got that information, but I’m sure, one of you will know :)

    Ciao, Johannes

    • As far as I know, the recording limit for 1080p is 12 minutes because of overheating problems.

      The video restriction you are talking about is 30 minutes – that is because of tax reasons, everything that records 30+ minutes is considered a camcorder here in Europe and will be taxed accordingly.
      That’s why the SD recording limit (or 640×360) is right below 30 minutes I think.

      • Sven

        Me thinks the 12 Minutes are due to filesize limits in the fat32 Filesystem used on the SDHC Cards. 12 Minutes = 4GB = max. Filesize

        the tax with the 30 minutes is correct

        • Oh yeah, you’re of course right, it’s because of FAT32. I don’t understand why they’re still using this old filesystem. The 12 minute limit makes the cameras unusable for some specific tasks.

          • it’s not fat32 that is the problem. It’s Europe’s screwed up Duty and Tax system. fat32 is also what SXS uses and the JVC cams as well as gopro cams etc…they simply start a new clip instantly the other one finishes. Bizarrely the issue is the SD mode which records 29.59 . It that became 30mins then camera is classified video camera and is subject to higher tax bracket. Because of this Canon globally took approach to keep all their cameras below this to avoid making separate models for markets. Canon could get rid of the SD mode and let the camera record 29.59 is HD mode and we would all be happy!

          • Wow, ok, wasn’t completely aware of that … so you’re saying there’s a 12 minute limit in HD mode even with the US version of these cameras?

            When I think about it, yes, you also get chunks of 4 GB video files with SxS, but I didn’t think about that because you just never see them when using Log & Transfer with Final Cut Pro or the Clip Browser.

            Have you ever asked Canon about this? Maybe it’s the overheating issue after all.

          • Ili

            Thanks for the good review.

            About the 4GB limit – this should not be an issue with the new SDXC / exFAT standards anymore. The limit of 12 minutes should than be history.

      • Jay

        I think it more likely that the 12 min limit is because of the filesystem on the memory card. It’s probably some sort of FAT system, and 12 minutes of 330 MB/min translates to more or less 4 GB… But I’m only guessing here.

      • You’re of course right, it’s the FAT32 problem, mixed that up.

  21. G

    Great review, thanks so much!

    From what I understand, Canon will bundle the 18-55 w/ the 550D, but you say 18-135 is the kit lens. Is that just in Europe? Do you know anything about what the US kit lens will be?

    Anything you know anything about this would help…

    • In my country (European one) there are both kits for sale, the 18-55 ISfor little less than 800€ and the 18-135 IS for little less than 1000€ (yes prices in my country are insane)

      There is also the body only option for little less than 700€ and the 18-55 IS + 55-250 IS pack (camera included as well) for little more than 1000€ >_>

  22. Nicholas

    Nino how easy was it to change shutter, iso and aperture on the go? Usually the pro bodies will have dedicated buttons and the consumer bodies will be menu driven? Does the 550 have dedicated buttons for iso/aperture?

    • I think it is very easy to change on the go:

      There’s an ISO button, after you press it you can dial the ISO in with the upper dial.

      When you turn the upper dial without pressing any buttons, you are adjusting the shutter speed.

      When you press another button right next to the screen (AV +/-) and then dial, you adjust the aperture.

      Very easy and convenient.

  23. Great post, thanks very much for sharing your experiences with this camera.
    I’ve been interested in taking the HD-DSLR plunge for a while now and with the camera body this cheap, it’s hard to resist.
    Very cool to see some sample video too, looks lovely.
    ~ Mike

    • Thank you Mike!

  24. again … great footage …. nice shots ! :D

    btw: i noticed some issues on/at edges & lines (rough / stepped)
    is this an resize /codec/ compression problem or is the noticeable even in the original footage (for example on glasses at 00:00.22:05)

    • Yeah … might be chromatic aberration, I’ll have to look into that. Saw some of it on the raw footage as well!
      This is a big problem with HDSLRs in general.

  25. Thanks for the beautiful video, Nino, beautiful — particularly the evening scenes. You’ve made me nostalgic for Wien! I want a slice of Gigerltorte!

