Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Gordon Laing, April 2011
 
 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i design and controls

Externally, the Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i looks virtually identical to its predecessor, with the articulated screen being the only major difference. Accommodating the screen has however resulted in a few minor changes which we'll discuss in a moment. But first lets discuss the size, weight and build quality.

   

The EOS 600D / T3i measures 133x100x80mm, which makes it between three and five mm bigger in every dimension than its predecessor. This is mostly to accommodate the articulated screen, and you're unlikely to notice the difference in practice. Likewise for the weight, which while heavier at 570g compared to 527g when both are equipped with battery and card, is virtually unnoticeable in your hands. The build quality of both models is also essentially the same, although we preferred the coarser texture of the rubber surfaces on the new model

There's a much bigger difference when comparing the EOS 600D / T3i against the next model up in the range, the EOS 60D. Measuring 145x106x79mm, Canon's higher-end body is noticeably wider and taller, and comfortably heavier too at 755g with battery and card. In your hands, the EOS 60D feels like a much more serious camera, albeit not in the same league as the EOS 7D. The EOS 60D enjoys the ergonomic benefits of a taller grip with a pronounced groove for your index finger and indentation for finger tips, not to mention a rest for your entire thumb's length while the EOS 600D / T3i leaves its tip dangling in mid-air. Of course while the EOS 60D is more comfortable to hold, many will prefer the smaller size and lighter weight of the 600D / T3i - it's better-suited for hikers or even balancing on the end of a telescope.

 
 
 
 
 

While the 600D / T3i is towards the smaller side of Canon's DSLR range, there are smaller bodies available from rivals, most notably Sony's Alpha SLT A33 and A55. Costing roughly the same price, the Alpha A55 is a natural rival for the EOS 600D / T3i and measures 124x92x85mm and weighs 500g including battery and card. The greater depth of the A55 is due to its protruding electronic viewfinder housing, but in every other respect the camera looks and feels much smaller - and impressively the SLT A33 and A55 also include built-in stabilisation which works with any lens you attach.

In terms of controls, the EOS 600D / T3i is essentially the same as its predecessor with only a handful of tweaks, mostly to accommodate its articulated screen. The upper left side is again left bare, with the bulk of the controls located on the right side of the body. Starting on the upper right surface, there's the main Command Dial, rotary power switch, finger dial, shutter release button, and dedicated buttons for ISO and DISP; the latter is new to the 600D / T3i and is used to switch the screen on and off in the absence of proximity sensors which used to be between the viewfinder and screen on the old model. Like most entry-level models, there's no thumb dial or wheel.

The mode dial is also virtually unchanged, featuring the same P, A, S and M modes, Canon's Green Auto, Creative Auto and A-DEP modes, along with the Movie Mode and direct access to the same five scene presets or flash-off option.

The Green Auto option is now nudged-up against P on the dial and relabelled A+ for Auto Plus. This mode now employs scene detection to determine things like whether the subject is in motion, but don't expect the same degree of sophistication of a camera employing scene detection with live view as this really does allow the camera to better analyse the subject.

Creative Auto, or CA for short on the dial, remains a beginner-friendly version of Aperture Priority, albeit with a redesigned interface over the 550D / T2i. So instead of dialling-in an f-number, the CA mode presents an on-screen slider labelled Background Blur to adjust the depth of field. Interestingly the exposure compensation slider of the 550D / T2i's CA mode is now absent, with the 600D / T3i only allowing you to adjust the 'ambience', self-timer and flash options. As before though, it remains a friendly approach to controlling depth-of-field which will appeal to beginners wanting a little more control than full Auto.

 
 
 
 

The AE / AF lock and AF point selection buttons remain in the top right corner of the rear and as before double-up as zoom controls during playback - along with manual focus assist controls in Live View and Digital Zoom controls in the Movie mode. Like other recent Canon DSLRs, there's no need to press the AE / AF lock button to autofocus in Live View. This was never an intuitive option, so we're pleased to find the 600D / T3i using a half-press of the shutter release to autofocus in Live View.

The rear of the camera remains dominated by the 3in screen, although the thicker surround required for the articulated mounting has resulted in a few minor changes. Most obviously there's no longer room for the proximity sensors which used to sit between the viewfinder and screen on the 550D / T2i. As mentioned above, you'll now need to use the new DISP button to manually switch the screen on and off on the 600D / T3i. The dedicated Live View button remains to the right of the viewfinder.

