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on February 27, 2011
The Canon Rebel T3i takes the consumer level dSLR a couple steps closer to the mid-level Canon 60D with the addition of the rotating rear LCD screen, remote flash firing, and in-camera processing features. The already highly competent, older Rebel T2i already shared many important features with the 60D (and even features of the semi-pro 7D) including the 18 MP sensor, 63-zone exposure metering system, high ISO performance, HD movie capabilities, and Digic 4 image processor. With these new upgrades, it might make it even more difficult to choose between them. But there are some important differences.

If you are considering the Rebel T3i vs T2i, the Rebel T3i is replacing the T2i. Since both cameras share the same 18 megapixel sensor and Digic 4 processor, both the T2i and T3i will create images with exactly the same image quality, produce the same low light/ high ISO performance, shoot at 3.7 frames per second, and have nearly the same size and build quality. They are both offered with the same 18-55mm kit lens (with some minor cosmetic differences on the new T3i kit lens). The T3i is very slightly larger and heavier due to the addition of the rotating rear LCD monitor. And that is one of the biggest differences between the two cameras. Do you want and need a vari-angle rear screen or not? The other major difference is the ability of the T3i to remotely control multiple off-camera flashes. Like the 60D and 7D, you can use the built-in flash of the T3i to trigger other Canon Speedlites. Some other minor additions to the T3i include the Scene Intelligent Auto Mode, which is a feature borrowed from point and shoot cameras. When in Auto mode, the T3i will make a determination of what type of scene you are shooting - close-up, portrait, landscape, etc. - and automatically configure the camera settings accordingly. However, if you want to use a powerful and costly digital SLR as a point and shoot, you should probably save the money and just buy a nice, high quality point and shoot like the Canon S95. Other additional but not essential upgrades include the in-camera processing Creative Filters, and the ability to choose different image size ratios and to rate your images. (Helpful hint: press the Q Button while in image playback and you can access features like rating, rotating, and Creative Filters.) There is also a marginally helpful Feature Guide which gives brief descriptions of various settings and some additional video features like Video Snapshot, which you can use to shoot short video clips that are automatically joined together into a video, with music.

Canon Rebel T3i vs. 60D vs. 7D
Sensor and Image Quality: All three cameras share a very similar sensor and 18 megapixels, and so their image quality will be virtually the same. All are capable of taking professional quality images.

Exposure Metering: The three cameras all share the latest 63-zone, dual-layer exposure metering system and 4 metering modes. That means they will all determine the exposure virtually identically and enable you to take properly exposed photos in most every situation, including difficult back-lit scenes. The size of the areas metered for Partial and Spot metering vary slightly between the cameras, but that isn't anything critical.

Autofocus: The T3i shares a similar autofocus system to the 60D, with 9 focus points and three auto focusing modes. However the 9 AF points of the 60D are more sensitive than those of the T3i: all are cross-type in the 60D, only the center is cross-type in the T3i. The 60D autofocus system is much less complex than the sophisticated AF system of the 7D with its 19 AF point system and its additional Zone, Spot, and Expansion focus modes. These various modes address how you want to deal with and group the numerous AF points. Plus the custom settings of the 7D allow one to customize how the AF system works - how it tracks subjects, how it deals with objects that come between you and your initial subject, how quickly it responds to these changes of possible subjects that are at different distances from you, etc. However, if you are not an avid sports photographer, a wildlife shooter, or someone who understands, needs, and will use the elaborate features of the 7D AF system, then this shouldn't sway you.

Construction: As you can probably figure out from the prices, each camera is not built the same. The T3i has relatively strong construction of a stainless steel frame with polycarbonate body. The 60D has a stronger and lighter aluminum frame and polycarbonate body, but not as strong as the 7D's magnesium alloy construction. The 60D also has some amount of weather sealing - more than the T3i, less than the 7D. But for most users, including even those using the camera daily or in travel situations, the construction of any of these cameras is far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.

