Canon broke with its tradition of upgrading the line every 18 months, introducing the EOS 50D just 12 months from the introduction of the 40D. The Canon 50D also has a new look to its menu, and a Quick Control system works off the previously neglected Multi-controller, making quick changes to commonly used functions easier to execute.
Finally, the Canon EOS 50D has a much improved LCD screen that offers 920,000-dot resolution, making for a 640x480 screen, finally putting the 50D on par with some of its major competitors. We've never held that megapixels were as important as noise handling and high-ISO performance, though, so we're excited that the 50D's 15.1 megapixels also includes excellent high-ISO performance.
The Canon EOS 50D's body is magnesium alloy, with slightly improved seals against dust and water. The grip has a good-sized indent for the middle finger, as we've enjoyed on the EOS 5D, 40D and other recent SLRs we've handled. To remind you which camera you're holding, just look for the silver bezel on the mode dial on the EOS 50D's left shoulder (the 40D's bezel is black). The Canon 50D's Multi-controller isn't new, but is now in charge of activating and navigating the Quick Control menu system that turns the new Status display into a simple graphical menu system.
Now available as a downloadable pdf you can reference with your ipod touch or iphone during your next production. If you've found yourself in need of an affordable camera for digital filmmaking, then the T2i could suit your needs perfectly. The Canon T2i is virtually the same camera as the Canon 7D with less functionality and a plastic body, but for half the price. I've shot with a Nikon D800 and Panasonic GH4 and both offer sharper, higher quality images than the T2i when shot in good light. Canon has been making DSLRs with video a few years now and they got it pretty right with their first attempt: the 5D Mark ii. If you don't get the 18-55mm IS kit lens, you have several choices in the low end range and many many choices if your wallet is fat. Canon 70-200mm f4 L($700) - For the money this lens is one of the best values for professional grade grass. Canon EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS ($100 used, $200 new) - This lens gets a lot of criticism, but for an affordable telephoto for video it will work just fine.
With the appropriate adapter you can mount Nikon manual focus lenses (and AF lenses that have an aperture ring) on your Canon DSLR to shoot video. Bottom line, if you can use only Canon L lenses, you'll be better off than using discount off-brand lenses.
Using lights not only helps keep your ISO to clean levels, it also allows you to shoot at smaller apertures for easier focus and sharper images.
Like in photography, cinematography requires lighting and your style depends on what you find pleasing to your eye.
In daylight there is more of a chance of pretty looking images if you adjust the camera to expose correctly for each situation. If you're shooting in daylight or sunlight you might want a few lens filters like a circular polarizer and neutral density filters to attach to the lens. To get your T2i into movie mode, just turn the main dial until you have selected the camera. My general rule of thumb on the T2i is not to go above 400 ISO, but 800 ISO looks pretty good too, depending on the light. In movie mode in the second camera menu screen there is "auto lighting optimizer." this helps bring up the exposure of dark areas in your image. Once you're in movie mode, just hit the camera icon button on the back of the camera (beside the viewfinder) to start recording. If you're an amateur with a small or no budget, a professional tripod is more important than having a rig. If you can't rent or buy or borrow any pro equipment and don't mind going handheld, the Manfrotto Fig Rig is a great option.
If you have sand bags and are creative, you can do a lot of shots for free with your camera sitting on a sandbag.
MAF members Seth and Elizabeth Hall with Middle Eight Media made a mini doc that can be seen here on the Canon T2i.
Graduated Neutral Density filters are amazing as well for outdoors shots, to take down the brightness of the sky to be more equal with the earth.
Here is the ISO test from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, you can click the image to see original size.
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Other interface improvements are also welcome, including a Quick Control screen, as well as several feature enhancements, like face detection in Live View mode, and contrast-detect autofocus in Live View, all making the already great EOS 40D even better. The move has helped Canon catch up with the Nikon D300, which made quite a splash in the market. First is the new 15.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, a significant upgrade from the 40D's 10-megapixel sensor. Other software enhancements include a new vignetting correction, Automatic Lighting Optimizer with three levels, adjustable noise reduction, a Creative Auto mode, a lens micro adjustment function, and face detection autofocus in Live View mode.
A kit version including a 28 - 135mm zoom lens is also available, priced at $1,599, as well as a kit containing the new 18-200mm zoom lens, retailing for $2,099.99. This time, though, those internal changes are more significant, helping the Canon 50D better compete against the current crop of 12 to 14-megapixel digital SLRs, including Canon's own consumer model, the 12.1-megapixel Rebel XSi (450D). The Canon 50D's new Mode dial bezel seemed like a minor change at first, but I find it helps read the dial more quickly, both indoors and out.
Ironically, the Quick Control dial doesn't activate the Quick Control system, but it does play a part.
It's a very good design, with an excellent textured thumbgrip, a very good grip up front, and most controls are very easy to access.
It has an 18 megapixel sensor which is more than anyone needs, and it records FULL HD 1080 video at 24 or 30 frames, or 25 frames for you Europeans. The T2i does not allow you to dial in custom white balance numerically like the 7D or 5D Mark ii. The differences aren't huge but since the T2i uses a crop sensor and it's a bit older now, newer technology cameras will create a bit better images. The others offer different features and probably pretty comparable quality images, so I would just test them and see which one you like. It also has Optical Stabilization and HSM focusing (not needed for manual focus video shooting, but nice for shooting photos in AF mode). If you can find the IS version, you'll be even better off because that will help in the instance you want to try and handhold a shot for video.
