Not that Canon dSLR announcements are ever a surprise, but the rumored Canon EOS Rebel T2i is finally official. The new T2i updates Canon's top-of-the-line, entry-level dSLR (can you say oxymoron?), the Rebel T1i, which introduced HD video to sub $900 dSLRs last year. True to form, the biggest news about the T2i is its impressively upgraded movie mode.
Like its big brother, the Canon EOS 7D, the T2i can shoot 1080p (1920x1080) video at 30 fps, as well as at 24 fps and 25 fps (making it compatible with the NTSC and PAL broadcast television standards in the U.S. and Europe, respectively, and allowing it to shoot videos with the cinematic look of film using the lower 24 fps frame rate). It also shoots 720p HD video (and SD video) at 60 and 50 fps. As with the 7D, you get full manual controls while shooting video, and the T2i also includes full autofocus during video recording, as well as an Auto ISO function that allows you to set a limit to the highest ISO the camera will use (while still using automatic ISO adjustment). There's also a new Movie Crop mode, which lets you zoom to 7x magnification when shooting SD video. Another nice touch is the external stereo microphone jack (in addition to the built-in mono microphone), which is a must for anyone who really wants to shoot decent video (but is typically missing in entry-level dSLRs).
Other highlights include a boost to 18 megapixel resolution, which is arguably overkill for the entry-level set, and the new 63-zone metering system introduced in the 7D. In fact, go ahead and just call this the 7D junior.
The T2i will ship in early March for $799.99, body-only, and $899.99 with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.
For a great specs comparison of the full Canon consumer dSLR line and a comparison chart of the T2i's current price competitors, check out Lori Grunin's post on our sister site, CNET Crave.
For an in-depth look at the camera, check out DPReview's hands-on preview.