ISO: Since they all share a very similar sensor, the ISO sensitivity and performance at high ISO settings is virtually the same for these three cameras. But don't take my word for it, don't be swayed by pixel peepers on forums, instead check out the camera sensor tests at dxomark to verify this. As you can see, they all share the exact same overall score, and show very similar performance.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary with these cameras. Unlike the T3i, the 60D and 7D have nearly every control an advanced photographer needs on the exterior of the camera and they also have the top LCD panel and rear Quick Control Dial that are not on the T3i. With all the cameras, any controls can also be easily accessed with the Q Button and Q Menu or in the other menus on the rear LCD monitor. The top buttons of the 60D set only one setting each, so this is less complicated than the multiple-setting buttons of the 7D. Canon has removed the white balance (WB) button on the 60D that the 7D has, but that isn't a big deal - use the Q Menu. Another change on the 60D is that the Multi-controller has been moved from the thumb joystick like the 7D and 50D and placed in the middle of the rear Quick-control dial. This doesn't change how it functions, and should just be a matter of getting used to the difference. If you plan on using your camera on Auto or Program most of the time, then the controls of the T3i are more than sufficient for your needs. If you work in Av, Tv, or M modes and need quicker and more direct access to your controls and the additional top LCD screen to view and change your current settings, then you need to consider the 60D or 7D over the T3i.

Menus and Custom Functions: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The T3i has less Menu and Custom Function setting options than the 60D, and the 7D has yet a few more than the 60D. These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, peripheral illuminations correction for lenses (fixes dark corners), tweaking how the autofocus system operates, setting more precise white balance settings, and customizing which button does what. There are ebooks such as my Canon T3i Experience - The Still Photographer's Guide to Operation and Image Creation With the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D and Your World 60D - The Photographer's Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon 60D which walk you through all of the Menu settings and Custom Function settings so that you can set up your camera to work best for how you photograph, and also begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR camera.

Wireless Flash: Like the 7D and 60D, the T3i incorporates wireless flash triggering. This allows you to trigger multiple off camera flashes at different output levels. The T2i does not have this feature.

Articulating LCD Screen: The big new feature that the 60D and T3i have that the 7D and T2i do not is the articulating rear LCD screen. This may prove useful for videographers, as well as for setting up compositions while the camera is on a tripod, for macro use, or for using it from unusually low or high vantage points. Some users will be able to avoid buying an expensive angle finder because of this feature. There is also an electronic level in the 7D and 60D, visible in the viewfinder, rear LCD, or top LCD.

Viewfinder: The T3i has a pentamirror viewfinder with 95% coverage of the actual resulting image. The 60D has a large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 96% coverage, not quite as nice as the nearly 100% view of the 7D pentaprism.

Processor: The T3i shares the same Digic 4 processor as the 60D. The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors. However, if you don't need to shoot dozens of continuous images, you probably won't notice any processing speed issues.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The T3i can shoot 3.7 frames per second. The 7D can shoot a blazing 8 frames per second, in which the photos barely change from frame to frame. The 60D can shoot a respectable 5.3 fps which is actually a more useful rate. If you need the extremely high fps for sports, wildlife, or other action shooting, get the 7D. If not, don't be swayed by this excessive feature.

Memory Card: The T3i and 60D use the SD memory card. The 7D uses the CF card.

Battery: The T3i and T2i use the smaller LP-E8 battery with less capacity than the LP-E6 battery used by the 60D and 7D.

Size and Weight: The T3i is smaller and lighter than the 60D, which in turn is smaller and lighter than the 7D. Go to a store and hold them to get a better feel for their size, weight, and feel. The 60D and 7D "feel" like the more substantial cameras that they are. A nice improvement of the T3i is that its hand grip area has been modified, and has a different feel than that of the T2i - the area where the thumb rests is contoured differently and has a nice channel for the thumb, which allows for a much more secure one-hand-grip of the camera.

AF Microadjustment: The 7D has this feature, the 60D and T3i and T2i do not. This allows you to adjust the focus of each of your lenses in case any of them are slightly front-focusing or back-focusing.

Locking Mode Dial: This is a new feature for a Canon dSLR, only on the 60D, that keeps the Mode dial from accidentally rotating. A nice touch.

Full HD video: Of course they all offer this capability. Note that this is not video for your kids' parties and soccer games. It does not have continuous autofocus while shooting, as a camcorder does. It is not designed for that kind of use, but rather for serious videographers who typically manually focus. You can adjust autofocus while shooting by pressing the shutter button or the AF button, but it may have a less than desired looking result and unless you are using an external microphone, the autofocusing sound will be picked up. The T3i has the digital zoom feature in video, which allows for nice smooth zooms while filming.

Flash Sync: the 60D and T3i do not have a PC sync flash socket to plug in PC sync cords for off camera flash use. The 7D has this. However, they all offer wireless remote flash capability with the built in flash as a commander.