The controls to the right of the screen remain identical in number, position and function to the 550D / T2i, but the wider screen mounting has seen them reshaped and squashed a little closer together. Starting at the top you'll find the AV exposure compensation button, followed by the Q button to enter the Quick Access menu, which again doubles-up as the Direct Print control.

Below these are the traditional four cross-keys which share the same functions as the earlier 550D / T2i. Push up for White Balance, right for AF mode, down for Picture Style and left for the drive modes. Below these are buttons for Play and delete / trash. A final point worth noting is Canon has kept the depth-of-field preview button which can be found just below the 600D / T3i's lens release button; this works when composing with either the optical viewfinder or in Live View.

 

 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i flash

 
 
The EOS 600D / Rebel T3i is equipped with the same internal flash as its predecessor, which pops-up 55mm above the top of the lens mount (clearing the optional EF-S 18-135mm kit lens) and has a guide number of 13. As before, there's also a hotshoe for mounting external Speedlite flashguns and the fastest sync speed remains 1/200. As you'd expect for a consumer model, there's no PC Sync port, but then the EOS 60D didn't have one either. So far so similar to the earlier models, but Canon has enhanced the flash functionality of the 600D / T3i with support for wireless control and the latest video light equipped Speedlites.

Starting with the former, the EOS 600D / T3i follows the EOS 60D and EOS 7D to become the third Canon DSLR to support wireless flash control. The built-in flash can be used as a Master to wirelessly trigger compatible Speedlites, although the implementation is a little simpler and more consumer-friendly than the EOS 60D and EOS 7D.

If you enter the Built-in Flash Func menu, you can now choose from NormalFiring, EasyWireless and CustWireless. EasyWireless greys-out all the advanced options, simply leaving the control channel and exposure compensation settings. This means all you need to do is match the channel of the slave unit and you're ready to go, which allows beginners to enjoy the benefits of wireless flash control without the complications. You can trigger multiple units sharing the same channel, although without separate control over their output.

   
   
   

More advanced photographers will however be pleased to find greater control under the CustWireless option, which unlocks the options to set the Wireless Function and the ratio between built-in and external units. Slave units can also be divided into two groups and the ratio between them set.

The EOS 60D and EOS 7D may offer more advanced wireless options with up to three groups and compensation applied in a broader range of +/-3EV, but the facilities offered by the EOS 600D / T3i remain more than sufficient for all but the most sophisticated setups, and the new EasyWireless option allows lighting beginners to make the first step into wireless control with the least hassle. Overall they're a valuable addition to the xxxD / Rebel line.

Like its predecessors, there's also control for compatible Speedlites mounted directly to the hotshoe, allowing you to adjust the compensation, bracketing, sync, zoom and wireless options without touching the flash.

New to the EOS 600D / T3i is support for the latest Speedlites which include LED lamps for illuminating video. Under dim conditions with the Movie exposure mode set to Auto, the camera can automatically turn the light on when required.

 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i viewfinder

The EOS 600D / T3i is equipped with a similar penta-mirror optical viewfinder to its predecessors with 95% coverage, although Canon now quotes the magnification as being 0.85x compared to 0.87x on the older models, although in use you wouldn't notice any difference between them. The coverage is the same as most DSLRs in the same class, including the Sony Alpha A580 and Nikon D5000, although all employ different magnifications (and varying sensor sizes), making their viewfinder experiences a little different.

   

Nikon's D5000 has a relatively small viewfinder magnification of 0.78x, which in practice makes its viewfinder image appear the smallest in the group, although not by as much as the figures imply. The Sony Alpha A580 comes-in fractionally larger than the D5000 at 0.8x, but again the difference between them is minor.

So with 0.85x magnification, the 600D / T3i would appear to deliver the biggest viewfinder image, but once you take its fractionally smaller sensor size into account, the difference between it and, say, the Sony A580, becomes virtually imperceptible in side-by-side comparisons.

For a better optical viewfinder experience, you'll need to go for a model with a larger pentaprism system, such as the EOS 60D, which delivers 0.95x magnification and 96% coverage. Pentaprism viewfinders may add weight to the body, but also deliver a brighter image. So if you're really into composing and manually focusing with the viewfinder, you'll definitely find the EOS 60D preferable in this regard.

An interesting alternative are the electronic viewfinders on models like Sony's SLT cameras which deliver a much larger image with 100% coverage and the benefit of super-imposed colour graphics. The downsides are a (current) inability to present a live view between frames when shooting very quick continuous bursts and the finite detail and tonal range of an electronic image. Traditionalists (and action shooters) may remain unconvinced, but the electronic viewfinder experience of models like the SLT-A33 and SLT-A55 is very good indeed and presents a unique alternative to conventional optical solutions.

