Sunday, March 20, 2011

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital Zoom Video Test #2: Supermoon

Consider it the Canon HD DSLR "Space Race" to the moon. Not your average full moon lunar cycle but the largest full moon in 18 years. Touted as the "Supermoon", I was determined to zoom in close to surface with my trusty Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D.

The Lunar Deities would have been proud of my DSLR video accomplishment. I utilized the new 3x to 10x Digital Zoom feature of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Imagine a digital zoom of 1400mm to a whopping 4800mm focal length equivalent to get a real close look at the Apollo Landing sites. So if I pair a 1.6x crop factor Canon Rebel T3i/600D to a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS lens and then multiply that focal length with the 3x to 10x digital zoom, you get an amazing Full HD 1080p video resolution of the Supermoon.

A more down to earth approach using the 3x to 10x digital zoom feature of the Rebel T3i/600D borders the surface of our own planet. This extra reach of the digital zoom provides a practical solution to the "out of this world" prices for premium Canon "L" glass super zooms. The Supermoon test above is a 1080p video shot at 29.97fps. Edited with the new iMovie'11 and used Quicktime at best quality to get a 250mb h264 video file.

You can view more features in my Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D Verdict and Video Review.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Super Target Rebel-lion

Armed with the Canon Rebel T3i, the Soriano tribe descended upon Super Target to hunt and gather edible subsistence. As the pseudo-dominant male of the family, basic essentials such as fragrant baby shampoo and baby back seat mirrors filled the fire red shopping cart.

I train my young at an early age to listen closely for announced overhead bargains and have a sharp nose to smell refreshing baby body wash. With provisions gathered by my newborn's siblings, the real hunt for big game begins with a turn of my nomadic mini-van key.

With precise focus, I point my Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D towards my prey. As soon I hear the AF confirmation beep, I pull the trigger and my 22 ounce Rib Eye goes down one juicy bite at a time.

Of course, you cannot end the carnivorous meal without a sweet ceremonial finish. We track the "pitter patter of little feet" towards the local Carvel Ice Cream store. The weekday special of buy one get one free Banana Barges rewards our glorious hunt for the day.

Just one more year until Serena can enjoy the sweet taste of ice cream! Until then, it is Kirkland Signature Infant formula and water on her menu.

We just celebrated Serena's 1 week old birthday with a Carvel Ice Cream cake topped off with sparklers. Who said one birthday a year was a steadfast rule?

This "Rebel-lion" was entirely shot with the new Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D paired with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens.

You can read and view more pictures and videos from this wonderful camera in my Canon EOS Rebel T3i Verdict and Video Review.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Video: Serenity

Routine is never routine. Any planning, organizing and reading cannot mentally prepare you for the unexpected. Meet my new addition to my family, Serena Soriano. Scheduled as a routine natural delivery like the two previous siblings before her, minor complications preceded mother nature and my wife was quickly whisked away to the operating room for an unscheduled C-section.

Caesarean sections are performed on a daily basis in hospitals across the world. My world was visibly shaken because this was my wife's very first major surgery in her entire life. Overwhelming concern for my wife and undelivered daughter filled my mind. I have been previously planning for months a well orchestrated and produced child birth video of our third child. My hands were trembling from worry but I managed to preserve the glorious moment.

At a healthy 8 pounds and 3 ounces, Serena emerged to a welcoming family and a Canon EOS Rebel T3i in the operating room. My oldest daughter finally has a younger sister to nurture and guide to everything Apple and Justin Bieber. My once youngest son and now middle child is outnumbered and has no comment on the matter.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been a long five years since my last child birth experience. 4 hour feedings, burping, diaper changing and the dreaded infant car seat installation quickly comeback as a harsh reality. A happy harsh reality.

The "boss" is slowly but surely recovering. I could not wait for my wife's heavy narcotics from surgery to wane because she can finally hold her newborn child in her arms. Anticipation of her baby daughter's touch pulled her through the worst of times. I am personally looking forward to the good times.

Welcome to the "Modern Family". iPad, iPhone 4, WiFi, HD DSLR's, 1080p video and Facebook connected child birth announcements invaded the maternity ward of the hospital, as if we never left home.

With the "all clear" from Pediatrician and Obstetrician, child in mother's embrace head home for some well needed rest in comfortable serenity.

I captured the entire journey with the Canon EOS Rebel T3i paired with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. With the small, lightweight and versatile T3i/600D around my neck, I easily documented my newborn daughter into this world. I could not think of a more practical and realistic test of a digital photographic tool than real life. The T3i/600D exceeded my expectations in versatility and image quality just like my previous Canon EOS Rebel T3i Verdict and Video Review.

