Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canon Rebel T2i / 550D

Stuart Cone - one of our Pulp Legionnaires - informs me of the following re: this new Canon camera hitting the USA:

Heya sir,

Haven't seen it on the blog so I figured I'd throw it out there:  Canon is about to release what will be called the Rebel T2i here in the States.  It's the "550D" overseas.  It's pretty much the 7D with a few trims.  I think the sensor, modes and ISO abilities are same the same or ridiculously close in some instances.

It will cost $800.  Almost a good hundred bucks cheaper than the 7D.  With a lens, $900 (I'm going body-only camera and a $90 "nifty fifty" 50mm lens).  For around 2300 bucks I'm about to walk away with the T2i, a Glidecam HD1000, a Zoom H4n recorder, hotshoe, the Pluraleyes syncing plugin for Final Cut Pro and a couple of other things.  Everything I need to go out and start cracking on some shorts for less than a single camera used to cost.

Really, there aren't any excuses anymore.  I can't imagine 1080p/24fps is going to get much cheaper.  It seems like the perfect storm for web-targeted series and films startups.

 
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There is a review of the camera here by Phillip Bloom.

And a fantastic demo video here.

What we need now is someone to go shoot a 24 / Bourne Supremacy / Fringe demo to really put the camera through its paces.  If the color and the blacks hold up then... by Jove, I think we've got it!

Oh, and if anyone at Canon is listening, Bill Martell and I have a couple of short subjects for the web for which we could use a just such a camera.  Maybe even a whole damn movie....or two....just sayin'...

8 comments:

Scott Eggleston said...

While this camera looks fantastic, there are some things to consider when buying one.

-No real audio control. Some DSLRs do have mic inputs (like the T2i), but no headphone jacks or manual audio control. This means going the double system audio route of external recorder and syncing in post.

-Monitor glued to the back of the camera. No problem if you have an external monitor (which is probably mandatory here), but when going for weird pulp angles. a flexible LCD is irreplaceable.

-Shallow DOF can be a curse. Where you can be somewhat lazy with a video camera's "flat" look, you HAVE to pull focus at all times when shooting shallow.

-Limited shooting times. Be aware you cannot have long takes with these cameras. Most limit you to 10 or 12 minutes of unbroken shooting. Most people won't care about this (or won't be shooting multi-cam events), but if you are thinking about that 'Rope' remake or a long DePalma-esque SteadiCam shot, it might be an issue.

If you have enough crew to resolve each of these problems, then more power to you. If you are one-man-banding it (like me), you might consider a more traditional video camera. I think Bill has emphasized more than once that it's not what you shoot with, but what you are shooting that really matters. I happen to agree.

The T2i looks like an amazing value, especially if you are specifically using it for narrative storytelling. If you need a more well-rounded machine, you might have to look elsewhere.

Cunningham said...

Scott -

Excellent points. No doubt there's learning and tech curves to work out...

S. Harlan Cone said...

It is imperfect for many of the things pointed out. I wasn't happy with any of the XLR adapter options out there, so I opted to go with the Zoom H4n recorder. Pretty good sound at a good value, with the option to run two more lines in. Yeah, there's the extra step of syncing it up in post, but on a budget it's a better deal than sitting on the couch. There are also plugins like "PluralEyes" that does the work for you fairly reliably.

The other issues could be a pain or can force you to be more creative. When in very limited circumstances, sometimes you just have to do the extra work and figure out a different way to shoot a scene. I'm alright with that.

Definitely do your homework when putting together a set of gear in the price range you're probably looking at if you're considering this camera. I did and I think I came out pretty good, with plenty of options to upgrade later. But know the limits of your gear and know that you're going to have to work around them!

You definitely need a pulpy, guerrilla mindset, but if you'll put the work in you can get out there and do some cool stuff.

Scott Eggleston said...

I have never heard of PluralEyes, but after checking it out, I'm impressed! That would save lots of time in post. The cost is pretty steep ($150--yikes!), but the idea is a great one and it works with Vegas!

S. Harlan Cone said...

Vegas! While I'm using Final Cut's suite for most of what I'm doing now, I will always make sure to have a copy of Vegas loaded onto a nearby PC. I cut my teeth on it, and I've yet to find something better when I'm working with stills.

S. Harlan Cone said...

Or, at least, something I enjoy working with better. :)

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