In terms of markings, the 600D / T3i's viewfinder is unchanged from its predecessor. You'll see the same nine focusing points with the centre-point circled to indicate the spot-metering area. As you'd expect for a camera at this price point, you can't swap the focusing screen, and unlike Nikon's D5000 and D90, not to mention Canon's higher-end EOS 7D, there are no on-demand LCD grid lines.

There is however detailed information running along the bottom of the image, and in large, clear characters. The details and layout are the same as the 550D / T2i, including the ISO value displayed at all times, and icons indicating whether B&W or Highlight Tone Priority modes are enabled.

 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Screen

The Canon EOS 600D / T3i follows the EOS 60D to become Canon's second DSLR to feature a fully-articulated screen. The screen is hinged on the left side of the body (as viewed from the rear), allowing it to flip and tilt in any direction for easier composition at high or low angles, while also being able to turn to face the photographer or back on itself for protection. At first glance it appears identical to the screen on the EOS 60D, although there's very subtle styling differences: our EOS 60D sample had two small screws visible on the inner hinge and one on the inner body plate which were all absent on the 600D / T3i. The latter also had two rubber strips on the inner area compared to one on the 60D. But beyond these minor changes, the screen panel and hinge system appears identical.

 
 

The articulated screen is the single biggest new feature of the EOS 600D / T3i over its predecessor, and one which will be welcomed by videographers, along with anyone who takes pictures at unusual angles.

In use the articulated mounting feels very smooth and robust; there's obviously some concerns over potential damage, but the literal flipside is being able to protect the screen by folding it back on itself. We should also note in all our time testing cameras, we've never experienced any issues with the mechanisms used by Canon on its articulated screens. We should also mention we much prefer the side-hinge system used by Canon and Panasonic compared to the lower hinges of the Nikon D5000 and a number of Sony models. A side-hinge allows greater freedom, especially when the camera's mounted on a tripod and to us simply feels more intuitive.

As mentioned above, the most obvious application is when shooting movies, and it's certainly nice to hold the camera at waist height or high angles when filming. But it's useful when taking stills too. Beyond being able to take images at high, low or discreet angles, it's also a considerable relief not to strain your neck when the camera's mounted on a telescope - indeed we can see many astro-photographers selecting the EOS 600D / T3i just for this aspect alone. Macro photographers or anyone else who finds their cameras in unusual positions will also love it. The only downside is the screen flips out by 175 degrees rather than 180, which means it's slightly tilted in relation to the direction of the camera. This can feel a little odd at times, but is far from a deal-breaker.

The articulated mount isn't the only thing which makes the EOS 600D / T3i's screen special, as it also inherits the superb TFT panel first seen on the EOS 550D / T2i. This panel measures 3in and employs a wider 3:2 aspect ratio which perfectly matches the shape of its images. The vast majority of other cameras use squarer 4:3 aspect ratio screens which mean 3:2 images in Live View or playback have black bars above or below when the entire frame is viewed. Not so on the EOS 600D / T3i, which like the EOS 550D / T2i and EOS 60D before it, fills its screen in Live View or playback.

 
 

Like those models, the EOS 600D / T3i's screen also sports a slightly higher resolution of 1040k dots compared to the 920k of many cameras. While this may not sound like a big leap, the crucial difference is the entire vertical resolution can now be devoted to the image. When viewing 3:2 images on earlier 4:3 shaped / 920k screens, letterboxing meant the actual image only occupied a portion measuring 640 pixels wide by 427 pixels tall. Now on the EOS 600D / T3i, the full 720x480 pixel resolution of the screen can be used to display images, giving it almost 15% more detail in each axis. And while framing wider 16:9 HD video will still involve some letterboxing, the 3:2 shape is a better fit than previous 4:3 models, again with the image filling more of the screen.

In use, this actually makes a big difference. Previous VGA screens already looked very good, but having the image filling the screen without letterboxing makes for a much preferable composing and viewing experience. Indeed you wonder why it's taken so long for DSLR manufacturers to fit screens which match the shape of their sensors - we know 4:3 shaped screens are more commonly available, but that hasn't stopped Panasonic from fitting 3:2 shaped screens for some time now, albeit - ahem - on cameras with 4:3 shaped sensors.

