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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 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.

Regards,
Bill
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2013
When I first had my son I just couldn't justify buying this camera. I know myself well enough to admit that I'm not going to learn all the features and shoot in manual mode. So I thought that to just use "auto" most of the time any quality point and shoot camera would be fine. What a mistake....

I bought a Nikon camera for well over $200 at my local warehouse store. Yes, under the perfect conditions it did take nice pictures. But frankly with a squirmy infant the perfect conditions just didn't happen very often. Most shots were ruined by blurriness from his movement or it just wasn't fast enough to capture the moment.

My husband and son surprised me with this camera for my first Mother's Day. I literally use it every single day and I have been amazed by the quality of the shots I can get. The shutter snaps the picture the moment that you press it. So I end up with all the cute smiles, laughs, and antics of my son...not the back of his head or side of his face because the moment is over.

Admittedly, I only use the preprogrammed modes on this camera but my results have been amazing. In any conditions I end up with professional quality images. The camera is durable enough to be thrown in a purse or diaper bag without a protective case. I really can't recommend this camera enough to moms. It will change your photography with no additional effort on your part!
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on February 25, 2014
Let me start by saying I am no way an expert with cameras, I do own a 35mm camera with multiple lenses and took good pictures with it through the years and for the past ten years have used a small very simple Canon digital camera but I am strictly a novice when it comes to photography and this is my first "big time" Digital SLR camera. My wife and I just returned from a trip to the mountains of Colorado looking for a new house, this was my first experience with this camera and it performed wonderfully. The pictures came out great both indoors and out. It didn't matter if the pictures were of close details, of far away views, landscapes or wildlife, the pictures are clear, in focus and the colors great. I have also downloaded pictures to my laptop and can zoom in with amazing quality. I used the basic zone modes of the camera all of the time and the only issue I had was I accidentally changed a feature where the pictures were delayed about 10 seconds and would take 2 pictures at a time but once I got back to my vehicle and walked through the menu I changed the camera back to "normal" mode without having to dig through the manual. Being the stereotypical man I just breezed through the instruction manual before starting to take pictures so I do not know all the ins and outs of the camera but I found this camera to be very simple to use and the menu system very easy to follow. I also purchased the Canon EF-S 55-250mm telephoto lens with this camera and I am very pleased with it as well. I took a few pictures of some Mule Deer 70 yards away and tucked back in the trees with no problems finding the subject and taking clear pictures. The lenses swap out quickly and easily and the lenses are very simply to use. If you are a camera aficionado you probably should check out another review but if you are a novice and concerned about this camera being complicated to use that is not what I experienced. I am very pleased with this purchase and with the accessories I purchased along with it (Case Logic DM1000 case, the extra Canon lens and some lens cap holders).
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on November 9, 2016
I haven't tested this product out but I just got it in the mail! It is more than I expected. It came with a neck strap, charger, battery and USB cable all for 229$ from TEXTBOOKRUSH! NO this is not sponsored and Im not getting paid for this opinion. Although I was expecting a T3i not a T3... but that's my fault for not reading the name correctly. Other than that Im happy with this product! IT DOESNT COME WITH A MEMORY CARD. Oh and I just ordered this 5 days ago and it barely came in the mail!
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on April 25, 2012
I read reviews that call this a "good little" camera. Wrong! This is a full size camera. I read that the kit lens were inferior. Could be right if you compare it to a $2,000.00 lens. The EF S lens is not a $2,000.00 lens but it does a great job for a "kit" lens. The plastic body seems to be an issue with certain reviewers. The body looks the same as other DSLR's that I've seen in retail stores. A cautious photographer is going to wear a neck strap anyway. A rubber grip does not guarantee that you won't drop the camera. My experience with the quality of the pictures is very good. The colors pop, the images are crisp and clear, and the camera feels balanced. I have owned a Nikon SLR film camera,and a Pentax SLR film camera. I never got the images from those cameras that I get form the T3. I suggest that you make a trip to your favoite retailer and see this in person. I also Suggest that you do buy T3/1100 For Dummies from Amazon. I am a not a professional(make a living from my photos). If I were, then I would buy the top of the line camera body and top quality lenses. I am a hobby photograper with limited resources seeking a qualtiy camera. The T3 is the right fit for me. (by the way the two names,T3 or 1100, depends on where the camera is sold. In the US or overseas.)
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on September 15, 2014
This is such a great camera for the price. I've had it for about a year and it functions wonderfully and take some great pictures. I bought this camera ideally for my wife who wanted something a bit nicer than the standard point and shoots that she had been using. I purchased this as a gift for her and she fell in love right away. My wife doesn't delve too deep into the fancy stuff, like setting exposures and whatnot, but for her it doesn't really matter. The auto mode works great it just about every situation and with our two young children just having something that can take a shot after shot quickly is key. The only thing I wish this model had that the higher T3i model has is the leather type grip on the shutter button side. We've not had any issues with the camera falling from our hands but it always makes me a tad nervous if I ever see my wife holding it one handed without the strap around her neck. Without that extra grippage it "feels" slippery but it hasn't ever actually slipped. I've recommended this camera to a few friends of mine that were looking for higher end starter DSLR's.
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on December 26, 2012
I received the Rebel T3 as an early Christmas gift, and have been using it the past couple weeks. I am just getting into learning more about digital photography and the T3 is my first step into the world of DSLR camera. So far, I have been very impressed!