Ease of operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the menus and controls of the T3i and T2i are pretty basic and simple to learn for a dedicated user. The additional controls and menus of the 7D and 60D are all quite intelligently designed, intuitive, and straightforward for the more advanced user. Again, have a look at helpful guides such as my Canon T3i Experience - The Still Photographer's Guide to Operation and Image Creation With the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D and Your World 60D - The Photographer's Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon 60D to begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR cameras.
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on March 21, 2011
I am not a camera expert, but rather, I'm a busy mom who likes to take pictures and who adores my subjects. This, then, is a review from a mom/amateur's point of view.


I have always been a photo fiend, taking my camera everywhere and pulling it out at any opportunity. While I'd gotten to a decent level of archiving important moments with my point-and-shoot cameras over the years, I wanted to take my photography to the next level. I was inspired by my brother-in-law's photos of his kids to take the dSLR plunge. But I knew (and still know), very little about professional photography. I wanted to start taking better photos right away. But I also wanted to have room to grow as a photographer and a camera that would grow with me.

I also wanted the focus to stay firmly on my family - while I was willing to invest some time and care into the camera, I didn't want it to become like a pet I had to constantly watch over. While any dSLR takes some care and consideration, I've found the T3i has been an excellent camera for me and I've been quite pleased with it.


* VERY USER FRIENDLY: The auto mode (or auto without flash, my favorite) is highly forgiving, taking fantastically sharp images, true to color. They look so clear that I feel I'm capturing as close to real life as I've ever seen before in a camera.

* FAST: While I sometimes go in for trying out new modes and manual settings, I often leave the camera in auto or auto-sans-flash mode and just click away so that I can at least capture a moment before it's gone. I then play with manual settings if my kids stay still long enough for me to try something new. My previous cameras always had a horrible delay for the autofocus (the only mode they usually had), meaning I nearly always lost the moment when the toddler was on the move. The t3i is so ridiculously fast that I can snap multiple pics in the time one picture took before.

* BEAUTIFUL PICTURES: This kind of goes without saying at this tier of camera, but the pictures are just amazing quality. Coming from the land of point-and-shoot, I'm pretty blown away. And I know I'm only touching the tip of the iceberg for what's possible.

* BEAUTIFUL VIDEO: This is the nice new feature of the t3i. I wasn't sure I'd want or need the HD video. But hey, when you've got it, you use it. I've gotten some amazingly clear footage of the kiddo playing in the park with daddy and I'm so glad we went for the model with that feature.

* BIG, CLEAR DISPLAY: It's really easy to see what pics you've just taken and adjust your photo-taking accordingly. Just by seeing what I've gotten, I'm able to try again and improve a shot almost immediately.

* CLEAR MENUS/ABILITY TO IMPROVE: The interface on this is so intuitive that I've been able to learn a lot without even cracking open the manual (though that manual is my new reading material). The entry point for a new user is just a step up from normal photography - the possibilities, however, are nearly endless.

* NICE KIT LENS: For all that photographers get into new and better lenses, the kit lens on this is really nice and easy to use. I think it will hold us for a good long while before I get to be more of an expert. It gives me the range of zoom and focus I need for now.

* EYE-FI COMPATIBLE: WOW. I cannot even tell you how much I love this feature. If you get an eye-fi card, your pictures can be set up to automatically upload to your computer whenever you are within range of your synched wireless network. My husband set up a SmugMug account and the eye-fi capabilities. I take pics to my heart's content while out on walks, in the park, etc., and come home, then leave the camera on (auto-shut off after 8 minutes) to upload the pics. I can then tag and sort pictures later at my leisure. For me, this is amazingly useful. I don't have to take time out of my day to upload the pics - the camera does that for me.

* BATTERY LIFE (for common use): So far, the battery we bought for the camera lasts very well during normal photo-taking. It's just a standard Canon battery for the rebel line and it charges quickly. Even when taking pics like a mad-woman, it lasts through a shoot. HD video eats it up more quickly, so be warned. Still, I rarely run out of juice during the day so long as I pop the battery into its charger in the evening. However, uploading is another story (See below in cons).

