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Canon announces touchscreen-equipped EOS Rebel T4i/650D
Thursday, June 7, 2012 | by Rob Galbraith
Canon has unveiled the 17.92 million image pixel EOS Rebel T4i/650D. The follow-on to the EOS Rebel T3i/600D adds a touchscreen rear LCD, faster 5fps burst rate, promised smooth and accurate tracking autofocus during video capture (thanks to the embedding of phase detect AF points within the image sensor itself) and a built-in stereo mic. The new camera's remaining features are otherwise very similar to its predecessor.

T4i
Front
Mirror
Back
Rear LCD
Angle
Top
Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D feature summary
  • The T4i/650D's body closely resembles the T3i/600D, particularly from the back, and is the same size and nearly the identical weight too. Principal differences include a new three inch (diagonal), 1.04 million dot articulating rear LCD with touchscreen capabilities, a revised power switch that is now also used to engage the video mode and a built-in stereo mic (positioned on the top of the camera). The previous model's Display (DISP.) button has been removed from the T4i/650D.

    Touchscreen features include swiping between pictures, pinching to zoom and pressing to select (including of most or all menu items, the video subject to be tracked and more). Capacitive sensing technology, similar to most smartphones, is used to detect screen presses.

    Capitalizing on the touchscreen, Canon has included a triggering option that enables the camera to fire when an area of the scene, designated with a screen press in Live View mode, comes into focus.

  • The new camera produces 17.92 million pixel photos from a 22.3 x 14.9mm self-cleaning CMOS sensor that is largely the same as the T3i/600D, with one key difference: the new model incorporates phase detect AF points within the centre portion of the image sensor to improve autofocus performance in Live View and during video recording.

    Hybrid CMOS AF is the term Canon has given to the coupling of the embedded phase detect AF points with the camera's contrast detect AF ability. This is the first digital SLR we know of to place a phase detect AF sensor array within the image sensor; Nikon pioneered this approach in their mirrorless J1 and V1 cameras introduced last fall.

  • A full-resolution picture is 5184 x 3456 pixels. The focal length cropping factor is 1.6x, relative to a full frame camera. The T4i/650D takes both EF and EF-S lenses.

  • It shoots continuously at 5fps for a Canon-specified 30 Large/Fine JPEG, six RAW or a skimpy three RAW+JPEG frames (this is the only specification we've spotted that's a noticeable step down from the T3i/600D). The T4i/650D's one memory card slot accepts SD, SDHC or SDXC cards, includes specific support for Eye-Fi's wireless/memory combo cards and is the first Canon digital SLR to take advantage of the faster write/read speeds of UHS-1-capable SDHC and SDXC. (The number of Large/Fine JPEG frames drops to 22 in a burst if a slower non-UHS-1 card is used.)

  • The sensitivity range is ISO 100-12,800 in 1/3 step increments, plus H (ISO 25,600).

  • The 9-point AF system in the T4i/650D features all cross-type points, the same as the EOS 60D. If an f/2.8 or faster lens is used, the centre AF point detects focus with greater precision than with slower aperture lenses.

  • Ambient and TTL flash metering is handled by the same 63-zone, dual colour layer meter as the T3i/600D. Exposure calculations incorporate data from the metering sensor as well as all 9 AF points.

  • The built-in flash can act as a wireless TTL controller.

  • The T4i/650D's exposure compensation range is 5 stops.

  • File format options include JPEG (L, M, S1, S2 and S3 output sizes) and RAW (full resolution only).

  • New in-camera shooting/processing options include a multi-shot mode that blends four high ISO pictures, taken in succession of an unchanging scene, into one final image with reduced noise. (We've performed this same blending trick manually, in Photoshop, and it can be incredibly effective at taming coloured-speckle noise.)

  • The T4i/650D offers up to 1920 x 1080 pixel (1080p) video capture at 30fps, a built-in stereo mic plus the option of connecting an external stereo mic (via a 3.5mm miniphone jack) and both manual and automatic exposure modes. It creates H.264-encoded movie files with a .mov extension and a 4GB clip length limit. The resolution and frame rate options are:

    • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30fps (actually 29.97fps)
    • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 25fps
    • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24fps (actually 23.976fps)
    • 720p: 1280 x 720 pixels at 60fps (actually 59.94fps)
    • 720p: 1280 x 720 pixels at 50fps
    • SD: 640 x 480 pixels at 30fps (actually 29.97fps)
    • SD: 640 x 480 pixels at 25fps
The T4i/650D is the first digital SLR from Canon to be able to autofocus continuously as video is being recorded, thanks to its new Hybrid CMOS AF system. Tracking in video mode, called Movie Servo AF, will work with any compatible EF or EF-S autofocus lens, but Canon's new pair of STM-series lenses, also announced today, are said to provide the quickest, smoothest and quietest autofocus operation, thanks to their use of stepping motors within the focus mechanism.

The graphic below illustrates how phase detect autofocus and contrast detect autofocus team up in the T4i/650D when video is being recorded or Live View is on.

canon_hybrid_cmos_af_graphic.jpg
Dynamic Duo: Hybrid CMOS AF (Graphic courtesy Canon)

Audio gain can be set automatically or manually, and an electronic wind noise reduction filter is included.
  • Battery power comes from the 1120mAh/7.2VDC Lithium Ion Battery Pack LP-E8, the same as the T3i/600D. Charging is with Battery Charger LC-E8. Battery life, when tested in accordance with CIPA test procedures, is rated as follows:

    • At 73F/23C, no Live View: 440 frames
    • At 32F/0C, no Live View: 400 frames
    • At 73F/23C, Live View on: 180 frames (or 100 minutes of video recording)
    • At 32F/0C, Live View on: 150 frames (or 80 minutes of video recording)
Price and availability

In the U.S., the Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D has an expected street price of US$849.99 for the body alone. The price is US$949.99 in a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, or US$1199 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

In Canada, the Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D has an expected street price of CDN$899.99 for the body alone. The price is CDN$999.99 in a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, or CDN$1199.99 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

All three T4i/650D configurations are to ship at the end of this month.

Bundle Up: The EOS Rebel T4i + EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit contents. Click to enlarge (Photo courtesy Canon)

The T3i/600D, as well as the EOS Rebel T3/1100D, will continue in Canon's lineup in the U.S., and perhaps other countries and regions too. The EOS Rebel T2i/550D is being discontinued.

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