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It wasn’t that long ago that the T1i first brought 1080p video to an entry-level digital SLR–albeit at a pokey 20 frames per second. Today, Canon’s latest digital Rebel, the T2i borrows the video capabilities of the far more advanced 7D in a sub-$1,000 package.

The T2i shoots 1080p video at the full range of frame rates desired by hobbyists and cinema pros alike–24, 25 and 30 frames per second. It also includes the same manual exposure controls during video capture–essentially every major video-shooting feature of the 7D.

The similarities continue: An 18-megapixel APS-C sensor is inside that matches almost every feature of the 7D’s own, differing only in its speed–a 4-channel readout as opposed to 8 means a slower burst mode, capturing 3.7 frames per second instead of 8. ISO range is also similar, with a standard max of 6400 which boosts to 12,800.

The T2i also borrows the refined ergonomics and control scheme of the 7D, with a dedicated video button up top. A new high-resolution 3-inch LCD (1.4 million dots) graces the back.

So what do you lose from downgrading from the $1,700 7D? The aforementioned speed, the tougher magnesium body alloy, the enhanced body shape (and thumb wheel), and the suite of still-photo enhancements like faster autofocusing and the 7D’s extremely programmable and customizable control scheme.

Still, for savings of almost $1,000 (the T2i is $900 with a kit lens, $800 for the body only), matching the 7D in the feature areas most will care about–HD video capture and imaging sensor–is quite a nice looking package. And for those who are served just fine by 720p video, look for the otherwise-excellent T1i to come down in price.

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