Field Review: Canon T3i (Day 1)

We’ve had a number of requests for a Canon T3i review, and so it is here! We’ve compared the Canon T2i, 7D and 60D before, and now this little Rebel is looking to shake things up a bit. Before we start, we’re going to ask that you make sure that you purchase the right lens for you, no matter what your budget is. We will further try to discern whether or not this camera is right for you as well.

Tech Specs

The new Rebel T3i has an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 4 image processor, 3.7 fps, full HD video (30p-24p-25p), HD (60p-50p) and SD video (30p-25p) with full manual exposure control, ISO range of 100-6400, 3″ LCD with 1.04-million dots.

It includes a 9-point AF system with an F/2.8 cross-type center point with a 63-zone Dual-layer metering system. In English, that means that when you’re using a lens that is F/2.8 or faster, it will be able to help the camera track your subject easier in the AI Servo mode (continuous AF tracking.) I’ve seen it work very well on my 7D, especially if you’re shooting stuff like this or when you’re in terribly low light like this.


As a guy that uses the 5D Mk II and 7D most of the time, I can’t begin to explain to you how much the T3i feels like a toy to me. As with the previous Rebel cameras, my pinky finger feels like it will fall off the hand grip at any moment when holding the camera up to my eye. I also feel that some of the buttons have been placed in weird spots now (or I at least don’t remember the older Rebel as fondly). For example:

– The display button towards the shutter dial is in a weird spot.

– The playback button is now all the way on the bottom right.

– The Menu button and the info buttons are now on the top left side. This baffles me to no end on a body this small.

However, it does have some nice advantages:

– The focusing point selection button is in a great spot on the top right hand corner.

– The Live View/Video record button is in a great position right next to the viewfinder.

– The flip out LCD is very useful.


So far in my experience the autofocus on the T3i has been on par with previous Rebels. In summary:

– In good light, it’s great. In fact, it’s fast and speedy.

– In mediocore light, it’s still pretty damned good.

– In low light, put a flash on to help it out.

For most people, the T3i’s autofocus will be absolutely fine when paired with their cheap zooms. To take full advantage of the T3i’s focusing though, you’re encouraged to use an F/2.8 lens. Admittedly, I’m using the 24-105mm F/4 L IS at the time of writing this.

Don’t worry, it will be tested with fast glass.

Outstanding Features

The T3i has wireless flash control. More specifically, it has EasyWireless and CustomWireless. EasyWireless is essentially a set it and forget it type of feature. CustomWireless is what I’m more used to: tinkering with all of the settings available to me.

The new Live Guide? I disabled it immediately. It was quite annoying actually because it kept blocking out sections of the LCD screen to teach me about each setting.

When I popped my Eye-Fi card into the camera, a little notifier came up on the back LCD screen that told me when the images were being uploaded. I could also enable or disable uploading via the menu. This was something that I found to be really, really cool.

In all honesty, this could be the best camera that I’ve tested the Eye-Fi card with.

More to come in the review, but please let us know what you want to specifically read about.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.