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Canon Rebel T2i DSLR

Review Date: Aug 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Excellent files @ ISO 100, very good files @ ISO 200. Superb detail, amazing what you can pull out of the shadows. Very good user interface, very good screen, live view very useful for focusing manual focus lenses, I do not miss the top LCD screen and the wheel at the back at all. Build quality is not bad, small size and weight are a plus when hiking.
Luminance noise starts to kick in @ ISO 200, especially blue skies. Chroma noise starts to kicks in @ ISO 400 in the shadows. From ISO 400 and up fine detail, contrast and tonal range is lost very fast. Yet on the other hand it is amazing what can be done @ ISO 6400 @ small sizes. Personally, for nature/landscape/architecture I consider ISO 400 for emergencies: cannot leave the tripod at home. Any ISO 800 or higher only if the aim is small prints or web use, and when the mood of the scene "demands" it, like concert photography. Relatively high shutter speeds are required to avoid motion blur due to small pixels. On-chip stabilization would be a big plus here. Huge RAW files (22-32 MBytes).

I have very mixed feelings about this camera. On one hand It can deliver stunning results @ISO 100 and ISO 200 IF you use high enough shutter speeds.
On the other hand images at ISO 400 and above look like they came from a P&S very easily. (yes, even with highest quality glass like Zeiss 35/2 and Canon 100 L IS macro from tripod). On the other hand it can produce results in the near dark IF you view and print quite small.
I am a firm believer in the results DXOmark produces under Signal to Noise ratio and Tonal Range (screen) for 20D (my old camera), the 550 D and e.g. the Nikon 700D. I definitely think Canon went way over the top by cramming 18 mega pixels on the sensor.

Buying the 550D still makes sense if you are aware of it's limitations. Plus in 4-6 years it will be obsolete anyway, so invest in glass, not camera's. Considering the 20D was 1450 Euro's six years ago and the 550D now is 640, that is quite an amazing progress.