Panoramas, summit shots, trailhead embarkations, sunsets, and battlewounds -- the photographic proof is a requisite for any grandadventure. As such, I rarely under-pack in the camera department. Formore than a decade, starting with a Pentax K1000 camera and thenmoving up to a Canon digital SLR, I have hauled lenses and bulkycamera bodies to literal ends of the earth.
The latest camera in the line, Canon's Rebel T2i, is a vast upgradefrom my former photographic companions. Released this spring, thedigital single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera offers 18 megapixels ofresolution and HD-video capability.
In the past, I shied away from Canon's EOS Rebel line, as it is a stepbelow the company's professional cameras. But the T2i offers all thepro-level features I need, including video, the massive resolution forstill photos, and fast capture at 3.7 frames per second.
Increased sensitivity and high ISO settings are great for low-lightphotography. The camera can shoot in full-manual mode. Or, conversely,when I want to go on autopilot, the T2i has a litany of presetfunctions and modes to help maximize a picture in almost anysituation.
At $799.99 retail for the T2i camera body, it is a relative bargain. Ican use my existing Canon lenses on the T2i, as the camera iscompatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses.
For years, I shot with Canon's EOS 20D camera. This stout SLR hascaptured tens of thousands of photos for me, and it has never skippeda beat. The T2i, which will replace my 20D, is a significantly bettercamera.
The video mode alone makes the T2i stand out. Its HD-video capability,at 1920 x 1080 resolution, lets you shoot film-like segments. I havehad fun shooting short videos with a 50mm lens. A wide aperture allowsfor beautiful, cinematic-like footage that has depth of field to keepthe subject matter sharp and the background pleasantly blurred.
As with any SLR camera, the T2i can be a pain to manage in theoutdoors and during activities. But the T2i is among the moremanageable SLRs on the market. It measures about 5 x 4 x 3 inches, andit weighs about 18 ounces with no lens attached. Compared to my 20Dcamera, the T2i is noticeably smaller and lighter weight.
The T2i does lack several pro-level features, including super-fastshutter speeds and the kind of frames-per-second capture as seen onCanon's higher-end models. It has no wireless flash option.
But for me, and for most intermediate to advanced photographers, theT2i has just about everything needed. The bright, three-inch-wide LCDmonitor on back gives a quick and accurate preview. A fast peek and Iknow if the T2i got me the vista, summit photo, or action shot I needto bring home and prove I was there.
--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.