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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:05 am 
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Hi folks,

Canon EOS T4i / 650D review.

From this press release:

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    The New EOS Rebel T4i DSLR Camera Puts The Power And Creativity Of DSLR Stills And Video At Your Fingertips

    Silent and Continuous Autofocus in Video, The EOS Rebel T4i Lets People Re-Live Magic Moments Through Stunningly Crisp Video and Incredible Stereo Sound

    LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., June 8, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announced a new flagship model in its most popular EOS Rebel line, the Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Camera. The new EOS Rebel T4i features incredible image quality with an 18-megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, DIGIC 5 Image Processor that helps capture all the action with high-speed continuous shooting of up to five frames per second (fps) and an extended ISO range of 100-12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode) that gives photographers the opportunities to take the EOS Rebel T4i into more shooting situations than ever before.

    The camera includes a revolutionary new autofocus (AF) system to help achieve fast, sharp focus and smooth HD video. The new AF system includes a nine-point all cross-type sensor array, and new Hybrid CMOS AF which achieves fast focus when shooting stills or video in Live View mode. Much to the pleasure of aspiring student filmmakers and parents everywhere, the Rebel T4i features Canon's new Movie Servo AF providing a quiet, continuous AF during HD video recording when using one of Canon's newly introduced Stepping Motor (STM) lenses. The silent continuous autofocus when shooting HD video helps ensure the camera only captures the sounds of the scene being recorded. When combined with the camera's new Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II and intuitive "fingertip" controls, touch-menu and advanced still and video capabilities, the EOS Rebel T4i stands as Canon's most "consumer-friendly" DSLR to date.

    "Our Rebel line of cameras bridges the gap between the casual photographer and someone looking to advance their photography and capture moments in new and creative ways. The EOS Rebel T4i boasts full HD video with AF and touch-screen navigation, inspiring even more photographers and videographers to explore the creative options made possible with DSLR cameras and lenses," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.

    New AF Capabilities
    One of the most significant upgrades to the EOS Rebel T4i is a dramatically upgraded AF system including a nine-point all cross-type AF array, with a high-precision dual-cross f/2.8 point at center. The EOS Rebel T4i is the first Canon camera to feature the new Hybrid CMOS AF system which increases AF speed by reducing the camera's need to "hunt" for focus. The result is fast continuous AF when shooting photos and movies in Live View. Because the camera's cross-type AF points have two-dimensional contrast detection, the EOS Rebel T4i provides highly accurate focus regardless of your shot composition and ensures great focus no matter where the subject is located in the frame. The addition of the dual-cross point in the center allows for much faster and precise focusing for photographers using high-speed f/2.8 lenses.

    Using the touch panel, parents can select their child on the LCD screen and the camera will remain focused on that child while they stay in-frame, ensuring sharp focus in crowds and group shots. The new AF system enables Touch Focus for shooting photos and movies in Live View. To make capturing photos even easier, a Touch Shutter function can also be enabled, whereby selecting a subject on the LCD screen, the camera will instantly take a photo, once focus is locked.

    Continuous AF during HD Video Recording
    For the first time in a Canon EOS DSLR, the EOS Rebel T4i includes Canon's new Movie Servo AF for recording video. When used with Canon's new EF and EF-S STM lenses, the camera can provide smooth and quiet continuous AF while recording video. This technological breakthrough enables the new EOS Rebel T4i to achieve AF while still retaining a DSLR camera's signature background blur and image quality, producing stunning videos of parties, events, summer vacations or graduations.

    When shooting video with Canon's STM lenses, AF also remains silent, helping ensure you only capture the sound of the scene being recorded. The EOS Rebel T4i features a built-in stereo microphone, a first for the Rebel line, that includes an attenuator function to reduce audio distortion in extra loud situations.

    Canon's First Touch-Screen DSLR
    Another Canon first, the EOS Rebel T4i includes a best-in-class Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II featuring 1.04 million dot resolution for unparalleled, clear viewing. The electro-static touch-panel screen is the most advanced that Canon has released to date with multi-touch capabilities allowing photographers to use familiar gestures such as "pinch-to-zoom" and "swiping" to scroll between pictures. Camera operation has been simplified through this feature allowing for Touch Focus or Touch Shutter controls via the vari-angle touch-screen. The vari-angle touch-screen flips out to the left and rotates 180 degrees forward and 90 degrees backward, making tough above-the-head and low-to-the-ground shots easy, and allowing improved views during photo or video capture. That means the overhead shot taken in a crowd or at a graduation march just got a little easier to shoot.

