People interested in video production are buzzing about Canon's latest DSLR, the EOS Rebel T2i. It seems that this little camera has many of the features as its cousin, the 7D, but with enhanced video modes and half the price tag. It will sell for $799 for the body only or $899 with a standard lens. Considering I recently purchased Canon's VIXIA HFS100 video camera for $899 (now available for $799), I have to ask myself if I made the right decision.
The T2i shoots HD video at 1080p in 30, 25 and 24 frames per second. It also shoots 720p at those same rates, and adds 50 and 60 frames per second, which should create some silky smooth slow motion. It allows for full control of exposure, shallow depth of field and interchangeable lenses. Not to mention the fact you get an amazing 18 megapixel still camera. Full details can be found here.
So what's not to like? Well, there is no autofocus, which comes in pretty handy in run-and-gun situations. There is an external mic input, but no headphone jack and no manual audio control. This means you can't monitor the sound coming into the camera and once it's there, the camera runs the level. It's the return of the dreaded AGC (Automatic Gain Control). Yuck!
While no one has seen any test footage yet, my guess is we have another DSLR that will shoot some very pretty pictures (at the most affordable price point), but be very lacking in the audio arena. If you want to use this camera for any kind of real shoot, it means double system sound, or recording audio on a separate recorder. This isn't horrible, but means one more piece of gear and the annoyance of capturing and syncing in post.
To me, this is a deal breaker. While my HFS100 won't produce an image as sweet as the T2i, it can record audio through an external mic (via an XLR adapter) using a level that I can control. Manual audio will always sound better than AGC. And it has autofocus!
Maybe next time Canon.