Only a year after the release of the Canon EOS Rebel T2i, here is its replacement -- the T3i.
Let me state right now that existing T2i owners needn't feel that they are missing out by not upgrading to this camera. The T3i keeps the 18 megapixels and ISO range of its predecessor, so there is no difference in image quality.
What the T3i does have is a variety of interesting new features designed to tempt new users into buying a DSLR.
- Resolution: 18 megapixel CMOS sensor
- ISO: ISO sensitivity from 100 to 6400, expandable to 12800 in 1-stop increments
- Focusing: 9 point AF system
- Movie mode: HD movie mode
- Flash: Built in flash
- LCD: 3-inch vari-angle LCD panel, 1,040,000 pixels
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8
- Dimensions: 133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7 mm (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
- Weight: 570 g (1.26 lbs.) (including battery and memory card)
- Maximum image size: 5184 x 3456 pixels (RAW and JPEG)
- Excellent image quality at all ISO settings
- Articulated LCD screen
- Ability to remotely control flashguns
- White balance still not good in artificial light
- Slow AF in Live View Mode
Canon EOS Rebel T3i Review
Existing T2i users will recognize the shape and feel of this camera, as it's an almost identical design. The T3i is slightly bigger and heavier, and it has a much better hand grip than its predecessor. Unfortunately, because of the camera's articulated screen, the 4-way controller is somewhat smaller. But the T3i is another sturdy and well-built camera that will give its users years of pleasure.
Perhaps taking a page out of Nikon's book with its excellent D3100, the T3i now incorporates a "Feature Guide," which displays short explanations of functions on the LCD screen to help beginners come to grips with the camera. Full Auto mode has also been upgraded and is now represented by an "A+" on the mode dial (as opposed to the old green square). In this mode, the camera now not only sets the exposure, but it will also tweak the color outputs and image processing parameters.
The T3i has the "Q" button (as seen on many recent Canon models), which allows for direct access to the Rear Control Screen. This appears on the LCD screen, and it allows quick access to changing just about anything you'd want to alter during shooting! The 4-way controller is, as mentioned, somewhat smaller than on the T2i, but it still allows for easy access to white balance, focus, and drive modes, as well as picture styles when shooting stills.
Inexplicably though, the functions of the 4-way controller change dramatically once the camera is in Live View or Movie Mode. In these modes, the controller only allows for moving the AF-point around its 9 points. This is confusing, to say the least!
Following its big brother, the Canon EOS 60D, the T3i has an articulated LCD screen, which swivels and tilts. The screen is great for shooting at odd angles or above your head, and it makes for far more stable movies. Unfortunately, the autofocus is extremely slow when the camera is in Live View mode, and this is something that Canon really should work on. It's such a clever screen, and it is a shame that the slow autofocus lets it down.
As well as the usual pop-up flash, the T3i has wireless flash control, which works with all of Canon's flashgun range. The T3i is the first of Canon's entry-level cameras to feature this function.
The 18MP CMOS sensor has appeared on several Canon models, and it again offers excellent image quality on the T3i. However, I do feel that the JPEG quality of the T3i is superior to many of the other Canon models. There is good detail and punchy colors, and it generally has more impact in this mode than on previous cameras. RAW still offers the option to get more detail out of your images, particularly should you chose to create very large prints! But the difference between the two shooting modes is less pronounced in the T3i.
The T3i also produces excellent quality images even at high ISOs. The camera offers user-adjustable noise reduction, which means that you can choose how much noise to have in trade-off for additional image quality and detail.
The only real downside to the T3i's image quality is, yet again, Canon's inability to produce cameras that can cope with artificial light when it comes to white balance. Images are distinctly orange if Auto White Balance is used, and a certain amount of tweaking is required to get the correct results.
This is an extremely well-planned camera with loads of features and a reasonable price tag to match. It takes great pictures, with considerably less effort than its big brother, the 60D.
For those new to DSLRs, this is a pretty perfect camera. However, there aren't many particularly innovative features and, therefore, this camera is unlikely to tempt existing T2i users to upgrade.