Back in 2003, Canon launched its first ever consumer level DSLR, The first launch in this segment was the 300D with only 6.3 megapixels, and since then canon has continuously launched a yearly upgrade with better image sensor and the latest tweaks. Canon EOS 600D (known in north America by Digital Rebel T3i) is the new member in this segment basically evolving from Canon 550D/T2i . Although EOS 600D/T3i is succeeded by the Canon 650D/t4i but Canon prefers it to be listed as current model.
Canon EOS 600d/t3i came up in market with the 18MP CMOS sensor paired with the DIGIC 4 processor which is same as of 550D/t2i. There is addition of well-articulated high resolution 1,04 million dot LCD screen which can be tilted and swivel. The 63 zone TTL metering from the higher end DSLR EOS 7d with 9 point Auto focus system , full HD recording of video at 30fps,standard ISO setting from ISO 100 – 6400 and a maximum shooting rate of 3.7fps.
Updates from the predecessor Canon EOS 550D/t2i are very few and only Flip out screen is the main difference between two model, which can be very handy while taking low angle shots. Performance is same as both of models are having same sensor size.
Sensor Type: High-sensitivity, high-resolution, large single-plate CMOS sensor
Pixels: Effective pixels: Approx. 18.0 megapixels
Total Pixels: Approx. 18.70 megapixels
Aspect Ratio: 3:2 (Horizontal: Vertical)
Color Filter System: RGB primary color filters
Lens Mount: Canon EF mounts
Color Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Style: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined 1-3
Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom
Auto White Balance: Auto white balance with the image sensor
Metering Modes: TTL maximum aperture metering with 63-zone metering sensor
Drive Modes: Single, Continuous, 10-sec. self-timer/Remote control, 2-sec. self-timer, Continuous shooting after 10-sec. self-timer
Type: TFT color, liquid-crystal monitor
Monitor Size: 3.0 in. (Screen aspect ratio of 3:2)
Pixels: Approx. 1,040,000 dots
Battery: Battery Pack LP-E8 x 1
Dimensions (W x H x D) : Approx. 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in./133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm
Weight: Approx. 18.2 oz. / 515g (body only)
Lens and Sensor:
The 550d/rebel t3i is based upon EF mount. It is also compatible with the other EF-S mount which is developed for APS-C Sensor cameras. It comes up with the EF –S 18-55 mm lens kit with aperture size f/3.5 -5.6 IS II (image stabilization II) . The only difference between IS I and IS II lens is upgraded stabilization algorithm. Lens has optical zoom of 3.1x, dc motor for autofocus and a couple of switch button for ‘AF/MF’ and ‘Stabilizer’ on the lens barrel. The second option of kit lens we are getting in this model is Canon EF-S 18-135mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS lens which is having a zoom of 7.5x with rest of the feature same as EF –S 18-55 mm lens f/3.5 -5.6 IS II .
Image sensor in the camera is 18.0 MP CMOS sensor with RGB ‘Bayer’ color filter system. It is equipped with automatic dust cleaning system, which works every time after switching on and off the camera. The CMOS sensor of size 22.3 x 14.9 mm provides low power consumption and noise immunity.
Body and Physical:
In terms of design it is almost same to its predecessor with little difference in the dimension. It is bulky in the front. In the top plate, there is a change in the mode dial button and an addition of display button. In rear plate, instead of display button there is a useful info button and large Hinged LCD which can be tilted and swivel. Due to the large size of the screen the other menu buttons are bit smaller and constrained. There is a rubber channel that directs the thumb automatically away from the screen and button to avoid accidental pressing.
Camera is robust and made from the high grade plastic same as of its predecessor. Despite of plastic, camera is steady to hold the lens but with the heavier telephoto lens camera feels a little unsteady. The grip is firm and deep for perfect curling of the finger. Overall the camera is very comfortable and nice to hold single handed.
Battery and Storage
Battery used in the camera is a LP-E8 which provide a life of 400 -450 images shot when used with the optical view finder and an average 150- 200 shot when used as live view. Video recording capability of the battery is almost greater than hour. Camera doesn’t have any internal storage but it provides support for various high speed cards such as SD / SDHC /SDXC cards
Camera takes 1.5 sec to boot on and very negligible time to shut down. The shutter response is quite good and it lies in between 0.114 sec to 0.288 sec. There is no much improvement in the focus point system of the camera. Canon strict itself with only 9 point focus point system where center is the cross point focus being sensitive to the horizontal and vertical. Although in the ambient light diamond shaped focus system is quite accurate and ready to locate in the target but in the dark, camera is unable to focus with 9 focus points. It will only focus if the object is large. The camera has an absolute fast burst mode and can take an average of 18 to 20 high quality shots before slowing down. The LCD screen which is 1.04 million dots provides a vibrant color and great angle of view, but the lack of touch screen somehow degrades the fast performance of control in the camera. Camera has AF assist illuminator which works well. Flash is quite bright with good range. Its dust reduction system works well and removes the dust whenever you switch on the camera. Overall the performance given by the camera is quite decent and fast enough to catch the response.
The images taken from the camera are high detailed with warm composition. The 63 iFCL metering system proves to be worthy. There is no much to do with the exposure compensation button as all the images are well exposed. While shooting in portrait mode the skin tone is realistic. Color reproduction is on the neutral side and if you want to try something different the three compensation mode can prove to be real fun to set the sharpness, contrast and saturation according to your need.
For cropping purpose the detailing in the image is good and sharp but at the higher ISO the image tends to soften a lot in the corner and the edges. For night photography there is a maximum exposure of 30 second and even for more exposure time bulb mode is there in camera. For flash photography, the camera has in built flash din, and a red eye reduction system as well.
ISO ranges from ISO 100 to 6400 and can be extended to 12800, Image till ISO800 ISO have no sign of grains, but after that noise starts to build up and become much more prominent .
It provides a feature of HD recording at 1080p; at a frame rate of 25 or 30 fps. It lacks the full time autofocus control and priority mode exposure controls. Although the video quality is good, but just like every DSLR in the market camera suffer motion related defect such as Rolling shutter and color moiré. But surprisingly, after all this defect image quality is sharp. Audio recording option is given through the mono microphone. Audio recording is clear but there is a little bit of unwanted sound while recording because of the rotating zoom motor or moving hand while recording. Camera has an interesting feature of adjusting the noise sensitivity and the wind filter.
Camera is definitely a star performer on each and every aspect of the comparison such as design, build feature, image quality and value. It is not advisable for the people who are looking for upgrade from its predecessor as it is almost same. Also for people who are confused in 550D and 600D, successor seems to be overpriced with only Flip out screen as an extra feature. But if you have serious concern in Flip out screen, video capabilities can be the reason for upgrade. Overall the camera is a great performer in its price segment. Also newly refined interface is very well welcomed by the novice user.