updated 12:20 am EDT, Wed March 25, 2009
Canon Rebel T1i
Canon early Wednesday launched its first-ever entry DSLR with HD video in the form of the Rebel T1i. The 15.1-megapixel camera uses the newer DIGIC 4 chip to record either full 1080p video at 20 frames per second or 30 frames per second at 720p, outpacing Nikon's D90 in terms of both resolution and price. Aside from the 1080p frame rate limit, the T1i has the same image setting adjustments as the 5D Mark II and records as much as 4GB (12 minutes of 1080p) of video in MPEG-4 with HDMI output to preview raw footage.
As a still camera, the T1i has a relatively wide light sensitivity range for the class with normal shooting between ISO 100 and ISO 3,200; special modes for very dark scenes kick the sensitivity up to ISO 6,400 and ISO 12,800 like the EOS-50D above it in Canon's range. It also has new software features such as auto-adjustment of light to improve detail in shadows and blown-out highlights as well as a "creative full auto" mode that lets beginners adjust aperture, exposure or shutter speed through plain-language terms. A 3-inch LCD supports live previews while still offering face detection, live and quick autofocus.
The new camera has built-in dust removal and should ship in early May as a body-only version for $800. A kit with an 18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized lens will ship at the same time for $900.
As a companion to the T1i, Canon is also launching the Speedlite 270EX as a replacement for the 220EX. It's chiefly intended for simple bounce flashing and tilts in four increments from straight-ahead to completely upright. Photographers will have the option of controlling the flash directly from a camera's LCD when it ships in April at an unspecified price.