Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Shoots HD Video, Too

Released last year, the innovative Nikon D90 (currently our top-rated digital SLR) was the first such camera with the ability to shoot high-definition video. Now it has some competition from Canon.

Due to become available in May, the just-announced Canon EOS Rebel T1i will permit users to shoot full 1080p HD video at 20 frames per second, as well as 720p HD video at 30 fps--in both instances using the H.264 codec. The option to shoot standard-definition footage at 30 fps is in the mix as well.

That's great news for Canon fans, but as Martyn Williams explains in his story about the EOS Rebel T1i announcement (linked in the preceding paragraph), the 20-fps frame rate for 1080p full HD video sounds a bit low to support smooth footage; and users will need to insert a very-high-capacity, class 6 SDHC card into the camera in order to capture a decent amount of video.

The Rebel T1i's other specs are in line with the highly regarded Canon EOS 50D: a Digic 4 image processor, an APS-C CMOS sensor with a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, upping the ante established by the Nikon D90's 12.3-megapixel sensor, ISO sensitivity up to 12800, and a 3-inch Live View LCD screen.

Billing the Rebel T1i as an entry-level digital SLR, Canon is pricing the camera at $800 for the body alone and $900 as a kit bundled with Canon's EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens.

The EOS Rebel T1i is part of a growing category of interchangeable-lens models (a category encompassing true digital SLRs and "hybrid" cameras) that offer less-intimidating features and prices for first-time buyers. Panasonic targeted that market last year with its Lumix DMC-G1, its first camera to incorporate the Micro Four-Thirds system, which combines the interchangeable lens of an SLR with a more-compact frame. The DMC-G1 can shoot full HD video as well.

Two vendors announced interchangeable-lens hybrid cameras at this year's Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show in Las Vegas. Panasonic touted the Lumix DMC-GH1, and Samsung announced its NX line of cameras. For its part, Olympus has announced that it will release its first Micro Four-Thirds system camera by the end of the year.

As yet, however, none of those cameras has acquired an official release date or pricing information. The fact that two full-fledged digital SLRs now offer HD video recording--for around $1000, to boot--may steal quite a bit of their thunder.

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