Camera Review: Canon T1i Rebel

I’ve had the Canon T1i Rebel almost six months now and I am very surprised by how much I like it. I know that many of you are thinking about getting a new camera for your trip to Yellowstone National Park and this is a great option if you want something other than a point-and-shoot. My previous digital camera was the original Digital Rebel (the 300d) and this was a huge improvement.

Live View, in which I can see a video preview of the picture on the back of the camera, is something I’m using now about 50% of the time. It doesn’t work well in a lot of sunlight, but otherwise I find it makes it easier for me to visualize the final shot. I also seem to be better able to notice clutter or other distracting elements.

The viewfinder is easily adequate and I don’t find myself wishing for a larger one, though of course that would be nice.

Start-up time is fast and has never caused me to miss a picture. Battery life is fine, though I always recommend getting a second battery, especially if you are visiting a location like Yellowstone National Park where you will be in a constant state of seeing photo opportunities. Note: using Live View will quickly drain your battery.

The camera includes video which is something I didn’t think I would use, but I’m becoming very interested in it (here’s my YouTube Channel). I’ve made some nice videos, and a lot of bad ones. Here are some tips (remember that any negative finding in this video section could be due to my newness at this):

  • scenes with a lot of contrast, such as bright blue skies and white snow, don’t turn out very well. I’ve been disappointed that I can’t capture some of the beauty of Yellowstone in winter.
  • I never realized how many cars are around. The audio picks up every vehicle that drives by, so if you need clean sound you have to buy a separate audio system. Canon doesn’t let you hook up an external microphone like they do on their more expensive cameras, so it means having a laptop or recorder around to save the sound.
  • using a tripod makes a huge difference in the quality and professionalism of the final product. I usually don’t use a tripod for still shots, but I can’t get away with that using video.

It’s a great camera for a hobbyist or advanced amateur, and you can use the money you save by avoiding the Canon 50d and invest it in good lenses or a tripod.

Here are the drawbacks, or areas of improvements I’d like to see:

  • I’d love to be able to tap the camera view screen to set my auto-focus point
  • internet forums say that Canon’s marketing department forces engineers to have huge megapixel counts because people associate this with quality. The reality, forums say, is that this reduces image quality, especially under low light or when using a lot of depth of field. If this is true, then Canon should change direction. Each Raw file averages 20 meg in size, and it really slows down my laptop when trying to process it in Adobe Lightroom.
  • I like small and light cameras, so the smaller and lighter the better. But this one isn’t bad.

The updated T2i is available now, and that is the one to buy if you can, but you won’t be disappointed in the T1i.

More posts in this category: Photography, Visiting Guide

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