[Review] Just Another Rebel? The T4i/650D As A Technology Sandbox

I have to say that I feel I am neglecting the Rebel T4i (EOS 650D in EU, Kiss X6i in JP). I am not part of the “just another Rebel” party, nor do I have an elitist approach to photographic gear. Nevertheless, I didn’t dedicate too much time to the latest Rebel (so far). That’s a shame, because Canon’s last iteration of the Rebel series (the xxxD series in EU) has a lot of advanced and cue-giving tech inside. So much that it should make us curios what it is about. I reported time ago that Canon may sandboxing and testing the technology (i.e. the touchscreen) that could possibly be used for its upcoming mirrorless system camera (expected for July 23). Now, there are more hints that the Rebel T4i/650D sports features and functionalities that would be more than just useful on a mirrorless camera.

Le me start saying that the T4i/650D is Canon’s first DSLR having full-time auto-focus in video mode. To accomplish this, you can use different focusing approaches, such as the contrast-detect method (used in previous Canon DSLR, slow and imprecise) or phase detection sensors in the camera (causes a blackout during live view, when the mirror flips down). But there is a third way to get auto-focus through phase detection: mixing phase detection sensors with pixels on the sensor itself. That’s what the folks at chipworks discovered when they tore down a T4i/650D. The cool thing is that such a technical solution would make up for a fast and reliable AF on a mirrorless camera. The technology is not new and was seen on Nikon’s Aptina sensor sported on the V1 and on the Fuji F300EXR. Differently from Nikon, which uses regular lines to implement the phase detection sensors, Canon uses an irregular pixel pattern. This is not totally new, as Canon two years ago published a patent for such a technology.

What are your thoughts?

Canon patent for phase detection AF

[via photographybay, chipworks]

[Review] Canon EOS 50D – Still Kicking

The EOS 50D (click here), released back in 2008, and still a great camera. Carl at photographic central reviewed the 50D. He got the point so well that I just have to quote him.

Comparing the 50D to today’s DSLR’s on specifications and you might find it has a lot more in common with them than you think a DSLR announced in August of 2008 should. This is one loaded DSLR with lots of resolution and features that, on paper at least, stands up quite well with today’s newest DSLRS on the market- even against Canon’s own EOS 7D […].

Agree. You should also know that the 50D was the last true iteration of the x0D series. The next model, the EOS 60D, didn’t really push the line-up forwards: Canon decided to split the x0D series, crippling down the 60D and introducing the EOS 7D (btw, the 7D is still on sale on B&H – click here). This was a little bit disappointing for some people (myself included). The 60D didn’t get a magnesium alloy, nor does it have some of the “semi-pro” features of the 50D (and 40D). Carl summarizes very well what it is about with the 50D:

A quick rundown of the Canon 50D for those who have never read about it before: This is a semi professional DSLR with a 15.1mp APS-C sensor that includes weather sealing, live view w/two kinds of autofocus, a very robust magnesium outer frame and internal stainless steel chassis, an ISO range of 100-12,800, a 920K anti-reflective LCD screen w/top plate LCD screen as well, auto focus fine tuning for up to 20 lenses, a custom control menu system, 9 point high speed AF system w/all 9 points double cross f/5.6 high sensitivity except the center which is double cross and sensitive to f/2.8, high frequency dust reduction system, a large pentaprism viewfinder with .95X magnification and 96% accuracy, and a lens vignetting correction option available in the menu.

Made using an EOS 50D – Great shot Carl! (image courtesy of Photographic Central)

The review is detailed and comprehensive, I really suggest you have a look. Let me cite from the conclusion (which has much more to say than I am quoting here):

Speaking plainly I just enjoy using the 50D on a daily basis for a wide variety of subjects in many different conditions. It’s a camera that doesn’t really have any real weaknesses in any particular category and is just a fun camera to shoot with and rely on. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want from a DSLR?

[…]

The Canon 50D is one such steal on the market right now that sacrifices very little of newer modern features found in DSLRS, but at almost 1/3rd the cost used than a similar camera would cost you new. Therefore the Canon EOS 50D is indeed one of the best bang for the buck deals you can get on a DSLR (as of today’s date) and I highly recommend it to any shooter, especially those who are on a tighter budget as long as you don’t need video. And I assume that if you are reading a Canon 50D review, you probably aren’t in that camp anyways.

Canon EOS 50D price check: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA.

Click here to see the Canon EOS 50D price on eBay.

Technical specifications:

[shariff]
Click here to open the rest of the article

[Video] Moiré Comparison: Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800 vs Sony NEX-7

And the winner is: EOS 5D Mark III :-). Mike Kobal made a quick comparison between the EOS 5d Mark III, the Nikon D800 and the Sony Nex-7. While I recommend you have a look at Mike’s post, I would like to quote from the article:

The clear winner for me is the Canon 5D mark III. Despite the overall softness right out of the camera (fixable in post to a certain degree), there are no aliasing and moire problems, records at a very descent variable bit-rate of 91megabits/sec in All-I mode and if that’s not enough, the 5D3 is also king after dark.