    Who composed the music? It sounds like John Barry to me.

    Very best,

    Benjamin Pilkington

    • It’s Philip Glass, “Living Waters” from the Truman Show. I will post a link to the iTunes album.

  26. A very nice review and sample video, 550D is really a game changer… now you need to get a Panasonic GH2 (perhaps G2 and G10 in March if we follow the rumors) at the end of the year… Hmmm … decisions…

    *sigh* … even if 550D is quite cheap for the features, i won’t be buying one (or any other camera for the matter) … because money is not abundant around here and… Nikon F501x and Glitt 35mm (they are film cameras, they are – VERY – old and they still work) will have to sufice for the time being…

    This will be my camera after 2-3 years from now… maybe! xD

  27. Fei

    You can upload the raw footage to a free file hosting service such as MegaUpload.

    • Look above for the added download link!

  28. Jim

    Could you please post the RAW footage?
    You can post it on any of these sites & they’re free & no registration is required.

    Thanks

    http://www.mediafire.com/
    http://www.megaupload.com/
    http://www.sendspace.com/

    • Done :-) look above for the download link!

  29. Jay

    About the rolling shutter: Haven’t seen this before (just realized the HDSLR option a couple of days ago when I started seriously drooling over the new 550D) but I understand it stems from the CMOS sensor’s line by line sequential readout. (Would not be an issue for a CCD I think.)

    I think it should be possible (and not very hard) to compensate for this in software, during postprocessing. If anybody is aware of software for this, please post here. If it is not available, I might be interested in looking into it myself…

    J.

    • Hi Jay,

      Yes, this is a CMOS-only problem, even the RED ONE suffers from it a bit, although not as bad as most DSLRs.

      There is now a software that can reduce the effect, a plug-in developed by The Foundry:
      http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/pkg_overview.aspx?ui=47C4AB50-4636-4326-87D1-FB380B2119EF

      I heard Panasonic say they would incorporate something like this software in their future cameras, then we wouldn’t even notice it so much. (Panny is very sensitive to the subject, they were the last ones to hop on the CMOS train probably because of reasons like this one.)

  30. Great review and test film. You make me regret buying my 500d in December!

    Did you use LCD screen to focus or add something like the Zacuto? That’s the one missing accessories that prevents me from shooting more video as I find the LCD screen almost unusable during the day.

    • I used the LCD screen, but as you can see, I’m often far off with the focus because of that. The Z-Finder is a great choice, used it with a 5Dmk2 once, albeit it seems a bit overpriced considering the price of the 550D / T2i!

  31. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

    • Thank you Issac!

  32. I like the image. I’m hoping the zfinder from Zacuta will fit the camera, it has a larger LCD than the 5D & 7D

  33. sam

    Hi, was just wondering the thread ring size, 58mm?? thanx alot. very informative review, definitely buying one as a second camera!

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment – do you mean the thread ring size of the stock lens?

  34. Hey Nino,

    Great review and thanks.

    I have one question: do you know if you can upload custom picture styles, like with the 7D and 5D?

    Cheers,

    Adam

    • Hey Adam,

      I don’t think this is possible to do unfortunately!

      • Stan

        Canon has their Picture Style Editor 1.7.0 for download on the T2i Drivers & Downloads section. It will allow uploading of custom picture sytles.

  35. Jarek

    Thanks for great review.
    There are 3 photos taken with 550D at the end of the review – what are the ISO values for the first two of them?
    TIA!

    • Jarek

      Please ignore my request – I found it already. Thanks again for your hard work!

      • Yes, it’s ISO 100 – just added that info to the captions.

  36. John

    Hello Nino!

    Also thinkin about buying this camera, but could you please tell me what sort of lenses are good to make that real film effect, with lots of depth into it. (Not too expensive tho)

    Im gonna buy this camera for HD-filming only, is it a good choice?

    Thanks again,
    -John

  37. Randy

    Nino,

    What good eyes! You have turned what otherwise would’ve been common day-to-day life moments into creative and poignant moving images. Great work!

    • Thank you Randy!

