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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 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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I know that this is an entry level dslr, I know that it doesn't have some of the features of higher end cameras, but you know don't need as many features as you think you do. Let me break it down:

ISO max: 6400. If you need to shoot 6400 or higher, you need more light. Photos in most higher end cameras have too much noise at this level anyway. I don't shoot above 1600.

Frame rate: 3 per second. I don't shoot sports, so this doesn't bother me. If I did shoot sports, I could still make this work. You don't necessarily need 10 frames per second to shoot fast moving things, you just have to think a little more about what you are doing.

12.2 mega pixels. If you have done any research on MP's, then you should know that more MP's doesn't mean better quality. The lens has much more to do with quality. I get amazing picture quality with this. I had some 8 x 10's printed and they are crystal clear. I wouldn't hesitate to get larger prints either.

Some people have complained that it "feels" cheap in your hands. Canon sacrificed some of the rubbery feel of the grip to get the price down. There is still rubber on the grip, though. I have been shooting with this for a year, I have no problem with how it feels. Fact of the matter is, you would get used to how a camera feels regardless, so unless you have had super rubbery grips before and just can't imagine anything less, than you won't have a problem.

Screen doesn't tilt out. Sure, that would have been nice, but I got used to it and don't care.

Screen is only 2.7", instead of 3" like the next model up. Big deal. Screen looks great.

Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec. This is plenty fast, trust me. I couldn't afford f1.2 lens to shoot with in the full brightness of the sun anyway. I rarely have to shoot that fast anyway, even with my f2 50mm lens, I still don't often get above 1/3200 sec.

9 autofocus points, center is cross type. If you don't know what that means, don't worry. More cross type would be nice, but whatever. I trust my eyes, and I don't often use autofocus anyway. But when I do, its great.

No dedicated DOF button. Again, if you don't know what that is, don't worry. If you do, you can customize one of the other buttons to do this, but I rarely if at all use it anyway.

The battery life on this is amazing. I use my camera at least a little everyday, and when I really go out to use it heavily, the battery just goes and goes. I go weeks between charges. Additional batteries for this camera are only about $12 bucks anyway.

It's not weather sealed. Big deal, I don't like walking around in the rain anyway. I have been out in light rain with no problems, but if I had spent a lot more money on a weather sealed camera, I would probably hesitate more to get it wet. Being out in the extreme cold in a dry bag hasn't bothered it either.

This is a fantastic camera. I primarily shoot full manual in raw, adjustments are quick and intuitive, picture quality is amazing, build quality is great. I tend to take care of my things anyway. I carry this around in a neoprene case in my timbuk2 bag pretty much everywhere I go and it gives me no problems. The menues are easy to navigate, buttons are comfortable. I use it with a speedlight, works great.

Here's a tip. If you are like me and don't have oodles of money, this is a great camera at a great price. The kits lens is fine, not great. I have the 55-250 zoom lens (less than $200 bucks), and I love it. Will it shoot in a very dimly lit room? Not very well, again, not a big deal. It actually has really great shallow depth of field at 55mm f4. Since I shoot in manual, I purchased an old nikon 50mm f2 lens, with an adapter (adapter on amazon for about $10), and it is awesome. Manual lenses on ebay are super cheap compared to their newer fully auto siblings. If you can shoot manual (which you should learn to do anyway), then this is an inexpensive way to get great quality lenses for a fraction of the price. My old nikon lens is 38 years old but shoots like it's brand new. I also purchased a step up ring on amazon (about $7), which adapts the nikon 52mm thread to canon 58mm, so I can use my canon sized filters and caps.

