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on September 28, 2011
BEFORE YOU START READING: This is a pretty comprehensive review of the T3i and some lenses at the end of the review. Be prepared to read a lot, or just skip to the other reviews that say things like "Great camera, takes pretty pictures of babies!" if that is more your style. I have tried to offer an unbiased and comprehensive review of the T3i.

The T3i / 600D is such an excellent buy. Let me get this out of the way first though, it only has a few small advantages over the T2i, so if you don't need the things I'm about to list, then save some money and buy the T2i. For me though, I absolutely needed the following:

T3i advantages over the T2i
*Flip out LCD screen
*Digital zoom in video mode
*Adjustable Audio levels in video mode
*Built in flash control
*In camera guide (Ok, I didn't need this feature but it is great for beginning DSLR users)

The T2i will still offer the exact same image quality and processing. The only main difference is that the T3i is much better for video as a result of the things listed above. My review will be on the T3i, but if you are only plan on using your Camera for still images, you can save $100 or so with a T2i. I use my camera a lot for video so the T3i was an essential upgrade for me.

Ok, now on to the T3i full review! Excellent image quality and potential movie quality HD video (it's all about the lenses). The camera shoots pretty sharp images with the 18-55mm kit lens. It has amazing sharpness and contrast with the 50mm f/1.8 lens that I bought additionally for $107. (Prime lenses, i.e. non zoom lenses will always offer sharper images and perform better in lower light settings due to a wider aperature.) If you are dissatisfied with pictures from this camera, then get a better lens or learn how to use it better. It is definitely NOT the camera itself. The T3i is capable of world class quality images/video if fitted with the proper lens and in the hands of a good photographer.

The botton layout and overall camera functionality is a 10/10. I have no complaints at all and everything just makes sense with the location and useability. It has dedicated buttons for almost every fruntion and the menues are quick to access and it is very easy to adjust settings. It has good locations for all of the ports and the battery/memory card slots.

The LCD is super bright, detailed and the best in the Canon line at this time. The flip out feature is amazing if you are shooting overhead or have your camera low to the ground. It may help you avoid crawling in the mud for that great shot. It is also nice for self portaits and any other time you won't be directly behind the viewfinder/LCD screen.

The quick burst mode allows me to take 8-9 photos in rapid succession, so it is great for action / sports photography. The 18-55mm kit lens that it comes with is great for non professional photographers and offers amazing image quality compared to my old Canon Powershot S5. Eventually if you want to get into more serious photography, you will want to upgrade the kit lens to something better with a lower aperature rating. (aperature essentially means how much light your lens takes in. This has two benefits, it allows you to shoot in darker settings, and allows you to have a faster shutter speed set.)

The 1080p HD video can be shot at 24fps or 30fps. It also has standard video recording options as well. The camera has a dedicated video mode selection and can be set to manual mode in the menu for a full customization of settings including shutter speed, aperature, ISO, ect. The video this thing shoots is just stunning. A small note though about the T3i and all other DSLRs on shooting video. When using them for video, there is a max video size that SD memory cards will allow you to use. When shooting in 1080p HD video a typical limit to videos are either around 12 minutes or 4GB, whichever comes first. These are the stats for this camera, but all DSLRs have similar numbers. You can extend the time by shooting in standard definition, but it still has a cap. Most videographers shoot in shorter sequences anyways, so this isn't really an issue. It is just something to take into consideration if you want to do interviews or other long scenes. Again, this goes for all DSLR videography though, and not just the T3i.

The build quality is good for what it is; a pro-sumer camera. It doesn't feel cheap by any means. It is a lighterweight DLSR and does not feel as solid as the pro level DSLRs but it costs MUCH less. The T3i still has a solid construction. Though, I would not want to drop it or leave it out in bad weather. I got a Delkin Pro Skin for the T3i, and a battery grip and it feels much more like a pro level camera now and feels better balanced with larger lenses. It is not sealed, dustproof and waterproof like the 7D or the 5D. The 60D has a better build quality and not much more expensive. It is also worth checking out. The 60D is slightly better for stills photography while the T3i is slightly better for shooting videos. You can see a number of reviews and comparisons on youtube.

