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Canon T2i: The Goldilocks of digital cameras

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(Read caption) The new Canon T2i aims for advanced beginners – those ready for a real lens but still want a simple interface.

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Ready to trade in your point-and-shoot camera for something more powerful? Canon would like a word with you.

The new Canon T2i falls somewhere in between a weighty professional SLR and a shove-in-your-pocket amateur camera. It focuses on the growing market of enthusiasts – people with a good eye but little training, prepared to spend money on their passion but not more than $1,000.

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Due out in March, the EOS Rebel T2i gives last year's T1i an improved megapixel count, faster shutter, and stronger HD video features. Plus, fans of the T1i will be happy to learn that its simple body and clear interface will carry over to the new generation.

The new 18-megapixel setting goes well beyond the comparably priced Sony Alpha A500 and Nikon D90 – both with 12.3 megapixels. (Just remember: More megapixels doesn't mean better pix. Despite this higher count, the T2i's image sensor is slightly smaller than its competitors, suggesting pictures may come with more odd blotches and color fluctuation. But, to be fair, such imperfections are often only apparent when you zoom in on a picture or print it in a large format.)

The T2i also takes fewer pictures per second than the A500 and D90 (3.7 fps compared to 4.5 and 5 fps). This slower speed is still superior to most point-and-shoots. Plus the new Canon compensates with video, something the Sony and Nikon advanced-beginner cameras do not offer.

The T1i called itself HD, but its 1080p video option could handle only 20 frames per second. As a rule, demand at least 30 fps video, unless you're OK with choppy motion. Now, the T2i supports 30 fps on 1080p and super-smooth 60 fps for 720p video.

Interested? The Canon's EOS Rebel T2i will hit shelves in March at $899 with a standard lens, or $799 for just the body.


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