You can view more pictures and videos in my Canon EOS Rebel T3i Serena Soriano Gallery.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Verdict and Video Review

The new Canon EOS Rebel T3i is not a wolf in sheep's clothing waiting to pounce on unsuspecting consumers in the competitive entry level DSLR market. Like fine wine and its predecessor, the Canon EOS Rebel T2i, gets better with time. The time of exactly one year to the day of delivery of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D to ChadSorianoPhotoBlog.

The 18 megapixel crop CMOS sensored Canon Rebel T3i is not just a Canon Rebel T2i with an articulating screen. It has big features in a small package. The most obvious one is the vari-angle high resolution LCD just like the Canon EOS 60D. The T3i has built in wireless flash control for Canon Speedlites just like the Canon EOS 60D. The T3i has manual audio control for video capture like the Canon EOS 60D. See a familiar pattern? Consider the T3i as a baby 60D. Wait a minute, the T3i replaces the T2i in the Rebel series. Let us finally move on to the T2i now.

My ChadSorianoPhotoBlog is not a Canon wikipedia, so I will only go over the major differences between the T3i and the T2i. The first thing you will notice is the slight change in ergonomics. The T3i has a slightly bigger grip with more non slip rubber areas on the surface of the body along with a taller stance and a bit more depth. All these minute changes were to accommodate the swivel screen. The button layout are well placed like the T2i despite the smaller 4 way controller. It just plain works.

The T3i is marketed to entry level DSLR consumers as well as more advanced prosumers. In other words, there is a lot of built in beginner oriented camera functions that make first time photographers at ease with making good pictures. Like the picture above, the new Creative Filters to the T3i give in camera manipulation of JPEG files effects. I found the "Toy Camera" effect as well as the "Miniature" effect quite convincing. There are plenty of "Scene Intelligent Auto" features otherwise known as fully automatic mode to fill pages of my PhotoBlog. I will now move on to the nitty gritty.

It is all in the details. Skin details. I mean where skin looks like skin and not some mushy digital reproduction of skin. Canon excels in this category. As seen in my Canon Rebel T2i Verdict and the Canon 60D Verdict, the tried and tested 18 megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC IV processor wins the skin detail and dynamic range contest hands down. Canon also carried over the same winning sensor as well as the reliable 9 point focusing system. It plain works,again.

The DIGIC IV processor enables the T3i a native ISO range of 100-6400 plus a digital expansion of 12,800. I can confidently say you can shoot at ISO 1600 all day with no problem. Very clean images. ISO 3200 is good but easily cleaned up in RAW processing. ISO 6400 is for freezing action in dark interiors like cathedrals and church halls, so expect gritty but useful images. ISO 12,800 is for pitch black emergencies. Let the snowfall begin! The picture above is shot at ISO 3200 with ambient light from the restaurant and was processed from RAW with Digital Photo Professional. That is the free software that comes with every Canon DSLR.

Now for the glorious HD video capabilities of the T3i. Just like the T2i, the T3i has 1080p, 720p and 480p video resolutions at various frame rates in both NTSC and PAL. All exposure controls for video and audio are fully manual. You can plug in a stereo microphone in the minijack for external audio capture as well. Full control like this are only found in the more expensive full frame HD DSLR like the Canon 5D Mark II. A particular video feature of interest that cannot be found in the T2i and the 60D is 3x to 10x digital zoom during 1080p video recording. The video above demonstrates the amazing resolution at 3x to 10x. Imagine a 400mm lens with a 1.6x crop factor at 10x digital zoom. That is a 6400mm equivalent focal length. You can video tape a NASA Space Shuttle launch 12 miles away or shoot a lunar eclipse with no problem.

The above T3i Video Test is shot at 1080p at 29.97fps. Edited with iMovie'09 and used Quicktime at best quality to compress the h264 video file. I also used an IGUS Drylin Camera Slider on Benro 3580 legs give the camera some lateral movement during the shots. If you are wary of non linear video editing, the T3i has a new "Video Snapshot Mode". You can shoot 2,4, or 8 second video clips and the camera will do "in camera video editing". The finished sequence is saved to camera's SDHC memory card as a single movie file.

The Verdict? There is nothing entry level about the Rebel T3i except its price. $899 for the kit and $799 for body only. It is so chock full of pro-oriented features that the Rebel T2i will be only a faded Canon memory. The line between novice and advanced photographic tools is grossly blurred. Say good bye to my Rebel T2i and say hello to my new digital friend, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D.

You can view more pictures, videos and ISO comparisons in my Canon EOS Rebel T3i Gallery.

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My initial Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D Video Test is posted here. My Canon EOS Rebel T4i Verdict and Video Review will be coming soon. Make sure you check out all the new features of the new Canon Rebel T4i/650D, it has all sorts of new goodies!

***Major Update***

I just posted my Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D Verdict and Video Test here.