It has great auto settings, though I CERTAINLY recommend learning how to really use your camera and you can take your photography to a whole new level. Having said that, IF you choose to only use the full auto / creative auto settings, you'll have a jaw dropping quality point and shoot camera. Again, I would recommend learning the settings, but for those of you who want great quality photos for birthdays and family get togethers, the T3i will exceed your expectations and is still very easy to use, thanks to the "In Camera Guide." If you really want to use your camera to the best of it's abilities, spend some time reading through the manual, watching how to videos on youtube and read online articles on improving your photography. There are an incredible amount of resources available online for free. spend some time, do the work and it will definitely pay off in the long term.

The accessories that come with this package are great for beginners too. I'll eventually be upgrading the tri-pod and the camera bag, but they will certainly be in use for a while until I decide to spend the big bucks on nicer gear. The 16gb card is great, the gear bag is decent quality, the screen protectors were a nice touch and the extra battery is an essential item for any photographer.

Overall, the T3i was the perfect camera for my needs. Of course I would love to have a 7D or a 5D, but it is much smarter to spend money on better lenses than to get too hung up on the camera body. Overall, I would recommend the T3i 100%. I am completely satisfied with my purchase, how much I spent, and the value I really recieved from such a great quality camera.

Here is an bonus list of lenses worth buying to build your collection. I will provide a list of lenses that are great for the value, and a list of my want but will probably never be able to afford lenses.

Great lenses for the value (notice I didn't say cheap, but excellent for the value):
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Zoom The kit lens that comes with this package. (The only reason not to buy this lens if if you are upgrading to a more expensive lens pretty quickly. This is probably THE BEST value lens around, Period. It has good contrast, sharpness, and overall image quality. There is definitely room for improvement, but at the price, this thing is a steal. This lens will suit many peoples needs for a long, long time. For photographers on a budget, this lens is a must have.)

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - $110(BEST lens for the value aside from the 18-55mm kit lens)

Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto - $390 (A super great lens for indoor and darker settings. More expensive the than 50mm f/1.8 but if you have the money, this lens is worth the upgrade).

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom - $670 (MUCH better than the Canon 18-55mm kit lens. Not cheap, but an excellent substitute for the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 and about $440 cheaper than the canon with only slight differences in image / video quality. Some people even prefer the Sigma. This is a great lens with excellent walk around ranges. This will be my always on lens for probably 90% of the time. This or the Canon 17-55 are a must have for video users).

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - $400 (Great 30mm prime lens at a decent cost.)

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto - $400 (Great for macro photography and a decent telephoto distance.)

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM - $570 (One of the best lenses for micro/macro photography)

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom - $675 (One of the top rated telephoto lenses around and a must for sports photographers.)

A lens that isn't quite as good but definitely deserves some attention:
Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP Aspherical (IF) Zoom - $460 (A cheaper alternative to the Canon 17-55 and the Sigma 17-50mm. It is still better than the Canon 18-55mm kit lens. It has great image quality but lacks the Image stabilization that the other two offer (which is essential if you want to use your camera as a handheld often). Tamron offers an IS version of this lens, but tests have shown that it isn't quite as sharp and it is slower than the Sigma and Canon and the autofocus isn't as good. Based on the research I've done online, I'd prefer to buy the Sigma for $50 more than the IS (well Tamron calls it VC) version of this lens.) All that said, this is an excellent lens at a good price if you plan on using a tripod most of the time.

Amazing lenses that are expensive list:
Tokina 11-16/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX - $720 (Best wide angle lens around, in many people's eyes.)

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens $1600 (One of the best lenses on the market if not THE best. Great image quality, excellent contrast. The only thing this baby is missing is Image Stabilization.)

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM - $1075 (Excellent range, Image stabilization, contrast and picture quality. One of the best lenses after the Canon 24-70mm. For some it may be the best, if they need the IS.)

