Canon just smacked its competitor Nikon with the newest addition to its Rebel line of low-end digital SLRs, the Canon Rebel T1i, packing a huge imaging sensor that can also shoot HDTV video. The big news here is the remarkable bang for the buck you get with this new camera. For instance, in the past, if you wanted a huge 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor like the one inside this $899 Rebel T1i, you'd have to spend almost twice that much for a higher-end (and heavier) Canon 5D Mark II. That's progress.
Then there's its video capture at 1080p, but it's not quite up to its big brother's 1080p 30 frame-per-second capture — the T1i's processor isn't quite powerful enough to crank out those frames that fast, laying down just 20fps. But in the real world, those huge 1080p video files are too unwieldy to edit anyway, and this T1i shoots the next-best 720p at 30fps just fine. Well, except for its inability to autofocus while shooting video. Dang.
Even so, this is exciting stuff, to see this much camera available for just under $900. We're liking its 3-inch 920,000-dot Live View LCD with face detection, its clean shooting in near-darkness at ISO 3200 native, and it even comes with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens (or you can get it body-only for $100 less). Nikon's going to have to do something spectacular to beat this T1i when it ships in early May — Nikon's nearest competitor, the D90, costs hundreds more and does less.