The Canon screen itself is bright and crisp, but like most is not immune to the effects of bright sunlight. With the Sun shining directly on the screen, the image can be hard to see, and any smears or fingerprints become obtrusive. But the ability to twist the screen out to a different angle allows you to minimise the effect and keep the image visible.

Overall the quality of the panel along with the articulated mounting is a real highlight of the EOS 600D / T3i. The panel is the best we've seen on a DSLR and the uncompromised articulation, not hindered by the hinge position or a single axis design is genuinely useful. This is a major selling point of the EOS 600D / T3i over its predecessor and the competition.

Note the earlier EOS 550D / T2i employed proximity sensors below the viewfinder to automatically switch the screen off as you brought the camera to your face for composition, but these have been squeezed out to make room for the articulated screen mount. In their absence, you'll need to press the new DISP button on the camera's top surface to turn the screen on and off.

 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Live View

The EOS 600D / T3i is equipped with Live View facilities which allow you to compose with the main screen. The implementation is essentially the same as the EOS 550D / T2i before it, with a couple of minor alterations.

   
   

Entering Live View is the same as the EOS 550D / T2i: simply press a dedicated button to the side of the viewfinder and start composing a couple of seconds later. To autofocus, just half-press the shutter release.

Like the EOS 550D / T2i, the default AF mode in Live View on the EOS 600D / T3i is the contrast-based Live Mode option (see below), which again matches the defaults of its main rivals. While this remains the slowest of the Live View AF modes, the lack of noise and interruption to the image - not to mention optional support for face detection - makes it the most sensible choice, at least in a lower-end model.

Once you're in Live View, the EOS 600D / T3i delivers 100% coverage and exploits the full resolution of the screen, with a smooth refresh rate of 30fps. The effect of different apertures can be previewed by pressing the depth-of-field preview button below the lens release, and under most conditions the camera will temporarily brighten the screen to maintain a consistent image; if the subject's already quite dark though, the screen will become noisier during the preview.

     
     

Pressing the Info button cycles between four views: a clean image, one with basic shooting information at the bottom, one which adds additional information down the left side of the image, and finally one which places a live histogram in the upper right corner. The option of a live histogram is a key advantage Canon DSLRs have over most of Nikon's range; strangely Nikon continues to reserve a live histogram for its top-end pro models only.

   
   

The Info view which adds details to the left side of the image indicates the current settings for the Drive Mode, White Balance, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Quality, AF Mode and Picture Style in two columns. Like the EOS 550D / T2i before it, these can all be adjusted on-screen by pressing the Q button. This rearranges the icons in a single taller column (with the addition of flash control) and allows you to highlight the required detail using the rocker, before then turning the finger or thumb wheels to adjust it. Meanwhile the AF, Drive and White Balance cross keys along with the dedicated ISO button on the top fire-up dedicated menus for each.

Canon also offers the choice of two alignment grids in Live View, although like the 550D / T2i you'll still need to enable them in the Live View menu; while this means you can see a grid and histogram at the same time, we'd prefer it simply appeared as an option when cycling through the Display views. As you'd expect for a camera in its class, the EOS 600D / T3i also doesn't share the virtual horizon facilities of the higher-end EOS 60D and EOS 7D.

Looking at autofocus in more detail, the EOS 600D / T3i inherits the same three modes as the 550D / T2i: the default contrast-based Live Mode, followed by Live Mode with face detection and finally Quick Mode which uses the traditional phase-change AF system. As described above, all three are activated with an intuitive half-press of the shutter release.

With the EOS 600D / T3i set to its default Live Mode, a white rectangle is shown in the middle of the frame, which can be moved around using the cross-keys. Half-press the shutter release and the 600D / T3i will focus on whatever's in the frame using a contrast-based system. Like other DSLRs, contrast-based autofocus in Live View is relatively slow, but operates very quietly without the sound or interruption of the mirror flipping.

     
     

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Like earlier Canon models, Live Mode adjusts the lens roughly at first before slowing down to fine-tune the focus. At best this could take around two seconds, but it's not uncommon to find it taking as long as four. Beyond a lack of interruption, the technical benefit is taking a focus reading direct from the sensor's image, so Live mode doesn't suffer from the potential AF inaccuracies of a traditional phase-change system; this is of particular benefit since the EOS 600D / T3i lacks the AF micro-adjustment of higher-end models which allow you to calibrate lenses to minimise front and back focusing issues.

The EOS 600D / T3i's Live Mode with face detection (indicated by a smiley icon) uses the same contrast-based system as normal Live Mode, but if it recognises a human face, it'll frame it with a box and focus on that instead when you half-press the shutter release; if there's more than one face in the scene, you can use left and right cross keys to select the one to focus on.