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM - $1100 (Not to be confused with the 18-55mm Canon kit lens. Many people consider this to be THE best lens available for APS-C body cameras, i.e. T2i, T3i, 60D ect. The only downside is that this lens CANNONT be used on full frame cameras. i.e. 5D, 1D.) It is essentially an L quality lens as far as image quality goes. Amazing quality sharpness, contrast, minimal fringing and flaring, and just a fantastic lens. It does lack the L lens quality build though.

Final Note: This is not a comprehensive list, nor am I a professional photographer. I am simply a guy who did a ton of research and wanted to contribute and give people a decent place to get started with camera and lens selection. I certainly encourage each of you to do you own research and find out what suits your needs best. You can certainly find cheaper cameras and lenses out there. I take photography pretty serious and want the best quality images/videos possible for a reasonable price. In most cases, you really do get what you pay for. Thanks for reading.
66 comments| 263 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 22, 2012
I would be a fool to say I don't love this camera. However, do yourself a favor and shop around and make sure you know what you are paying for before you click the "buy" button. STAY AWAY FROM ZEEMO DIGITAL:
1. They advertise a NEW CAMERA..... I received a loosely packaged camera and accessories in a brown general box. NOT EVEN A CANON BOX.....
2. The Accessories are great if you are using a small point and shoot camera. for a DSlR... FORGET IT! you will never be able to get the quality shot you want with the tripod they deliver. and you will NEVER be able to carry all your goods with the bag they offer.
3. The Batteries are NOT (at least in my order) CANON batteries. and drain so fast you will barely get 100 pics per charge.
4. The other smaller accessories are not needed for anyone living in the 21st Century. TRUST ME
5. ZeeMo attempted to persuade me from waiving my Freedom of Speech rights by telling me they would send me a better bag and tripod if I deleted my negative add off of AMAZON. Because "a negative ad hurts sales so much". I originally did this then, after the difficulty I was having with the battery I decided, TOUGH! The internet needs to be warned.
I will say that ZeeMo did send me a Tripod and a Camera bag that they thought was better than the first ones they sent. NOT really. neither tripod stands to wind very well and the bags barely have room for the camera and two lenses.
And, they did send me a Canon Battery they say is new. but it wasn't in original packaging (I received it in a small plastic baggie with no packaging at all, for all I know it came from a floor model.
So, shop around and trust me stay away from ZeeMo. (oh, ZeeMo DO NOT CONTACT ME WE. OUR BUSINESS IS COMPLETE!)
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on April 30, 2012
I received the shipment promptly. The camera is terrific and I'm enjoying it. However, the "Accessory Kit" was seriously lacking - the bag was not the one pictured and was no more than a simple foam rubber bag in which you might store a six pack, there was no memory card or "Jumpstart" DVD, and the other items were cheap (among others, a wipe, some Q-tips and tiny unmarked bottle of what I assume is "cleaning solution").

When I wrote to complain about the bag, I received a reply a number of days later that they would send the pictured bag as a "one-time courtesy." A COURTESY? For delivering the item that was advertised? I NEVER received a reply about the two missing items. That was a week ago ... and TODAY I received an e-mail asking for a contact number so that a customer service representative could speak with me. I replied that I would not give them my contact number, I would not be speaking to a representative, and I expected the three items (the replacement bag, missing memory card, and missing DVD) sent immediately. I'm not holding my breath.

My advice ... SKIP this third-party seller and the completely unnecessary "accessory kit" - order just the camera from AMAZON.
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on December 20, 2012
The package arrived on Dec. 19, 2012 as promised. The camera is a fine piece, but I can't enjoy it since no SD card is enclosed in the package. The Seller is a cheater, who did NOT send what they advised in the picture, except for the camera and lens. Yes, they did send the camera bag, which is no better than a plastic shopping bag, and IS NOT the one they showed in the picture.

