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First Impressions of the 550D


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#1 Michael K Bergstrom

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 10:49 PM

So I picked up one of the new Rebel T2i/550D's last friday, then I got sick over the weekend so couldn't go out an play with it...
It's a very small and light camera, it feels like the cost you pay for it. Very large LCD on the back, which in video mode is very nice. It's not very user friendly, not a whole lot of external controls, most of the work is done with menus. The thing is made of polycarbonate so you lose the nice solid feeling to it, the kit lens is nice (but quite loud), and I don't think it's worth the 100 dollars they charge for it, I'll be getting a nikon adapter and shoot with primes. I recommend not buying the kit if you have your own glass.
I've shot a bit with it, and I must say, I think they are slowly getting rid of the rolling shutter. Unlike the 7D, and 5D, it can autofocus while shooting, which should appeal to the general consumer shooting their kid's soccer game, but I found the autofocus very loud and it would show up in the audio track. They have several picture presets for video including two that flatten the image, but they also have three user defined presets, so I went ahead and dialed in my own. I'll try to post some footage on vimeo in the next day or two.
Overall, it makes a nice "crash camera", or B-Camera to a 7D, but if you can, just spring for the 7D.
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#2 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:09 PM

So I picked up one of the new Rebel T2i/550D's last friday, then I got sick over the weekend so couldn't go out an play with it...
It's a very small and light camera, it feels like the cost you pay for it. Very large LCD on the back, which in video mode is very nice. It's not very user friendly, not a whole lot of external controls, most of the work is done with menus. The thing is made of polycarbonate so you lose the nice solid feeling to it, the kit lens is nice (but quite loud), and I don't think it's worth the 100 dollars they charge for it, I'll be getting a nikon adapter and shoot with primes. I recommend not buying the kit if you have your own glass.
I've shot a bit with it, and I must say, I think they are slowly getting rid of the rolling shutter. Unlike the 7D, and 5D, it can autofocus while shooting, which should appeal to the general consumer shooting their kid's soccer game, but I found the autofocus very loud and it would show up in the audio track. They have several picture presets for video including two that flatten the image, but they also have three user defined presets, so I went ahead and dialed in my own. I'll try to post some footage on vimeo in the next day or two.
Overall, it makes a nice "crash camera", or B-Camera to a 7D, but if you can, just spring for the 7D.

Valuable report.
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:46 PM

BH started listing them a couple of days early and they're already out-of-stock. Adorama started listing kits in stock as of today with the so-so 18-55 F3.5/5.6 lens. If you want one, I suggest order it now, I suspect Adorama will also sell out pretty quick.

BH is also already out of stock on the highly rated 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM lens but Adorama had them as of today. I've got a camera with the so-so kit lens on the way but also bought the 17-55 F2.8. It's a bit of a stretch to buy the camera and lens at the same time but I've been wanting to play around with an HDSLR but haven't wanted to dive in as deep as a 7D with a good lens.
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#4 Zak Melms

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 02:24 PM

I picked up a Canon T2i on Friday and shot with it over the weekend. I used the Marvels Cine picture profile with sharpening turned down a click. Impressions: This is an amazing little camera for the price, if you need something very robust and durable fork out the cash for the 7D or the 5D, if you need a backup for your 7D though here it is, same sensor (almost) and same video quality. "Crash cam"? - Yes.

Live Focus - Not really, if its dark the iso boosts when you do a half shutter depress and it hunts in video mode.

Stock Lens - only worth it if you don't have one

HDMI Out - Not really. Until Magic Lantern or another computer guru does some more magic with firmware the hdmi out comes with all of the onscreen controls, the focus box, and still drops to sd when you hit record (the signal also drops out for a second then comes back at the beginning and end of recording)

Color Temperature - Limited control here, you either dial it into a picture profile, or use the in camera presets, or white cards.

Histogram - Kinda, shoot a clip, then review it with the display info on, it works but not pretty.

So here is a link to what I shot Sunday, slightly cc'd for color and contrast. I'm re-compressing this tonight but it is a good example of how this handles a wide exposure range (snow to subject) and the camera jello - this was shot all hand held with the stock lens.


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#5 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:37 PM

(...)

Not available 'cause it is a private video.
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#6 Zak Melms

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 04:14 PM

Not available 'cause it is a private video.


Sorry about that. It has been re-compressed and uploaded, I turned the privacy off so it is public again. Thanks for the note.
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#7 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:10 PM

Sorry about that. It has been re-compressed and uploaded, I turned the privacy off so it is public again. Thanks for the note.


How would you compare the video quality to the EX-1? :unsure:
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 12:45 AM

How would you compare the video quality to the EX-1? :unsure:


I just bought a 550D yesterday (needed a new DSLR anyway...) and started to play around a bit with it. I'm curious too as to how it compares to the EX1 since they'd be used in similar situations, i.e. when you needed a small camera to fit somewhere odd, or move through or in a small space or hand-off the camera through a car window.