As you might expect, the 600D / T3i's processor can recognise and track faces as quickly as a compact, but the actual focusing process itself remains the same speed as normal Live Mode - as such it can take several seconds. If you're lucky, the camera will lock on and confirm within a couple of seconds, but if it ends up being longer, it's easier to exit Live View and frame a portrait shot through the viewfinder instead. If you want quick contrast-based face detection you'll need to go for one of the mirrorless cameras like Panasonic's Lumix GH2.

Finally, the EOS 600D / T3i's third AF option, Quick Mode, employs the traditional 9-point phase-change AF system used when composing through the optical viewfinder. As such, the camera shows a graphical representation of the nine AF points on-screen in the same diamond configuration, with the active point(s) now illuminating green for consistency with the Live mode. An adjustable white frame remains in the middle for magnified focusing assistance - see below.

Like other phase-change AF modes in Live View, the camera needs to flip its mirror down to take a reading before flipping it back up again to continue the live feed. There's obviously some noise and an interruption to the image during this time, but it remains the quickest if the three AF modes in Live View - indeed, if the AF system locks onto the subject without a problem, the entire process can take less than a second.

At any time during the Live or Quick AF modes, you can press the magnify button to show a 5x view, then a 10x view. The 600D / T3i will zoom-in on wherever the white frame is positioned on screen, which can be moved before or during using the cross-keys. At 10x, the EOS 600D / T3i shows an area that's one tenth the width of the full image as you'd expect, but then scales this 518 pixel wide crop to fill the 720 pixel width of the monitor. So the 10x mode actually appears to be operating at greater than 1:1 magnification.

     
     

For purists it may be a little annoying not to have an exact pixel-mapped 1:1 viewing mode, but at 10x there's little evidence of scaling or fuzziness; indeed the image looks pin-sharp and allows you to confirm auto-focusing or make very precise manual focus adjustments.

Live View on the EOS 600D / T3i is also available at a higher resolution when the camera's connected to an HDTV using the HDMI port, or connected to a PC or Mac and using the supplied EOS Utility - see our Features page for more details on the latter.

Finally, while the EOS 600D / T3i doesn't inherit the Silent Shooting Live View options of the EOS 60D, it does gain its multiple aspect ratios: you can now shoot in 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 or 1:1 shapes, the last three involving a crop.

So all-in-all, there may only be minor changes to the Live View experience on the 600D / T3i over its predecessor, but you're still getting intuitive operation with a great-looking articulated screen and easy magnified focusing assistance. The main contrast-based AF system hasn't become any faster though and like most equivalent systems, you still can't continuously autofocus for tracking action. To be fair, Nikon's attempts at continuous AF during Live View and Movie Modes haven't exactly been all that useful either. If you want a big sensor camera which can quickly track moving subjects in Live View or Movie Modes, you'll really need to go for one of the EVIL models like Panasonic's Lumix GH2 or Sony's Alpha SLT-A33 / A55.

 

Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i shooting information and menus

Like its recent predecessors, the EOS 600D / T3i uses its main colour screen to display all shooting information and the high resolution allows the fonts to look very smooth. At first glance the details displayed look the same as the earlier 550D / T2i, but there's a couple of minor changes.

   
   

On the top row you'll now find the Shooting mode, followed by the shutter speed, aperture, ISO sensitivity and a D+ icon indicating whether Highlight Tone Priority is enabled or not. On the second row there's the exposure compensation scale in a +/-3EV range, and flash compensation value. Next down on the third row are the Picture Style, White Balance mode, icons for White Balance compensation, White Balance bracketing, Auto Lighting Optimiser and the built-in flash function setting. On the fourth row you'll find the AF, drive and metering modes, followed by the image quality, leaving a four-segment battery indicator and the shots remaining at the bottom. This lower strip also indicates the transmission status of an Eye-Fi card if present.

Also at the bottom, in the lower left corner is a box labelled Q, indicating that pressing the new Q button will activate the camera's Quick Control mode. Inherited from the EOS 550D / T2i, this allows you to move a highlighter over many of the options listed above, before then turning the finger dial to directly adjust it, or pressing SET to present a dedicated menu for that item.

It's similar in practice to other on-screen adjustment systems like those pioneered on Olympus DSLRs, and like its predecessor you can also choose from four different colour schemes. Sadly unlike the Nikon D5000 and the entire Sony Alpha range though, the new Canon still won't rotate its information to remain upright when you turn the camera. Note: in the absence of proximity detectors below the viewfinder (squeezed-out by the articulated screen), you'll need to press the new DISP button on the camera's top surface to turn the screen on and off.

