Customer Review

1,836 of 1,866 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little DSLR worth your consideration., May 25, 2011
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This review is from: Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (discontinued by manufacturer) (Camera)
Final Update, 8/27/14

Even though this camera was released back in early 2011, it still is a wonderful and simple camera to use which delivers excellent image quality under any shooting conditions.

The camera has a glossy plastic finish which doesn't exactly exude quality or make it feel like a high-end camera. But construction on this camera is very tight. The plastic is light-weight but its not flimsy like you would expect. There is no rubberized handgrip, which I think was a mistake to omit this on this camera. Especially since its predecessor (and its competitors) have them. Outside of that, the hand grip is a very nice size. The one upshot to the lightweight plastic is that the camera feel very light with the kit lens attached.

One thing you have to watch out for is that the camera feels very out of balance when attaching a heavier lens. The Canon EF-S 18-200, while a good performer optically when paired with the T3, feels way too front heavy. And this will be true with a lot of the pro-grade Canon lenses that you attach to the T3. That said, this camera is a perfect DSLR for hiking due to its light-weight design (when used with the kit lens). It doesn't weigh you down or make you feel like you have a boat anchor around your neck.

The buttons and menu system have the typical degree of straight-forwardness found in most Canons. Canon's menu system is easy to learn and navigate through. That makes the T3 a good candidate for a student or someone that wants to learn photography in general and wants a camera they can grow with. Of course it offers full Auto mode but when you're ready to try and manipulate the more advanced manual controls, the Canon Rebel T3 is about as unintimidating as they come. It's also a great entry into the DSLR realm for hobbyists currently using an advanced point and shoot (and can be found for almost the same price as some advanced point and shoots).

With the exception of burst shooting, this camera's performance is excellent. Excellent start-up, shot-to-shot, and autofocus performance. It has 9 autofocus points compared to its predecessor's 7 points. I do not reccommend this camera as a budget action shooter. It has a slow continuous burst rate (2.7fps) and a very limited buffer. The Nikon D3200 shoots at 4 frames per second, but that is currently retailing for $200 more than the T3. So you'll have to decide whether or not that feature is important to you.

The camera comes with a nice, chunky battery which delivers excellent battery life. The viewfinder is 95% coverage and I found it to be satisfactory, some people say its really cramped but personally I think it's alright. The screen resolution is rather low at 230k, but in real-world use it's not as bad as you would think, and somewhat viewable in direct sunlight. I think both the viewfinder and the LCD are of better quality than the ones found on the Nikon D3100. And overall, the T3 is faster and more fluid than the D3100. After having shot with both cameras, I personally think the T3 is more enjoyable to shoot with... despite the D3100's better plastic and more advanced spec sheet.

The camera ships with the standard 18-55 kit lens but I suggest buying the kit which includes the additional 55-250 lens. The kit lens is sufficiently sharp but it might be worth investing in the newer 18-55 STM lens, as it is reportedly sharper than the 18-55 lens included with this camera.

Despite having a sensor that is of lower resolution than the newer Rebel SL1 and Rebel T5i (12 megapixels is still plenty for everyday use), the camera has image quality that pretty much matches or exceeds those cameras in most areas. It takes a very clean shots up to and including ISO1600 and has excellent dynamic range, color reproduction, and exposure. The camera does a nice job of balancing noise reduction with detail retention up through about ISO3200. And despite being 2 1/2 years old..it still competes very well with newer models on the image quality front.

The movie mode, while delivering solid video quality, is rather limited. It's 1280x720 HD and there are very limited manual controls. It's more like something you would use for quick clips rather than longer videos or movies. I think the Rebel T5i & SL1 are better choices if you're equal parts into videos and photos as they have far better video modes than the T3 does. But if you're main interest is stills photography, this probably won't matter much to you.

The Rebel T3 may not be the sexiest camera around but it is a simple, enjoyable camera to shoot with that delivers nice results with minimum effort and it appeals to a broad range of folks from DSLR newbies, to hobbyist, to even professionals looking for a light-weight backup to their higher end gear. At its current price, it is a great value and I highly reccomend it.

This camera was replaced by the Rebel T5 back in March. The T5 has a number of improvements over the T3. However.. image quality, autofocus performance, and battery life are not among them. Plus I have seen T3 kits at $300 or less lately. It's still a great buy even though it's a 3 1/2 year old camera at this point.
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 46 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 29, 2011 8:01:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2011 8:04:53 AM PDT
Question - Do you mean structurally cheap or just appearance/cosmetic and do you include handling in this statement .. is it hard to hold on to ?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2011 1:22:15 PM PDT
S. Vogt says:
The fit and finish is great on the T3 but the plastic they use on it feels cheap and not as substantial as say, the Nikon D3100. The hand grip is plenty deep and doesn't feel like it would slip out of your hands but at the same time doesn't feel as reassuring as other DSLRs (it's smooth rather than textured). I have not heard of any body integrity issues with this particular model, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2011 10:25:07 AM PDT
G.M. says:
OUTSTANDING REVIEW! I like the way you say what you said and the objectivity. One complaint...please add more to the review.

