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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon T1i versus Canon T2i
Canon T1i Canon T2i
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/20p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 920k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.4 shutter flaps per second 3.7 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge440 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 530 g

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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Canon T1i vs Canon T2i
Compare T1i versus T2i top
Comparison T1i or T2i rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the T1i gets 400 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the T2i can take 440 images on a single charge of its LP-E8 power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

Canon T1i and Canon T2i sensor measures

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.

T1i versus T2i MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760

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.

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Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The T1i writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the T2i uses SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---

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.

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Review summary

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.

T1i 01:06 T2i

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T100o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon T6i..75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Canon XTi+ ++ +o4.5/54/5 Aug 2006 799i
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899i
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.

Canon T1i:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T2i:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.54x
    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 Expectancy100 000 actuations100 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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 Type LP-E5 LP-E8
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge440 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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