Canon EOS Rebel T4i First Impressions Review$1,199.00
- Modes Overview
- Auto Mode
- Movie Mode
- Drive/Burst Mode
- Playback Mode
- Picture Quality & Size Options
The Canon Rebel T4i includes a standard physical mode dial on the top plate of the camera, in the same location as it was found on the T3i. The only change here is the move of the movie mode from a dedicated position on the dial, to an always accessible part of the on/off switch. This switch can now be pushed up to engage video recording in any of the camera's shooting modes, letting you more easily control video settings or begin recording when something memorable happens that you want video of.
The modes themselves are a pretty standard setup, with options for manual, program auto, automatic+, aperture priority, shutter priority, and standard scene modes like portrait, landscape, and night portrait. The standard PASM modes also all let you record video, with the manual mode offering full manual control over ISO, shutter speed, and aperture while recording.
The standard automatic mode on the Canon T4i is the program auto "P" setting, with an automatic+ mode also employing some scene recognition. When in automatic+ while shooting video or stills, the camera will switch to an appropriate scene mode if it feels that the conditions in the frame fit its parameters. These can include detecting a face and switching to portrait, or utilizing low light modes when it detects a low light scene.
The movie functionality on the T4i is greatly improved over previous Rebel cameras, with full autofocus during live view and video shooting now. The T4i records video at a maximum resolution of 1080p at 30, 24, and 24fps, with options for 720/60p and 480/30p as well. The movie mode is now engaged by a the same lever that is used to turn the camera on, letting you quickly engage video at any time rather than having to turn the mode dial to a dedicate setting.
The new image sensor is particularly good at focusing while recording video. In our hands-on time with the T4i we found the focus to be quite smooth and accurate with one of the new STM stepping motor lenses from Canon. This motor is included in the new 18-135mm lens, allowing for smooth, silent autofocus while taking video. The new image sensor utilize a combination of on-chip phase detection and contrast detection for subjects in the center of the scene, resorting to just contrast detection closer to the edges. We still noticed that it had trouble on low-contrast subjects, though. A metal mesh chair back in the office where we tested the T4i proved particularly troublesome for the camera, though the same target was also problematic for the T3i, so there's no downgrade in performance in those scenarios.
The new Canon Rebel T4i is significantly faster than previous models, with a burst rate (according to Canon's numbers) of five frames per second. That responsiveness is pretty obvious when shooting with the camera, though there is still a limited capacity that you can capture in a single burst. For just JPEG images that capacity is still quite expansive, but for RAW+JPEG or RAW shooting it was around ten shots or less for a single burst before slowing down.
Playback on the T4i is quite nice, owing largely to the camera's 1.04 million-dot resolution screen. It's the same screen as on the T3i, but the touch functionality works well in playback. It's easy to check focus or review small details on captured photos, though, with the ability to zoom in one a single photo to a large degree right on the rear LCD.
Actual photo editing options are pretty limited on the T4i, with options for resizing, rotating, and protecting shots. You can also set up a photo book or apply creative filters to shots, but we'd still recommend a standalone photo-editing application if you want to get the most out of your shots.
Picture Quality & Size Options
The T4i still houses a sensor capable of 18-megapixel images, though there are options for shooting in reduced resolutions if you need. The camera is also capable of recording images in either RAW or JPEG, with RAW+JPEG capture available. If shooting in RAW or RAW+JPEG your burst speed is the same, but the capacity is reduced, so it will slow down precipitously and take a few seconds for the in-camera buffer to clear, allowing for another burst.