Canon EOS T4i / 650D review - Quality

Quality

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D vs Nikon D3200 quality

 

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D and the Nikon D3200, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.The Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D was fitted with the EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens and the Nikon D3200 was fitted with the Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR kit lens.
Canon T4i / EOS 650D results
1Canon T4i / EOS 650D Quality
2Canon T4i / EOS 650D RAW
3Canon T4i / EOS 650D Noise
4Canon T4i / EOS 650D Multi-frame NR
5Canon T4i / EOS 650D Sample images

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority exposure mode, stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and tone enhancement and lens correction features were left on the default settings. On the T4i / 650D Auto lighting optimizer was set to standard, Peripheral illumination correction was on and Chromatic aberration correction was off. On the D3200 Active D-lighting was on. The ISO sensitivity was set manually on both cameras to 100 ISO.

The image above was taken with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D in Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f8 and the sensitivity set to 100 ISO. The T4i / 650D metered an exposure of 1/500 at f8 – compared with 1/400 at f8 on the D3200.

The Nikon D3200 has a six megapixel advantage over the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D so the image detail in these crops is appreciably larger, but I’m not sure the Nikon sensor and lens are actually resolving any more detail. Comparing the first set of crops the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D has a sharper, punchier, more consumer friendly look, but that’s largely down to Canon’s image processing style.

Despite the challenging weather conditions the lighthouse is cleanly reproduced by both cameras in the second crop, but the houses in the middle and foreground make for a more interesting comparison. Once again, the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D crop is more contrasty and the edge detail is a lot sharper. While much of this is undoubtely due to processing differences, I reckon the T4i / 650D sensor and lens are resolving just a little bit more detail than the D3200.

Moving onto the third crop from the edge of the frame the detail is again sharper and punchier in the Canon crop, but the new 18-135mm STM kit lens suffers quite badly from chromatic aberration at the edge of the frame even at f8. Thankfully, it’s not an issue as the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D now has chromatic aberration correction – just remember to turn it on as it’s switched off by default.

The final crop from the centre of the frame strengthens the case for the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D; again, the detail is crisp and punchy and it looks very much like the T4i / 650D has the edge in terms of resolving fine detail in this scene.

Check out my Canon T4i / EOS 650D RAW vs JPEG results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon T4i / EOS 650D Noise results.

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D
Nikon D3200
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Multi-frame NR

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D JPEG vs RAW

 

To compare real-life performance between RAW and JPEG files on the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D, I shot this scene in the camera’s RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode enabling me to compare images created from exactly the same data. The sensitivity was set to 100 ISO and the aperture to f8.

The JPEG was processed using the in-camera defaults, while the RAW file was processed using the supplied Canon Digital Photo Professional 3.11.30.0 software using the default settings. Once the T4i / 650D is supported in Adobe Camera RAW I’ll publish some more comparisons.

Canon T4i / EOS 650D results
1Canon T4i / EOS 650D Quality
2Canon T4i / EOS 650D RAW
3Canon T4i / EOS 650D Noise
4Canon T4i / EOS 650D Multi-frame NR
5Canon T4i / EOS 650D Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D with the 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens.The camera was set to Aperture priority exposure mode, stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and tone enhancement and lens correction features were left on the default settings, Auto lighting optimizer was set to standard, Peripheral illumination correction was on and Chromatic aberration correction was off.

The table below shows 100 percent crops from the in-camera JPEG file on the left and from the camera RAW file processed in DPP on the right. The in-camera JPEG measured 9.7MB and the JPEG processed from the RAW file 16.7MB using the default image quality setting of 10. I expect you could opt for a higher compression ratio, producing a smaller JPEG from the RAW file at around the same size as the in-camera JPEG, without any perceptible loss in quality.

The crops below look very similar, possibly the processed RAW crops look a fraction less contrasty than the in-camera JPEGs and they might also be a tiny bit noisier, but if there is a difference it’s so slight as to be negligible. The default settings in DPP apply Luminance and Chrominance noise reduction of 20, and Unsharp mask of 3, 7 and 2 respectively for Strength, Fineness, and Threshold, so there’s plenty of scope to tweak the results if you prefer something a little less punchy.

The same as for the in-camera JPEGs, Auto lighting optimizer and Peripheral illumination correction are applied by default, but Chromatic aberration correction isn’t, so the quite severe fringing in crop 3 can be dealt with very effectively either way – in the camera or by processing the RAW file. See my example on the intro page for the improvement this new feature makes. It’s certainly worth activating if you’re shooting on one of the JPEG image quality settings.

To find out how they compare at higher sensitivities see my Canon T4i / EOS 650D noise results.

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D in-camera JPEG
Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D RAW default processing
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

 


Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Multi-frame NR

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D multi-frame noise reduction

Canon T4i / EOS 650D results
1Canon T4i / EOS 650D Quality
2Canon T4i / EOS 650D RAW
3Canon T4i / EOS 650D Noise
4Canon T4i / EOS 650D Multi-frame NR
5Canon T4i / EOS 650D Sample images

To evaluate the multi-frame noise reduction capabilities of the Canon EOS T4i / 650D, I shot this scene first of all in Aperture Priority, then again in Multi-frame NR mode at each sensitivity.

The Rebel T4i / EOS 650D was fitted with the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens.

