Canon T3i is an excellent DSLR camera choice for absolute new beginners and also advanced point & shoot Camera users wanting to graduate to the next level in digital photograpy.
Let us head straight into Canon T3i review starting with a listing of key features that have contributed to the popularity of Canon T3i Camera with the DSLR crowd.
Canon T3i Features
- 18MP CMOS Sensor – offers high image quality, low power consumption
- DIGIC 4 Image Processor – fast processing speed, ensures natural colors and right white balance
- ISO Range – Wide ISO 100 to 6400 range allows shooting in a variety of lighting conditions
- HD Videos – Shoots full 1920 x 1080 HD movies with manual controls
- Display – 3-inch articulating LCD screen, 1 million pixels
- Lenses – 18-135mm lens, compatible with full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses
- Memory – Unlimited with SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
- Autofocus – 9-point AF system ensures sharp pictures even in situations where the subject is moving (children or pets)
- Continuous Shooting Mode – Shoots 3.7 FPS
Canon T3i Camera Design
- Size – 133 x 100 x 80 mm (HWD)
- Weight – 516 grams body, 67 grams battery, 454 gram lens
The most notable feature of Canon T3i is its articulating LCD screen that can flip to the side and pivot up and down by 270 degrees. This allows flexibility in shooting subjects requiring extremely low or high camera angles.
At first glance the camera looks clunky and heavy. However, you will be surprised when you actually hold the camera for the first time.
Canon T3i is surprisingly light; it offers excellent grip and really gets you hooked. Looking closely you are also likely to appreciate its polished leathery look.
Without going into full blown details of the design, here is a brief summary of what you will see on each side of the camera:
- Front View – Here you will see the lens mount in the centre of camera, lens release button, remote sensor, 4-pinhole microphone, and depth of field preview button
- Rear View – LCD Screen, optical viewfinder, host of buttons for accessing Menu, Live View, Exposure Compensation, Playback, Delete and more.
- Right Side View – Here you will see two plastic doors. The larger of the two doors holds A/V and mini-HDMI out. The second door holds inputs for remote control and external microphone
- Left side View – Compartment for memory cards, DC card slot
- Top View – Power Switch, Mode dial, Display button, Shutter release button, ISO button, hot shoe for accessories and auto pop-up flash
- Bottom – On the bottom you will see a metal tripod mount and battery compartment.
Canon T3i – Compatible With Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Canon T3i is compatible with dozens of Canon lens systems; in-fact it can be fitted with any EF-mount lens in the Canon EF lens range and also fitted with compact and lightweight Canon EF-S lenses which are available in ultra wide angle to telephoto range.
Canon T3i is normally offered with two lens choices:
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm Lens – 3.1x zoom, 29-88mm focal range, built in image stabilization
- EF-S 18-135mm –7.5x zoom, longer 29-216mm focal range, built-in image stabilization
Canon T3i Display
Canon T3i has a 3-inch LCD screen display that offers wide angle viewing, 3:2 aspect ratio, and high resolution display for checking image details and focus.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the LCD screen has the ability to pivot up to 270 degrees, offering a great deal of flexibility in shooting subjects requiring extremely high or low angle views.
The screen offers a lot of information in an un-cluttered manner, including a live histogram to judge exposure and color. Images can be magnified up to 10 times to check quality and color. You can also view the expected outcome for your desired settings using Canon T3i’s exposure simulation function in live view mode.
The menu is well laid out separated into several tables from left to right. Each tab takes you to more options on the same screen so that you do not have to continuously scroll down.
Canon T3i Camera Viewfinder
While the LCD screen is designed to be functional both indoors and outdoors, you will come across days where you might find the screen difficult to view in bright sunlight. This is where you will fnd the optical viewfinder useful.
The optical viewfinder on Canon T3i is rated to cover about 95% of the frame, with approximately 0.85% magnification and -3.0 to +1.0 m-1 (dpt) correction range.
The Canon T3i has a built in flash that is rated 13 meters range at ISO 100(43 feet). The flash can be set to fire automatically or be turned off completely.
The camera provides a great deal of control over flash exposure, allowing you to adjust flash and ambient exposure in one-half or one-third EV increments. This helps in balancing flash with natural lighting, resulting in natural-looking pictures.
Canon T3i Battery
Canon T3i comes with LP-E8 battery rated for 550 shots without the flash and 440 shots when flash is used 50% of the time.
The battery takes about 2 hours to re-charge fully using either LC-E8 or LC-E8E battery chargers included in the box. LC-E8 plugs in directly into a wall socket, while LC-E8E comes with a power cord.
Canon battery chargers are rated 100 to 240 AC volts; hence you will be able to charge your Canon battery anywhere in the world using adaptor plugs (in case necessary).
Canon T3i ISO Range
Canon T3i has a wide ISO range, the default ISO range being ISO 100 to 6,400. There is also an option to expand this to an equivalent of 12,800 ISO.
There is also an automatic ISO mode option that limits the maximum ISO to 400, 800, 1600, 3200 or 6,400.
Canon T3i camera is flexible with memory cards you can use either SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards of any size, there is no listed maximum card size.
Canon T3i – Video Recording
Canon T3i Camera offers excellent video performance, allows video recording in full HD mode.
1,920 x 1080p Mode – You can record videos at 30, 25, or 24 frames per second
720p Mode - 60 and 50fps
480p Non HD Mode - 30 and 25fps.
Canon T3i offers offers easy manual control over shutter speed, ISO and aperture settings. It is just a matter of using the control wheel to get the desired settings. There is also Auto Mode, in case you do not want to fiddle with these settings.
The camera offers for the first time in Canon DSLRs, the new Movie Digital Zoom feature which allows users to achieve up to 10x magnification while shooting full HD video.
Canon T3i – Scene Modes, Filters & Special Effects
In case you like to play with pictures, Canon T3i offers picture effects like Vivid, Soft, Warm, Cool, Dark, Bright and Monochrome (black & White, blue and sepia).
You have the choice of 4 filters to express your creativity. You can choose from Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Toy Camera Effect and the Miniature Effect. These 4 filters can be further enhanced by choosing different contrast levels and tones (Soft, strong, cool, warm)
You can always go back to the original picture in case you do not like these special effects. A new image is created each time you apply these filters, hence the original image is left unaffected.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Canon T3i is an excellent camera for those getting into the world of DSLR photography. It will certainly not frustrate new users, who will be able to get great pictures right away with option to explore further at their own pace.
Moving further up in their DSLR journey, new users will find Canon T3i to be challenging enough but not really intimidating. The camera controls are well placed and allow the users to get familiar with them in a natural way.
We have no hesitation in recommending Canon T3i both to new users and also those experienced users wanting to upgrade to a new DSLR camera from their existing DSLR or advanced point and shoot cameras.