Introducing the newest Rebel on the block.


Recently, on a sunny March afternoon, I took a stroll to my favorite neighborhood café and brought along the brand spanking new Canon Rebel T3i. I was there on assignment, to take the camera for a test drive and to bring back video!

It was the first time I’d ever really shot with a Canon, as I own a Nikon DSLR, and since the T3i is marketed as a DSLR for “beginners,” I tried to put my self in the mind-set of someone who was just getting the hang of exposure- but some times relied on the camera’s extensive automatic settings.

I was pretty happy with the shots I was able to take in the low-lighting conditions, I found I used the Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, and the Manual exposure settings the most, and just for fun, I switched to the full Auto mode to see what kind of results I got.

The auto mode gave me better results than I expected, but the one thing I noticed in the full auto mode was that as I moved around the café, from natural lighting provided by the huge picture windows at the front, to the over head lights behind the counter, I had to keep an eye on the ISO the camera defaulted to. In the low lighting scenario, the auto function was using a very high ISO to compensate for the lack of light, that became a problem when the ISO was too high, and the images started to look “noisy.”

One of the main features that sets the T3i apart from the T2i is the camera’s articulating 3.0-inch, high resolution screen. It came very much in handy when I switched to video mode. It enabled me to get footage, that with out it, would have been very awkward. I should point out that the T3i doesn’t have auto-focus in Video mode, but once I got the hang of it, the manual focus wasn’t so bad and I really enjoyed that I could still capture stills while in video mode. The video looked fantastic in the natural light, however not as great in mixed lighting conditions. I edited my movie in iMovie, so I was able to correct the white balance there.

I left the café with a delicious latte and overall, I was pretty happy with my results from the T3i. I think it would be the perfect first camera for anyone who wanted to take the step up from point and shoot to the DSLR world. The auto settings make it extremely easy get good results, but the manual options are there for those who want to learn!