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Canon T3 Digital Camera Review$599.99
Speed and Timing
The Canon T3 offers average shot-to-shot speed for an entry-level DSLR, though there isn't much of a buffer restricting continuous shooting. The camera isn't the fastest gun, but it will feel quicker for anybody stepping up from a non-interchangeable lens camera.
The T3 comes with basic single and continuous drive modes, selectable by hitting the left button on the back control pad. This menu also yields the self-timer options. The continuous shooting mode works in every JPEG setting as well as in RAW shooting, though shooting at RAW reduces the shot-to-shot speed.
The T3 fires shots at just a hair less than 3 frames per second, though there is a bit of a buffer depending on how fast you are shooting. Firing off at shutter speeds under 1/500 of a second actually tend to yield less of a buffer (usually in excess of 20 shots can be continuously taken), whereas shooting at faster speeds tends to reduce the buffer to approximately five shots at a time.
The self-timer on the T3 consists of options for 10 seconds, two seconds, and a user-selected amount of up to 10 continuous shots fired after a 10-second delay. These are all available through the left control on the rear D-pad, in the same menu as drive mode settings.
The T3's phase detection autofocus system works well, with nine cross-type AF points. The center point is cross type at f/5.6, so it will work very well, even with the kit lens. The camera by default makes use of contrast detection AF when in live view or recording video, which is frustratingly inaccurate and slow. It's typical of entry-level DSLRs, however, so it's no worse than the other cameras in this class. The menu does include a face detection mode as well as the "Quick AF" function, which will allow you to compose in live view and then, by holding the shutter button halfway down, swings the mirror back down to make full use of the phase detection autofocus system. It's far faster to use Quick AF, though the screen goes blank while focusing and the mirror must return up with focus achieved before the photo can be taken, so your subject may move in the interim.
The 18-55mm kit lens on the Canon T3 has a hard AF/MF switch, so there's no constant MF override. The camera does offer a hard focus stop at both ends, though as expected there's no focus scale and the hard stop is a hair past infinity. When in live view, manual focus is aided well by a 5x and 10x digital zoom option, triggered by the zoom in/out buttons located just above the thumbrest. There is no peaking function.