The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650Dis the most recent iteration of Canon’s consumer level Rebel series of DSLR cameras. It has been highly anticipated due to the incredible success of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i / Canon 600D. The T4i was released on June 8th, 2012.
The Canon EOS Rebel T4i is an excellent DSLR camera. It is packed with a wide array of features wrapped into a relatively small form factor. The T4i is the perfect option for anyone from those interested in taking excellent quality photographs to anyone interested in learning more advanced photographic techniques. While the T3i (600D) wasn’t a major upgrade from the T2i (550D), the T4i breaks this trend. A slew of new features make the T4i an excellent buy and well worth the extra money over the previous Rebel models. The new model adds touchscreen controls, a stereo microphone, a new image processor and most notably: continuous autofocus in video.
Appearance and Ergonomics
The T4i’s design is nearly identical to all of the previous Rebel DSLR bodies. With the kit lens or a smaller lens attached, the camera is balanced nicely. If you attach some more expensive glass to the front, the camera begins to feel front heavy. This can be countered by attaching a battery grip, which adds a little bit of weight to the body. When combined with the new 40mm pancake lens, this combo becomes one of the smallest DSLR packages available. The small size is great for being inconspicuous for some street photography, or bringing the camera along in a small bag. The T4i’s ergonomics are excellent and the camera fits perfectly in your hands. The photographer has complete access to all available camera functions. As would be expected, the Canon EOS Rebel T4i has most of the usual phycial control buttons. In fact, only a few notable external differences can be seen between the T3i and the T4i. These differences include changes to the ISO button and the power switch. The T3i had a Display and ISO button on top of the camera between the mode dial and the shutter button. As can be seen below, the T4i no longer has the Display button and has moved the ISO button towards the center of the camera. Having used the T3i extensivly, I think this is an excellent improvement. Often while trying to adjust the ISO while looking through the viewfinder, I would accidentally push the Display button. The other important physical change can also be seen in the image below. The T3i’s power button simply included the On and Off settings. For the T4i, they have added quick access to the movie mode setting. This is an enormous improvement over the T3i, where the video mode was at the far end of the mode dial. It was an incredible pain to spin the dial all the way around just to access the movie mode.
In addition to very similar external controls, the T4i has the same 1 million dot resolution articulating screen. The one major difference here is the T4i’s screen has an extra feature: the touchscreen.
With the release of the T4i, Canon has decided to be the first to release a DSLR with a touchscreen interface. Anyone who owns (or has used) a smartphone from the last few years is familiar with a capacitive touchscreen similar to the one found in the T4i. This will make adapting to the T4i’s touch user interface a breeze for most users. Canon has implemented touch functionality in multiple aspects. First, the touchscreen is excellent during image review. While viewing images on the LCD screen, users are able to quickly swipe to scroll between the photos. Additionally, to view the pictures with more detail, the touchscreen has the pinch to zoom that is much easier to use than the physical zoom buttons on previous DSLR bodies. Next, the touch capabilities are useful in live view shooting. Instead of scrolling the little focus box around with the camera’s arrows, you can now simply touch the area you wish to focus on. While this wasn’t perfect in my tests, it’s a nice feature for someone who is learning how focusing on different aspects of a photo can change the composition. Finally, the last area where the touchscreen is useful is in setting selection. The menus in the previous Rebel cameras were satisfactory. Canon has improved on this for anyone who struggled with menu navigation. The ability to touch the variety of controls available in the T4i will only decrease the learning curve for those new to DSLRs.
Another improvement over the T3i is the build in stereo microphone. Although the stereo microphone still won’t provide stellar audio performance, the stereo microphone should improve the in camera audio quality slightly. If you are really interested in high quality audio, the T4i still has an external 3.5 inch microphone jack to allow you to connect an external microphone to the camera.
New Image Processor
The next excellent improvement in the T4i is the DIGIC 5 image processor found under the hood. Introduced last year in Canon’s higher level DSLRs, the new processor improves the maximum frames per second (fps) from 3.7 in the T3i to the much improved 5 fps in the T4i (650D) . Additionally, the processor will improve a number of other functions of the camera including the high ISO noise reduction, overall responsiveness of the camera and automatic white balance accuracy. The new image processor will also provide a few new features including multishot noise-reduction, night scene and HDR backlight mode. Additionally, the Video Snapshot feature has been inherited from Canon’s camcorders and PowerShot cameras. This allows you to shoot quick video clips of 2, 4 or 8 seconds. Although I’ve had camera’s with this feature, I had never used it or known exactly what it was. Upon investigation, the Video Snapshot mode is a very interesting concept. To provide some background, movies are shot with very short clips edited together. This function forces you to record short clips and plays them back as a continuous movie (you even have the ability to add a soundtrack!). Essentially, the Video Snapshot allows you to create a fun movie project without any out of camera editing.