I believe I have communicated with you in other comments sections. I have a question for you, but let me give some background first. I looked up an incredible website (imaging-resource.com) and used a comparator tool to look over very strictly isolated test pics of cameras. It seemed to me that the test shot of the 'house pic' taken with T3i was right on target - very natural looking foliage colors with just a touch more saturation than real life. The K-R in the pics was horrible - very over saturated, wrong tints with over bearing yellow abounding, a phony pic that some one who is overly 'artsy fartsy' might want to do in PP, but not use for any subtly enhanced realism (which is on que with the experience I am having with the K-R to date - it is just fake looking).

My question is this - is the T3i that accurate as I have seen in this website? Secondly, how natural do the pix look? (ie a house and landscape/trees together in a scene - seems to be the best test) Is the T3 the same in the T3i in this representation of images? I noted you said the 12MP sensor mates better to the Kit EF lenses (I have heard a lot that this is true). IQ above 12MP means nothing to me at this point - I have also noted 12MP performing better than 16MP in some cases.

For me, the K-R does NOT capture shading (color shading) accurately at all, images look very pastel-ish, and there is no way white balance or saturation controls fix any of this. The K-R has an incredible menu, all to no avail - what a waste. My images (of neighbors house and landscape with trees in the backdrop) look very sketchy & artificial as though it is a color pencil drawing. I tried different softness in the 'box' and in PP, but this only helps a little. The real problem seems to be that the K-R image processing seems to not tap into all the shades it can for colors to represent a picture. Then it overexposes shots, then exaggerates colors in a shot and turning down saturation does not resolve this, it only changes the levels of saturation by reducing everything in the shot in perfect relativity so you just get a "white out" for a shot when saturation is reduced. It's all out of whack to me. The ease of use, lightning fast/smooth performance on the K-R is to die for. The images resulting from the K-R are to die FROM - its killing me. As far as IQ goes, it seems clarity is all the K-R has going for it. Images I have seen posted from the T3i seems to be opposite of the K-R: very life-like, slightly soft yet fine in resolution, perfect color/contrast with a touch of saturation. I am hoping this is the case with the T3. Again, my question, does the T3 do this?

Your recommendations and info are more than greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 7:38:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 7:39:10 AM PST
Gladius says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 8:22:44 AM PST
S. Vogt says:
I have not heard of any issues with the body integrity of the camera. However the trend with Canon cameras is the cheapening of materials in the consumer-oriented DSLRs. What they have here is a competent camera that feels like a Fischer Price toy and feels seriously out of balance with anything other than the kit lens. Its photo quality is impressive though, especially if you put a nicer piece of glass on it.

Another thing I didn't mention which is another huge demerit for this model is there is no dust-reduction system in the camera. If Pentax can put this in their similarly priced K-x/K-r then why can't Canon?

I'm not sure where I went into marketing other than the mention the fact of how this feels in the hands next to a D3100. But I hated the D3100 when I tried it. I thought the T3 was a better shooting experience overall despite being constructed of cheap plastic.

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 5:34:32 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 5:37:05 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 5:52:54 PM PST
No Nonsense says:
Chill ,out, Lizzy. Do you really need two posts to let us know of your righteous indignation? By the way, you are below the 0.5 percentile of those who found the review useful. Speaks well of the system but poorly of the individual...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 6:39:09 PM PST
S. Vogt says:
Canon T3 Pros mentioned in here: Excellent image quality, not bad LCD for its price and better than some of its competitors, excellent menu system, works great with the kit lens, excellent autofocus and shot-to-shot times, outperforms another popular camera in its class, lightweight with the kit lens, excellent video quality, upgraded AF system

Con mentioned: Cheap plastic construction, feels out of balance with heavier lenses.

Yes it does get 5 stars because it IS an excellent camera and gets the most important thing right and for $480 you can't do any better. It just has a couple of flaws worth mentioning because it might annoy some people. I am not a fanboy and feel it's best to provide a review that is objective as possible.

Lukewarm review? How is saying I was "impressed" by its performance and "delivers great-looking images in any shooting environment" lukewarm?

The only one thing I will say is that the review title may be a little misleading and could use some stronger words to convey how good it is... so you have a point there.

Posted on Dec 8, 2011 5:31:44 PM PST
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