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Box Photo

The contents of the Canon EOS Rebel T4i's box.

* EOS Rebel T4i body * EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens * eyecup Ef (not shown) * battery pack LP-E8 * battery charger LC-E8E * camera cover R-F-3 * wide strap EW-100DBIV * USB interface cable IFC-130U * EOS Digital Solution Disc & Software Instruction Manual CD * Camera Instruction Manual (English and Spanish) 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.
Lens Mount Photo

Canon's standard EF/EF-S mount accepts both APS-C and full-frame Canon autofocus lenses.

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.
Flash Photo

The built-in pop-up flash is elevated well above the lens mount, which means it should be able to clear most lenses without casting a distracting shadow.

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.
Battery Photo

The battery compartment is postioned as far away from the tripod mount as possible, but it might still be inaccessible when shooting on a tripod.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i is a good camera that's kept from greatness by an outdated, now three-generation-old 18-megapixel sensor. What was cutting-edge in the T2i is now old hat. That's not to say that it can't take great photos, because it's certainly capable. Dynamic range, noise control, and aberrations are all solid but unexceptional. Sharpness is a disappointment, but our poor results probably have a lot to do with the 18-135mm STM kit lens. While sharper than the lens it replaced, this new model is still an optical compromise. Much like its predecessor, the T4i turned in somewhat disappointing resolution numbers in our studio tests. While the results showed some improvement over the T3i (almost certainly thanks to the improved optics of the new 18-135mm STM kit lens), it's still a decidedly mediocre lens-body combination. This isn't any real surprise since the sensor is essentially unchanged from the earlier model, aside from the addition of phase-detect autofocus pixels, but we count it as a missed opportunity for improvement. It should be noted that all test images were taken using Canon's "Faithful" color mode, which produces the most accurate color rendition and _does not_ apply any additional sharpening. Using different color modes, such as Automatic or Landscape, will artificially increase sharpness to some extent. Also worth noting is that while the T4i / 18-135mm combination isn't particularly sharp, it's fairly consistent across the entire image frame. This indicates that it should be fairly easy to sharpen images in post-production (particularly if shooting in RAW format). [More on how we test sharpness.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#resolution) Studio photographers will appreciate the fact that the T4i renders colors very accurately when using the Neutral and (particularly) Faithful color modes, which are near perfect with regard to saturation and extremely good in terms of accuracy. Other color modes, such as Automatic, Portrait, and Landscape are less conservative, tending to amp up the saturation (as high as 123% in Landscape) and taper off in accuracy. If you're shooting RAW, of course, none of this matters much since the camera's color modes are applied to JPEGs only. Since it doesn't apply any sharpening or other image adjustments (contrast, tone, etc), the Faithful color mode is a reasonably accurate simulation of the T4i's RAW output, though actual RAW files will differ slightly. [More on how we test color.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#color) In terms of color accuracy, the T4i is right up there with the best cameras in its class, and isn't even all that far off of full-frame professional-quality cameras like the flagship Canon EOS 1D X. *NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.* The T4i is equipped with seven default color modes: Automatic, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, and Monochrome. These can be adjusted to the user's preference, or left as-is. By default, the Faithful color mode was the most accurate, and as a bonus it doesn't artificially sharpen images. There are also three custom color mode presets, which allow the user to control fine adjustment of sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color tone. As with most DSLRs, the T4i performs well across varied lighting types. Its automatic white balance mode really only let us down under tungsten light, which is notoriously difficult for cameras to handle. A variety of lighting-specific presets work well, including Tungsten—which makes you wonder why they don't just build that range into the AWB setting in the first place. The custom white balance setting, though unnecessarily awkward to use, is quite accurate when set properly. More on that later. #### Automatic White Balance () Automatic white balance is generally pretty accurate on the T4i. In daytime lighting, the auto setting was actually more accurate than the custom setting, and in compact white fluorescent lighting it held its own pretty well, too. Tungsten was a problem for the AWB, but that's true of pretty much any camera. In lab-simulated daytime lighting, the T4i produced an average color error of just 78.17 kelvins when using automatic white balance. This is an excellent score, and one that bested our custom white balance tests under the same lighting by nearly 30 kelvins. Compact white fluorescent lighting was another strength of the T4i's auto white balance, where it was 271.33 kelvins away from perfect temperature. Here it was a little worse than setting a custom white balance, but not too far off... certainly usable with a little tweaking in Photoshop. Tungsten was the real danger zone for the T4i, where it produced a color error of 1947 kelvins. This is very poor performance, particularly when compared to the excellent results you get from a custom white balance setting under the same lighting conditions. #### Custom White Balance () Setting a custom white balance on the T4i isn't nearly as intuitive as it could or should be. Many cameras let