Customer Reviews: Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (discontinued by manufacturer)
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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 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 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 April 8, 2011
I purchased this camera a few days ago and I've had nothing but FUN with it! Aside from my simple Kodak Easyshare point and shoot, I had a Canon EOS Elan 7 (35mm) and had been wanting to switch it over to Digital for several years. The longer I waited, the better the camera's got and more affordable they became.

I decided on the Canon T3 mostly because of the affordable price. (Nearly 1/2 of the T3i) I felt like I was getting a very good value for my money. I was right!

This camera takes amazing photo's! Clear, crisp, true color.
It's very easy to use, right out of the box.
Fit's all my old lenses and the remote from the Elan 7
All the advanced manual settings I could want topped with the instant gratification of seeing how the settings affect the picture instantly.

This camera allows you to use live screen shooting which so many people like these days and it takes HD video.

The 12 megapixels is plenty even when enlarging OVER 11 x 14".

For a lower end Canon DSLR, it's a huge value for the money. This camera is an excellent choice for the hobbiest/enthusiast.

I am SOO glad I purchased it!

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Back in the mid 1980s, I purchased a Canon EOS 650 -- one of their first autofocus film cameras -- to use as my high school's yearbook editor and photographer. I absolutely loved the camera; my nephew recently inherited it, and he loves it as well. It took amazing pictures. Offered a plethora of features. And has lasted over 20 years.

However, prior to purchasing the T3, I did my research regarding entry-level DSLR cameras, and had narrowed it down to the Nikon D3100 and the T3. Yes, the Nikon offers higher megapixels. Yes, the Nikon has better HD video modes. However, much wanting an e-reader for the specific purpose of reading books, I wanted a DSLR camera that would take amazing pictures -- not record state-of-the-art video. I have a video camera for that. (As an aside, I've shot some video with the T3, and the quality is fine for stuff like YouTube or personal blogs. If you're a user wanting more than that, I'm unsure why would would be using your DSLR for video in the first place.)

I chose the T3. And could not be happier.

Other things I like about the T3?

1. Canon is known for outstanding image quality. Their CMOS sensor and DIGIC processor combine to produce some of the best (if not _the_ best) images in the industry.

2. Canon lenses -- even the less expensive ones made for "prosumers" (professional consumers who often don't spend more on a lens than the actual camera body itself cost) -- are extremely high quality.

3. Speaking of lenses, great ones are also available from third-party vendors. In fact, I purchased a 50-200 zoom lens from Sigma, and it works perfectly with the T3. It was also quite a bit less expensive than the Canon alternative.

4. Very lightweight. (I actually like the body construction and materials used.)

5. Features? Tons. And the menu system is rather easy to navigate. Yes, I'm aware another reviewer has been rather negative regarding the Canon interface; however, do your research. Many DSLR users prefer the Canon menu system to those of other manufacturers. It can be confusing, but only if you are a complete novice to photography and know nothing about the actual art. If you want to turn a camera on and push a button or two, a DSLR is not what you need. If you want to have more control (complete control, even) over your results and are willing to take the time to learn the vocabulary and skills necessary, then you are ready for a DSLR.

6. Detailed manual. Yes, it's long. Yes, it's detailed. But with so many features and combinations of settings, I'd much rather have detail versus "the basics." (Though there is a "basics" version as well). The T3 is not a toy. It's a tool. As with any tool, you need to take the time to learn to use it effectively.

7. 12.2 MP is an ideal amount for an entry-level DSLR and results in great detail. If you are wanting to enlarge your images to wall-mural size, you're better off using a film camera anyway.

8. I'm content with the video features offered because I will rarely (if ever) use my DSLR for video recording. I have a dedicated digital-video camera for that. (Why wouldn't you?)
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on June 7, 2011
This is a great entry level DSLR. I have shot all recent canon DSLRs (7D, 60D, T2i, T3i...) and I'm looking for a light travel/casual shooting camera to upgrade my XSI. I thought the T3i was it, but after trying out this camera, I think this is the cam I was looking for. Have the cam for a few days now. The build quality is a little better than what I would expect from an entry level cam. It's nice and light. The menu is simple but still offers a lot of nice custom settings.