  38. Nino What lens did u shoot with?

  39. Jack Snyder

    How can you not mention the issue with the non existing white balance?
    How does this even make it a somewhat usable tool?

  40. Joel (TheBritishBloke)

    Thanks once again Nino.

    Is there no option on the camera’s or the Mac software to change the default recording to MP4?

    Any chance of doing a video to show the quality (or should I say low-quality) of the built-in microphone, say for something simple as you talking?

    • Unfortunately I had to give the pre-production camera back, I’m currently waiting for my own model that I ordered!
      But check out this audio demo from a 7D, which seems to have the exact same built-in microphone: http://vimeo.com/7438226

      • Joel (TheBritishBloke)

        Wow, the internal microphone creates an echo, which I presume is rather standard for built in mic’s, same as my MacBook Pro’s iSight.

        I’m now trying to decide between a 500D and a 550D. It would mainly be used for outdoor photography, and occasional indoor/outdoor video. As I mentioned to you earlier, would be used for mountains, plants, animals etc. And I’m wanting to know whether you’d consider the 550D as more worth the money?

        Thanks

      • Joel (TheBritishBloke)

        P.S. I also heard with the 550D you can now autofocus whilst filming by half-pressing the shutter button?

        • Forget the 500D. It doesn’t have a proper HD movie mode – it is only able to record 20fps at 1080p, which is just unusable for anything.
          If you’re on a budget, the 550D is the only option – there is currently nothing that comes close in video quality price-wise.

          Yes, you can now us spot autofocus, but you can’t compare it to a normal autofocus on a video camera, because it just focuses on the spot when you press it. Professionally speaking though, using an autofocus for video is always out of the question.

      • Forget the 500D. It doesn’t have a proper HD movie mode – it is only able to record 20fps at 1080p, which is just unusable for anything.
        If you’re on a budget, the 550D is the only option – there is currently nothing that comes close in video quality price-wise.

        Yes, you can now us spot autofocus, but you can’t compare it to a normal autofocus on a video camera, because it just focuses on the spot when you press it. Professionally speaking though, using an autofocus for video is always out of the question.

      • Joel

        Well, my budget is around £850, and 550D should be £550 in a few months.

        I wasn’t aware of the exact specifications of the 500D, but sucks that it’s stuck at 20fps.

        The autofocus would be useful for spur of the moment action. Not for permanent usage! ;)

        would you reccomend anything other than the 550D for my budget? I’d like the 550D for its mic in after you showed me how pitiful it is.

        Youve really inspired me now with your February video, and I’m now so tempted to do one of my own when I next visit Munich, Germany. Or maybe even Tirol ;) it really is a form of masterpiece full of emotion and pure art.

        • Thank you Joel!

          This is really a tough one to answer. In the DSLR field there’s really nothing that compares for that price. Canon just totally surprised the market with this introduction I think – the competition has nothing to offer which is even close to comparable. If you really need to get something cheaper, look for a “normal” small video camcorder.
          Why don’t you order abroad, in the US or mainland Europe? In the UK the cam seems ridiculously overpriced.

      • Joel (TheBritishBloke)

        I don’t actually have a budget that low, I can afford the 550D just fine, I was just wondering if you did know of any other camera ;)

        Also, it’s going to be used 80% for Photography, 20% Filmography, hence why a camcorder is not entirely appropriate for my needs.

        I would import one, but to be honest right now the £ to €/$ is oh so terrible.

        I’m buying it in July so hopefully the exchange rates will get better, or the price will be down in the UK :D

        I’m definitely getting the 550D now bud, Its all so greatly appreciated, and I’m so excited :)
        Thanks so much for all the help so far mate, it’s all greatly appreciated :)

  41. Levbowski

    Hello, Nino! Please, tell, what about overheating of 550D? All is OK? How long does it save a normal temperatuere?

    • Good question. First tests show that you can two 12-minute takes back-to-back and then have to wait for a bit to let it cool down. Check out this forum: http://www.cinema5d.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=11063

      • Levbowski

        It’s very bad.

      • Levbowski

        Nino, have you this problem with overheating? How long did you shoot?