    Improved Imaging Performance Features
    The EOS Rebel T4i helps novice photographers capture great images and video, even in low-light with a range of new and upgraded modes:

    • Handheld Night Scene
    • Video Snapshot
    • HDR Backlight Control
    • Scene Intelligent Auto
    • Multi-Shot Noise Reduction

    Canon's new shooting modes (Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control and Multi-Shot Noise Reduction), take multiple pictures, and combine them - in camera - to help capture a wider dynamic range, minimize the image grain or noise, and produce more vivid colors so landscapes and city scenes are as breathtaking as when seen in person.

    Families have enjoyed coming home from a vacation or outing with a fun, short Video Snapshot highlight reel shot on their Canon camera to share the full story of their adventure. Now with the EOS Rebel T4i users will also have the option to delete, cut or re-order the clips before exporting the Snapshot album to post or share.

    Canon's Scene Intelligent Auto mode - the "green" mode on the dial - analyzes the scene being shot, taking into account faces, colors, brightness, movement and contrast, to select appropriate camera settings and help produce the best possible image. This mode has been enhanced to deliver the best possible exposure, particularly when shooting in low-light.

    New STM Lenses and Accessories
    To leverage the unique, new shooting functions of the EOS Rebel T4i, such as EOS Full HD Movie with continuous AF, Canon is introducing two new unique lenses, the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens and new EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. Both new STM lenses includes Canon's new Stepping Motor technology, which allows the lenses to smoothly and silently focus, and when used in combination with Canon's new EOS Rebel T4i Movie Servo AF feature, achieve continuous AF while recording video. The new stepping motor technology in both lenses quietly focuses allowing the EOS Rebel T4i's stereo microphone to only record the sounds of the scene being shot.

    The versatile EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens offers the right combination of size, weight, image stabilization and focal length, allowing photographers to capture wide-angle or telephoto photographs and video. This lens is a great option for photographers who may only want to carry one lens with them for both wide landscapes, and close-ups. Appearing for the first time in a Canon EF lens is Dynamic IS (Movie Shooting Mode only) that uses a wide image stabilization correction range to help ensure steady video even when shooting while walking.

    The new EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens offers an ultra-slim, lightweight design that helps photographers avoid overwhelming their subjects with a large lens and to remain discreet in sensitive shooting situations without compromising performance. The "pancake-style" lens boasts an aperture of f/2.8 making it an ideal lens for capturing portrait stills or stunning video. The lens is under an inch thick when attached, making it easy to carry and fit conveniently into a purse or pocket.

    The EOS Rebel T4i is also compatible with Canon's previously introduced GP-E2 GPS Receiver that can be mounted to the camera's accessory shoe. The GPS unit was created to serve outdoor photographers; it records shooting locations including latitude, longitude and altitude, as well as camera direction. A Logging function can tell how far a photographer has traveled as well.

    Availability
    The EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR camera will be available at the end of June for an estimated retail price of $849.99 for the body alone; $949.99 bundled with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens kit and a Movie Kit bundle for $1199.00 with the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

    The new EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens and the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM will also be available separately at the end of June at an estimated retail price of $199.99 and $549.99 respectively.

There's also a separate press release for the new lenses which you can read here. The UK product page for the 650D is also up now (here) so you can browse the detailed specifications.

A welcome addition to the entry level line-up. My personal take, and I'm pretty much outside the Canon fan base now, is that it's disappointing that, by implication, none of Canon's previous EF and EF-S lenses are ever going to be particularly good for AF with video, hence Canon's introduction of the stepping motor STM lenses. Otherwise the specifications are unsurprising but welcome upgrades with one exception...

The Wow factor for me is Canon's inclusion of pixels on the sensor dedicated to phase detect AF, similar in concet to what we have already seen with the Nikon 1 system. Apparently Canon uses the sensor based PDAD pixels to get the focus close, and without gross errors such as when CDAF systems guess wrong, and then use conventional CDAF to nail the focus more precisely. From EOS 650D Technologies Explained ("DOC" file) we have "The EOS 650D’s APS-C sensor features a new Hybrid AF System, which uses the central pixels of the sensor to enable continuous AF when shooting in Live View Mode or when recording EOS Movies . The Hybrid AF system uses a combination of both phase detection and contrast AF to ensure quick and accurate auto focus". Of course that rather begs the question of why Canon has continued to bother with a mirror, conventional PDAF chip and an optical viewfinder rather than put more of those PDAF pixels on the main sensor but I guess some folks still like their flappy mechanicals. More seriously, it seems that Canon suggest they still get better performance from the regular (60D based) PDAF sensor with current EF/EF-S glass.

