The camera which I use at the moment for all of my photography is a Canon 600D.
Also known as a Canon T3i if you live in America.
Don’t know why Canon does that, they may just like to confuse us?
So what do I think of it?
I’m not going to do a technical review because there are so many fantastic ones out there. But I will tell you what I think sometimes is missing from those reviews…. not examples of what it can do, but what is it really like to use it? And take photos with it? Which I think can be just as helpful…
The Canon 600D/T3i is one of Canon’s entry level DSLR’s (at the top end). And there’s a good reason why it’s so popular – because I think it’s a great camera for beginners. It’s easy to use, but still has some great features to push you onwards and to let you be creative with your photography, like exposure compensation and auto bracketing.
It feels nice in the hand, I’m 5 foot soaking wet and do not have the largest hands in the world! But it’s nice for me to hold, the grip is textured so I don’t feel like I could drop it easily. And it’s nice and chunky so that gives you something to hold onto. Buttons are easy to reach and nicely placed, so I can move around the menus and change the settings without needing to look at it all the time. That’s important because I do use the menus a lot.
The 600D has an articulated screen, it wasn’t a feature that sold the camera to me but I was really surprised how much I actually use it. It flips out and can be angled which is great if I’m shooting down low or over peoples heads (at 5 foot that happens a lot!). But it can also flip all the way around so I can take selfies!
More importantly though……. it can be turned all the way around and closed against the back of the camera (see photo). Why do I like that you may ask? Well first off it’s a great way of protecting the screen! If I’m walking around all day with the camera around my neck, then there’s lots of chances for it to rub or knock against my clothes…. I’m talking zips! So I can turn it around if I’m not using it for a while and forget about it….
I shoot about 80% of the time in Aperture priority mode, about 15% in Shutter Priority mode and 5% in Manual mode (think that makes 100 :)). One of the things about the 600d and similar cameras that I think is really good for beginners is the modes that they have. It looks very similar to point and shoot modes. So when you make the move up to DSLR’s then you’re not completely lost. It looks familiar. So there’s auto mode and the scene modes like landscape, portrait, macro. And then for when you want something more, you have full manual controls like aperture, shutter, program and manual modes. So you can grow with your camera!
I like shooting with the 600d. You can use the viewfinder or the live view mode to shoot with. The viewfinder is bright and it’s easy to see the autofocus points, and the other information that’s displayed like exposure. There’s a button on the back of the camera that puts it into live view mode. It basically turns the LCD screen on the back of the camera into the viewfinder. Again this is useful if the camera is down low or up high when it’s obviously more difficult to look in the viewfinder. I’ve used it a fair bit and it has helped me out. But the only thing I’d say is it can be a bit slow to focus, a fair bit slower than the viewfinder. So I wouldn’t use it for any fast action stuff.
I also shoot a lot on a tripod, for food photography, 360 panoramas and HDR photography. Due to the 600d being a fairly light DSLR it’s very stable on the tripod. Even on light/cheaper ones.
A nice fun feature that takes me back to point and shoot days again… they can be applied in-camera which is nice if you want a bit of quick creative fun! It has Toy Camera, Miniature, Grainy Black & White and Fisheye filters. I think my favourite is the miniature filter 🙂
Now this is picky! But after a day walking around with it either round my neck or in my bag, then it does start to get a little heavy…… But I am being picky. Because that’s not really an issue with this camera because it is by no means a heavy DSLR! It’s more an issue with DSLR’s in general. And basically I’m a big girl!!!
Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of the Canon 600D:
great for beginners.
flippy out screen is very good.
full of features.
not the newest model.
gets a little heavy by the end of the day.
not that many auto focus points.
slow auto focus in live view mode.
It’s not the latest model from Canon, that crown goes to the Canon 700D/T5i. It has some nice enhancements over the Canon 600D (which you would expect!) and is a good step up. But I don’t feel the need to go out and buy it. I really enjoy shooting with the 600D, and more importantly I like the results that I get with it! If I had anything shiny and black on my wish list, it would be a new lens to go with my 600D 🙂 (but that’s a whole other post!).
This is a sample of what you can do with a Canon 600D, if I went through it all I’d be writing a book! But I hope it gives a snapshot of what it is like to use. And help you make a decision to whether it is the right camera for you.
Below are some sample images I’ve shot with the 600d. I’ll add to these over time…