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Customer Review

99 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product for entry-level photographers and those who want to shoot pictures/video!, July 10, 2011
This review is from: Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (discontinued by manufacturer) (Camera)
I typically write, while we have professional photographers who do a lot of our legwork at events. But recently, at an engagement party, I was using my trustworthy Canon Powershot and when it came to photos, for every one photo I took, my friend with his T2i was take 10 or more. And even indoors, his pictures looked great!

Because I travel and cover so many events and there are times where our photographers are busy covering things, I figured...It would be great to have a DSLR. I was at E3 and using my point-and-shoot, I knew right then and there, it was time to get a DSLR. I've been wanting to get one but frankly, the thought of me having to invest in the camera and several lenses and knowing they are not cheap... I hesitated.

But no longer. It was time to get a DSLR!

I have to admit....I was struggling between a Nikon 5100 or a Canon T3i (EOS 600) or even considering going a little higher-end.

But I've read from professionals who say, "It's the glass, not the body" and even our photographers, some of them are still using DSLR's made in the early 2000's and are quite content with the body, just focusing on the lens.

For me, I wanted the best of both worlds of having something to shoot photos and video. While I was close to getting the Nikon, the video review on digitalrev was enough to convince me to go for the T3i (EOS 600) and for its price range, I was comfortable with that. Maybe in the future I can get something high-end but for now, I need something entry-level and with the T2i having dropped in price and selling out online and at stores, I noticed the T3i can be found and sure enough, while there are a few more technical things that it has compared to the T2i, for me, the swivel lens was something that I liked. Especially for shots that require taking photos from weird levels and angles. So, that was a plus for me!

Upon opening the box, I realized that the T3i felt good but the higher-end cameras were more to my liking and are much more tougher. But I figured, you get what you pay for and with the T3i, I just need to make sure I take care of it.

WHAT YOU GET:

I bought the version with an EF-S 18-55 IS II, so I got the lens with the two caps, inside are also the USB cord to transfer images and the Canon EOS Digital strap. Instruction booklets, warranty registration and more.

SO FAR, SO GOOD:

Since owning the T3i, I have put this camera through hardcore use in a short amount of time. Different events, different weather and have purchased quite a few things for this camera.

If there is only one thing that I WISHED this camera did have was an easier menu to change things. Aperature or Shutterspeed. Granted, higher end models may have a display right at the top but looking at the LCD, definitely read the manual and experiment how to change various settings and experiment how you can change on the fly.

And here are my thoughts that will definitely be different recommendations from others but it works for me:

* Get a good prime lens - 50mm 1.8 (preferably a 1.4) Canon lens. I have the former which works great for portrait shots but I know already that the 1.4 works much better...it's also several hundred dollars more.
* Third party - I went third party for batteries, grip, hoods and they work perfectly. I know there are diehards who purchase official Canon products but they are expensive and if you want to save money, look toward third party products.
* Read the Manual - I know there are people (like myself) who are impatient of reading manuals but in this case, read the manuals, especially those Canon-based brochures of lenses they recommend.
* Lenses - L lenses are great if you can afford them but if you can get yourself some Canon glass with image stabilization, this works great for entry-level photographers! But if you are in it for the video, you want to get better glass!
* Research and Flickr! - I did a lot of research before buying this camera and for the most part, camera sites have all been positive. But definitely do your research. I call my photographer friends and staff with questions but seriously, I learned that they are used to their high-end cameras and used to their lenses that they can give you some advice but it's best to experiment on your own but also go on Flickr and study other photographers, look at their exif data and get an idea of what lens they shot, what aperture, what shutter speed, etc. And try to experiment with those settings. Granted, lighting and setting is different but it's good to research and see what others are doing and what they were able to capture and knowing what lens they use.
* Last - Shoot Raw and consider purchasing a 10-speed, 16-32GB card. Shooting at RAW gives you more options when using software like PhotoShop or Lightroom but you definitely want to shoot at RAW. Nothing wrong with shooting via JPG, if you can manually fix those images on your own but I regret going to one event and shooting in JPG...I wished I shot RAW. Now I do most of the time. I say most of the time because I am in the process of purchasing a 32GB card (10-speed) and I have shot RAW 90% and 10% of the space, shot in JPG.

JUDGMENT CALL:

The T3i definitely delivers in picture quality and video. Granted, if you have another $1,500+ to spend and money is no object...then go for the higher end Canon DSLR's. But if you want to spend under a $1,000 but want very good quality for photos and video...the T3i is great! There is not a humongous jump in features vs. its T2i brother and for some, the T2i may be enough, in fact, if you are not planning to shoot video, some people may want just the XSi which I still see people using and have taken great pictures with it.

But for me, the extra features that I saw with this camera, I have seen the potential that I can utilize in different settings of event coverage that I go to. If there is one thing that I wish I had...better lenses. The kit lens is a good entry level but at 18-55, there are times when I needed to switch to the EF75-33 (f4-5.6 III) and I see that my photographer had the convenience of having an 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens and saw how it would make my life easier to have such a lens.

In fact, I really like the IS (image stabilization lens) and now looking towards those lenses for my T3i. The kit lens is good but you will definitely want a good zoom! And also, I felt that using the cheap Canon 50mm 1.8 gave me more vibrant photos and better bokeh than the 18-55mm that came with the kit.

As for video, the mic on the T3i is not the best, so you may want to consider purchasing a mic (one person I know uses a boom mic, another uses a mic that attaches on top T3i). Taking video is very good but once again, if you are going for the T3i...plan to invest in larger GB cards...8GB is very good but I'm learning that I need more than that! You may as well if you do cover events or take a lot of photos.

While the menu interface could have been better, part of the convenience that Canon does give to those who spend more money...so, for under $1,000...the T3i is still a great deal for the quality it gives.

I love this camera and I'm still learning as I go but so far so good! I still have yet to buy a Speedlite Flash (I do have an older Canon Speedlite from the late '70s (which I have used on a Canon A-1 SLR) that does work with the T3i but rather purchase something more modern. And a few other things but for now, I'm just enjoying the pictures I take (and not enjoying the pictures I take, which is part of the learning process) but I'm quite content and happy that I bought this camera.

If anything happens 6 months or a year down the line, I will definitely update this review.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 29, 2011 2:36:55 PM PST
What warranty came with this Amazon purchase? Apparently some of these cameras have US warranties and others have limited manufacturer's warranties (poorer coverage). Any feedback here would be appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:06:30 PM PST
I suggest getting a Mack warranty. http://www.mackcam.com
I bought a camera 3 years ago from B&H photo & they fixed it, no problem. Register your camera with them when you get it keep, file all of your receipts. B&H photo had mine on file. They did require a copy of my receipt.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 11:40:40 PM PST
Victoria says:
The new Pentax K-30 is a terrific value, especially if weather proofing/quality is impt. Fantastic stills. But video is not a strength of this camera.
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