Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D Video Test

Almost 16 months after the venerable Canon Rebel T3i/600D hit store shelves, Canon unleashed a new Canon Rebel T4i/650D to the entry level DSLR market for a retail price of $849 for body only. The Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D is now touted as Canon's flagship to its Rebel lineup. Although it shares the same 18 megapixel CMOS sensor as its predecessors, the Canon Rebel T4i/650D features a DIGIC V processor to handle the faster 5fps shutter rate, a new Hybrid AF system to work in conjunction with Canon STM (stepper motor) lenses for video, a more sensitive 9 point AF like the Canon 60D and the first the touchscreen control for Canon DSLR's. Of course, there is much more to list but that will have to wait for my upcoming Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D full review. Patience!

As soon as I picked up my Canon Rebel T4i/650D from my friends at North Tampa Photography, I hit the ground running by capturing some video to evaluate image quality and the new touchscreen feature on the swivel LCD. The video above was shot at 1080p with the Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D at 29.97fps. I edited the video using Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 using a modified Canon E-1 Movie Plugin to transcode the h264 video files to AppleProRes422. I used Compressor to export a 470mb h264 video file. I paired the T4i/650D with the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L lens and captured audio with the Rode VideoMic shotgun microphone.

Now for my brief video evaluation of the T4i/650D! First the good stuff... The extra indent on the power switch for movie mode makes the transition easier to capture video without turning the mode dial almost a full 360 degrees. The built in camera microphone is now stereo and placed above the viewfinder. Hesitant at first for change, the touchscreen LCD controls are surprisingly good and practical for recording video. With a touch of the Q (quick menu) button, you have touch control of all major functions including aperture, shutter, ISO, focus point, focus magnification and much more to list. The touchscreen is quite handy especially when choosing focus point and magnifying digitally for critical focus. No more fumbling with control dials and menus anymore. Total video recording time is now up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. Just like the Canon 5D Mark III, a new continuous video file is created when the 4gb file limit is reached. The new Hybrid AF system for Servo AF during video capture looks very promising and I will have a full review and Hybrid AF video test shortly.

Now the bad stuff...Gone are the days of 1080p 3x to 10x digital zoom video capture like in the previous Canon Rebel T3i/600D. Canon completely removed this useful feature adding that extra reach for distant subjects like in my Supermoon video. Next problem is the removal of the AF Quick mode option in movie mode. I found the AF system of the stills mode is much more accurate and "quick" than the new Flexizone single focus point. Habits are just too hard to break! As an added note, the Movie Servo AF is enabled by default in movie mode. It has to be disabled because the AF will be constantly hunting for focus during video capture. Another brief critical issue with the AF is switching between stills mode and movie mode. If you are in AF Quick mode in Live Mode for stills, your selected setting in movie mode for AF will be set to the AF face tracking mode by default. Confusing? This maybe corrected in some future firmware fix, hopefully. As of now, that briefly wraps up my initial positive and negative video aspects of the new Canon Rebel T4i/650D. Everybody will have to wait for my full review and in depth look into the Hybrid AF system with Canon STM lenses.

Look familiar? This is my modified .plist for the Canon E-1 Movie Plugin v1.3 to make the Canon Rebel T4i compatible with the Log and Transfer feature of Final Cut Pro. All of the other higher end Canon DSLR's can quickly and easily transcode h264 video files to AppleProRes422 for smooth non linear editing except the Rebel series. I fix that problem easily like the previous Rebels here. Be warned! Follow instruction carefully in that link and click on the picture above to view the .plist modification for the Canon Rebel T4i/650D. Good Luck!

There will be more to come especially with the new Hybrid AF tracking system with Canon STM lenses including the new Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens or "shorty forty".

This concludes my first of many Canon Rebel T4i/650D Video Tests. Some extra tidbits I have to mention regarding video. Like the Canon 5D Mark III during video recording, the HDMI output is a cropped 16x9 version that is displayed with or without camera information. This sure beats a 4:3 480p video output like the previous Rebels! Just like the previous Canon Rebel T3i, the new T4i keeps the manual audio control for video and the added video resolution of 720p at 59.97fps as well.

Stay updated for my upcoming Canon EOS Rebel T4i Verdict and Video Review by Becoming a Fan on my Facebook Fan Page and following me on Twitter!


I posted a new Canon Rebel T4i and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens Video Test here
. See the amazing new "shorty forty" especially when paired with the T4i/650D.

***Major Update #2***

I just posted a new Canon EOS Rebel T4i Verdict and Video Test here.


  1. I have a question for you...great review by the way...I just picked up a new T4i, and am wondering if you use a card reader with your modified plug-in for Final Cut log and transfer...or whether you can use the camera itself via usb.


    1. Yes, I use a card reader for FCP Log and Transfer. Otherwise, the T4i's battery will drain fast because the log and transfer may take hours transcoding to AppleProRes422.
      I hope that helps...
      thanks, chad soriano

  2. Hello,
    I have the 650D/Rebel T4i for few weeks, I found the kit lens EF-S 17-55 IS II completelly useless with video continous focus feature of the body, particularly due to slow focus motor. So I have just ordered the EF-S 28-135 IS USM and now I am in doubt. A lot of references say that new phase shifting countinous focus feature is fully functional with STM lenses. Will this be fully functional with USM lenses as well? I assume the only difference is different motor type, while both are accurate, fast and silent. Please advice.


    1. The USM lenses are functional with the continuous AF of the T4i but the STM lenses are much smoother in AF operation. If it is not too late for the return period for the EF 28-135mm IS USM, you may want to purchase the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS STM zoom lens. You will have a more useable focal length range and reap the benefits of the STM motor. Either lens, do not expect miracles with the continous AF during video capture. Out of the three lenses mentioned, the new EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens is the best choice, IMHO. Good Luck!
      Sincerely, Chad Soriano

  3. Chad - I just purchased a Canon T4i and notice a ton of autofocus/handling audio when I record video. Is there a microphone you recommend to avoid picking up this sound, even if I'm not using an STM lens?

    1. Hi Tom,
      The best value and sound external microphone is the Rode VideoMic for $149 USD. It is rather bulky to travel with because of the size but the sound is great and the rubber mount isolates any noise from the camera. My least expensive alternative is the AZDEN ECZ 990 for around $60. The sound is rather tinny compared to the Rode but it makes it up for its smaller size and price. It can easily fit in your camera bag with the rest of your gear with no problem. I also have used the Senneheiser MKE400 shotgun microphone. For a whopping $199, you get the smallest form factor with much improved sound over the AZDEN ECZ990. The Rode VideoMic is the overall best value with the best sound if you are an audiophile. Amazon is a good place to start shopping for these items BTW. I hope this helps...Good Luck!