But the key technologies are now all in place for Canon's widely expected entry into the CSC (mirrorless) market expected later this year.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:35 am 
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Cheers Bob. Wow that 40mm is small! It will only cost $199 as well. If its a sharp lens I think I might pick one up for a lightweight portable option :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:54 am 
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On hybrid AF, from reviews of Fuji and Nikon similar hybrid implementations, they all have the significant drawback of only providing good performance with decent light. Particularly in low light, a mirrored phase AF system does better. Of course we'll have to wait and see exactly how well the Canon system performs.

Plus you also have the latest photo forum argument of EVF vs OVF to contend with. I'm in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp when it comes to DSLRs. They're not perfect by any means, but neither are current mirrorless systems. As and when mirrorless offers unquestioned superior performance in all areas against DSLRs, only then will I consign DSLRs to the museum. We're still a long way off that, even if we get a little closer all the time.

As for lenses, it is unclear so far if STM is essential for good performance, or if its primary reason for existence is only quiet AF during video. My assumption is previous lenses will also work, however they may produce noise that will be picked up on video. Again, this is something we'll have to wait and see in more detail.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:27 am 
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Further thought occurs. What is the aperture sensitivity of the main sensor phase detectors? I'm wondering as currently I do like to AF beyond the rated limit of f/5.6 mirrored phase systems. One shot live view AF already functions on some Canon bodies, although slowly and not always accurately. I wonder if the hybrid AF will help here?

As a side thought, although the camera is still 18MP, the incorporation of phase detectors on it suggests it is not identical to the sensor as used on other models. But is that the only change or have they done more? And if the phase detectors take up pixel space, would RAW converters need to allow for that? Or is it already compensated for somehow in sensor?

I think it will be an interesting time ahead seeing how the new body works. While it doesn't in itself have a must have feature to make me get one soon, it will be an indicator of what else is to come in DSLRs, mirrorless and even compacts too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:55 am 
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Skimming through dpreview's hands on preview of the 650D, the video/LV phase part of the hybrid AF has an effective working area in the middle of the scene area, which is smaller than the traditional 9 point phase diamond. Contrast AF is still usable for most of the whole area. While an improvement over what they had before (contrast AF only, and not very good at that), this is still inferior to mirrored phase AF where distance tracking is concerned. It may still have an advantage on area tracking though.

STM lenses are manual focus-by-wire :( They never felt right to me compared to a directly mechanically coupled focus system, but I guess that's the price to pay for the other optimisations they had to put in.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:45 pm 
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jameswilby5 wrote:
Cheers Bob. Wow that 40mm is small! It will only cost $199 as well. If its a sharp lens I think I might pick one up for a lightweight portable option :)

$199 retail price- the street price might get even lower!


Nice camera, cool set, I like it!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Auto focusing system that might actually work +
Better fps +
Digic 5 much better noise at hi iso +
In-cam HDRing +
M and S Raw +
Much better usability in LV and movies +
Even quicker handling with touchscreen +

I'm upgrading next month!

Oh, and THANK YOU CANON so much for keeping 18Mp!

And just a thought. I'm really not looking forward to Canon starting CSC business. This release shows that before they go mirrorless they will (hopefully continue to) pack entry-level models with features and specs. I'm a bit afraid that once they start a whole new system Rebels will die pretty fast (unless they do it the way Nikon did). I'd so much prefer the Rebels dead only after they reach technology level of 7d :)

PS: This one is a real upgrade. 600D should not have happened, I think.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:49 pm 
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I've been puzzling over why Canon has restricted its on-sensor phase detect AF pixels to just a single area at the center of the sensor. However it works that area has to be the most critical so far as picture quality is concerned so it would seem that Canon has successfully avoided any visible artefacts caused by the presence of those PDAF pixels. My guess is that we might see such PDAF pixels scattered much more liberally across a camera's sensor in future, particularly if that camera costs more as it may be that, even if the camera's sensor doesn't cost much more to make with extra PDAF pixels there will be an added cost in processing the data, maybe using a dedicated DIGIC chip.

