Canon T4i Digital Camera Review$1,199.00
Speed and Timing
With an advertised continuous shooting speed of 5 frames per second, the Canon T4i falls neatly between the Pentax K-30 (at 6fps) and Nikon D5100 (at 4fps) in its class. In our lab tests, we clocked it at 4.8fps, which is pretty close to Canon's claim and may have been slightly affected by the shooting conditions. The T4i also has a pretty deep buffer for JPEG shooting, managing to knock off a couple dozen shots at 4.8fps before slowing its rate down to about 3fps once the buffer filled. It's capable of shooting at this decreased rate pretty much indefinitely, which is great for amateur sports photographers. Continuous shooting is limited to just one setting; some cameras offer Continuous High or Continuous Low, but the T4i just has plain old Continuous.
The T4i offers a solid set of self-timer and remote options, including a two second self-timer, 10 second timer with remote control, and custom self-timer that takes a user-selected amount of shots (maximum of 10) after a 10-second wait. We would have preferred the delay in this last mode be customizable, but it's really a pretty minor issue. The T4i will work with Canon’s RC-6, RC-1, and RC-5 remote controllers.
Like the T3i, the Canon T4i has nine autofocus points, but in this case all nine sensors are cross-type (the more accurate variety). It also boasts a new "hybrid" live view autofocus system, which uses phase-detect AF pixels on the imaging sensor itself to quickly determine subject distance, and then uses contrast-detect AF to add extra focus precision.
Autofocus is quite accurate and pretty quick in traditional TTL phase-detect mode; there's no real speed improvement over the T3i, but it does feel slightly more accurate. Live View is definitely quicker, and very accurate. It also over-shoots its target much less often in its attempts to achieve a focus lock.
Performance in low light is pretty good, though it still struggles and often simply fails to find focus in situations with very poor lighting and a low-contrast subject. Historically, this has been pretty standard behavior for DSLRs up till now, though with the advent of AF systems with -3 EV focus sensitivity (such as the Pentax K-5 II and the Canon EOS 6D) this could change. The T4i also lacks a focus assist beam, instead using a short pulse from its pop-up flash to illuminate a scene and grab focus. This is a little annoying in practice, and definitely an inferior solution in terms of actual effectiveness, so we're sad Canon couldn't pony up for a LED-based beam.