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- Canon EOS Rebel T3
- The T3 is Canon's entry-level DSLR for 2011, debuting at a kit price of just $599.
Canon EOS Rebel T3 Review$599.99
The T3 is Canon's entry-level DSLR for 2011, debuting at a kit price of just $599.
The Canon Rebel T3 is the spiritual successor to the Rebel XS and XSi models, entering Canon's lineup as the company's least expensive current generation DSLR.
Despite the low price tag, the T3 comes with 720/30p HD video and slides in just beneath the more expensive Rebel T3i. As such, it's evident that Canon has stooped to some feature gouging, both to make up the price difference and to refrain from eating into the higher-end sales. We're left with a rather plain DSLR, stripped of its pomp and frills. Hopefully, performance and image quality aren't as skimpy as this model's chintzy plastic chassis. Forward then, to the lab!
Design & Usability
The T3 feels cheap to the touch, but its navigation is solid.
Handling is really where the T3 suffers. It's a very lightweight camera, which is wonderful, but the shooting experience is hampered by some design choices that seem predicated by cost more than ergonomics. The camera just doesn't feel stable in the hand, and the grip is not the plush rubber we've seen on every other Canon DSLR. Instead, it's a solid material that has some resistance to it, but has none of the texture or give that we expect from a camera of this variety. It feels cheap.
The T3 does not bother with many of the fun modes that today's compact cameras tend to offer.
The T3 offers a range of familiar shooting modes. Amongst these are the typical shutter/aperture-priority, program auto, and full manual modes, but there are also several auto modes, some of which cover scenarios ranging from portrait, to macro, to sports scenes. For all this, some users may feel disappointed with their step up to the T3, because it lacks some of the specialty modes and digital filters that many compact cameras offer. In-camera editing is missing too, save the rotate function and a five-star rating feature. A variety of color profiles are available though, and three of them are even customizable.
The T3 is like a luxury car without the options. Sure, it might not have air conditioned leather seats, but it's a solid performer where it counts.
The Canon T3 performed very well for an entry-level camera—in some ways, even marginally upstaging the more expensive T3i—with fine color accuracy, decent dynamic range, and very little image noise. This camera is right on par with nearly every other sub-$1000 DSLR we have tested, with only a poor kit lens and lack of sharpness to hold it back. The lens is not that bad wide-open through f/10, but your best bet is to just buy a better one, even if you're looking for affordability first.
Image quality on a budget
The Canon T3 is an entry-level DSLR camera, coming in at just $499 for the body only. As such, we weren't expecting miracles, though the camera does suffer from obvious cost-cutting in production and a truncated feature-set that keeps the T3 placed firmly below the T3i in the Canon model line. One thing that hasn't been cut is the image quality—the sensor performs very well for this price point.
That isn't to say the T3 isn't a good camera, as it offers quite a lot for the price. However, it's a troubling step backward in build quality from previous models. Those with a functional XS or XSi shouldn't be chomping at the bit for an upgrade, but those looking for simple operation and solid image quality in a rather inexpensive camera body will be very satisfied with the T3—though we'd recommend picking up a better lens, since Canon offers substantially better options.