In a summary, the missing items are:

1. 5pc Deluxe Lens Care & Cleaning Kit
2. 16 Gigabyte SDHC Secure Digital Memory Card -
3. Secure Digital USB Card Reader -
4. Universal Memory Card Wallet -
5. Pack of LCD Screen Protectors
6. Jumpstart Guide to Digital SLR Cameras

I hope you read my review before you push the "order" button. It is your money, and it is your choice.
0Comment| 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 7, 2013
My son is required to have a DSLR Camera for his HS photo class. We considered the plain vanilla Rebel, but this T3i based on the reviews, seemed worth the additional $150. Then we spotted this 10pc Bundle. What a deal!

We love this T3i camera. I'm an avid amateur with a larger Cannon including a few lenses which I was not going to risk for a HS class. This T3i is loaded with features and easier to learn than my larger Cannon.

The accessories are pure gravy. I would have had to buy an extra battery and a memory card anyway, so they saved me that dough.

The bundled, non-cannon battery seems kinda iffy. It seemed to die quickly during first use. It's supposed to take two hours to charge, but I was back to whatever a full charge yields in probably less than hour. I haven't used it enough to determine it's worth.

The 16G memory card works fine.

The camera case is nice! Haven't tried the tripod or rest of the stuff yet. But it's the same price with the bundle as without, so it's the best deal I've seen for this camera!
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on February 9, 2012
I probably spent a good 6 months researching DSLR cameras before committing to the Canon Rebel T3i. First, I was debating between a Nikon or Canon. After borrowing my friend's Nikon and another friend's Canon and playing around with both for a few months, I decided on getting a Canon and after looking through all my Canon options and price points, I felt like the Rebel T3i was the perfect match for me.

The Canon's lighter than Nikon, which I prefer. I like how the keys/buttons are situated and it feels comfortable on my hands. I also love how the LCD display screen can be moved around. Not only does that make it easier to shoot some difficult shots, I also like to swivel the screen around to face the inside of the camera to protect the screen while I'm not using the camera.

This kit is also great! I've used everything in the kit and it's great that I didn't need to go out and buy things separately.
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on March 27, 2012
The camera itself was great. However, the original package including the kit was not exactly the same as advertised on amazon. The tripod was only 52", and the camera bag was not the same as showing in the picture. So I contacted the company through emails, and they did apologize and promise to send me the replacements. So now I received a 57" tripod(they claimed that they ran out of the 59" ) and another camera bag which fits the camera perfectly with the lens on. Anyway, even though it took a while to solve the problems, but they did have good attitude, and I got to keep both bags and tripods. So I am still giving them 4 stars. If you likes Canon, it is still a good deal, just make sure they have everything as they said before you make a purchase.
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on December 6, 2011
I will not write anything about the Canon T3i/600d or EF-S lens kit.
All the same from the reviews and other details from other web-sites. T3i is T3i and really good DSLR camera for beginners and also to pros.

So what about the "16GB Deluxe Accessory Kit" which makes this offer than the others.
Originally my notes on the accessory kit is not so good.
whole parts are in poor quality.
Nothing special on tripod . Very weak and your DSLR camera can fall in a good wind.
wallet for the SD cards? You won't need it.
Spare L8 battery. Use it when you 'really' need it.
Hdmi Cable -(this is the nice one but cable is just a cable).
Cleaning Kit-Cotton swabs
Gadget-Not bad , but not big as seen on the picture.
there are other options already which can include more attractive offers.
On the other hand if you will just shoot indoor and like cheap items you can think this package.
But there is always a "But" in this Kit.
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on February 11, 2014
You really can't find a better deal. The bag and tripod were nicer than I expected, and everything works perfectly. The camera is so awesome, and I constantly get compliments on the quality of my photos. The extra battery works great (but doesn't give much warning before it dies - so watch out!) and the memory card has more space than I'll ever need.

Mine didn't come with the focus memory stick, but I don't need one anyway, so I'm not concerned.

I've had this for about half a year now, and everything is still in perfect condition.

I definitely recommend this kit!
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on July 26, 2013
The kit is not as advertised. Most accessories don't come from Focus but a cheap, made in China Opteka. I paid extra $100 to have all the accessories, but it's not worth it. Will go back to get the camera by itself, from another seller.
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