Don't think that you have to spend more money on a dslr to get better pictures. This really is a great camera.
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I am new to DSLR cameras. I've always just had a point and shoot and of course my phone camera. With two little kids and an event planning business, I wanted something that could take better quality pictures for those special occasions. This is good camera, easy to use. I'm still learning about ISO, aperture, all of those things, but even in manual mode, it is easy to change the settings. It takes a little time to get them set up correctly with the lighting and everything, but when I get it right, the pictures are beautiful. My husband has also used it to take pictures of artwork and it has been a nice camera to have for our travels. Not a huge camera so we can bring it along with us pretty easily. We just need to get a camera bag for it with these two little ones always wanting to grab it if it's not put away.
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If you're coming from a bridge or compact camera the heavy "clunk" of the shutter takes a bit to get used to. That's not why I subtracted a star since "clunkyness" is common to dslrs and you get used to it quickly. I subtracted a star because of the lack of a focus assist lamp. There is simply no way to focus in low light without an AF assist light and most are only found on huge hot shoe flashes. I want my camera compact at night as I roam the streets. Instead of focus assist Canon uses a set of triple flashes from the main flash (which startles people) then fires the flash with no way to turn it off and still have focus assist (which is so garish I don't want it anyway). My work around was to order the YONGNUO YN-622C-TX E-TTL Wireless Flash Controller for Canon (it has a flash assist lamp and lays low on the camera). To this the day (2017) Canon has not corrected this problem. Other than that it's a fine camera for low light. Do not be fooled by the red-eye reduction / self-timer lamp on the front of the body. What is really irksome is that the lamp is right where it's needed and a simple software update from Canon could activate it for AF assist.
If you are using Live View with this camera focus is impossible. Live View (using the screen on the back) is more for macro (bug) and food shots. Another problem is the lens. You'll need a faster lens right away to be happy with this camera. For indoor and building shots you'll want the $149 Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens and for walking around sports/kid shots you'll want the $118 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. A good substitute for the 50mm lens is the cheaper $55 Yongnuo EF YN 50mm F/1.8 lens. All three have very fast auto-focus. Buying lenses is what you do when you own a DSLR and there is no way around it....)
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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 11, 2014
I'm no expert or anything. Just a standard guy who decided he didn't have enough pictures of things and wasn't satisfied with documenting his life with a cell phone camera.

I read up on cameras for a while I came down to this one or the T3i. My parents both have a T3 themselves and I was pretty happy with the results I got playing around with those. Looking at the main differences between the two, (The ones I concerned myself with were primarily the large difference in resolution (12.2 MP on the T3 and 18 MP on the T3i) , the self-cleaning sensor (T3i), the 1080p (T3i) vs 720p (T3) video recording, and the external microphone jack (T3i))

Obviously, I ended up going with the T3. Why, you ask? Well, I did some research and found that, when printing photos at 300 dpi (very high quality) you can get prints up to 14x9"! I can't imagine a scenario in which an amateur like myself would need to print anywhere near that, so that eliminated my desire for the very high 18 MP count. Here's an illustration to explain it:[...]

I heard great stories about the self-cleaning sensor, however, after looking up instruction on how to clean your sensor, it became clear that this feature would be handy on very rare occasions. Not to mention, keeping the autocleaning feature on increases the time it takes to go from "camera off" to "taking photos." If I want to take a picture of something, I don't want to wait for my camera to groom itself; I want it now.

The big drawback to this camera is its reduced functionality in taking video compared with its overachieving cousin. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to shoot video in 1080p and be able to use an external mic for sound versatility, but I bought this camera to take photographs. The fact that it takes video at all is just a bonus.

By buying this camera instead of the T3i, I was able to get a nice zoom lens bundled with it for the same total price I would have paid for just the T3i kit. (Via the little offer a few sections under the price on the product page.)


This is my first DSLR. It's a huge step up from my phone. With the included lens, I was almost immediately able to take the best pictures I've ever taken of my dog, my cats, my girlfriend, and anything I felt like shooting. I haven't tried all of the features because I like shooting in manual mode (Occasionally using autofocus when I'm feeling lazy) but I can say this thing is great. In good light, pictures come out crisp, clean, and vibrant. In bad light, with some adjustments and a steady hand, pictures come out crisp, clear, and vibrant! The HUD in the viewfinder makes the LCD unnecessary except for viewing pictures. When using autofocus or when holding the shutter button halfway while focusing, little red lights come up on a grid in the viewfinder to show you what you're focusing on. This feature really helps get a sharpness you can't even really perceive while you're shooting, only when reviewing photos later.

When I flip the switch to turn the camera on, I can start shooting almost instantly. The time it takes to ready itself is less than what it takes for me to bring the camera up to my face.

The video it takes, while not perfect, is way better than on my phone. I can't say anything about hearing the autofocus while shooting but you probably can. I just haven't used it while messing with the video function.

Overall, I'd say this camera (the possibility of accidents aside) will last me more than long enough to master photography to the point that I can justify buying a professional level shooty picture machine.

If you're a beginner, just wanting to take good pictures, look no further. The T3i is great and all, but for the extra money, you wouldn't be getting much more.
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on January 11, 2014
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 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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