  42. Deon Visser

    Thanks for the great review.
    Do you know if it is possible to use the camera with a 100mm macro and the MP-E 65mm macro enlargement lenses?

    • Haven’t tried them, but nothing says otherwise, so they should work just fine! Thanks for the tip on the MP-E 65mm macro lens, this seems like an awesome piece of kit! Hope to get my hands on one at some point. I will include it in the ADVANCED LENSES post that will come later in the series of “essential kit” that I just started.

  43. Joel (TheBritishBloke)

    I just checked Amazon, and you’re right!

    I have a home over in Munich, Germany, and Amazon.de is selling the 550D for €788.98! And that’s with 19% VAT rather than 17.5% in the UK (Why the heck is it cheaper?!?!? LOL) http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0037KM2IS?ie=UTF8&tag=evstyota0e-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1638&creative=19454&creativeASIN=B0037KM2IS

    You’ve had a fantastic idea… It comes to about £710GBP, hopefully though Amazon will drop its price down in the coming months.

    Thanks again!

  44. John

    Pff, so you shoot 12 minute and then gotta wait 10 minute more, just for cooldown… omg is this for real? If so, im totally screwed!

    • We will have to find out. Didn’t try it when I still had it. Somebody wrote on a forum that it was possible for him to record two 12-minute clips back-to-back and THEN had to wait 10 minutes or so.

  45. enrico

    Hi

    I was wondering how do you control iris while shooting, I mean they said it had full manual control on this camera, what does exactly mean?

    Thanks

    • You can control the aperture (iris) by pressing the AV+/- button and then turning the dial on the top of the camera. Full manual control means you can indeed control aperture, shutter and focus totally independently from each other.

      • enrico

        Hi, yes, I know what manual control is, I was wondering if the lack of dials makes it difficult to control while shooting. If the combination of buttons is awkward.

        Thanks

      • No, I think the layout is just fine. Of course it would be easier if you didn’t have to press the button to change the aperture (they could have easily switched shutter and aperture control as you don’t need to change the shutter very often, but it is easier to access by just turning the dial). But it’s okay just as it is.

  46. You’ve done a really great job by using this 550D and its very informative. Surprisingly shooting video at 1600 iso, the video is still clean and not grainy. But As you shoot video, does it heat up fast like 7D? 7D heats extreamly fast especially when you shoot high speed at 60fps

    • Hey Andi,

      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t noticed any heat issues to be honest – but then again, I was using it outside only and it’s currently quite cold here in Austria. I will test the issue with my new 550D model as soon as I can.

      • Cool.. thanks for your information..Because I tought of getting one and just worry it will have the same problem as 7D does..

  47. jeremy denief

    i appreciated the fact that you offered an actual clip for download so i can work w/a clip before committing to buying the camera. Good job on the review.

  48. Jon

    Thanks very much for the in-depth 550D/T2i review. The “FEBRUARY” video was reminiscent of the footage of people in the film “Koyaanisqatsi”. Very neat.

  49. Mitran

    Thank you for the in depth review and sample pictures and movies. I’ve been looking for quite a while for such a review. This is the only one I could find that is clear, has good samples and uses a “language” that aspiring photographers like myself can follow and understand. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much Mitran! Check out my other blog posts on essential accessories to the T2i / 550D, I try to add new blog posts several times a week.

  50. Laura

    Hi,

    Thanks for the in-depth review.
    Do you know what the filter/thread size is for the 18-135 kit lens?

    Thanks.

  51. hey nino thanks for the great and inspired review.
    hurm is it true that the picture captured by this camera has a lot of noise? im just thinking whether buying canon eos 450d or canon eos 550d. picture quality is very important for me. omg please help me!!!.
    thanks a lot.

    • No, the picture definitely doesn’t have more noise than the picture of the 450D. It’s just a successor to that camera, it should only get better. Due to the higher-resolution chip you might see a bit more grain at 100%, but that is of course normal because the pictures are much more detailed. Compared to other cameras the picture is very clean. Of course a full-frame camera like the 5Dmk2 is cleaner, but it has an entirely different price tag as well.