Because the video is compressed and not RAW or as large as JPEGs, one might think using lower quality glass is not as big a deal in video mode on a DSLR.
These require special adapters and a whole other level of equipment that is out of the budget range of many people.
They all offer beautiful, noise-free video from ISO 100-400, but after that you will begin to see digital noise, or grain. They range from $20 for a simple portable light to a $500 LED panel that can recreate the sun.
Some people don't like to use much artificial lighting, but they like using daylight to light their subjects. In a situation on a low budget when you're having to light a set, there is more of a risk of lower quality images.
This is a pain in the butt, btw, because on the 5D Mark ii you just leave the main dial on M selection and hit the record button.
I try to keep the ISO at 100 as much as possible because it reduces the amount of video grain in the dark areas of the image.
In picture style you can set contrast, saturation, sharpness, and color tone, greatly effecting the final image. The camera will give you pretty accurate color while on auto, but while doing a pan or tilt or any camera motion, you will actually see the color balance change right before your eyes! It is supposed to basically help the highlights look less intense but I can't tell much of a difference with it on or off, so I generally leave it off.
If your SD memory card is older and slow, it won't be able to record fast enough for video.
They help stabilize the camera and help focus by offering a follow focus device that attaches to the lens.
We've done dolly shots just dragging a few sandbags across the floor on a sheet with the camera sitting on the sand bags.
With the same rugged, conservative body as the 40D, the Canon EOS 50D's only distinguishing mark is the silver bezel on its mode dial.
Major changes to the design of the microlens array as well as to the sensor itself have actually reduced sensor noise despite the increase in resolution. The Canon 50D will accept virtually all EOS 40D accessories, including the battery grip, remote control, optional focusing screens, and battery. Add the 18-135mm lens and weight is 3 pounds (1,375g), and with the 18-200, it's 3.16 pounds (1,436g).


Regardless of size, this divot improves control and comfort, and better centers the hand for the right grip every time. Press the center of the Multi-controller to activate the menu, then toggle around on the screen until you reach the setting you want to change.
I'm not crazy about the Live View button's location on the left of the optical viewfinder, but it's at least in an area that you'll get used to accessing, since the Menu button is just to the left.
More than likely you'll be working with it on some sort of rig like a Red Rock Micro, so that isn't much of a drawback.
This might be important if you're shooting for TV, but for films and online videos the T2i is great. This differs from the 5D Mark ii and iii, as the 5D doesn't start to show much grain until ISO 1250 or 1600, allowing you to shoot noise-free video without as much lighting.
These LED lights are very popular for many reasons, one being they can run on batteries, another being they don't get really hot like standard movie lights. Daylight or sunlight is the biggest source of free light and in most cases if you have enough light, you can make pretty images.
On the camera's LCD you don't see it, but once you get the images on your computer you might see grain on images at 400 or 800 ISO.
You don't necessarily need the mattebox and all the other tubes and accessories when you're first starting out. Sandbags help for shots done from the top of ladders or in any precarious situation where you need stability in the short term to get a quick shot.
There are a few minor changes to how the buttons and controls are used, but for the most part the Canon 50D's body is unchanged. The change has allowed Canon to offer a wider range of ISO settings than the company has ever offered, ranging from ISO 100 to 3,200, plus two higher settings: H1 is equivalent to ISO 6,400 and H2 takes the camera to 12,800.
Holding the Canon 50D is like gripping a well-sculpted rock: solid, with no twisting or creaking. On the 40D, you had to press the SET button, which caused a lot of confusion, and took away the SET button's usual utility while in Live View mode. Then either press in on the Multi-controller to bring up the full array of options for that screen, or just turn the Quick Control or Main Dial to cycle through the available options without leaving the Quick Control menu.
I tend to believe that the faster a lens is, the better the images because you can keep the ISO lower. Lighting also helps you keep your shadows grain-free, as shooting in available light will reveal some grain in dark areas if you're not careful. Of course if you have a big budget and a ton of lighting tools at your disposal then you can make pretty images with them.
This is why it helps to have a fast lens like the 28mm f1.8, so you can have your ISO at 100 more often, as opposed to an f4 lens where you'd have to set it at ISO 400 or 800. Many filmmakers like to set the camera to a neutral setting so all details are kept, then they tweak the color later in post. I imagine most T2i owners are filmmakers who already own a 5D Mark ii or 7D and want a T2i as a second camera, or amateur who just want to mess around with a camera that can make pretty images. Below the LCD, the Jump button has disappeared, and the Info and Picture Styles buttons have moved left to make room for the FUNC. Note the very different, blue reflection coming off the Canon 50D's screen, which is multi-coated to minimize glare, reduce smudges, and guard against scratches.
Whether you just shoot in daylight, harnessing the sun to keep your DSLR's ISO down to 100 or 200, or with some movie lights, some supplemental lighting will boost the quality of your production.
If you crank up the ISO too high you'll risk too much grain in your images, which you may actually prefer, depending on what you like and the style of the project you're shooting. I like to shoot with saturation and contrast cranked up, so I see something closer to the final image that I want.
The filmmakers who have a budget probably already have rigs for their cameras, like the Red Rock Micro. Also carried over is the rubber seal around the flash hot shoe, made to mate with the 580EX II flash to keep water out of this normally unprotected electrical connection. Wide angle lenses are more difficult to manufacture, therefore an expensive, high quality wide angle lens would be a good option over a discount wide angle lens. Telephoto lenses are usually sharper and make pretty images because they are easier to manufacture and the depth of field is so shallow and your subject stands out easier.



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