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Canon Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) Review

Canon EOS Rebel T3 Review (front)

Rebel T3 Summary Specs

Resolution: 12.2 Megapixels
Kit Lens: 3.00x zoom, 18-55mm, (29-88mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
LCD Size: 2.7 inch
ISO: 100-6400
Shutter: 30-1/4000
Max Aperture: 3.5
Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in., (129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm)
Weight: 17.4 oz (495 g) body only
MSRP: $600
Availability: 02/2011

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Canon EOS Rebel T3 Review (Front)Canon EOS Rebel T3 Review (back)


Canon released the Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) on February 2011 as their new entry-level DSLR.  This Rebel targets the photo enthusiast who is low on the budget but willing to spend for a good quality DSLR.  It took more than two years for the company to develop a new version of the EOS Rebel XS (1000D) which is the first released budget-friendly DSLR.  Canon probably made a lot of preparation to make the long wait worth it.

The Canon Rebel T3 have improved speed and image quality features with the 12.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 Image Processor.  It allows bright to dim light shooting with the ISO 100 to 6400.  And the impressive speed of the 9-point AF system and 63-zone metering gives great precision of photos and locks the subject in time for a great composition.

The body and weight of the Canon Rebel T3 did not change much from its predecessor.  It weighs 495g without the lens.  You can see that the buttons are made bigger as the company is highly concerned with the beginners when they developed this camera.  One of the biggest changes in the Rebel T3 is that it is the first Canon DSLR to have a memory card slot within the battery compartment.  This then gives way to better function buttons and sophisticated design.

The Canon Rebel T3 offers impressive video features with the EOS HD Movie recording and in-camera editing capabilities.  This camera certainly would excite beginners in both photography and video production.

And in order to help the beginners, the Canon Rebel T3 is equipped with a New Feature Guide that offers brief descriptions of every function and a Quick Control screen to make settings easy to operate.

Screen & Live View

The Canon Rebel T3 is built with a 2.7-inch screen of 4:3 aspect ratio that offers approximately 99% coverage at a 170° viewing angle.  This may seem to fall short from other cameras that offer wider screens but pretty much this Rebel offers the same good quality with a screen resolution of 230K dots.

The Canon Rebel T3 serves to display and adjust the camera settings just like its predecessors.  The Q button and cross-keys remained which functions to highlight options in adjusting settings for the Auto-Focus, drive mode, picture style, sensitivity and quality.  There are also other buttons designated to enter menus for the Auto-Focus mode, ISO, White Balance and drive mode.  And the Menu button offers ten tabs made easy especially for the beginners.

Along with the other cameras out in the market, the Canon Rebel T3 offers the same live view function that allows capturing still images and videos. The Auto-Focus and zoom-in options offered in Live View have also improved its performance in terms of quality and precision. This Rebel is equipped with exposure simulation but does not support silent shooting.

The Canon Rebel T3 may not offer the same sophistication as the higher-end DSLRs but it does portray the essentials to soothe the needs of a blooming bud in the industry.

Auto Focus, Exposures, Bracketing

The Canon Rebel T3 has an upgraded 9-point Auto-Focus system that has a single cross-type sensor in the middle.  And similar to other models the Auto-Focus point can be set either automatically or manually by the user.  This Rebel is set to offer the three common AF choices which are:

  • One Shot AF
  • AI Servo AF
  • AI Focus AF

With the automatic AF selection, the Canon Rebel T3 is capable of tracking down a subject and have it centered for great focus.  This is somehow similar to wearing an extra pair of eyes if you do not trust your eyesight when it comes to manual focusing.  The subject can be easily locked as long as it is within the nine Auto-Focus points.  If you are trying to focus on subjects that are moving on a fast pace then the AF mode can be set for your convenience.  The camera is easy to use that with enough practice, the user can develop skills on producing perfect images.  When you switch to live mode you will be able to enjoy the benefits of having an accurate contrast-based system, face detection and the Quick mode.

The Canon Rebel T3 has 63-zone SPC TTL metering that offers selectable modes such as:

  • Center-weighted average metering
  • Partial metering (10% of viewfinder at center), and
  • Evaluative metering (linkable to all Auto-Focus points)

For those familiar with metering modes in other DSLRs, you may notice that there is no provided Spot metering option.  But nevertheless, your compositions would still turnout great with the help of these features all set in the Canon Rebel T3.

ISO, White Balance

The Canon Rebel T3 offers ISO range 100 to 6,400 which is an improvement compared to its predecessor, the Rebel XS.  In Creative modes, it is possible to set the maximum ISO speed for the ISO Auto.  The Rebel T3 also offers a wider range of exposure compensation with +/-5.0EV.  This entry-level camera does offer enough features to produce a high-quality image with few easy clicks and enhanced tricks.

The ISO is sensitive enough to adjust on different shooting conditions.  The portrait mode can be fixed at ISO 100.  While the Auto ISO for flash photography is set as high as 800 but can be adjusted down to 100 to minimize the possibility of an overexposed image.  Although it would be best if you will be able to explore the ISO ranges to see for yourself different results and also handle the settings manually to maximize your learning experience.

The White Balance for the Canon Rebel T3 has the same choices offered among its predecessors.  It can still be set to automatic, custom and any among the six presets available for the appropriate conditions.

The White Balance correction tool would allow the appropriate adjustment of colors using the +/-9 step grid format.  These adjustments can be done by moving a highlighted square through the grid to adjust the color balance and the single square spreads to a cluster of three for bracketing.

If you want to learn more about White Balance, you may read this article that can offer some points in understanding White Balance.