Continuous Autofocus in Video
The headline feature of the new Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D is it’s ability to continuously autofocus during video capture. High quality video capture with DSLR cameras has been availiable for many years, however for the average person, the process was over complicated and too technical. Prior to the T4i, excellent video required manually focusing the camera. While this is common among professional videographers, the average person isn’t interested in manually focusing. When an important event is happening in your child’s life, the average parent would love to be able to take great photographs and in an instant, switch over and take stunning video of that special moment. The Rebel T4i has brought this dream to a reality. The T4i is able to shoot HD video while keeping the scene in focus without adjusting any settings. All you need to do is point and shoot. Canon’s new autofocus system relies on a a new hybrid CMOS sensor. The hybrid system includes two types of autofocus sensors. The first is a contrast autofocus sensor. This is the same type of autofocus found in camcorders and other high quality video devices. The second autofocus system is the traditional phase detection autofocus found in most previous DSLRs. It makes perfect sense for this feature to be availiable in the Rebel level cameras. These cameras are aimed at the average consumer. Being able to flick a single switch on top of the camera and instantly start recording video is an excellent feature.
New STM Lenses
To accompany the new continuous autofocus system, canon released a pair of new lenses with a new-to-DSLR autofocus motor. Designated STM or “stepping motor,” the mode of focusing the lens is much more fluid than either the traditional micromotor or Canon’s ultrasonic motor (USM). The STM lenses focus speed isn’t quite as fast as lenses equipped with USM, however for video capture, this is a positive. If you have ever used a USM lens before, you know that the incredible rate at which the camera adjusts focus is almost unnaturally fast. The stepping motor is much closer to how the human eye itself focuses. In addition to being quick and fluid, the STM lenses are designed to be silent. This mostly eliminates the problem with the noisy autofocus during video achieved with previous autofocus systems. The two new lenses released by Canon along with the T4i include the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM kit lens and the fun, tiny new EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens. It’s veryimportant to note that in order to take full advantage of the contrast detection autofocus, an STM lens must be used. If you purchase the T4i with the 18-55mm kit lens, the continuous autofocus during video will be essentially useless. The stepping motor system is a derivative of the autofocus used in Canon’s professional grade camcorders.
Camera Sensor and ISO Performance
The Canon T4i / 650D keeps the same 18 megapixels as its last two predecessors, but don’t let this fool you. The T4i boasts a all new sensor. Beyond the aspects of the sensor that allow the new, hybrid continuous autofocus in video, the low light performance has been improved by one stop. The maximum ISO on the T4i is now 12,800 as opposed to the maximum ISO of 6400 on the T3i. This will assist with shooting in very dark scenes.
The Canon T4i is a quite easy camera to use. Everyone from a first time DSLR user to a seasoned pro should be able to pick up this camera and control it with almost no practice. The camera has a number of automatic and scene modes that will be easily recognized by anyone who has ever used a point and shoot camera. Additionally, modes such as Program (P), Shutter Priority (Time Variation; TV), Aperture Priority (Aperture Variation; Av), and Manual (M) modes are all available for further creative freedom. In addition to the inherent ease of use, the touchscreen should make the usability much better.
Another addition include an updated autofocus system for shooting still photographs. The T4i improves on the T3i’s 9 autofocus points making all nine cross type points. This makes each focus point more sensitive and will improve autofocus speed.
An obvious factor invoved in looking at camera bodies is the price and how it compares to other similar cameras. The release of the T4i will obviously impact other similarly priced DSLR bodies in Canon’s lineup. The Rebel T3i’s price should decrease. Also, the Canon EOS 60D now offers very few advantages over the T4i, and it’s price may also decrease.
- The T4i Body alone retails at $849.00. The current lowest price we can find is a great price.
- The T4i with the versitile 18-135mm IS STM lens retails for 1199.99. The lowest price we can find is a great price.
- The T4i with the kit 18-55mm IS II lens retails for 949.99. The lowest price we can find is a great price
- Finally, another great package that I personally recommend is the T4i body with the all new 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens, which costs only $179.00.
Conclusion: The Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Interested in making the jump from a point and shoot camera to a more customizable, advanced photography experience? The T4i is sure to meet your needs. Not interested in adjusting the settings but want great photographs? The T4i will deliver for you as well.
|Sensor Size||22.3mm x 14.9mm|
|Pixels||5184 x 3456|
|Viewfinder||Eye-Level fixed pentamirror SLR|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/4000 second|
|Slowest Shutter Speed||30 second|
|Flash Sync Speed||Up to 1/200 sec|
|Continuous Shooting||5 fps|
|Highest ISO||12800( H – 25600)|
|Video / Live View Autofocus||Hybrid CMOS AF focusing (+ tracking, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single)|
|Video Resolution||1080p (24, 25, 30 fps), 720p (50, 60 fps)|
|Microphone (built in)||Stereo|
|Audio Input||3.5mm stereo|
|Monitor Size||3.0 in|
|Monitor Resolution||1,040,000 Dots|
|Battery Life||550 Shots|
|Dimensions||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in (133.1 x 99.8 x78.8 mm)|
|Camera Body Weight||18.3oz (520g)|
*all cross type at f/5.6, center af point is diagonal cross type at f/2.8
Our coverage leading up to the release of the Canon T4i has been archived and all the pre-release rumors can be found here.