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on May 25, 2011
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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on April 1, 2013
I believed the reviews on here but when I bought the camera and used it, I found that it does NOT take clear pictures.

Some of the pictures were down-right blurry, some were almost clear.

I guess some people don't know how to tell if a photo is really clear or not. I make book covers with Photoshop and use pictures in some covers. If you want to tell how it will look when printed you have to look at it in "actual pixels." If you look at it the photo in 50% magnification it will look better than what it really is.

When I took pictures with a 35mm camera, I learned in a class to use a 10x magnifying glass to see if the slides were clear or not. So I know what clear is, and this camera does NOT take clear pictures.

Out of dozens of pictures, I got two that were almost clear and when I used the "sharpen edges" feature those two did get clear. But most photos are bad. So I RETURNED THIS CAMERA.

I have a pocket camera by Panasonic that takes better pictures than this thing.
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on March 16, 2012
Nothing wrong with moving up. But the build quality and features are worth about three stars. In the store, this feels cheap. Pics are better than P&S pics, so most give this five stars (due to the MUCH larger sensor in this compared to almost any P&S; the same is true for all DSRs). I'd advise getting a Canon T3i or T2i if you can stretch a bit. Feels better in the hand, more capabilities, better build quality (e.g., articulating, high res LCD), better features. For other new DSLR users, try the Nikon D3100 if you prefer which comes with a pretty good kit lens and is better built than the T3 --- do not get the Nikon D3000 which is cheaper but uses old tech and is not worth its cheap price. An idea is to skip the T3 with the Canon kit lens (if one still wants this camera) and get the Canon 50mm/1.8 for nicer pics and probably at a cheaper (or similar) price.

This DSLR is like a starter DSLR or starter motorcycle or starter house --- you'll probably want a better one soon enough and can save money by buying it now for not much more. (Or it may well just sit on your shelf as it is not as well made as some P&Ss are.)
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on August 23, 2011
I think the camera is an amazing buy for the money. I was able to unpack the contents & begin shooting good pictures IMMEDIATELY, using the fully automatic settings & the included partially charged battery. You will however, need to supply an SD Card as this is not included, not even a small one.

The menu was a LITTLE confusing at first, but I quickly got the gist of things and am taking good pictures with the camera. Having used the full-auto settings and just dabbling with the advanced settings, I'm very pleased with the purchase and I think anyone who is either new to DSLR cameras or who doesn't want to spend over $1000 for a 'pro' or 'prosumer' DSLR will also be very happy with it right out of the box... or ANY of the T series cameras for that matter.

If you're going to be shooting in RAW (or like I do in RAW+L) I recommend getting AT LEAST a 16GB card, if not a 32GB card. The included battery is a champ. It lasts a good long time & charges quickly. I was going to get a 2nd battery, but I don't think it's necessary at this time as it lasts for several hundred shots. The manual says it takes 2 hrs to charge a fully depleted battery, but the math doesn't work out that way. The included charger is portable & charges the included 860mAh Li-Ion battey at a 580mAh rate, so a full charge should be about 1.5hrs. I'll have to time it when I need a full charge & have the spare time to check it every 10 mins or so beyond the 1hr mark.

Only a few negatives:
* When using the fully automatic settings indoors the white balance is just a little off, but this is fairly common w/all brands in the entry-level range. It can easily be corrected in photoshop, or by manually choosing one of the white balance lighting scenarios (incandescent bulb, fluorescent, or sun) depending on your situation. My outdoor shots look great on full auto settings.

* Having not used an SLR type camera in a NUMBER of years (I've never owned a DSLR), I found that the manual it comes with is not very thorough, and neither is the larger PDF manual on the included CD. However; it's not Canon's job to teach you photography and therefore I think the manual is just adequate. The only real trouble I had was trying to figure out how to attach the included eyepiece cover when shooting on a tripod w/studio lighting using auto exposure settings... it's not explained anywhere. You need to slide off the cover that is there already (the eye cushion) and slide on the cover... duh! Cripes O Mighty! They explain how to attach the camera strap (like you really need to read that...), but not the eyepiece cover?! Those experienced with SLR photography don't need any more, those totally new are covered by both the instuctions & the quick-start guide; but, those in-between won't find the info they're looking for here... get this book: Canon EOS Rebel T3/1100D For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))

* There is no memory card included. Even a tiny one would be appreciated for the completely new user to start shooting right away when buying the 'kit' version. It may be the 1st D-SLR for the majority of it's purchasers, but it's probably not anyone's 1st digital camera in general.. so you probably have one of these lying around already.

* A textured grip would be nice, but like the exclusion of a memory card, this is helping to keep the price down on this puppy.

In summary:
Is it a good camera for the $$: Yes, 4/5*
Is it a good camera in general: Yes, 4/5 (auto white balance could be better, textured grip would be nice)
Is the 'kit' worthwhile: Yes, 4/5 (including even a tiny SD Card would be nice for the camera newbie)
Good instructions: Barely, 3/5
Would I buy it again: YES(1)
Recommend to a friend: YES(1)
Overall rating: 4/5

* Revised due to recent price drop on T4i, see 4/6/2013 update at the bottom
(1) If you can't afford the T4i

**-- Update - 6/1/2012 --**

Took it to Jones Beach last weekend, for the Memorial Day airshow. After walking around to find some other Canon users, I learned how to use some of the manual settings in order to get shots of the fast-moving airplanes & jets flying around. I didn't need help in so much as how to change the settings on the camera... but more what settings I would need to be using.