One thing to keep in mind is that the low resolution LCD doesn't always tell the whole story. My initial test photos look rather ordinary under this LCD. However, when I view them in my desktop, they are a lot nicer. In any case, that isn't a concern for me as the LCD is just for preview anyway.
Color/saturation is spot on. ISO performance is what surprised me. I took a photo in 3200ISO, uploaded it to my website (unprocessed) and ask my photography-savvy friends to guess what ISO it was. Most of them say 400 or 800, 2-3 stops off the mark. It's so amazing, the stock lens is now totally usable indoor.

Overall, I highly recommend this camera for first-time DSLR users or advance users who need a light walk-around or travel cam.
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on December 6, 2011
I am a 21 year old female in college and I bought myself this camera right before Thanksgiving. I paid, myself, $488, for it and for what you get, this is a great camera. Yes, some other people have said it is a little slippery and it looks "cheapy" but, I don't really care how it looks, I care how it performs. And I have utlized a few of the options such as "Portrait," "Full Auto," and "Flash Off" a lot within the few weeks I have had it and, gosh it is SO MUCH BETTER than a point a shoot. I have a Canon point and shoot and, thought that is nice because it's small, the picture quality started to annoy me. The Canon Rebel T3 has great picture quality, I am absolutely impressed. And, incase you are a newbie to camera buying, megapixels DO NOT matter with regards to picture quality; so don't think you have to buy a 18.8 megapixel camera to get a great picture. That just allows you to print bigger sized pictures (if you don't want the normal 4 x 6). So I have been using the "Flash Off" to take pictures of my cats and, I am truely impressed. On a point and shoot camera, it is almost useless to try and take a picture with the flash off, let alone for a moving object like a cat. The Canon Rebel T3 takes vivid pictures, it also takes great portraits and works well just with Full Auto. There are also Creative Options if you are a photographer and want to tweak the settings yourself. I am a beginning photographer and I have not yet utilized these settings but I will update my review once I do so. This camera is also a very nice size if you want a better camera than a point a shoot but don't want to commit to a mammoth SLR. It is a great in-between size and could easily fit in a medium sized purse for a woman, if you so choose to carry it that way. Overall, I am so impressed with what you get with this camera for the money I spent. Well done, Canon.
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on April 17, 2011
For the price of the camera, you wouldn't really expect much. However, that is completely false. For the small price, this camera really packs a big punch. It was a no-brainer for me to choose Canon for my first DSLR. Every single camera I've ever owned is a Canon, and I've never been disappointed. This camera is great for the beginner photographer, and even for the more advanced photographer. It's a breeze to learn how to work all of it's functions and most importantly, it delivers such amazing quality photos. The kit comes with a 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 image stabilization lens. Even with a moderately wide aperture, the lens performs exceptionally well under low-light situations. I will eventually grow out of this lens, but for now it's doing well for me. I feel like as I grow in my photography, this camera will grow with me and last me years to come. One of my goals is to become a freelance photographer. I have many many years before I get to that point, but right now, this is a good starting point.
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on July 23, 2011
I bought this camera after extensive online research into what makes for a good entry-level DSLR. But, definitely, one of the biggest motivators for me was its price. You do get what you pay for with this camera and if you're new to the DSLR world, you'll be impressed by its ease of use, size and weight and simple functionality.

I've been doing mostly portrait photography and the kit lens (18-55 IS II f/3.5-5.6) that came with the T3 performs very well. The images are sharp and to tell the truth, 12.2 MP was more than enough for me. I've ordered prints online and they look amazing.