I don't know all the of the settings just yet, but I like that the LCD screen gives me a little hint as to what each photo mode is used for. I also like the fact that I can use the viewfinder or the screen to take photos - coming from a history of cameras that used the LCD screen, this has helped me make the transition to using the viewfinder, as I can still use the screen when I want to.

Battery life has been great - in the two weeks I have used it, I have yet to change or recharge the battery. The strap is a convenient accessory as well, though it's a little thick and doesn't feel all that comfortable on my neck.

The Rebel T3 has given me the best photos I have ever snapped and I am excited to continue using and learning more about this camera. I picked up a copy of Canon Rebel T3 for Dummies, and it's been a huge help!
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on May 4, 2014
The camera takes nice enough pictures once you can get the auto focus to get through its gyrations of back and forth and making sounds. It also just flat out refuses to take pictures in low light, even with the flash set to on. I am beginning to wonder if I have a defective camera. I can't take a picture of a shot that might move like an animal or a child because by the autofocus gets done with all its gyrations, my subject has moved and I have lost the shot. Really frustrating! I have tried taking it off the auto focus but then the pictures are blurry because there really isn't a way to focus through the camera.
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on May 19, 2013
I received this camera from Amazon in early January 2013. Since then I have shot nearly 4000 photos with it. Are there better cameras? Of course there are but they cost a lot more money. With regard to the quality of photos, I doubt you would be able to actually see the difference between this and a much more expensive camera unless you made an enlargement over 20 X 30 inches.

I owned a Minolta SLR, completely manual, from around 1975 till I traded it in for my first digital camera around the late 1990s. I should have kept the SLR longer but I jumped into digital too early and the first camera was expensive and really not very good. My second digital camera was about the same money but much better. The Rebel T3 has met and exceeded my expectations. I truly enjoy every aspect of using it.

Really the first thing I noticed was how well this camera fit my hands. I have about average man sized hands and the fit was excellent. This camera is lighter than my nearly 40 year old Minolta because the T3 is made of plastic. Being lighter is a good thing. I don't think the camera looks or feels cheap. One of my friends, when he first saw the camera, thought I must have spent a fortune on it. I like to get all the bang for my buck I can get and that was the principle reason I bought the T3.

The rebel T3 does everything I needed a DSLR to do and does it well. When I bought it, I knew it could only shot about 3 shots a second and some cameras can shoot more. I haven't found this to be much of a loss. 3 shots a second is adequate. It doesn't have a built in GPS. My son has this on his Sony camera and says it takes time to locate itself and really doesn't work as advertised. That might have been a feature I would have liked.

This camera can take excellent photos up to 6400 ISO. Considering my background in SLR cameras, where the film you used set the ISO and only went to about 800, 6400 allows me to shot in really low light even using the kit lens. By the ways, I found the kit lens very usable and I am able to get great shots with it. I plan to buy the 50 mm f1.8 prime lens in the near future and I am sure it will give me added ability combined with the T3. With regard to ISO, some of my shots at concerts with low and odd lighting have turned out excellent even using an ISO of 6400. Other shots, taken at this same ISO, have had camera noise that diminished them, but they were still usable. Some other cameras have the ability to shoot at higher ISOs and this would be useful, but not really necessary other than in really extreme low light situations.

Many DSLRs shoot a larger number than the 12.2 MP the T3 has. More MP is needed only if you want to produce a print that is truly huge or do very severe cropping. Otherwise, 12.2 MP can make an up to 20 X 30 inch print that is excellent. More MP do not make a better picture other than the instances above. They do, however, take up more hard drive space. I can crop a T3 exposure in a severe manner and still have a good 8 X 10" print.

I have taken shots outside when the temperature was below zero, and the camera functioned fine. It could take it as long as I could take it. Using the AEB setting (auto bracketing) I can take 3 different exposures of up to two stops apart in an instant. This is really useful for HDR photography.

The T3 is easy to learn even if you don't have an extensive background in ISO, F-stop, and shutter speeds. The best way to learn with any camera is to take many, many shots. If some important shot is coming up, take a couple hundred shots with the T3, to get to know it a little, and you will do well. I've read some reviews that didn't think the T3 took good pictures. It is the photographers fault, not the camera. You have to learn to use enough shutter speed, combined with the right ISO and aperture, and then you can get nearly perfect pictures every time. This camera will help you with that but it still takes practice and a little skill to get it right. Even being an experienced user of an SLR, I still makes mistakes and am continuing to learn. Sometimes I make really dumb mistakes but even making mistakes makes you a better photographer.

I have only taken maybe 3 videos with this camera. I didn't buy it to be a video camera. The videos I did take were adequate, not exceptional, and the sound quality was ok but not excellent. Get a good and large capacity sd card to use with the camera. The camera needs a good sd card to do all it can do. The first SD I purchased really didn't cut the mustard because it couldn't keep up with the camera on rapid shots. If you want excellent pictures shoot a large, fine jpeg or RAW or combine the two. Then the large SD card will pay for itself.

While I plan to buy extra batteries, this camera can shot hundreds of shots on a single charge. It has a superb battery life.

If you purchase a T3, I'll probably see your photos on Flickr. I like to look at the photos taken witha T3. Good luck and good shooting.
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