Those are just the first few things I love about this camera. Here, however, are the...not cons, really, just challenges:



And parents have enough precious and delicate things to worry about - namely, the kids. No getting around it - you can't just toss a dSLR into a pocket and go. I'm in a quest for a good bag/carrying solution (heh, yeah, wish me luck with that.) and I'm trying to get used to having one part of my brain keeping an eye on the camera as well as keeping the majority of my focus on the kids. When I'm in photo-journalist mode, it's no problem, but switching back to mom-mode is the hard part. I've already seen the camera knocked onto the ground (a very short distance onto very soft ground, so it was okay, but still, the experience practically gave me a heart attack) and once, when bending over, I caught the toddler on the temple with the kit lens (She sobbed. I felt so awful!) This thing requires constant awareness to both the camera AND the kids when using it. I'm quickly adjusting, but if you're not totally committed to learning to use and love the dSLR, you may want to stick to really good point-and-shoot camera if you're a busy parent.

^ That's the big one.

* BATTERY LIFE (when uploading pics via eye-fi): Uploading pictures by eye-fi seems to eat the battery alive. It appears that the camera won't autoshutoff when uploading, so this morning, after a few hours of uploading big, glorious pictures to my SmugMug account, the battery finally ran out of juice. I wish there was a plug-in mode or some sort of docking-station I could plug the camera into when I return home. If it's only a few pics, they upload and the camera shuts itself off. But if it's a bunch of pics (and when the weather's nice and the lighting's good, I take a lot of pics), the camera requires a battery recharge just to finish uploading my pictures.

* SWIVEL SCREEN WORRIES: I find that the swivel screen, while hugely useful, is something I constantly worry that I'm going to snap off. However, you can keep it closed with the screen facing in(a nice feature) or tuck it onto the camera with the screen facing out. I also find if I'm looking out of the eye-piece, I leave cheek smudges all over the screen when its facing out.

* MANUAL-MODE GOOFS: Some of my manual mode forays have been less than stellar. I've taken a shot - set up so nice, focus just perfect, subject just so... only to find out I left it in white-balance adjustment for indoors and I was outdoors so the whole picture looks like I dipped it in blue. I've learned to take pics in auto-mode first before experimenting too much. I also learned to check the screen a LOT before proceeding.

SUMMARY: While the dSLR has required me to make some adjustments for including it in my busy life, I really love this camera, am pleased with the investment, am inspired by its ease of use, and I LOVE the pictures I've gotten of my family.

5 STARS: And so I give it 5 stars - my whole point in buying a nice camera was to make and preserve FAMILY memories - and the t3i records those memories beautifully - in .jpg, raw, or HD video - with a minimum of dSLR fuss.

*** UPDATE: about 6 months later ***

STILL AWESOME: I totally stand by the above review. If anything, I've come to adore this camera even more than I did when we first got it. When baby #2 arrived, the quality of pictures that we got far surpassed the pictures from the first baby's photo shoots. I'm truly pleased with this investment, as the pictures we get are lovely, clear, true-to-light/true-to-color, and just capture the memories so well. Really, this is EXACTLY what I was hoping for as an amateur photographer/mom.


Battery Woes: We invested in an A/C adapter for the camera and now no longer eat the battery alive when leaving the camera to upload pictures via the Eye-Fi connection. It's a little annoying to have to swap over to the A/C and then back to a battery all the time - I would rather have a charging station of sorts - but it works and it means I stick the battery in the charger so it's almost always ready to go.

Ease of Use: I adjusted to using this thing pretty quickly. I invested in a LowePro FastPack 250 and it works nicely as a diaper-bag/day bag/camera bag. Not the most attractive purse, but it works well. I'm much better at being ready for any photo situation now.

Swivel Screen: No problems to report. I just leave it screen out all the time.

SAME: Awesome camera all around. Truly, truly impressive. There might be higher tiers of quality out there, but for what I use in following the kids around, this captures amazing shots quickly. Love it.

GOT (just a little) WORSE:

Eye-Fi Annoyance: This is going to differ from person to person, but our Eye-Fi stuff has had some kinks to work out. The card we bought required several updates lately, then we had to change SmugMug account stuff, but the changed password meant Eye-Fi couldn't upload. Blah, blah, blah, I'm sure most of the problem is ME not getting the changes my hubby made. Still, Eye-Fi is usually automatic, but from time to time, it requires maintenance and understanding from all parties uploading stuff. Just be warned, it isn't so automagical as I hoped it would be.

Getting used to the dSLR bulk: I'd be lying if I said the size of the camera wasn't occasionally an issue. There have been quite a few times I think, "Oh, where's the camera? That's right, I left it at home/in the car because it's kind of a pain to pack around." On many occasions, the hubby's phone camera stood in for us (and it takes pretty decent pictures, so it's okay). But if I'm not being really deliberate about bringing the dSLR and using it, this camera becomes a very expensive toy that I never play with.