      • Ola

        Hello
        wondering if you could help, noticed the focusing ring on the canon lenses in the Orange review of 550d, please any info on where i could get similar focusing rings
        Thanks

      • Anna

        HI what lens did you use to shoot that video?

        • All details at the end of the video!

          Mainly Canon L 70-200mm IS II f/2.8

  52. i surely adore all your posting style, very unique.
    don’t quit as well as keep writing due to the fact it simply just that is worth to read it.
    impatient to browse through a whole lot more of your own well written articles, thanks :)

  53. hello there

    i just upgraded from a 3 year old canon 400D to a 550D, i guess called a T2i in other markets. the objective of the upgrade was to have video feature in the camera. i am willing to use the movie function for home made amateurish movies of my baby daughter so i will mainly use the auto focus mode. i have gone through the entire manual and havent understood whether the camera focuses automatically once i zoom onto something during shooting. so far i tried and found out that it doesnt refocus on a subject once i zoom in or out of it, it only focuses before i start shooting the movie.

    thanks

    • You simply won’t get satisfying results using any auto focus mode, especially with these cameras which are good for shallow depth-of-field work and therefore focussing for the AF is very hard.
      But they thought of the need of ambitious amateurs who are new to manual focusing: You CAN autofocus BEFORE you start shooting, simple slightly pressing the photo release button just as if you were going to shoot photo. But then, you start rolling video. You can’t do this while rolling video – this is because video autofocus would have to work differently from the photo-AF built into all these cameras (they focus very fast and don’t offer slow transitions which is necessary for video shooting, for instance).
      Hope this helps.

      • thanks for you clear explanation!

        i guess ill have to recruit a focus puller:)anyways, thanks again

  54. Hello, this is one fantastic article! Thanks for posting this. I was looking for a site that has this kind of info. Happy I found this one! I’ll be visiting here again for sure! ;)

  55. I know that the 550 d has some fewer features than the 7d , but as a cinematographer i.e someone interested SOLELY on the movie mode of the 550 d ,what are the limitations in the video rec mode compared to the 7d

    Does the 7d have more options/features in the video rec menu (besides the ISO) or is it the same ?

    Thnx

    • I’m also interested solely in the video mode, therefore I had a close look at the differences. The main one you already mentioned: it’s the ISO steps, some are missing from the 550D. Also, I get the feeling that the 550D overheats a bit faster – shoot 20 minutes non-stop and you will get an overheating sign, then you have to pause for a few minutes. All the other differences seem to be purely ergonomical, e.g.: to change the aperture, you have to press a button and turn a dial at the same time on the 550D, whereas on the 7D you have dedicated dials for aperture and shutter.

  56. Ben Simpson

    Hi mate,

    Excellent reviews and I love February!! I am debating between the Sigma 17-70mm & the Sigma 18-50mm 2.2-4 lenses. Did you get a chance to trial the 17-70mm??

    Thanks,

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for the kind comment! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to try out the 17-70mm yet.

  57. Intimately, the post is in reality the greatest on this notable topic. I agree with your conclusions and can thirstily look forward to your upcoming updates. Simply saying thanks will certainly not simply just be sufficient, for the amazing lucidity in your writing. I will certainly at once grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any kind of updates. Pleasant work and also much success in your business enterprize!

  58. So I’ve been doing a ton of research trying to find my next DSLR video HD capable camera, and you’ve sold me by a long shot (converting me from Nikon). ‘Nough said. ch:

  59. This is pretty sweet, you should consider contributing over at t2ivideo.com, we’re starting a site all about the t2i and im sure you’d get featured. check it out!

  60. Johannes

    I just filmed my last short film with the canon 550d. The picture Style was Super Flat, and I tweaked the curves on the pc.
    Just watch it and enjoy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF7_zxs_Obs

    I think its pretty good for a dslr!

  61. nate

    thanks for the post! i was wondering if you could talk a little about audio solutions for the t2i? it seems kind of complicated to do interviews and such and still have great audio.. thanks again

  62. Andrzej

    Thanks for the review. Just bought Canon 550D but have a card Panasonic 16GB Class 4 – will it work for video recording? Also – how can I open the video in my computer and watch it – do I need special software or just Media Player would do the trick? Thanks a lot, I used to do video on video so I do not know much about doing video on DSLR!