I may test the two of them side-by-side in the next few weeks.

So far I'm finding that focusing the stock 18-55 zoom during a moving shot is near impossible.

I'm a bit surprised that people are doing entire projects with the darn things, seems a bit risky, not to mention expensive to totally trick-out for remote focusing, etc.

400 to 800 ASA seems to be the optimal ASA range.
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#9 Michael K Bergstrom

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:28 AM

Zak or I haven't put the EX1 footage next to each other, but right off the bat, the EX1 codec seem superior (as you can imagine), horizontal lines tend to dance a little with the Canon.

You're right David, the 18-55mm zoom is a pain, we were playing around today with a nikon 28mm, and a 400mm prime which were just lovely. Easy to focus, very sharp and a whole lot faster. We are in the middle of shooting a no budget feature while we're in the slow season up here. We have a big fight scene we're shooting, and we'll be shooting the Canon's right next to the EX1 with a letus, should be a nice comparison, if it works out well we'll be looking at maybe shooting some walk through bar scenes with the canon as well. As for shooting a whole project...it does seem risky.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 11:20 AM

Is there a simple way to pull a frame of HD video from the Canon h.264 .mov files without going into a NLE system?

Does the Canon Digital Solutions software CD have something on it that allows simple frame grabbing?
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#11 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:16 PM

Is there a simple way to pull a frame of HD video from the Canon h.264 .mov files without going into a NLE system?

Does the Canon Digital Solutions software CD have something on it that allows simple frame grabbing?

David,

VLC player:

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Into the menus:
video > snapshot

E. :-)
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#12 Zak Melms

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:13 PM

I'm going to agree with Mike on this one, the codec sucks, I think the big difference that tests show will be in the latitude and noise in blacks. Those big fast primes were nice but it also brought up another issue - image stabilization - if you have canon IS lenses with the IS on it works while shooting video (a nice feature but I don't have any big canon IS lenses to test this on at the moment and see how much it actually helps. My 400mm russian glass (about 600mm with the crop) doesn't have this IS, so shots are only good on a tripod with hands off. I plan on a comparison test in the next week or so, both with Letus Ultimate & without.
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#13 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:01 AM

Zak or I haven't put the EX1 footage next to each other, but right off the bat, the EX1 codec seem superior (as you can imagine), horizontal lines tend to dance a little with the Canon.

Codec or aliasing from line skipping? ;)
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#14 Ben Syverson

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:56 PM

Is there a simple way to pull a frame of HD video from the Canon h.264 .mov files without going into a NLE system?

You can do it easily from QuickTime Player 7 in 10.6, or the pro QuickTime Player in 10.5 and below.

Export > QuickTime Movie to Picture
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:26 PM

You can do it easily from QuickTime Player 7 in 10.6, or the pro QuickTime Player in 10.5 and below.

Export > QuickTime Movie to Picture


Quicktime player plays the HD .mov files or it has to be converted into something else first?
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#16 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 04:02 PM

Converting with QuickTime Player always needs the "Pro" Version. A 25$ investment.
MPEG Streamclip (don't get distracted my the word MPEG here) does an excellent job in terms of converting movs (batch processing).
And it's free.
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:37 PM

There are subtle and not-so-subtle gamma shifts in many situations, including Streamclip; I'm beginning to get the impression that the world doesn't like full-swing pictures in YUV h.264.

I've played a bit more with these video DSLRs and they're at once shockingly good and really not that good.

It looks pretty but it's technically horrible.

P
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#18 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:49 PM

There are subtle and not-so-subtle gamma shifts in many situations, including Streamclip; I'm beginning to get the impression that the world doesn't like full-swing pictures in YUV h.264.

I've played a bit more with these video DSLRs and they're at once shockingly good and really not that good.

It looks pretty but it's technically horrible.

P


Every time you post, Phil, I know I'm going to get some good info. Do you think it is because of h.264 or is this a problem with compression in general. Do you think h.264 will find better alteration methods as time ticks along or is it doing about the best it can as is?
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 08:52 PM

Every time you post, Phil, I know I'm going to get some good info. Do you think it is because of h.264 or is this a problem with compression in general. Do you think h.264 will find better alteration methods as time ticks along or is it doing about the best it can as is?



I think it's what you think it is:
1) Line-skipping / pixel binning (which I guess occurs before conversion to RGB)
2) rolling shutter artifacts
3) overly heavy compression
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#20 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 04:02 AM

Bear in mind in h.264 it's being stored as YUV, not RGB.

The issue with gamma shifts - and outright cropping of information - is, I think, probably due to the camera recording 0-255 range and software assuming it's 16-235, or some complex combination of various things making various assumptions on these issues.

P
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