Sunday, July 17, 2011

Canon EOS Rebel T3 review

Posted by Vishnureddy at 8:25 AM

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We almost felt like Sookie Stackhouse in HBO’s True Blood. We closed our eyes and the next thing we knew, a year was gone. In this case we didn’t travel in “fairy space time,” but blinked and Canon sent out a replacement for the XS and XSi DSLRs. The company sprinkled some fairy dust on those older cameras by adding 720p HD video. Were we enchanted by this new DSLR? You won’t have to watch 12 episodes to find out.

Features and design

Pick up the older 10-megapixel XS, and you’ll have trouble telling it from the T3 other than the model number on the front. The rear is another story, as there’s a slightly larger LCD screen, a button for Live View and a red dot next to it indicating “videos taken here” on the T3. Although there are a few other changes we’ll discuss, the new Rebel looks like your basic Canon DSLR. If you’ve looked at or owned one over the past few years, you won’t be shocked by it. Yet there is a bit of style, as it’s not only available in black but with brown, red or metallic gray bodies; our review sample was black. The camera feels rather light, and you’ll have no problem telling this one from a Nikon D7000, but that excellent DSLR costs twice as much. The T3 body measures 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 (width x height x depth) and weighs 17.4 ounces.
Canon EOS Rebel T3 front sensorThe front of the T3 features a red-eye reduction lamp that also doubles at the self-timer lamp, a mono mic, lens release button and, of course, the Canon EF lens mount (it accepts EF-S glass). The kit is supplied with a starter 18-55mm Image Stabilized lens. It’s OK, but you’re much better off spending extra for a higher-quality one. The grip is also here, and it’s quite comfortable with a nicely-placed, angled shutter button with a nearby scroll wheel for making menu adjustments.
The top has an auto pop-up flash, hot shoe, mode dial, power switch and a button to manually pop the flash open. The flash does double-duty as an AF Assist lamp, so you have to open it for best results. This is a weird setup, and we’re not fans of this system. It almost seems like a lightning storm is going off as you press the shutter half-way. And even if you don’t want the flash to fire, it’ll go off. The 14-megapixel Nikon D3100 –which is slightly more expensive — has an AF Assist lamp on the front. On a more positive note, the mode dial has almost everything you’d want within easy reach starting with Auto, PASM, some popular scene options and movie. The main drawback is the fact the dial doesn’t turn 360 degrees, so if you want to go from movie (the last on one end) to manual you have to turn 12 clicks. Is this the end of the world? Not really, but Canon should’ve made this entry-level DSLR as friendly as possible.
Canon EOS Rebel T3 Rear displayThe rear has the most external changes vis a vis the XS, but newcomers will have little trouble identifying the various buttons as they have large labels. Here you’ll find the viewfinder with diopter control, a 95-percent field of view and .8x magnification, specs you’ll typically find with low-priced DSLRs (the D3100 is similar). Below the viewfinder is a basic, fixed-position, 2.7-inch LCD rated a so-so 230K pixels. Is it terrible? No, but you do get what you pay for. The D3100 has a slightly larger 3-inch display also rated 230K.
To the right of the screen are the usual 2011 controls: exposure compensation/delete, Live View/record with the red dot next to it and Q for Quick Menu. Nearby is a speaker and the four-way controller with center set button. Here you have access to AF type, white balance, burst/self-timer and ISO (range is 100 to 6400). Other keys include display, playback and menu. On the top right are AE/FE Lock and AF point selection. In playback, these will magnify or reduce your images.
On the left side is a compartment with USB and mini HDMI out, as well as an input for a remote control. The bottom of the made-in-Taiwan T3 has a compartment for the lithium-ion battery and a slot for SD cards (it accepts SDXC and Eye-Fi media).

What’s in the box

The carton has everything you need to get started other than a memory card. You get the camera, kit lens, body cap, neck strap and USB cable. The battery is rated a very good 800 shots per CIPA and you also get a plug-in charger. Canon supplies a multi-language basic instruction manual (84 pages in English) and two CD-ROMs. One has the full owner’s manual as a PDFm and the other is Canon’s software suite for handling images and developing RAW files.
After charging the battery and popping in a 4GB Class 6 SDHC card, it was time to take some photos and videos.

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