Super lightweight, small in size, and easy to control, the new Canon Rebel T3 1100D is a good choice for those who want to upgrade from basic point-and-shoot cameras or from Canon’s new PowerShot models. Better still is the fact that this moderately priced consumer DSLR also shoots impressive high-definition video, offers a long battery life (750-800 shots without a flash), a full ISO range of 100 to 6400, and still provides enough versatility to encourage photographers to discover a world of image making beyond fully automated settings. The Canon Rebel T3 is basically a stripped down version of Canon’s much more complex professional models, such as its more multi-faceted 18-MP Rebel T3i, which was also released in 2011.
The detail you can achieve with the Rebel T3 CMOS 12.2-MP digital sensor will surpass most point-and-shoot consumer cameras (including edging out its own PowerShot models) and is more than enough resolution for beginners and avid amateurs. While you may not want to enlarge your prized images to poster sizes, you may still glean clear, crisp enlargements suitable for framing. That being said, the Rebel T3 is an excellent camera for quick, on the go shooting and great for those photographers who want quick and easy access to video in a semi-professional grade DSLR without the heavy price tag. And though beginners may not notice, the Rebel T3 offers ten different image capturing quality sizes, including RAW, each change affecting the number of possible shots. Unlike earlier Rebel models, the T3’s ability to shoot RAW data offers the best possible range of detail and post-production options.
Simply put, the Rebel T3 delivers the technology in simple to understand directives that will be welcomed by those with any sort of technophobia. Beginning photographers will also appreciate the Rebel T3’s ability to enable still shooting while utilizing the live mode functions on the three-inch LCD monitor. (Some people find it easier to compose shots in this way instead of looking through a viewfinder, as many of today’s most popular image-making gadgets have only live-view functions. However, shooting stills only while using the live view function will drastically absorb battery life and one can easily diminish the number of images taken on one charge from 800 to 300 or less, even without using the flash.)
From basic shooting to adjusting aperture settings and shutter speeds, the language and menus on the Canon Rebel T3 are obvious and easy to interpret with or without consulting the manual. For instance, eight basic settings dominate the mode dial, each governed by fully automated features that adjust the brightness, flash, and more, depending on the setting chosen. One setting disables the flash, which is handy, while the Creative Auto (CA) enables you to easily change the depth of field, which is wonderful when you want to achieve shots with a blurred background. Other settings are more obvious: The Portrait Mode, complete with a profiled face as an icon, automatically shortens the depth of field to blur the background which makes the subject stand out, while the Landscape Mode, with mountains and clouds as an icon, increases the depth of field bringing everything back into focus. Those beginners who like to shoot details will enjoy the Close Up Mode, seen on the dial as a flower icon. There is also a Sports Mode for shooting moving subjects as well as one for Night Portraits. Here the menu even offers a gentle reminder to utilize a tripod for better results. Canon’s easy to understand auto focus system also makes capturing your subject simple with its face recognition technology so you never again miss an important shot by auto focusing on a background landscape instead of on a person’s facial expression.
More experienced users will enjoy capturing up to three shots per second when the camera’s drive mode is set to continuous shooting. A self-timer with a ten-second delay also gives you enough time to jump in the frame yourself. Other advancements enable users to select exactly which AF (auto focus) point they want — out of the nine AF points possible — so you can have the final say about where the action is. Moving the arrow buttons up and down and then turning the dial allows users to move between AF points, enabling that crucial selection. Making sure that you have your shot is also a snap when utilizing the magnifying buttons to highlight the area in focus, either in live view or in playback mode.
Moving between shooting still photos and video couldn’t be simpler, either. Just one turn of the mode dial to Video Mode (illustrated by a movie camera icon) enables the recording format to switch to high-definition video recording mode and automatically switches on the live-view function. Now users need only press one button to engage video recording, which is fully functional when a red light appears on the top right-hand corner of the LCD monitor. A quick push of the DISP (display) button shows all the current information in the live view as well so you can see how much battery power or recording time remains, see elapsed recording times and file sizes, and more. Video playback (either continuous, slow motion, or frame-by-frame) happens with the push of two buttons and even the audio volume is adjustable by turning the main dial.
In conclusion, the Canon Rebel T3 1100D is a perfect camera for first-timers, those with intermediate photography skills, and even those who want a decent wide-range DSLR with full video capabilities without spending a fortune. The 18-55mm normal zoom lens that comes with the camera body is a full-service lens that serves well most situations, and the body is durable and small enough that it doesn’t have the typical bulkiness of many professional models. Learning the ins and outs of manipulating your images is so simple with this model that it’s perfect for teens, seniors, and everyone in between. Even professionals would be hard-pressed to find fault with this gem, and many might consider its use as hardy, inexpensive back-up camera.