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Canon’s Entry T1i D-SLR Adds HD Video Capture

Lake Success, N.Y.— Canon U.S.A. upped the ante for entry-level digital SLRs with the introduction Wednesday of the EOS T1i to its Rebel camera series.

The EOS Rebel T1i, which will ship by early May at a $799 suggested retail (body-only kit), is the first model

in the Rebel line to incorporate FullHD video capture. It will also include a number of key advanced features from the step-up EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II models.

The camera features a 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and HD video capture, DIGIC 4 imaging processor, a 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) monitor and a host of automated functions to simplify use, including Auto Lighting Optimizer, Creative Auto Mode and Live View mode.

“We are witnessing the emergence of a new phase in digital imaging history, as high-resolution still images and HD video can now both be produced in a handheld device, for under $1,000,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, Canon consumer imaging group senior VP and general manager. “This is truly a great time to be involved in digital imaging as the advent of online communities are helping usher in this next great era in imaging.”

At the heart of the camera is Canon’s DIGIC 4 imaging processor, which uses 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion and FullHD video processing. Combining this with the 15.1 megapixel, the APS-C size CMOS image sensor provides ISO speeds from ISO 100 up to ISO 3200 in whole stop increments, along with two additional high-speed ISO settings — H1: 6400 and H2: 12800.

To capture stills of moving subjects, the T1i offers continuous shooting at 3.4 fps for up to 170 large/fine JPEG images or up to nine RAW images in a single burst when using a class 6 or higher SD or SDHC memory card.

The digital SLR also employs a nine-point autofocus (AF) system and AF sensor for enhanced subject detection.

A cross-type AF measurement at the center is said to be effective with all EF and EF-S lenses, while enhancing performance using lenses with maximum apertures of f/2.8 or faster.

Canon said the cross-type AF measurement reads a wider variety of subject matter than conventional single-axis AF sensors for fast and accurate shots.

The EOS Rebel T1i is compatible with over 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses, including all of Canon’s large-aperture EF L-series professional lenses.

For video capture, the camera records 16:9 720p HD video at 30 fps and FullHD 1080p video capture at 20 fps. A third option records 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video at 640 by 480 pixels and 30 fps.

The video capture mode is part of the camera’s Live View function, using the Picture Style that has been set for Live View still-image shooting, Canon said.

This enables photographers to adjust image sharpness, contrast, color saturation and white balance for still images and have those same settings apply to the movie image as well.

The T1i camera will record video up to 4GB per clip, equaling approximately 12 minutes of FullHD video, 18 minutes of 720p HD video or 24 minutes of SD video depending on the level of detail in the scene.

Video clips are recorded in MOV format using an MPEG-4 video compression and sound is recorded using linear PCM without compression.

A built-in monaural microphone is added for sound recording, and an HDMI output is included for direct connection to HD TV sets.

The camera includes three Live View AF modes for both still images and video — Quick, Live and Face Detection Live mode. Quick mode automatically sets One-Shot AF using the camera’s phase detection AF system. It also allows users to select the AF point, even while the Live View image is displayed.

The Face Detection Live mode uses contrast AF to recognize human faces. When multiple faces are detected, the largest face closest to the center of the frame is targeted as the AF point.

Using Live View, users can change settings including the AF modes, drive mode, ISO speed, Picture style, White Balance and more.

Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer technology helps ensure that the subject of each picture is clearly visible by analyzing image brightness and automatically adjusting dark areas in images so they appear brighter. 

The $799.99 outfit includes the camera body, rechargeable battery pack and charger, USB and video cables, a neck strap, an EOS Solutions Disk CD and a one-year limited warranty. The Rebel T1i will also be sold with Canon’s EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens at an estimated retail of $899.