Other than that ^ though, awesome camera. I'm truly loving it. On the whole, a Lotta camera for Low maintenance.
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on November 7, 2013
I really like this camera - mostly because it's my first DSLR and I really like what it can do. I did take a basic photography course to teach me how to use it which was highly useful. If you've had a Canon before, the basic menu and layout are similar to your previous cameras. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to stick with Canon since I was already familiar with it. In general it works great and the pictures are good. Of course a camera is only as good as the photographer and since I am an amateur I can't really comment on all the details like I'm sure others can.

I knocked it down one star b/c I've owned it less than a year and I've had to send it back for a repair that I hope is covered by warranty. The flash isn't working at all in auto mode. It pops up and fire but the pictures all come out underexposed. If I manually lower the flash after it pops up, the pictures come out fine. There's something wrong...just don't know what exactly so they're looking into it for me. I will come back and update on their customer service once I find out what they're able to do to fix it.

ETA: Got my camera back from Canon in perfect working order. Since I was still within the one year warranty, I mailed it to them (on my dime but it was only around $12) to be repaired. The repair was covered under warranty and I now have my camera back! Yay! I'm so excited.
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on November 27, 2013
The camera is a gift for Christmas. I can not review it for that reason but would like to make sure you are all aware of the freebies and discounts that come with the purchase of this item. Scroll down just below the description of the camera and you will find this verbiage........"Purchase This Camera and Take Advantage of Any or All of the Following Promotions. Free camera bag, 16 GB memory card, monopod, and up to $300 off select Canon lenses."

These items are all free (EXCEPT THE LENSES) but the discounts on the lenses are HUGE. Don't miss out on the freebies if your spending the money on the camera. It is easy to miss and is not offered again in your shopping cart. Look the camera page over good. You'll find the offer.
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on November 11, 2011
I upgraded from the T2i, and i am so happy that i did! The swivel lcd screen is so cool. Im already experimenting with different angle shots, i just could not get with a non swivel lcd. I didnt know how much i would love just that one feature, but i really do. The audio controls is also really awes! The zoom feature while in movie mode is nice too. Because im only shooting with a 50mm prime right now, being able to zoom in makes it really nice. Sure its only a digital zoom, but with good lenses, not zoomed to full capacity, it should work well. Even at 3x, that turns my lens into a 150mm, sort of. haha. Overall i love this cam, and if someone is thinking about upgrading from the t2i, do it! you wont regret it. FYI. Become an Amazon Prime member, or do the free trial. I got this shipped over night for only $4 bucks! haha. I hate waiting a week for stuff like this to arrive.
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on May 12, 2014
The Canon Rebel T3i was purchased as a primary camera, the major reason was price and articulating monitor was the secondary reason. As an older amateur photographer those ground level shots presented somewhat of a challenge, hopefully the monitor will mitigate that issue. Preliminary use in bright sun was not encouraging though as the monitor was hard to see when it was folded out. There are still several vantage points to be pursued. This camera has all of the considerations one might look for in a good DSLR starter! One might ask why after having owned the T2i would one not go on to a 7D kit package and that would be a good question. Most, if not all of the Canon references (along with Nikon) suggest putting money into the best lens available rather then a camera for the time being. The original camera came as a kit with two lens, a 18-70mm and a 70-300mm. Both lens will work with any of the upper grade crop cameras as well as any additions to the "tool box" along the way. I suspect the T3i will meet all current expectations and will update this review sometime after summer 2014. If you are a beginning photographer you will want to consider this camera. Stay Tuned there is more to come on the T3i.
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on January 30, 2014
I went through the point and shoot disappointment over the last several years and decided to step up to the DSLR family. I wanted upgrade-able lenses, viewfinder for shots in bright sunshine, image stabilization and a built-in flash.

What a simple out of the box experience with auto-modes + auto-focus + image stabilization = great photos that I needed right away.

