Canon EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i / Kiss X3 Digital) Review
No surprises to see that the video recording feature that made its first appearance on the EOS 5D Mark II (Nikon snatched the credit for launching the first video-enabled DSLR by a whisker with the D90) is trickling its way down through the line-up. The 500D becomes the second Canon to offer this feature, and the first with an APS-C size sensor.
The question of whether and how a video-enabled DSLR can be a substitute for a dedicated camcorder has still not definitively been answered, but in any case the ability to shoot movies with a large sensor (and the shallow depth of field that this brings with it) and interchangeable lenses will appeal to a large number of budding videographers. Unfortunately though, like on the EOS 5D Mark II when it was originally released, the video recording functionality is fairly limited in controls.
The 500D offers true HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080P) at 20 frames per second or 1280 x 720 pixels (720P) at 30 frames per second. The built-in internal microphone captures mono audio. The audio quality is not fantastic and unfortunately there is no socket for an external microphone. There is a small built-in speaker for video playback in-camera.
|Sizes|| 1920 x 1080 (1080P) at 20 fps
1280 x 720 (720P) at 30 fps
640 x 480 (VGA) at 30 fps
|Audio||44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic)|
|Format||Quicktime MOV using H.264 codec, PCM codec for audio|
|File size||5.5 MB/sec (1080P), 3.7 MB/sec (720P), 2.8 MB/sec (VGA)|
|Max file size per clip||4.0 GB|
|Running time||12 min for 1080P, 18 min for 720P, 24 min for VGA|
Using Movie Mode
Unlike the EOS 5D Mark II the 500D comes with a dedicated movie mode. Turn the mode dial to the corresponding position and press the record button on the camera rear to start or stop recording. Once in video mode you get access to movie settings such as recording size or AF mode by pressing the MENU button.
Auto focus during movie recording works in the same way that it does in normal live view mode, meaning that if it is activated in live view mode, it is available during movie recording (press the AF-ON button to focus). Since all sounds are recorded during movie recording, and any in-camera sound is magnified (including the aperture changing), using AF with the internal mic is not recommended, neither is using in-lens IS. You'll also pick up the clicks of the control dial if you change exposure compensation while recording. Unlike a conventional camcorder there's no continuous focus option, and to be honest the focus is so slow that you would never use it whilst filming.
Just like Canon's more advanced Powershot cameras you can interrupt movie recording to capture a still by pressing the main shutter release (movie capture recommences one the still has been taken, there is approximately a one second delay in the movie).
It is advisable to have at least the basic level of information displayed for movie recording, as this gives the user feedback on the aperture, shutter speed and ISO being selected by the camera. Exposure is fully automatic; as you change the exposure level using exposure compensation - or the scene brightness changes - the camera will adjust the aperture and ISO (no matter what ISO value you choose the camera will switch into auto ISO mode once movie recording begins) - you can check what's happening with a tap of the shutter button.
Only a few days ago Canon launched a new firmware for the 5D Mark II that offers manual adjustment of shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings in video mode. There is a possibility it might do the same for the 500D at some point in the future.
Movie mode displays
|Movie setting menu||You can choose between three output sizes|
|Once recording has started, the record recording icon is displayed on the top right corner of the LCD. By half-pressing the shutter button during video recording you display exposure information and ISO sensitivity.||The only control is exposure compensation, which is operated by the command dial at the back of the camera.|
Video quality comments
Looking at the sample videos that we've produced while working on this review it's obvious that the EOS 500D produces superb HD quality footage, but footage that is of limited use at the higest resolution thanks to the 20fps frame rate (that said, 720p is plenty for most consumers). Due to the 500D's smaller sensor you can't quite create the same depth of field effects as on the 5D Mark II but you still get a much shallower and cinema-like depth of field than with any digital compact camera. Since the camera uses Auto ISO (up to ISO 1600) the image can get a little grainy in low light though.
Like the Nikon D90 and the EOS 5D Mark II the EOS 500D can suffer from distortion caused by its rolling shutter. The readout of the sensor means movies are created with a rolling shutter (horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go). The upshot is that verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast - the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so moving vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. It's not quite as bad as on the Nikon D90 and you need to pan pretty quickly to notice the effect. An example panning video is included.
We don't review dedicated high-end video cameras and therefore can't really comment on how well the EOS 500D's video quality compares to this type of equipment but we can say that compared to the movie mode on any digital stills camera or consumer camcorder we've used the quality is very impressive indeed. In good light the image quality is not far off the 5D Mark II but obviously the 500D does not give you quite the same shallow depth of field or 30 frames per second in 1080P mode. Below you'll find some examples of videos taken with the 500D for you to download and draw your own conclusions.
Sample video 1
|1920 x 1080, 20 fps. MOV (Quicktime) file. 7 sec. 36.8 MB|
Sample video 2
|1280 x 720, 30 fps. MOV (Quicktime) file. 7 sec. 24.0 MB|
Sample video 3
|1920 x 1080, 30 fps. MOV (Quicktime) file. 2 sec. 12.7 MB|
Sample video 3
|1920 x 1080, 20 fps. MOV (Quicktime) file. 5 sec. 17.4 MB|
- 16 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Movie Mode
- 20 Compared to
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 27 Compared to (Resolution)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Conclusion
- 30 Samples
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.