If you want rapid-fire bursts, the T3 may not be for you. It tops out at 3 frames per second for JPEGs—sluggish even for this class—up to card capacity. The rate slows to 2 fps for up to 5 RAW images, or 0.8 fps for one RAW + JPEG shot. Burst performance is almost always best when capturing JPEGs alone, since these smaller files write faster to a memory card. Competition? The Pentax K-r, at 6 fps, is much quicker, but tops out at 25 JPEGs or 12 RAW. So while the K-r rules for RAW shooters, if you want longer bursts, the T3’s nearly unlimited JPEGs might serve you better. While we would’ve liked a faster burst speed, for the shooters this camera is aimed at, the T3’s speedy AF will be more of a boon.
It would’ve been nice for Canon to have included full HD video capture as it does in all its other DSLRs, although for casual video capture, 720p should be fine for most users. We also wish that Canon made the custom-functions menu more prominent, as on its higher-end models. Again, entry-level DSLR users may be less prone to customizing their cameras, but that’s no reason to make the custom functions harder to find.
The Rebel T3 is a very attractively priced entry-level DSLR that provides solid performance and value. Its resolving power, low noise, relatively speedy AF, and well-designed controls should help ease novice shooters into the world of DSLRs.
Indeed, the T3’s strengths make the case for DSLR performance over the convenience of an ILC’s smaller size. While its image quality comes close to some of the ILCs on the market, its autofocus still beats the systems found in ILCs once the lights get dim, as is often the case indoors. Its optical viewfinder, while not the best of its kind, is still a more pleasing experience than the EVFs that ILCs use. Finally, the wide array of lenses available from Canon and from third-party lensmakers far outstrips what is currently available for any ILC.
Taking all of these factors into account, we can say without hesitation that the Canon EOS Rebel T3 is a DSLR bargain and a worthy introduction to a full camera system.
Imaging: 12.2MP effective, APS-C-sized, CMOS sensor captures images at 4272x2848 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW mode.
Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC. Stores JPEG, CR2 RAW, or RAW + JPEG files. Video: Records up to 1280x720 pixels at 30p fps in MPEG-4 H.264 format with variable average bit rate; built-in monaural microphone; no microphone input; AF same as live view shooting.
Burst rate: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode), up to card capacity at 3 fps; RAW, up to 5 shots at 2 fps (14-bit); RAW (14-bit) + JPEG, up to 1 shot at 0.8 fps.
AF system: TTL phase detection with 9 illuminated focus points (all cross-type with single dual-cross at center); single-shot, predictive AI Focus tracking; tested sensitivity down to EV –2 (at ISO 100, f/1.4), although Canon rates sensitivity to EV 0.
Live view: Full-time contrast detection or single-shot phase detection AF with mirror interrupting view momentarily.
Shutter speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments); shutter life not rated.
Metering: TTL metering using 63-zone evaluative, centerweighted, and partial (approx. 10% of finder at center); range, 1 to 20 EV (at ISO 100).
ISO range: ISO 100–6400 (in 1-EV increments).
Flash: Built-in pop-up with TTL autoflash GN 30 (ISO 100, feet), covers 17mm lens. viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentamirror.
LCD: 2.7-in. TFT with 230,000-dot resolution.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI video.
Battery: Rechargeable LP-E10 Li-ion; CIPA rating, 700 shots with optical viewfinder, 220 shots with LCD screen in live view still shooting, approximately 110 min. for video.
Size/weight: 5.1x3.9x3.1 in., 1.10 lb with a card and battery.
Street price: $600 with EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS II zoom lens.
Viewfinder: Accuracy, 95% (Excellent); Magnification, 0.80X (Very Good).