Canon has announced their most recent addition to the popular Rebel series of consumer SLRs, the EOS 550D/Rebel T2i. The T2i represents a significant update to the line, featuring 18 Megapixel stills at 3.7fps, and significantly improved video capability. While its predecessor, the 500D/T1i was crippled by a stuttering 20p frame rate with 1080 video, the T2i matches its bigger brothers the 7D and 1D MarkIV by including 1080 resolution at 30p, 25p, and 24p frame rates, as well as 720/60p for slowing down action. The T2i does not use the same sensor as the 7D, but it is apparently very similar. The playback on the monitor is now in widescreen aspect ratio, a trend that will undoubtedly continue on future bodies.
The physical changes to the camera body itself are not many, but there is an important one with respect to underwater housings: the addition of a Live View button on the right side of the back of the camera. It remains to be seen if the T2i will fit into existing housings, but it looks promising for those willing to compromise with not having full access to Live View and video functions.
The Canon Rebel cameras have been interesting because of their small size, and the extremely compact housings that are possible as a result. They are ideal for surf and open water photography with pelagic animals where the ability to swim quickly with minimum drag can make the difference in making or missing the shot. The T2i looks to continue this tradition with even greater capability than has previously been available in this small form factor. It will be interesting to see which housing manufacturers will support this powerful little camera. DPreview has the full scoop with sample images from a pre-production body and a discussion about the potential of this camera is already underway in the forums.