    • In some cases, Class 4 cards seem to be fast enough for video recording, you just have to try it out. Be aware that recording could interrupt at any given time.

      The files you get out of the 550D are QuickTime MOVs, so you can just watch them with any QT compatible programme.

  63. wow, i should really get more into making videos. thanks for the detailed article and all the sample-shots!

  64. Buster Lucke

    Between me and my wife we’ve purchased more digital cameras over the months than I can count, including many different Canons, Coolpixes, Samsungs, Nikons and many more types. But, the last few weeks I’ve settled down to one line of devices. Why? Cuz I was happy to take take notice of how well-designed and thrilling the often overlooked (and widely laughed at) Canon EOS Rebel T2 actually is. With it I have been able to take the most great photos. That’s all I wanted to inform about, hope you have a enjoyable day and make sure to shoot some stunning photos!

  65. Aham

    Great Video Nino,
    Could you please do a tutorial on color correction? Thanks

  66. Hi Nino!

    Thanks for your help! I was sad because I couldn’t buy the 7D, is very expensive!!
    I liked the 550D, especially now with a technical evaluation.

    tks!tks!tks!tks!

  67. Hi. I wished to drop you a quick note to express my thanks. I’ve been following your weblog for a month or so and have picked up some good info as well as enjoyed the way in which you’ve got structured your site. I am making an attempt to run my very own blog however I think its too general and I want to focus more on smaller topics. Being all things to all people is just not all that its cracked as much as be.

  68. Excellent review. I have been recording video with a powershot G9, and a canon HG10. Maybe I will get a 7D for a main camera and a T2i as a backup!!! Great

    • Thanks. To be honest, it will be rather the other way round: 7D and T2i deliver far better images than those two!

  69. This camera is great! Would recommend it to anyone!!! Check out the specifications for it and you will be able to see for yourself.

  70. The 550d is a great camera and if used with good quality lenses, the results are excellent whether for video shooting or photography. We always bring with us the 550d when shooting property videos using a ultra-wide Sigma. The only negative point is the overheating issue especially in warmer climates. Let us hope the future 650d will address the issue of overheating.
    http://www.balilandproperty.com

  71. mark Heynes

    Ooh my How do I say this, I had really fall in love with your camera. Just how much does it cost,cause I really ought to have it. Thank you

    Tenant Screening

  72. The 550D uses slower internal processing than the 7D

    • Yes but it only applies for still images & the HDMI out (only 7D does 1080p HDMI out)

  73. Victoria

    I have just purchased a T2i and have a Class 10 8GB card and attempted to shoot a movie. The card had less than 30 stills on it at the time and I was only able to record 7:19 minutes of video. Any suggestions?

    • That’s weird – have you formatted it before you used it the first time? There should be around 23 minutes of space total I think, but it’s a small card. Maybe the stills are in RAW format?

    • Yeah that sounds about right. The images are large files and so are video recorded on there. I use 32gb to get through a 90 minute rugby match.

  74. pospameneanu

    Wow, I’m impressed by Canon. Soon I want to buy one and I’ll be most happy to take pictures and shoot with this camera. Thanks for taking time for sharing this article, it was excellent and very informative. I am very impressed with your blog. I found a lot of information in your article. Keep it up.

  75. shaji george

    y i can get only 7 seconds video in 550d

    • I’m sure it has to do with the speed of your SD card. Get a faster card and try again.

  76. Shivaprasad

    Does the camera body has autofocus built in motor?

    • autofocus only works with stills! Not usable for pro video anyway, on no camera.

  77. Gilbert

    Hello,
    Congratulations for this topic.
    I am French. Sorry but I have not understand or find the translation of “no grading” parameter of your video ““FEBRUARY”.
    Please, can you explain me more about this?
    Gilbert

    • Hi Gilbert,
      It just means that the colour in this video was not altered, it’s straight off the camera without any changes. (Changing these colour parameters to fit a certain look/mood is called grading.)

  78. ogłoszenia opolskie

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the finest sites on the web. I am going to recommend this website!

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