Canon T4i Digital Camera Review$1,199.00
Typical for the series, the T4i handles almost identically to its predecessors, particularly the T3i. We do wish the grip were just a little deeper, but it's certainly not uncomfortable per se, even for those of us with larger mitts. The upper right rear corner has a nice thumb rest that helps secure your grip—a flourish we always appreciate. The articulating LCD is essentially a twin to the T3i's, with the addition of a touch panel. It flips out to the left, then rotates up to 270 degrees, which is incredibly useful for live view shooting or recording video. The touchscreen is a fantastic addition when paired with video shooting, allowing you to select your focus point on the fly, by touch.
Button placement is generally very good, though those who take issue with the usual Canon way of doing things will probably be annoyed by the top-mounted (rather than front-facing) control dial, the two-button playback zoom setup, and perhaps the odd position of the playback mode button. The buttons themselves vary in quality; the rounded half-sphere buttons along the upper edge feel quite nice, while the four-way control pad and the buttons surrounding it feel a bit cheap and plasticky. All of them provide nice tactile feedback when pressed, however.
The largely plastic body construction is expected from a Rebel-series dSLR, and while it doesn't feel as sturdy as a magnesium body like the 7D, it's also quite a bit lighter and cheaper. For everyday shooting in friendly weather conditions, we'll wager that most users will appreciate the tradeoff.
Buttons & Dials
If you liked the T3i's button configuration you'll probably be very pleased to hear that very little has changed with the new model. As before, the controls are primarily arrayed above and to the right of the articulating LCD, with a Rebel-standard four-way control cluster surrounding the OK button, playback and trash buttons below that, and exposure compensation and Q menu buttons above. Along the upper edge, the live view toggle is to the right of the viewfinder, while the Menu and Info buttons are to the left. At the upper right corner are the playback zoom controls.
The only layout changes are found on the top plate, where the old Disp button has disappeared (thanks to the addition of the viewfinder eye sensor), and a dedicated video position has been added to the on/off switch (previously it was an option on the already stuffed mode dial).
The buttons themselves are generally pleasant to use, though the flat-faced ones clustered to the right of the screen have a slightly cheap and loose feel; it's really the only thing that makes you question the durability of the camera.
Just like the T3i, the newest Rebel has a 3-inch tilt-and-swivel LCD packing in 1,040,000 dots. Unlike previous models, however, this one is a touchscreen—and a capacitive touchscreen at that. It's the first such screen ever used on a digital SLR (though they're somewhat commonplace on mirrorless models). "Capacitive" means that it behaves much like the typical smartphone screen—you don't need to press hard to get the screen to respond, but it needs electrostatic contact to function. This means that photographers who like to wear gloves in the winter months won't be able to utilize it without risking some frostbite. In our opinion, though, the benefits of a capacitive screen far outweigh the downsides.
Using the touchscreen on the T4i is a very enjoyable experience, which surprised us since we're not typically huge fans of touchscreens on cameras. The screen can be used to select just about any shooting option via the handy Q menu, tap to focus, tap to shoot, swipe between photos in playback, and pinch to zoom in or out. If you really don't like to touch your screen, there's an option in the "C" menu to turn off touchscreen functionality entirely.
The screen itself is bright and clear, though glare can be something of a problem in harsh sunlight. Brightness can be adjusted on a scale of 1 to 7, with 4 being the default. Helpfully, the camera gives you a thumbnail preview of your last saved shot as you're adjusting screen brightness, so you can see just how it affects your images.
The T4i's optical viewfinder is reasonably bright and clear, though it's a good deal smaller and dimmer than those found in some competitors, like the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-30. It covers about 95% of the actual recorded image, meaning some things you can't see will be recorded at the extreme edges of the frame. Still, it's one of the best in its price range, and Canon certainly could have done worse.
Inside the viewfinder you get the customary informational readout along the bottom edge, which gives you all the info you could possibly want while shooting. Nine boxes representing the autofocus system's nine points are overlaid on the viewfinder display, and the selected AF point(s) light up as the camera focuses.
One particularly welcome addition here is an eye sensor perched just above the finder itself. This sensor automatically disables the rear status display and blanks the LCD when you bring the camera to your eye. This is especially nice when shooting in dark places, since the light from the rear LCD would be distracting otherwise. Present on the T2i and removed on the T3i, the eye sensor makes its triumphant return here.