Canon T4i Digital Camera Review$1,199.00
The Canon EOS Rebel T4i is a very solid mid-level DSLR. If that sounds like faint praise, it should. This is not a camera that inspires strong feelings in either direction. It’s a competent, incremental upgrade to a well-received ancestor. It gets the job done. It’s not the best at many things, but it’s not the worst, either. It rests comfortably in its class. Still, that’s not to say it doesn’t have a couple standout features.
The new capacitive touchscreen is one of the T4i’s few claims to “best” status. It’s a surprisingly fluid and intuitive implementation during both shooting (tapping to focus and shoot) and image review (swiping between photos and pinching to zoom). Autofocus in live view is another major improvement. Canon’s “hybrid” live view AF system, which cleverly combines phase-detect AF pixels on the imaging sensor with a traditional contrast-detect system, results in much quicker and more accurate focusing across the board. Also notable is the absolutely silent autofocus action provided by the company’s new STM lenses.
Beyond the silent focusing and touchscreen focusing, there’s also another huge improvement to the T4i’s HD video mode: continuous autofocus. While we’ve typically found this to be a useless feature on other DSLRs, Canon has done well here. It’s reasonably quick, smooth, and error-free (in good light), and should please the many users who have been clamoring for it.
While the T4i’s sensor is a subtle variation on the same 18-megapixel unit found in both the T2i and T3i, the image processing unit has been upgraded to the new DIGIC 5 model. The overall image quality hasn’t changed much; it’s still middle of the road for a camera in this price range. The new processor does produce some tangible improvements, though. The camera has a slightly higher maximum ISO setting, claims faster continuous shooting, and crams in a few new processing-related options, such as the in-camera HDR mode and multi-shot noise reduction.
On the handling front, Canon’s Rebel-series cameras have always been notoriously easy for beginners to pick up and use, and the T4i is no exception. While it offers a number of advanced features, the controls are simple enough that newbies won’t have any trouble finding their way around. A few buttons are awkwardly placed (we didn’t love the location of the review button, for instance), but generally speaking they’re logically laid out and convenient to the shooting hand. The flip-out capacitive LCD is a great addition, and the improved 18-135mm STM lens provides a very convenient focal range for everyday shooting.
In the future, we’d like to see Canon rest on its laurels a little less. It could stand to get a bit more serious about image quality—that 18-megapixel unit is getting a bit long in the tooth—and generally speaking we’d love to see an exciting new product rather than another incremental upgrade. The Rebel T4i is a fine camera for its target market; it checks all the major boxes and even tosses in a few class-leading features to sweeten the deal. But it’s not exciting, and it’s not new. It just is.