Canon continues to milk the APS-C sensor originally designed for the EOS 7d with yet another installment in the rebel lineup. The 18 Megapixel sensor is no slouch, but do we really need a 5th camera (6th if you count the Canon 60Da) with the same sensor. I was hoping that some of the sensor technology used in the 5d mark III would be making its way into a brand new high ISO APS-C sensor or at the very least we would start to see the 19 point auto focus system of the 7d show up in the rebel line.

Instead we get the Canon EOS Rebel t4i, which is basically a Canon t3i with 3 notable improvements. First Canon has upgraded the DIGIC 4 to a DIGIC 5 processor. This gives the camera enough extra processor power to handle in camera noise reduction which effectively allows canon to increase high ISO performance. It also allows Canon to increase the burst rate from 3.7 to 5.0 frames per second.

Next Canon has added support for a new lens designation “STM” which is intended to offer smooth and quiet continuous auto focus while shooting. This feature works in conjunction with the new continuous auto focus tracking system that provides full time auto focus during filming and when using live view mode.  This is a feature many have been asking for, but other manufactures have tried and failed to implement correctly. If Canon gets this feature working properly, it would make many people who want to shoot family events very happy, but it probably won’t be a must have feature for many film makers.

The last feature of note included in the Canon EOS Rebel t4i is a touch screen interface. I’m not sure why manufactures have insisted on moving to touch screens with these devices. Touching a screen that I’m trying to use to monitor video is annoying (in my opinion), you end up leaving smudges all over the screen. To make it worse manufactures end up adding features that can only be accessed through the touch screen menu, forcing you to fiddle around with the screen at the same time as your trying to view it. This was one of the most annoying things about the evolution of Canon’s Vixia line.

I don’t think the touch screen will be a major reason to upgrade, but the full time auto focus in video mode and better performance added by the DIGIC 5 processor might be enough for some. There is also no word yet on the HDMI output, if Canon were to add a clean HDMI output to the t4i, it would change from a lack luster upgrade to a must have for many, but I doubt we will see a feature like that before it was implemented the 5d mark III.

The Canon EOS Rebel t4i body is available for pre-order at B&H right now for $849. Frankly I’m a little disappointed, but I don’t think we’ll start seeing a new Canon APS-C sensor in the rebel lineup until at least 2013.

UPDATE: Tony Pointed out in the comment section that the t4i might have clean HDMI output. According to this post over at cinema5d, the Canon t4i does output clean HDMI, though it appears that it might be 1080i as apposed to 1080p. If this is the case, it could be that the hinted firmware upgrade for the 5d mark III might also include a clean HDMI output option as well.

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