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Canon EOS 600D Review

The more zeros in a model’s ID, the lower are the specs. This one is the T3i (also known as the) 600D, while a few months ago I reviewed Canon’s EOS 60D.

I came away from the 60D with the comments “a superior camera …”, “Well thought out …” and “I have rarely had so much fun and captured great shots with precision.”

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This new piece of kit is very similar but quite a few dollars cheaper. The specs are similarly very close, with one exceptional difference: the new baby is 240 grams lighter in weight, made from stainless steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre. Which says a lot: pros like cameras with a dab of weight while the amateur fraternity goes kinky for models that don’t lower the shoulders.

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The review camera was supplied with the f3.5/18-135mm lens, quite a handy optic with its 7.5x range; the f3.5/18-200mm lens, bundled with the Premium kit would, be an even more capable piece of glass.

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Canon T3i/600D Features

What’s nice and new with the 600D is its articulated, high res Live View screen that can be swung outwards, downwards, forward or used as a fixed rear screen.

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The bright and clear optical pentamirror finder will please trad snappers who will also enjoy the depth of field button that sets DSLRs in general apart from that lesser breed: compact digicams!

Olympus pioneered the Art Filter feature (and my reviews extolling their advantages still draw flak); and Canon continues with its quintet, calling them Creative Filters: grainy B&W; soft focus; fisheye, toy camera and miniature effects.

The 18 megapixel APS-sized CMOS can capture a maximum image size of 5184×3456, or 44x30cm as a print. Full High Definition video with 1920x1080p res is also on board.

For such a reasonably priced DSLR, it is heartening to see the inclusion of a maximum continuous speed of 3.7 fps (up to six RAW images, 34 JPEGs) but there are some cautions with this speed: the rate is decreased if high ISO speed noise reduction is in play; some highly detailed subjects may affect it as JPEG compression has to work harder; similarly, the rate may drop if the AI Servo AF function cannot keep up with it; low light capture may also affect it.

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Some more experienced photographers may find early days with the EOS 600D a bit of a puzzle, as some controls are not where they usually are.


Added to the movie capture is an interesting helper that could enhance your videos: you can preset the record time to lengths of two, four or eight seconds, then save to memory as a single file and even add music to it.

I was not so impressed with the Movie Digital Zoom feature that can enlarge the shooting range by 10x … it’s a digital enlargement.

The built in mic will capture audio (of a sort) but an auxiliary stereo mic is recommended; you can shoot full size stills at the same time as movie recording.

After some time with the camera I found it best to use manual focus when shooting video; the auto focus does not track while moving; also, you will pick up any handling noises or lens action on the audio track.

Movies: you can adjust shutter speed, aperture and ISO speed via the viewfinder menu options.

Canon T3i/600D ISO Tests

As with the EOS 60D the ISO range is wide, topping out at ISO 6400 with an expansion to 12,800.

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Up to ISO 1600 I found the image quality to be top class, with only a slight in crease in noise at 1600 visible.

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At ISO 3200 definition was still holding up, with only a small increase noise.

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At ISO 6400 noise is now evident but, with the right subject, a useable setting.

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At ISO 12,800 we’re pushing it a bit: noise is very evident with definition suffering. Only if you have to …

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Quality: tops in every department. I found the 600D body and the f3.5/18-135mm lens to be a super combo.

Why you would buy the EOS 60D: near-pro features; relatively lightweight; vari-angle LCD.

Why you wouldn’t: no AF in movie mode; it’s not a beginner’s camera.

And congrats to Canon for the printed manual: 300 pages in a pocketable book.

Canon T3i/600D Specifications

Image Sensor: 18.0 million effective pixels.
Metering: Evaluative, partial, centre-weighted metering and spot.
Effective Sensor Size: 22.3×14.9mm CMOS.
A/D processing: 14-bit.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1:6x.
Compatible lenses: Canon EF, EF-S mount.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: Bulb, 30 to 1/4000 second, Bulb. Flash sync: 1/200 sec.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards; minimum Class 6 recommended for movie shooting.
Image Sizes (pixels): 5184×3456 to 720×480. Movies: 1920×1080 to 640×480 at 24/25/30/50/60fps.
Viewfinders: Eye level pentamirror, 7.6cm LCD (1.04 million pixels).
File Formats: RAW, RAW+JPEG, MPEG4.
Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12,800.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, DC input, PC terminal, remote control, mic input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 133.1×99.5×789.7 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 515 g (body only).
Price: Get a price on the Canon Rebel T31 in a variety of formats including: “Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) or Canon EOS Rebel T3i with EF-S 18-55mm or “Canon EOS Rebel T3i with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Zoom Lens & EF 75-300mm.

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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