In Camera Scenes or Settings

The Canon Rebel T3 offers the picture style options in the LCD menu same as the ones featured in previously released Canon DSLRs.  The picture style options include three User-defined settings.  These customized settings allow manual adjustment of any among the existing picture styles already available to be saved as a new customized picture style option.  The picture style options are listed below:

  • Standard
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Neutral
  • Faithful
  • Monochrome

As an inherited feature, the Rebel T3 has the Canon Auto Lightning Optimizer (ALO) function that allows the camera to adjust the image to expose its highlights without distorting the details.  The ALO function intervenes while the photos are taken so this means you will have more time capturing good quality images and deal with less technicalities.  The ALO settings can be found through the Record Menu 2.  This feature may be adapted from the Rebel XS but the Rebel T3 does the job better.  The ALO control seems to work better in the Canon Rebel T3 as it offers four different settings:

  • Off (disable)
  • Low
  • Standard (default)
  • Strong

The Canon Rebel T3 also includes Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) which works best at capturing images with great details.  This helps to bring out an impressive highlight of the details in your subject and this is done automatically for you. The HTP can be found under the Custom Function setting that will allow you to enable or disable it.

If you are shooting for subjects under low-light situations or those moving at high-speed, you might encounter issues with high ISO settings or long exposures producing noise in your composition.  A good thing is that the Canon Rebel T3 offers features that can minimize noise in the image.

There are two types of adjustable noise reduction made available with settings such as Off (default), Auto, and On.  And also also four levels of high ISO sensitivity noise reduction:

  • Disable (Off)
  • Low
  • Standard (default)
  • Strong

The high ISO sensitivity noise reduction is applied in all levels but not applicable on RAW files.

Drive Modes, Self-Timer & Remote Control Options

The Canon Rebel T3 offers five drive modes:

  • Single shooting
  • Continuous shooting
  • 10-second self-timer
  • 2-second self-timer
  • Continuous shooting after 10-second self timer (2 to 10 shots)

The continuous shooting speed of the Canon Rebel T3 has a maximum of 3.0 frames per second in JPEG formats and 2.0 frames per second in RAW.  The camera is capable of producing 730 shots in JPEG, 5 RAW and only 1 shot for a simultaneous capture in both formats mentioned.

The Canon Rebel T3 has three self-timer modes which give you the choice to mount the camera on a tripod or put it in a steady surface.  The 2-second and 10-second delay would be great in taking self-portraits and group photos where you would want to be included in the frame.

The Canon Rebel T3 only supports the tethered RS-60E3 Remote switch, thus, there is no separate drive mode for the Remote Control.  Canon equipped the Rebel T3 with the EOS Utility software which is also offered in other cameras for free.  This feature enables connecting the camera via the USB cable to a MAC or PC and allows remote control functions.  So you can focus/view images directly on your computer and also trigger the shutter via a click on your mouse.

This camera will be impressive for live coverage and event documentation.  Canon does offer great features for the user to enjoy the DSLR experience in a whole new level.

Lenses and Lens Options

The Canon Rebel T3 is compatible with EF and EF-S lenses.  But you may also want to check other brands that offer a wide variety of lenses also compatible for this Rebel:

Other Features

The most significant upgrade of the Canon Rebel T3 as compared to its predecessor may be its HD movie feature.  The new feature allows video recording in 720p that captures at either 25 or 30 frames per second in a 1280 x 720 frame.  But then there are no lower resolutions available.

Manual focusing is allowed on pre-recording or actual recording.  But it is better to adjust the focus before starting to record the video so that distractions within the frame may be prevented.  Well unless you intend to do a creative experiment with your video then focusing during the recording would not be problem.  Auto-Focus may still be available but it would be preferable to adjust the focus manually in video recordings.  The Autofocus option offers Quick mode, live mode and Face Detection Live Mode.

There is no external microphone input and manual control on exposure for this camera probably explained by the fact that it is priced as an entry-level DSLR.  The Canon Rebel T3 records audio using a built-in mono microphone.

The video is recorded in QuickTime MOV file format with a file size of approximately 222MB per minute.  A continuous recording can reach up to 17 minutes.  For two hours of uninterrupted video recording, a fully-charged battery and a SD card not lower than Class 6 will be required.

How it compares to similar cameras from other brands

The Canon Rebel T3 has been an upgraded version of the Canon Rebel XS (EOS 1000D) with improved features in image quality and HD capability.  As it caters mostly to beginners, it is a DSLR made easy-to-use and enough to satisfy the young creative minds.

In line with the data-entry level DSLR quality and price range, here are few DSLR models of other companies that you can compare to the Canon Rebel T3:


The Canon Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) gives a boost in the lineup of Rebels.  The price and features are enough to satisfy the needs of a beginner.  And the improved features give a great shooting experience that would not let any user be left out from the techie scene.   If you are planning to practice professionally then you may consider other camera models than buying the Canon Rebel T3.  It may have cool and fun features but high-end models still offers more great capabilities.

Canon was able to develop this budget DSLR that can perform efficiently in a way that will not be confusing for the new user.  Although the Canon Rebel T3i is already out in the market, this camera can still produce quality images not far from the latest.  The Canon Rebel T3 is an impressive gadget in one small package.

Click Here to Read More Customer Reviews of This Camera at Amazon.com

Preferred places to buy Canon Rebel T3

We recommend buying the Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR from Amazon.com

They are an authorized reseller of the major camera brands and offer free shipping on almost all their digital photography products.

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About Melivea Melgazo

My constant exuberance to traveling and fascination to nature are the reasons why I love photography. Not everyone has the same definition of beauty and that is how photography permits an individualized form of expression. I believe my forte is landscape photography.