Canon T4i Digital Camera Review$1,199.00
Kit Lens & Mount
The T4i comes in two kit varieties. The more expensive but also far more useful kit incorporates the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which covers an extremely useful focal range for walkaround shooting. It's also one of only two Canon lenses that utilize STM focusing technology (the other being the new 40mm "pancake" prime). Essentially, this means that it's able to focus almost completely silently—a feature that's potentially invaluable to videographers. This updated 18-135mm model has stabilizer and AF/MF switches on the lens body. The manual focus ring is electronic, something we're typically not huge fans of, but the implementation here allows for full-time manual focus override, which is undeniably cool. Optically, the lens is a new design that appears to be quite sharp throughout the entire zoom range and represents a definite improvement over the older non-STM model.
Those who don't care about silent autofocus, the 56-135mm focal range, and full-time manual focus override—or those who just want to save a few bucks—can opt instead for the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit. This workhorse will get the job done in most cases, certainly won't break the bank, and is quite compact compared to the 18-135mm IS STM... but it's a lens that many photographers could grow out of quickly. On the whole we'd strongly recommend going the 18-135mm route if your bank account can support it.
Like all other Rebel models, the T4i has a standard EF-S mount, which can accept all of Canon's EF and EF-S lenses (meaning every SLR lens that Canon has released since 1987). There is a huge variety of EF and EF-S lenses available on the used market, and Canon's current lens lineup is perhaps the most impressive in the world, so users are spoiled for choice as far as autofocus lens selection goes. Third party support from manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and higher-end marques like Zeiss and Voigtländer further expands the lens pool.
The 18-megapixel APS-C sized unit installed in the T4i is referred to as a "hybrid CMOS" sensor in Canon's PR literature. This mysterious moniker refers to the fact that the imaging sensor is equipped with pixels that enable the use of phase detection autofocus in live view. Otherwise, it appears to be very similar to the sensor found in the earlier T3i. Like other Canon-made sensors, it has a 1.6x "crop factor." This means that, for instance, a 135mm lens mounted on the T4i behaves like a 216mm lens would on a full-frame camera.
Convergence areas of different sensor sizes compared
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.
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 built-in pop-up flash is positioned in the customary place, atop the viewfinder hump. It can be manually released by pressing a button on the left side of the camera, and also auto-releases if the camera is left in Auto Picture mode. The flash is rated with a guide number of approximately 13 meters (43 feet) and takes about 3 seconds to recycle after being used, both of which are pretty standard for cameras in this class. Since the T4i lacks an autofocus assist lamp, the onboard flash is also used to fire short pulses to help the AF system acquire focus in dim lighting. The T4i has a standard hot shoe for Speedlite flashes, and the camera can be used as a wireless master for remote flashes as well.
All of the T4i's ports are found on the left side of the body, behind two rubber flaps. The first of these flaps conceals the microphone input and remote control terminal, while the other contains digital AV out and HDMI Mini jacks.
The T4i uses the same LP-E8 lithium ion battery pack that shipped with the T2i and T3i. The good news is that they're readily available, and a second one can be paired with the optional BG-E8 battery grip to double battery life. The bad news is that a single cell is rated for only 440 shots, which is somewhat low for a digital SLR.