There are only two complaints I have about this camera. First, I was used to picking up higher end DSLRs and noticed the composition of the bodies was a lot more solid. The T3's body, at times, seems a little too plastic. Second, I would have loved for Canon to have placed a grip on the front part of the camera where one's hand is positioned near the shutter button.

This camera will appeal to you if you want the speed, functionality and improved photographic capabilities of a DSLR but are not yet ready to go full speed and buy a higher-priced camera.
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on May 27, 2011
I had some doubts about this camera when I looked online, but when I handled it for the first time, I was very impressed. Since my photography focus is horses, it was important to me to have a camera with no shutter lag and instantaneous recovery time between shots, which the T3 has.

I also purchased a 55-250 IS zoom lens, a UV filter to protect the lens, and a class 10 Sandisk Extreme SD card. They have worked very well together and I haven't experienced any problems. The kit lens has enough zoom for most indoor shots, but outside, I nearly always use the 55-250 zoom lens instead.

The battery life is great. I can take several extensive photoshoots before having to charge the battery. I use the manual settings more than the auto settings because I can set the AF points for more creative shots. The photo quality is great and images are sharp with good color (assuming you focused properly. :) )

The video quality is very good at its original size but decreases significantly when displayed on a larger screen. One drawback is that once the recording is started, you can't zoom or change the focus. But it does have audio - although of medium quality.

The onscreen interface was really helpful for me as an SLR newbie because each setting is briefly explained on the screen when settings are changed. The kit manuals are helpful and explained everything I needed to get started. I miss the textured grip, but find the smooth rubber easy to clean when I get dirty hands with the horses. The battery and card slots are on the bottom of the camera which means you can't set it down while it is open, but that's a relatively small issue.

Overall, I've been extremely satisfied with the Canon Rebel T3 and would recommend it for first-time SLR owners like me.
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on July 18, 2011
I recently purchased a Rebel T3 as a second camera body for shooting events professionally. (My primary camera is a Canon 5D MkII.) I am very impressed with the performance and image quality of this Rebel T3, and recommend it to anyone searching for a high quality dSLR.

Here's what is Most Impressive about the Rebel T3:
* Very light weight and easy to carry, yet Very solid design and craftsmanship
* Auto-white Balance is impressively improved over older models
* High-ISO (low light) performance is also amazing -- detail is preserved even at ISO 3200
* Tethered to a computer, this model works seamlessly and naturally
* The menus have built-in descriptions that can be enabled or disabled in accordance with the shooter's familiarity with the camera -- this is immensely useful
* Video quality is exceptional, and having a separate mode for video greatly simplifies use
* The menus are the same great Canon system that they've been perfecting and refining with each new release
* Bright and colorful LED screen
* Full compatibility with hundreds of models of lenses

Here are what I consider the compromises:
* The rear button system is a little different than the higher-end models, but almost as easy to use. I think this is a consequence of the smaller body size, mostly.
* No informational LCD. Instead the LED screen displays the information, or you see the details through the viewfinder. This is inconvenient, but again probably due to the size.
* No depth-of-field preview button
* SD memory cards only -- not CF like older Canon models

Altogether, I consider the compromises to be minor and mostly unimportant when it comes to actually taking photos. What you are getting with the Rebel T3 is the latest imaging technology in a small, compact, affordable body. It is a reliable, professional-level gateway into digital imaging. There are only minor compromises, which ultimately do not greatly affect the image. I feel confident in declaring that my skill level is the limiting factor on this camera, not its technical specifics.

Regarding lenses, I cannot speak about the included kit lens since I immediately sold it (the "body only" box was not available at the time). The lenses I've primarily used in the month I've had the Rebel T3 have been the EF 28mm f/1.8, which provides a "normal" field of view, the EF 100mm f/2, which is ideal for head/face portraiture, and the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, which is an excellent lens for travel and casual shooting, with very modern Image Stabilization. All three have performed excellently on this camera.
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