Canon T1i vs T2i
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (called Canon 500D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i (labelled Canon 550D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2009 and February 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The T1i has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the T2i provides 17.9 MP.
As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i belong to Canon's Rebel line of DSLR cameras. This range of APS-C cameras, which started out with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel in 2003, has been a big commercial success and the backbone of Canon's dominance in the digital camera market. The popularity of the Rebel cameras is the result of them inheriting much of the sensor and shooting technology from earlier released professional DSLRs, while being sold at a much more budget-friendly price point. The strong brand reputation of Canon and the comprehensive EOS system of compatible lenses and accessories further contributes to the appeal of the Rebel cams, including the Canon T1i and Canon T2i. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon T1i and the Canon T2i is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
In this particular case, the Canon T1i and the Canon T2i have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the T2i is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the T1i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T1i nor the T2i are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|Canon XTi||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon XT||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The T2i was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the T1i, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the T2i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the T1i. This megapixels advantage translates into a 9 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the T2i has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.69μm for the T1i). However, it should be noted that the T2i is a somewhat more recent model (by 10 months) than the T1i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T2i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T2i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon T1i are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel T1i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The Canon EOS Rebel T2i offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the T2i provides a faster frame rate than the T1i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the T1i is limited to 1080/20p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T1i and the T2i are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.54x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon T1i, the Canon T2i, and comparable cameras.
The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the T2i uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and Canon EOS Rebel T2i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the T2i has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The T1i does not feature such a mic input.
Both the T1i and the T2i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T1i was replaced by the Canon T2i, while the T2i was followed by the Canon T3i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T1i or the Canon T2i – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T2i:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/20p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (10 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the T2i is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T1i and the Canon T2i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T1i or the T2i perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon T1i||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|Canon T2i||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon T100||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|Canon T6i||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|Canon T6s||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon T5||+||..||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon T5i||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon T4i||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon T3i||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon XSi||+ +||+ +||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|Canon XTi||+ +||+ +||o||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|Canon XT||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon T1i vs Canon T2i
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2009||February 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/20p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.7||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||663||784|
|Screen Specs||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.4 shutter flaps/s||3.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon T1i||Canon T2i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||520 g (18.3 oz)||530 g (18.7 oz)|
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