Cost wise the T4i/650D isn't that cheap, with an introductory SRP broadly in line with that of it's predecessor after allowing for inflation, so I was wrong earlier to label it as entry level. Serious amateur might be more appropriate as the next cost level is semi-Pro. As well as the implications for a future Canon CSC, which I can understand isn't for everyone, I think the future for the 60D and 7D lines (merged or separate) is looking interesting as they would be the natural home for the next evolution of this on-sensor PDAF capability. But bizarrely Canon, having only just recently introduced the 5D Mark III and the 1D X (which is still virtually unobtainable), will not be able to add the new video AF functionality to it's full-framers for, at a guess, at least a couple of years.

So far as the introduction of STM lenses is concerned, my understanding is that the STM drives are better tuned to the new video AF system than the current USM drives and are also quieter but I may be wrong about that. The 40mm pancake is the only EF lens of the new pair of STM lenses which argues that it is also expected to be used on full-framers. Quite why one should need to fit a pancake lens on such a large camera body escapes me... :roll: :lol:

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:01 pm 
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The reason for limiting hybrid AF to the central region is likely the same reason it is limited for conventional phase AF - you need enough phase information available, which is lost as you go to the borders. I would guess at this point, the smaller detectors that will likely be present on an imaging sensor would be less effective than the dedicated phase sensors, therefore limiting its region of operation more so.

The lack of video AF on the 5D3 and 1D X I think is understandable. Those cameras are more likely to be purchased by the more cinematic producers, as opposed to the home video enthusiast that likely just wants to point and shoot. I think this area of conflict is generally a failing of understanding by some groups, where you can find endless arguments comparing the likes of the GH2 to the 5D2, where both have their own sets of advantages that are conveniently overlooked by the other side.

Bob, I'm thinking of getting the pancake to act as a glorified body cap :P Stick it on a backup body so it has some functionality while not really taking up any more space that any other lens would.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Hi popo,

Good points on which to focus, well reasoned as usual. 8)

popo wrote:
Bob, I'm thinking of getting the pancake to act as a glorified body cap :P ...

Cor, that's an expensive lens cap! No wonder you can't afford a decent astro-CCD. :P :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I guess a lot will depend on the optical quality of the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM but with my new-found enthusiasm for all things small the combination of a DSLR and a pancake lens does feel a bit like an oxymoron. ;) Pentax recently introduced a similar smc PENTAX DA 40mm f/2.8 pancake, albeit a bit thinner still judging by a quick look at the pictures, and it hasn't been universally lauded. :(

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:00 pm 
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It is tempting but I think I'll hold out to see if the 60D/7D successor has the continuous video AF first.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:16 pm 
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I think I have a psychological non-linear value curve. Anything below £200 is impulse purchase territory, and the pancake at a list price of $199.99 should make that cut... quite what I'll do with one I still haven't figured out yet! Especially as I'm not really a standard prime shooter in the first place... but I think in an average year I would still get more usage time of it than a deep sky CCD unit! The MTF charts for it are available, and the pancake compares well against the 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses wide open and at f/8, but unfortunately there isn't a comparison just for f/2.8.

This does remind me. In the past some may recall some senior Canon representative saying words along the lines of some people wanting smaller bodies, not necessarily wanting mirrorless as such. The suggestion there was Canon may be looking at reducing the size of EF mount cameras (mirrored or not) further than they have been. Of course, the depth between sensor and EF mount is fixed, but regardless there's room for size reduction in the other dimensions where a pancake may start to make more sense.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:50 pm 
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popo,

I think you got exactly what Canon was going after with the pancake.
A decent lens that costs little so that it can fall under an impulse buy.

If enough people enjoy it, they are more likely to buy other lenses that cost more.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:46 pm 
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Time for the EF-D mount :D
Who knows - maybe they will bring lenses that will stick further into the body to reduce overall size - not fitting on mirrored cameras because it needs that space for the glass. Still EF lenses could be put on that way. Maybe I should go get a patent for that :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:05 am 
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From the EOS 650D Technologies Explained_tcm14-933929.doc that Bob Andersson was kind enough to link:
Quote:
Hybrid AF System, which uses the central pixels of the sensor to enable continuous AF when shooting in Live View Mode or when recording EOS Movies

Seems they are improving the efficiency of each photo site- cut power, heat and, noise. If I understand it, newly designed photo sites can be used to figure focus then, count photons when done with the focus.

As Gordon Laing said in his Sony RX100 preview:
Quote:
we’re really living in a golden age of camera technology right now

I could not agree more- this is a good time to be interested in cameras.

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Last edited by MrCliff on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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