I started to get better by watching T3i tutorials and videos on the web (I hate reading manuals but use them for reference) and learned how and why to set ISO, shutter speed and aperture for specific shots - (Hint: first define the shot you want like 'fireworks' and Google "Canon T3i fireworks photography", write down the setup and camera settings - THEN go try the shot)

After a week of experimenting with different manual settings, I have now taken spectacular photos of the moon, drops of water as they bounce, sharp soccer photos at night, professional looking portraits, sunsets, national geographic insect close-ups, etc...
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on August 7, 2011
Since I have switched from Nikon to Canon, a lot of my review is based on comparison to Nikon.
Canon service is apparently better than nikon. Will edit this if this does not turn out to be true. My switch was mostly due to pathetic nikon warranty service.
The IS works really well and I think better than nikon's which I had tried for a week with a borrowed D5000.
Digital 3x zoom in video mode.
The 430EX II external flash can be supported by the camera wirelessly. On nikon's this is only true for the more expensive SB800s flashes.

Auto focus in "live view" mode (seeing through the lcd instead of the viewfinder) is extremely slow. Makes me not ever wanting to use it.
Most canon lenses have loud autofocus motors. The lenses with the nicer USM AF motors are too expensive.
No mode in canon to set Av mode and set min shutter speed while letting the camera pick the ISO. Standard in Nikons. Canon seems to pick the shutter speed based on the zoom (focal length selected).
White balance in Full auto mode sometimes messes up. Some pictures came out blue-ish.
No good priced "normal" 50mm/35mm lens available. There is only one 50mm el-cheapo which apparently looks extremely cheap but I will buy it anyway.

I upgraded from nikon D50 to this. So of course the pictures are much much better.

In hindsight, The nikon D5100 has a better (larger DX sensor vs canon APS sized sensor) sensor. So less noise on the Nikon.

Also, I think that video modes in SLR cameras are fairly useless unless you are good with manual focussing and use the tripod. BTW, the lens IS does work in video mode.

I will edit this review as I play with this camera more. The 18-135 lens is nice but a bit large. Maybe its large thats why the image quality is very good.
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on February 6, 2015
Disappointed; while functional, the camera was decent... but the manufacture quality is apparently far less than the t1i I had before (and still use beside/after) it. First something about the shutter/iris failed after just a couple months of use, and required it be sent off for repair... now, just 14 months after purchase (and relatively lightly used) it's busted again, citing err 30 (which supposedly is a battery/connection issue.) Just in time for it to fall out of warrantee. Given the heroics that my t1i has endured and continues to endure (currently, it's in its 10th straight month of an almost unceasing timelapse project taking a photo every 15 minutes, without complaint, and this after having been dropped off a couple mountains in its earlier years) I'm particularly unhappy that its successor is also its inferior.
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on June 22, 2012
I purchased this as both an upgrade for stills and to compliment my Canon HF G10 for video. I'll start by saying that it's a great still camera - no surprises really. It's as good as the other entry level Canon's. The "creative" features are a little silly if you ask me, but easily ignored.

Video: The quality (using my 85mm 1.8) truly is outstanding. Go watch some semi-pro stuff on Vimeo - this camera can hang with most stuff there. Manual focusing is a real trick - and on that alone, I would not recommend this as a video camera for the casual videographer. I wish there were some settings between Auto and Manual (like aperture priority, shutter priority, etc). Full manual is simply too much work for many situations, and the full auto leaves something to be desired. I also wish they had put more energy into the audio. You cannot monitor the audio while recording (with either headphones or even audio levels). A level is visible while setting the record level, but not while recording. This oversight really puts a damper on the camera for me, and I have a hard time believing that it would really have increased the cost too much to simply add a headphone jack.

I use the Rode VMP, and have had some difficulty getting the audio just right. The onboard mic is garbage. I have not gotten around to trying my other mics (lapel, wireless). Get ready to spend a lot of time getting the settings just right.

Still, my overall opinion of the camera is good. I intend to use it to compliment the G10 (a terrific all around video camera). The T3i does static shots very well (think: interviews). The depth of field available is amazing and it performs well for artistic shots (just be prepared to spend time learning how to follow focus). As to general video shooting and anything handheld, I'll stick to my G10.

UPDATE: I'm quickly becoming spoiled by the quality of the video on the T3i. I find that I rarely use the G10 anymore. The quality of the video on this DSLR is really something and I've got the VMP figured out (+20 gain on the mic, and manual audio on the camera set at 8 or 9 clicks above zero). I also shoot exclusively in 24p. On the T3i, this is amazing. I do find that I'm switching back and forth between a 1.4 30mm and the 1.8 85mm a lot (it's way harder to just move back and forth with video than with stills). Still, it's all about the prime lens with this camera. I'd recommend at least getting a cheap 1.8 50mm.
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