Gear roundup – Canon launch 600D/T3i with crop mode, Halfinchrails focus gears and other stuff

The Canon 600D/T3i

The big news of the week is the launch of the Canon EOS600D or T3i.  Basically an evolution of the 550D/T2i, it shares the same APS-C sized 18 megapixel CMOS sensor but adds a flip-out screen similar to the one from the EOS60D.

The 600D also has a new feature that is bound to appeal to Canon news shooters.  It’s something I have been asking Canon to build into its cameras for a few years now – a digital zoom-in movie mode that offers a 3x to 10x magnification without resolution or light loss.  The ‘zoom’ is achieved by ‘cropping’ the sensor which is 18 megapixels to begin with, leaving plenty of scope to use only a section of it while in theory still having more than enough resolution to output 1080p HD.

The only other HD capable stills camera that offers something similar is the Panasonic GH2 with its EX Crop mode.  It remains to be seen what quality the camera will output when using the digital zoom, whilst numbers of pixels may not be an issue, magnifying the image will also magnify any noise especially at high ISO.   The GH2 suffers here and I’m very curious to see how the Canon performs.

Even if the output is not 100% as good as regular HD on the 60D, I for one am glad to see it finally make an appearance in a Canon DSLR and am really looking forward to testing it. You can see more info over on Dpreview.

Canon have also announced the development of a new super-telephoto zoom lens, the 200-400mm f4L IS USM with inbuilt 1.4x optical extender.  This is another product I’ve been hoping to see for a while as Nikon have had a similar range available for a few years.  But I’m not sure how useful the 1.4x extender will be for video given the 600D’s digital zoom and I can’t help feeling I would have preferred some built-in ND filters instead. There are some pictures of the lens on Japanese site Watch Impress.

Sam Morgan Moore has obviously been busy developing his Halfinchrails system.  He is now teasing us with a preview of his follow focus bands.  They look to be a combination of a plastic gear and a zip tie.  Sam is currently offering beta/test samples for brave experimenters at £20 for four.

ABC DSLR Light Jib

Michael Schmidt contacted me to say that the DSLR Light-Jib which was previously featured is now available to order from ABC products in Germany.  It has a boom length of 1.52m, will take a payload of 4.5kg and despite this only weighs 3.9 kg.  It attaches to tripods with a 75 or 100mm bowl and should be very handy for travelling. More details here. Price starts at 1190 Euro + tax.

Finally, Yves Simard of crews.tv posted this short preview of the new Sony CML V-55 HDMI monitor.  Designed to fit a Sony Alpha DSLR, it can also be used with most other DSLRs and is shown working on a 5DMkII.  There is a full write-up here.

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