Unveiled in early 2011, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 600D) continues Canon's Digital rebel tradition of providing 'affordable' digital SLR cameras. Ideal for entry level enthusiast, the Rebel T3i sits on the top end of Canon entry-level EOS line-up, above the existing Rebel T2i (EOS 550D). With tools to capture beautiful still images and Full HD movies, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i makes photography easy and fun. With the matchless range of EF-S lenses and other accessories from Canon, the Rebel T3i holds the key to the perfect shot.
Body Design and Handling
Unlike its predecessors, the Rebel T3i has an improved grip that's a little deeper, front to back, coupled with a carved channel on the back that provides an anchor point for the thumb. Although bigger hands may still find it a tight squeeze, most users should find its grip more comfortable than its predecessors. It is also heftier than its predecessor, the T2i, weighing almost 60g more (583g compared to the T2i's 525g)
As with many cameras in its class, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i utilizes a pentamirror viewfinder. Although it is one of the better pentamirror finders in the market, it is smaller and dimmer than the pentaprism finders used in more expensive cameras. The viewfinder shows approximately 95% of the scene to be captured, and the 5% 'margin of error' is of little consequence in normal use.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i has an excellent 3:2, 1,040k dot display swivel-and-tilt articulated LCD screen. Hinged on the side instead of the based, it is useful for taking shots when using a tripod, or camera above the head type of shots. The ClearView display technology which has a layer of optical elastic material between the coverglass makes for unusually clear indoors and outdoors images.
First Class Still Shots
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i's DIGIC 4 image processor and buffer enables capture of about 34 large/fine JPEG images, 6 RAW frames, and 4 RAW+JPEG frames. The DIGIC 4 processor also allows capture of 14-bit RAW images, and the 8-bit JPEGs are created from 14-bit data. The quality from both the swiveling LCD and the optical viewfinder is excellent, good enough to shoot at ISO 3,200 for a low-noise image.
With Peripheral Illumination Correction, the Rebel T3i is able to reduce Vignetting, a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the periphery compared to the image center.
The Rebel T3i also has Creative Filter functions, which provides 5 filters, including the new Fisheye mode that creates a distortion as seen through a fisheye lens. The effect is applied after the shot is captured, and the strength of the effect is adjustable. This feature is not available for videos.
Unlike its predecessors, the Canon T3i offers nine-point auto focusing (AF) with a central f/2.8 focus point and eight single-axis points. All its AF points are cross-type, an advantage, as they are sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i also comes with an Auto+ mode, which combines five Canon T3i's systems, i.e.; Auto Exposure, Autofocus, Auto White Balance, Auto Lighting Optimizer, and Picture Style Auto, into one smart exposure mode.
Full High Definition Moving Pictures
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i comes with movie mode with Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at 24, 25, and 30 frames per second. 720p is available at 50 and 60 fps and VGA video is recorded at 30 and 25 fps. Zooming is a breeze with Video Digital Zoom, which allows a cropped zoom from between three and 10x magnification in 1080p resolution at all frame rates.
Another feature is the Video Snapshot mode that is brought in from Canon PowerShot and camcorder ranges. This feature allows recordings of short 2, 4 or 8 second video snippets, which are then stitched together and played back as a merged video. There is also an option to add audio soundtrack, choosing from the in-built five standard background music tracks, or import music to the SD card via the EOS utility. With this feature, multi-take videos can be produced without computer editing.
Other Handy Features
The T3i has a pop-up flash, with an X-sync of 1/200 second and a guide number of 43 feet (13m) at ISO 100 that can also function as an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter /wireless flash controller.
As with the T2i, it is HDMI-CEC compatible. With an HDMI to mini-HDMI (Type C) adapter or cable (purchase separately), you can play back your images on your HD TV as well as control the camera's Playback functions via the CEC (Consumer Electronics) Protocol.
With newly added features to the already impressive Rebel line, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i is a value for money investment for aspiring photographers. The quality of its still shots is among the best in its price range, and its video modes are quite comprehensive, offering excellent quality, if handled correctly.
Besides the Rebel T3i, Canon offers the T2i and the 60D, another two outstanding 18-megapixel digital SLRs within the same price range. All provides excellent image quality. However, in this author opinion, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i has the best mix of features among the three.