B004m170yc1Canon today announced the T3i and T3, which will succeed the wildly popular Rebel T2i when they ship in early March. The T3i, also known as the EOS 600D in non-US markets, retains the same 1080p HD video options as the T2i, while the lower-end (and cheaper) T3 offers only 720p. As a result, the T3i will be the focus of DSLR cinematographers, and the new model brings with it a couple of key features:

The first is the articulating LCD screen, as seen on the higher-end Canon 60D. This is a huge help for shooting high- and low-angle videos, since you don't need to be directly behind the camera body to see an articulating screen. In fact, the 18 megapixel APS-C sensor should be the same as the 60D as well, which means that the 60D's differences will generally be in the handling, top screen (the Rebel line has no such top LCD screen), build quality, and weatherproofing.

The second significant new feature is full HD sensor crop in video mode. To the best of my knowledge this is a first for Canont, and it's a highly valuable feature for long (telephoto/zoom) shots. The Panasonic GH2 already has this feature, which works like this: because a DSLR has a much higher resolution in still mode (in the case of the T3i, 18 megapixels in still mode and two megapixels in video), by only using the central pixels on the sensor, the camera can zoom in on an image -- in full resolution -- without any light loss. This means your 135mm lens can effectively become a 1350mm lens! Not all sensor crops are the same, so this number may not be precise, but suffice to say -- the sensor crop feature is a big one, and while it was available in the past in VGA resolution, the T3i's upgrade to Full HD is likely an indication that all future Canon HDSLRs will have such a feature. It remains to be seen how well it will work, but barring any serious errors, this should be a great addition.

However, beyond these two new features, the T3i uses the same DIGIC IV processor that Canon has been using for two years (and, as it features only one, it will not be able to output 1080p through HDMI, as do the Canon 7D and 1D Mark IV). It will likely suffer from the same aliasing problems as all prior Canon HDSLRs. This is to be expected, as I doubt Canon would introduce a brand-new video mode in a lower-end consumer model; we will more likely see a significant revision to the codec/bitrate/resolution/frame rate with, say, the unannounced-but-expected 5D Mark III.

Here's the requisite marketing video:

The Rebel T3i starts at $799.99 for the body only. Kit options include a bundle with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II zoom lens for $899.99 or with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens for $1099.00. The lower-end Rebel T3, which looks like it is only available bundled with Canon’s new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II zoom lens, will retail for $599.99.

T3i and T3 Specifications

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

  • 18 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4 Imaging processor
  • ISO range of 100 to 6,400
  • 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video capture at up to 30fps
  • 3.0-inch Vari-angle rotatable Clear View LCD (1.04 million dot res.)
  • SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card compatible
  • Pop-up Flash
  • External flashgun shoe and integrated camera Speedlite settings

Canon EOS Rebel T3

  • 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4 Imaging processor
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II zoom lens
  • Nine-point auto-focus system
  • 63-zone dual-layer metering system
  • 2.7-inch TFT LCD (230k dot res.)
  • ISO range of 100 to 6,400
  • 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels) video capture at up to 30fps
  • SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card compatible
  • Pop-up Flash, Basic+ beginner mode

Link: Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D Hands-on Preview - DPReview.com

[via NinoFilm]