Anyway... I got some GREAT shots! The only issue I had was my telephoto lens didn't have IS, so I had a very fast shutter speed manually entered to make up for any hand shaking. The result is that while the jet shots look great, I have stationary propellers on the older aircraft. That's not the fault of the camera, but of my inexpensive EF 75-300mm non-IS lens. Now if only someone can teach me how to use photoshop effectively :)

Here are just a couple of shots from that airshow: [...]

**-- UPDATE 4/6/2013 --**

OK, so I've had this camera for nearly 2 years now, and I'm still very happy with it. However; the T4i has come down quite a bit in price due to the announcement that it's being replaced by the T5i. Excellent timing for those of you looking to purchase a DSLR!! If you can spend a little more, I'd recommend the T4i over the T3 by a wide margin. Otherwise, T3 is still the way to go.

Here's why:

1. It's got the new DIGIC 5 Image Processor (Every other Rebel has DIGIC 4) - This is quite an improvement, especially with white balance.
2. More ISO options - in combo w/the new DIGIC 5, this is a pretty big deal
3. It's faster... can shoot up to 5.0 frames per second, continuously - That's a big deal if you shoot sports/action/aviation.
4. You get 18MP - That's fairly significant.
5. In-camera HDR Combines multiple exposures - You probably will want this feature, even if it doesn't interest you right now.
6. That little 'i' lets you use a wireless remote shutter release - may be significant, depends on what YOU need.
7. Slightly larger LCD (3" vs 2.7") that flips out - significant.
8. Touch screen - Mostly Bells & Whistles here, but reviews state it's very functional & intuitive.

To sum this all up, with the T4i you'd gain: better images/video, high ISO performance, touchscreen, less shutter lag, and a few other things. This camera offers many new technologies and additions from Canon that aren't seen on any other camera in their line up (including much pricier cameras like the 60D). If you're wondering about the upcoming T5i... it's the T4i with a new body sculpt, real-time preview of Creative Filters in Live View mode, and a redesigned new mode dial that turns 360 degrees... that's IT!! Same image quality & Features as the discontinued T4i!! By the way, the T4i (and upcoming T5i) outperform the much pricier 60D in terms of image quality (seriously, it does... 60D is getting long in the tooth now). The 60D's advantage is that it is weather sealed and has controls laid out more like a pro body (it has a rear dial just like the 7D, 5D, 1D bodies.) It was a clear upgrade over anything in the Rebel line until the T4i was introduced.

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on November 21, 2016
I've had this camera for four years now and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with in all that time. It was given to me by family as a present and was my first DSLR camera. It's a great entry level camera, and can produce wonderful images if you know how to work the system! Video quality is nice, although I wish it had included automatic focusing while filming. Colors are captured nicely, and there are a lot of prefigured settings as well as manual settings you can use to achieve your desired results. The focusing system was tack sharp in the beginning, though the camera always had difficulty in shooting evening/night scenes. More recently the focus has not been so sharp, and it takes a while to "hunt" for the focus point, which is why I prefer manual focusing. But, it has been through four years of continuous use, so I'll allow it that! Again, while it is an entry level camera, if you play around with it and are willing to get creative, it can yield fantastic photos! Only half of the images' success is in the camera after all- the other half lies with you the photographer!
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on December 15, 2012
I really wanted to love this camera. After deciding that our Panasonic point and shoot just wasn't cutting it and deciding to purchase a new camera for our overseas trip, we did quite a bit of research into what camera would suit us. Obviously we weren't looking to take professional shots, but we wanted a camera relatively easy to use that would take clear, bright photos. We settled on this model having read countless positive reviews, knowing it was entry level into the DSLR world, and were looking forward to seeing the difference in picture quality.

The noticable difference in this camera is when taking indoor shots, they are infinitely better than a point and shoot in terms of picture clarity. I have so far been disappointed, however, in the outdoor shots it takes. They are no better than my P&S and the autofocus is terrible, so many of the photos come out soft and focused in the wrong areas. I will need to learn how to manually focus and see if this helps. The landscape setting is also disappointing as most of the photos also come out a little soft.

When researching DSLRs it was pointed out that what you see in the viewfinder is ultimately the photo you get. I have not found this at all, quite often the zoom will pop up when I am autofocusing and then not flash when I take a picture? So the photo is much darker than what is in the viewfinder.

There is very little zoom on the kit lens, when you are zoomed right in it's the same as if you were looking at the subject with your own eyes. Zooming out allows more to be included in your shot. We did not pay extra for the zoom kit lens and I don't regret it as I fear this may be the same quality as the one we have, even if it is able to zoom in more. As I learn more about DSLRs I may purchase a better quality lens and see if this helps.