 

The above shot was taken with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D with the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. The camera was placed on a tripod. The default camera settings were used other than Auto Lighting Optimzer was disabled. Peripheral illumination correction was enabled, long exposure noise reduction was turned off and High ISO speed NR was set to Standard.

Canon has introduced a new feature on the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D called Multi shot noise reduction. This takes a fast sequence of four shots and combines them to produce a single low-noise image. The crucial thing with Multi shot noise reduction is that, unlike Handheld NightScene, the T4i / 650D’s other low-light stacking mode, Multi shot noise reduction allows you to manually set the ISO sensitivity.

The crops below show Multi shot noise reduction at each ISO setting compared with the single-shot equivalent. As you might expect, you don’t really begin to see any advantage from Multi shot noise reduction until 400 ISO, though the lower ISO crops certainly don’t look any worse than their single shot conterparts. From 400 ISO upwards, though, there’s a clear quality benefit, probably in the region of one to two stops, to be gained from using Multi shot noise reduction.

Now head over to my Rebel T4i / EOS 650D sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

 

Canon T4i / EOS 650D Aperture Priority
Canon T4i / EOS 650D Multi Frame Noise Reduction
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
25600 ISO
25600 ISO

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Multi-frame NR

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D vs Nikon D3200 noise

Canon T4i / EOS 650D results
1Canon T4i / EOS 650D Quality
2Canon T4i / EOS 650D RAW
3Canon T4i / EOS 650D Noise
4Canon T4i / EOS 650D Multi-frame NR
5Canon T4i / EOS 650D Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions , I shot this scene with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D and the Nikon D3200 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The Rebel T4i / EOS 650D was fitted with the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens and the D3200 with the Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. Both lenses were set to deliver the same field of view.

Aperture priority was used on both cameras and the aperture was set to f4. ISO sensitivity was set manually.

 

The above shot was taken with the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D with the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. The camera was placed on a tripod. The default camera settings were used other than Auto Lighting Optimizer was disabled. Peripheral illumination correction was enabled, long exposure noise reduction was turned off and High ISO speed NR was set to Standard.

In Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 the camera metered an exposure of 1/15 at 100 ISO. The original large fine JPEG file size was 5.39MB. The Nikon D3200 was adjusted by -1EV to produce an equivalent exposure. The crops below are taken from the area marked with a red square and presented here at 100%. The Nikon crops show a smaller area due to its higher resolution.

Though it shares the same resolution as its two predecessors as well as the EOS 60D and EOS 7D, the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D has a brand new sensor with on-board phase detect AF points. The detail is smaller than that produced by the 24 Megapixel sensor of the Nikon D3200, but with a lower pixel density you might expect better high ISO noise performace.

One of the things Canon has proven good at in the past is producing sensors that balance image quality and noise reduction in order to manage image degradation in a linear fashion. In other words, with each incremental increase in sensitivity the image quality gets worse by the same amount. This might sound obvious, but non-linear sensor performance and inconsistent and aggressive noise reduction very often results in a disproportionate drop at a particular ISO level. With the T4i / 650D there are no such problems though, and true to its past form Canon manages to keep the intrusion of noise to small equal increments at each ISO sensitivity.

The base 100 ISO crop is reasonably clean and you’d have to look very hard to find evidence of noisy pixels even at 100 percent. There are marginal increases at 200 and 400 ISO, but you have to get to 800 ISO before you can see widespread evidence of noise from casual observation of the crop. At 1600 ISO there’s an unmistakeable graininess to the flat cream colour of the wall and the text is beginning to suffer a little, but I think you could make a good quality full sized print from this image.

Even at 3200 you can still read the small text, it’s only at 6400 ISO that the noise is more predominant than actual image data. With a useable range of 100 to 3200 ISO and three more stops of sensitivity in hand for emergencies, the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D’s 18 Megapixel sensor is a very capable low light performer. It has some additional low light features which I’ll take a look at shortly, first, how does it compare with the 24 Megapixel sensor of the Nikon D3200?

Even at -1EV, the D3200 crops look a little brighter than those from the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D which makes noise in the quarter to mid-tone range a little more visible. There isn’t a large margin in it, but i think the D3200 base ISO crop is noisier than the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D’s. Moving up the ISO range that difference is maintained, but it doesn’t grow appreciably and although the 800 ISO D3200 crop looks appreciably noisier, at 1600 ISO the gap closes again.

To sum up, I’d say that the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D has a small advantage in noise performance right through the ISO range, but that gap is more likely to be of significance at the lower ISO settings. Interestingly, that’s much the same conclusion I drew when I compared the D3200 with the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D.

That’s not the whole story as far as high ISO performance is concerned, though, as Canon has introduced a new feature on the Rebel T4i / EOS 650D called Multi shot noise reduction. This takes a fast sequence of four shots and combines them to produce a single low-noise image. The crucial thing with Multi shot noise reduction is that, unlike Handheld NightScene, the T4i / 650D’s other low-light stacking mode, Multi shot noise reduction allows you to manually set the ISO sensitivity. For reference, the final crop in the table below shows Handheld NightScene mode at 500 ISO, clearly an improvement on the 400 ISO crop. To see how the new composite mode stacks up, check out my Canon EOS T4i / 650D multi-frame NR results. Alternatively head over to my Canon T4i / EOS 650D sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

 

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D
Nikon D3200
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
25600 ISO
25600 ISO Not available
Handheld NightScene 500 ISO
Not available

Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Multi-frame NR
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