I was motivated to acquire a Canon EOS Rebel T3i when my buddy, a pro wedding and events shooter who lives down the street, began using one on assignments as a backup to his Canon EOS 7D and EOS 5D Mark II. My friend Jim is a fanatic about image quality so I thought I’d give it a try. The first things that impressed me about the EOS Rebel T3i was how compact and light it feels, and how comfortably it nestles in my (smallish) hands—nicely. I considered getting it with the standard kit lens, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II, which has a great reputation, built-inimage stabilization (IS), and focuses down to 9.8 inches, giving true macro capability. However, taking a cue from the pro, I opted for the longer-range Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, which is equivalent to a 24-136mm. I’m sure glad I did because this lens is phenomenally sharp, the wider wide-angle setting is great for shooting in tight spaces, and at 85mm it’s absolutely gorgeous for shooting frame-filling portraits.
The EOS Rebel T3i is definitely the best Digital Rebel ever. It’s easy enough for a beginner to use, and at the same time it’s all about image quality. With an 18MP sensor this shouldn’t be too surprising at ISO 100 or 200, but the performance of this little camera at ISO 3200 and 6400 in low light is absolutely astounding. Noise is remarkably low and detail and color are fantastic. I’m also a big fan of the 3-inch Clear View Vari-Angle LCD that makes it easy to shoot at low angles, over crowds or (by rotating it fully) self-portraits. I’m also impressed by its fast, accurate 9-point autofocus, a great advantage when you’re shooting sports or people, and the 63-zone metering system that nails the exposure practically every time. My buddy Jim jokingly calls his EOS Rebel T3i a “mini EOS 7D,” and he’s not too far off the mark. My next project: Shooting some video with my EOS Rebel T3i — heck this thing can even capture Full HD with manual exposure!