     
     

The menus are essentially identical to the earlier 550D / T2i, exploiting the high resolution monitor and processing for smooth fonts, colourful icons and fading transitions between pages; it's a good-looking system. As before you can exclusively use the cross-keys for navigation, or use the finger dial to switch pages.

The number of pages and their content varies depending on the shooting mode, but in the 'Creative Zone' PASM modes there are four for Shooting, two for Playback, three for Setup and one for My menu; within Setup you'll find the Custom settings menu with the same 12 Functions as the 550D / T2i before it. Note to find the Movie Mode options, such as the recording quality, you'll first need to turn the Mode Dial to Movie; this switches round the menus, adding new pages dedicated to the video and audio capabilities; we'll detail these in the Movie mode section under the Features tab.

     
     

In playback mode, pressing the Disp button cycles between a clean image, one overlaid with basic information, followed by a thumbnail with extended shooting information and a brightness histogram, and finally a thumbnail with less shooting information, but both brightness and RGB histograms. You can also use the magnify buttons to zoom-in on an image or zoom out to display either four or nine thumbnail views. Images played on the sharp and bright screen look great.

If you're directly connected to a PictBridge-compatible printer, the 600D / T3i also allows you to perform a number of manipulations including trimming and fine rotation, along with manual Levels adjustments.


 
Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Battery and connectivity

The Canon EOS 600D / T3i is powered by the same LP-E8 Lithium Ion battery pack introduced on its predecessor. This has an 1120mAh rating and with essentially the same internal components, it's not surprising to find Canon quoting exactly the same battery life as the 550D / T2i: 440 under CIPA conditions with 50% flash usage, or 550 without. The number of shots understandably falls considerably when composing with the screen. If you exclusively use Live View (admittedly unlikely), each charge should be good for around 180 shots with 50% flash usage, or 200 without. Switch to movie mode and you should be able to film approximately 100 minutes worth of footage per charge. Either way if you regularly compose in Live View or shoot movies, you'll find your battery depleting sooner rather than later, so we'd definitely recommend carrying a spare.

Sadly there's still only four levels on the battery life indicator, compared to the accurate percentage remaining shown by Sony's Info Lithium models. If you require longer lifespan not to mention something more to hold onto, the optional BG-E8 battery grip (same as the 550D / T2i) can take two LP-E8 packs or six AA batteries, while providing portrait controls and grip. Alternatively if you prefer mains power, there's an optional ACK-E8 adapter.

 
 
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In terms of connectivity, there's now two flaps on the left side of the body, each covering two ports. The outer flap opens to reveal a socket for the optional RS-60E3 remote switch and a 3.5mm jack for external microphones; we tried the EOS 600D / T3i with both the Rode Stereo Video Microphone and VideoMic Pro with no problems.

Behind the inner flap, which is pressed right up against the screen hinge, you'll find the combined USB / TV output and a mini HDMI port which supports CEC for remote control with compatible TV sets.

Standard TV and USB cables are provided, and the latter can be used in conjunction with supplied software to remote trigger the camera, rendering the remote switch redundant - so long as you have a computer in close range of course. If you prefer wireless remote control, the optional RC-6 can trigger the shutter via infra-red.

An HDMI cable isn't supplied, but any standard model with a mini-jack at one end will work. Note while the 600D / T3i will deliver a great-looking high-resolution version of its Live View over HDMI, the output will be temporarily switched to a lower resolution (or disabled) while recording a movie. If you need to monitor the signal while filming though, the standard definition composite TV output remains active.

Like the models preceding it, the 600D / T3i unsurprisingly sticks with the SD memory card format, and as always you'll need to supply your own. There's support for large SDXC cards, and if you want to record HD movies, Canon recommends using a card rated as Class 6 or higher; we used a Lexar Professional 16GB SDHC 133x model in our tests which is rated as Class 10 and worked fine with all the movie modes. SanDisk's Extreme III cards are also rated as Class 10, so should be a great match for the 600D / T3i; note the cheaper Ultra II cards are only Class 4, so while fine for still photography on this camera, will be too slow to support the HD movie modes for longer recording times.

Now let's head-onto the Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i Features section where we'll detail the lenses, anti-shake, focusing, the sensor, image processing, continuous shooting, PC-based remote control, and of course the improved movie mode.


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