In the Field
Given the vast similarity to the body design of the T3i, it is enough to say that the T4i is equally impressive and just as much a pleasure to use. Many settings have dedicated buttons, and those that don’t are easily changed via the quick menu.
Video shooters will appreciate that the camera now has a built-in stereo microphone as well as a stereo minijack input for an external mic. Furthermore, video footage was on par with the very pleasing footage we have come to expect from DSLRs.
Sports shooters will appreciate the increase in burst rate to a solid 5 fps in the T4i—generally our minimum threshold for sports shooting—from the T3i’s 3.7 fps. Sadly for RAW shooters, the buffer can hold up to only 6 RAW shots or 3 RAW+JPEG shots per burst. So if you’re planning to shoot continuously, it’s best to use a UHS-I-compatible card and capture up to 30 JPEGs per burst. If your card is not UHS-I-compatible, then you can expect up to only 22 JPEGs per burst.
The Bottom Line
Canon continues to make the top of its Rebel line just what it needs to be. As video has been the main theme in DSLRs this year, the new, more robust AF system is a welcome addition, as is the stereo microphone.
At the same time, Canon has maintained the AF performance we’ve come to enjoy up to this point. It’s also kept the resolution and color accuracy on par with, or above, previous Rebels. The resolution doesn’t keep up with Nikon’s 24MP class-leading D3200 and we wouldn’t expect it to. But the T4i’s resolving power is more than enough for still shooters in this range. Furthermore, the D3200 focuses slower and reaches Unacceptbale noise levels by ISO 3200—that's two stops in Canon's favor.
Both Canon and Nikon have more lenses and accessories available in their systems, and through third parties, than any ILC system can offer at this point. For high-level, low-cost shooting, the Rebel line still offers some of the best bets in imaging, and the T4i tops that list.
Imaging: 18.0MP effective, APS-C--format CMOS sensor captures images at 5184x3456 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW mode.
Storage: SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Stores JPEG, CR2 RAW, or RAW+JPEG files.
Video: Records up to 1920x1080p pixels at 30 or 24 fps in MOV H.264 format; built-in stereo microphone; stereo microphone input with adjustable sound levels; continuous AF available; approx. 22-min maximum clip size at highest quality.
Burst rate: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode), up to 30 shots at 5 fps; RAW, up to 6 shots at 5 fps; RAW+JPEG, up to 3 shots at 5 fps; using UHS-I SDHC card.
AF system: TTL phase-detection with 9 illuminated focus points (all cross-type); single-shot, Predictive AI Servo tracking, AI Focus; Movie Servo; tested sensitivity down to EV –2 (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
Live view: Full-time hybrid contrast/phase detection; face detection and subject tracking available.
Shutter speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3- or 1/2-EV increments); shutter life not rated; flash sync to 1/200 second.
Metering: TTL metering using 63-zone system; evaluative, partial (approx. 9% of finder at center), centerweighted, and spot (approx. 4% of finder at center); range, 1–20 EV (at ISO 100).
ISO range: ISO 100–12,800 (in 1- EV steps), expandable to ISO 100–25,600.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentamirror.
LCD: Fixed 3-in. TFT with 1,040,000-dot resolution, 7-step brightness adjustment.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, mini-HDMI video, and composite video.
Battery: Rechargeable LP-E8 Li-ion; CIPA rating, 550 shots with optical viewfinder.
Size/weight: 5.2x3.9x3.1 in., 1.3 lb with a card and battery.
Street price: $849, body only; $900 with EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS II zoom lens; $1,200 with EF-S 18–35mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM zoom lens.