Let me also quote something concerning the D800:

When shooting stills, moiré and anti aliasing concerns across discussion forums are overblown topics. Of course it can occur and could be problematic. Especially when shooting fabrics, roof tiles, metal grids […]

Nevertheless, EOS 5D Mark III is champion, next is the D800, and then comes the Nex-7. But: we are talking about moiré artefacts here, only about that. :-)

[Review] EF 24mm f/2.8 USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 USM Shipping And Reviewed

While everyone is talking about the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM ($199, click here), there are two more new prime lens that Canon released this year, the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM ($850, click here) and the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM ($800, click here). Both lenses are the second iteration, adding Image Stabilization and USM to its features. They replace some rather old, and affordable, lenses, the EF 24mm f/2.8 ($374, click here) and the EF 28mm f/2.8 ($259, click here). These were solid performing, light-weighted and small consumer-grade lenses. The new iterations are considerably more expensive, having a price tag of approximately $850 (24mm) and $800 (28mm). Besides having IS and USM, the new lenses have seven curved aperture blades (compared to five in the previous 28mm and six in the 24mm). So, how do this two, little commented (why?) lens perform? Roger Cicala at lensrentals.com wanted to find it out. Imatest was used. The results are not earth-shattering (these are not L lenses). Nevertheless, the primes have a good performance, proving that they are well suited for different uses. The IS works fine, and optical performance is good. The downside is probably the fact that the price raised by 200-300%, if compared to their predecessors. While the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM is a no-brainer, you will probably carefully think for what you will need the new 24mm and 28mm. Given the price, these are not lenses most of us will buy just to have them. However, there are various settings where these primes might be the right choice, e.g. night photography (f/2.8 and IS). And don’t forget that on an APS-C body, the 28mm has a normal focus length, becoming a ~44mm.

[Review] EOS 650D/Rebel T4i Real World And Studio Sampe Images

Still unsure if Canon’s new Rebel T4i (EOS 650D in EU, Kiss X6i in JP) is the right camera for you? Maybe some sample pictures might help. DPreview updated its preview of the T4i/650D with studio and real world sample images (click here). The camera’s core specifications:

  • 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor
  • Phase detection AF from imaging sensor for Live View and Video
  • Continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking
  • 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
  • ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 9 point AF system, all sensors cross type, central sensor F2.8 (from 60D)
  • 63 zone iFCL metering
  • 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound with internal or external mics
  • 1.04m dot 3:2 touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD (capacitative type, multi-touch support)

Btw, Adorama has various Rebel T4i/650D bundles in offer, click here to see them all.

EOS 650D/Rebel T4i/Kiss X6i price check: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA

[Review] Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Reviewed By Photozone (Yet Another Pancake Review – Update)

UPDATE: Cameta Camera on Amazon has some cool pancake bundles (15 items available for each kit – act quickly):

  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + 3 (UV/FLD/CPL) Filters + Hood + Cleaning Kit for EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs $214.95 (click here)
  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + 3 (UV/FLD/CPL) Filters + Hood + Tripod + Accessory Kit for  EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs for $224.95 (click here)
  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + Canon 62″ Tripod + 3 (UV/FLD/CPL) Filters + Hood + Accessory Kit for  EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs for $259.95 (click here)
  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + UV Filter + Hood + Cleaning Kit for EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs for $209.95 (click here)
  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + 3 (UV/FLD/CPL) Filters + Hood + Backpack + Accessory Kit for EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs for $249.95 (click here)
  • EF 40mm f/2.8 STM + Canon 2400 Case + 3 (UV/FLD/CPL) Filters + Hood + Tripod + Accessory Kit for EOS 60D, 7D, 5D Mark II III, Rebel T3, T3i, T4i DSLRs for $259.95 (click here)

Another review of what seems to be Canon’s most exciting new gear of the year (at least so far), the nifty EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake ($199, click here). This is not the first pancake review I feature here on CanonWatch, but it is one more (professional made) review that points out how much high quality glass you get for $199. This time photozone.de had the pancake under its finger and provides a comprehensive review of the lens. If you are still wondering if you should get the 40mm pancake, then this may be the definitive review for you. I am always a little bit surprised that all the reviews are praising the good build quality (“on a very high level” – don’t forget it’s a $199 lens). From the conclusion:

[the 40mm] is just too cute […]. Other than that it has also several hard arguments on its side. The optical performance is certainly very impressive. […] bitingly sharp center but even the border and corner quality is on a very high level straight from f/2.8. The very low amount of lateral CAs contributes to the very high sharpness perception and the barrel distortion is nothing to worry about either. The lens produces some light falloff at max. aperture but this is nothing unheard of on full format cameras anyway and stopping down helps[…] Bokeh fringing is generally a non-issue. The EF 40mm f/2.8 STM suffers a bit from a focus shift when stopping down (residual spherical aberration). In very shallow depth-of-field situation (thus at close focus distances) this may be noticeable because DSLRs take AF readings at max. aperture only so the guidance for the other aperture settings can be very slightly off.

EF 40mm f/2.8 STM availability and price check: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon CA, KEH Camera, BestBuy, Canon CA, Canon USA