Canon T4i Digital Camera Review$1,199.00
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
The T4i is something of a compromise between the typical entry-level DSLR and a more advanced "enthusiast" model. As such, it's stocked with a full Auto mode, as well as a number of scene modes that allow users new to DSLRs to adjust settings in a user-friendly way. For example, set the dial mode to the "CA" setting and the Q menu allows you to adjust the amount of "Background blur" on a sliding scale. Experienced users know that background blur is determined by the aperture of the lens, and indeed that's all this slider controls, but a sliding scale is much less intimidating to a novice than seemingly arbitrary numbers.
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.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
There are several typical scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sports, and Night Portrait. Also present are oddities like "Handheld Night Scene," which combines four exposures to ensure a blur-free image, and "HDR Backlight Control," which is simply a HDR mode much like those found on competing models.
Additionally, there are a number of picture filters available through the T4i’s playback menu. These will take a photo on the memory card and apply either a grainy B/W effect, soft focus blur, fish-eye distortion, an "art bold" effect that drastically increases contrast, watercolor effects, a toy camera-style vignetting, or selective blurring to make an object appear smaller. When these filters are applied a new image is created, preserving the original.
The T4i's menus are Canon standard issue. They're divided into tabs and grouped by icon and color; for instance, the primary shooting options menu takes up three red tabs (when in the PASM modes), represented by an icon showing the front of a camera. The other menu categories include playback (blue rear-of-camera icon), setup (yellow wrench), and the familiar Canon "My Menu" (green star). You can page through tabs using the left and right buttons, or with the command dial. The up and down buttons page through each tab, and the OK button opens a submenu (either a drop-down or a new screen entirely) for each option.
During shooting, the Q Menu provides easy access to most shooting functions, including aperture, ISO, exposure compensation (regular and flash), white balance, drive modes, AF options, and more. This screen can be navigated either using the camera's physical controls or through touch, both of which are pretty intuitive. For settings like exposure compensation, shutter speed, and aperture, the selected value is chosen on a sliding scale; when using touch control, you simply swipe your finger across the scale to set it.
At 371 pages, the T4i's menu is beyond comprehensive. If you don't mind obsessively scanning the index, you can almost certainly find the answers to any questions to might have within. In the United States, the camera ships with both English and Spanish-language manuals.