I must mention that thus far, we have mainly been taking photos on the auto setting while we learn more about the other functions. I do understand that the quality of the shots ultimately relies on the talent of the photographer (or lack thereof!) Perhaps with a bit more knowledge and experience we will see an improvement in our photos. For now, I advise people that you get what you pay for and if you truly want awesome shots you may have to fork out a little more for a better lens (and/or camera body) and photography lessons!
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on September 16, 2017
This is my first DSLR. My photography needs are just wanting to shoot quality pictures of my family in everyday life, holidays, & special events like graduation. My experience with digital photography over the past 10 years is Fuji Finepix A200, GE A730, 2 Sony Cybershots (not sure of the models), Fuji Finepix F900EXR, Fuji S8200, Samsung Galaxy S II, & Samsung Galaxy Note II (yes the latter two are not technically cameras but since many use their smartphones for point & shoots I will include them).

I wish I would've made the move to dslr sooner. This is only an entry-level & the image quality compared to point & shoots is amazing.

Autofocus using the viewfinder is immediate (if looking for this on a p&s check out the Fuji Finepix F900EXR). Using the LCD screen, autofocus is slower, but I am beginning to understand the benefits of the viewfinder. I can definitely see the benefits of manual focus but not very good at it yet. I'll keep practicing.

Colors turn out true to what I see with my eye. There is a lot of detail in each image. Possibly the term for the images I'm getting is "true to life".

Images are noise free, atleast to my untrained eye. My main problem with newer p&s cameras is the level of noise & grain in the pictures. I think it has something to do with the high megapixels crammed into a tiny sensor, b/c my first digital camera did not produce that much noise, & it was only 3 megapixels (Fuji Finepix A200). The sensor was even slightly smaller at 1/2.7" compared to the typical 1/2.3" sensor in most p&s today.

I am only using full auto mode right now, but I am slowly reading through the entire manual to hopefully learn some things to take even better pictures. But if the pictures never get any better than they are in full auto mode, I will still be pleased having this level of image quality to preserve family memories.

I was concerned about not taking as many pictures, b/c it would require toting a large camera around, & I am used to the convenience of p&s and smartphones. But I bought the smallest bag that would fit my dslr with lens attached. It also holds the charger & usb cord, but that's not necessary. I carry the bag on my shoulder along with my purse, so it's not a problem.

I was also concerned about the issue I hear about dust on the sensor. But for now, I'm using the lens that came with the camera & don't plan on changing lenses in the near future (although the Tamron 18-270mm looks interesting & seems it would give the zoom flexibility you get w/point & shoots w/o changing lenses), so I keep the lens attached. From what I understand, this should minimize dust entry into the camera. *Experienced DSLR users, correct me if I'm wrong.*

Video was not a must, but I do like having all-in-one for photo & video. It's 720p instead of 1080p. It does not have continual autofocus. I took a short test home video, & this did not seem to be a problem for home videos. I'm not sure about recording a child's school program or something like that.

It looks like the Nikon D3100 might be the better entry-level option, atleast looking at specs. It has the auto sensor dust cleaning, 1080p video, & full time video autofocus. It's slightly more expensive, and this Canon was really the most I could spend on a camera.

I'm sure I have a lot to learn, but coming from a point & shoot, you will not be dissapointed, if for no other reason than image quality.
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on February 23, 2013
I could not hold it up with one hand with the lense fastened and didn't want a picture of my feet.
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on October 31, 2011
Purchased to 'try out' a Canon DSLR. And I obviously need to go higher $$. I've owned Nikon for past 10 years (DSLR). Had film Canon point and shoot a long while ago. My review isn't too great for this DSLR I'm reviewing. It feels so light weight; and sounds like a toy camera when you shoot a photo. The photo results for the camera was fine. The lens it came with is just a minimal use starter lens. I'm sure it's a great camera, but was not for me. Maybe I'll spend more; I'm sure I'll get more. Isn't that how it goes?
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I bought the T3 thinking I was buying a used T3i to replace the one that was stolen from my home earlier this year imagine my surprise when I opened the box from Amazon and found a T3 instead.
.I gave it 3 stars for three reasons.
(1) its a Canon
(2) Like most of the Canon cameras I've owned it takes a nice clean clear photo
(3) it's light weight and easy to handle when you have to sit for hours on end to get that one perfect shot with out a tripod.
With all that said now for the down side I've found which for anyone that reads this is by no fault of the seller.
The shutter is loud and very noisy no photographer armature or pro wants to hear the sound of metal again metal when the shutter goes off.
The shutter in auto mode is some time very sluggish or won't close at all.Action mode on the T3 is incredibly slow compared to the T3i. and unlike the T#i the LCD screen can not be flipped out. Also the T3 does not like to focus in low light. So if you have to work at night or your attempting to make a shot at the moon I suggest you go buy a T3i, T5i or a Nikon D5200, or D5300.
If you like to copyright your work its not going to happen with this camera there is no place on the options menu to add your information.

In retrospect I probably should have read the ad much closer and paid more attention when I placed the order for this camera. I'm just glade I didn't get sucked in to paying full price for a brand new one. Would I recommend this to any one else or buy another one. "NOT ON YOUR LIFE!"
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