you take a shot directly from the custom white balance submenu, analyze the shot, and set the white balance for you. The T4i, on the other hand, makes you take a shot, _then_ enter the custom white balance submenu, and then it analyzes the shot you've just taken (or another one, if you'd like) to set the white balance. Worse still, the T4i doesn't allow you to save custom white balance settings like some of its competitors. This may seem like a pretty minor complaint, but it's a moderate-to-major annoyance in practice. But anyway, once the custom white balance is set, the T4i performs pretty well. In Tungsten lighting, for instance, it deviated only 155.33 kelvins from ideal color temperature (compared to 1947 kelvins when using AWB). It was in this general ballpark for daylight and compact white fluorescent light as well, with average color errors of just 105.50 and 150.50 kelvins in those conditions, respectively. The T4i offers six custom white balance settings beyond its custom and automatic options: Daylight (5200K), Shade (7000K), Cloudy (6000K), Tungsten (3200K), White Fluorescent (4000K), and a dedicated Flash setting. This is no different than what the T3i included. Also present are menu options for white balance bracketing and white balance shift. Bracketing lets you take multiple shots with different white balance settings, in case you're unsure as to what setting is correct (or for artistic effect). This option does reduce the overall number of shots you can take and slows continuous shooting to a crawl, so it's recommended that you use it in moderation. White balance shift, on the other hand, lets you fine-tune white balance settings to match the scene if you know the exact color temperature. There are four noise reduction settings on the T4i: Low, Standard, High, and Multi Shot. You can also turn noise reduction completely off, though our testing showed that it is still applied to some degree even at base ISO. Multi Shot is a new noise reduction setting for the T4i; it takes four consecutive exposures and combines them to reduce noise. We found it to be the most effective of all, though it can be difficult to use handheld, particularly in the sorts of situations where you'd most want to use it (in low light, for instance). Of the conventional noise reduction settings, Standard produced the best results. It avoided smearing detail below ISO 800, and then ramped up its efforts at the higher sensitivity settings. With Standard noise reduction enabled (or when shooting RAW and developing in Lightroom), images come out looking quite usable up to about ISO 6400. Even at higher noise reduction settings, ISO 12800 isn't great, and 25600 isn't really usable no matter what you do—it just creates a blotchy mess that we'd be embarrassed to show anyone. As with the T3i, the new model produces more noise in the blue and red channels than in the yellow and green. This is good news for leaf peepers and bad news for people who like to shoot the sky (or Ferraris). [More on how we test noise.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#noise)
Other Tests Images_8
The native ISO range on the Canon T4i goes from 100-12800 by default, and can be expanded to encompass 25600. The camera's automatic ISO mode allows you to set a maximum limit of up to ISO 6400, but doesn't let you set the minimum ISO. Note that when using the Highlight Tone Priority option, the lowest and highest ISO settings are not available. Dynamic range performance with the Canon T4i was essentially on par with the earlier T3i at conservative sensitivity settings, which was expected given that they have very similar sensors. The T4i captured more than six stops of dynamic range up to ISO 800, with results quickly deteriorating beyond that point. They actually deteriorated a bit more quickly than the T3i's, which we'd attribute to less aggressive noise reduction on the T4i's part. In general, the T4i seems pretty well in line with other cameras we've used in its class, though it does have an unfortunate tendency to meter for the shadows rather than the highlights. This often leads to overexposed skies and very bright shots in general. Some may like this tendency, since it makes shadowy forests and the interiors of houses look pretty good straight out of the camera; those who like to post-process their shots, however, will find it annoying since the blown-out areas cannot be recovered. There are a number of in-camera capture modes that can help increase dynamic range. Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer each let the camera use software trickery to prevent blowing out highlights and keep shadows from turning into inky blackness. The HDR Backlight Control mode, accessed via the mode dial, combines three separate shots to greatly expand the overall dynamic range, though it can sometimes go overboard in the process. Another way to increase dynamic range is to shoot with RAW capture enabled, which gives you the camera's pure sensor output. [More on how we test dynamic range.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#dynamicrange) There are four noise reduction settings on the T4i: Low, Standard, High, and Multi Shot. You can also turn noise reduction completely off, though our testing showed that it is still applied to some degree even at base ISO. Multi Shot is a new noise reduction setting for the T4i; it takes four consecutive exposures and combines them to reduce noise. We found it to be the most effective of all, though it can be difficult to use handheld, particularly in the sorts of situations where you'd most want to use it (in low light, for instance). Of the conventional noise reduction settings, Standard produced the best results. It avoided smearing detail below ISO 800, and then ramped up its efforts at the higher sensitivity settings. With Standard noise reduction enabled (or when shooting RAW and developing in Lightroom), images come out looking quite usable up to about ISO 6400. Even at higher noise reduction settings, ISO 12800 isn't great, and 25600 isn't really usable no matter what you do—it just creates a blotchy mess that we'd be embarrassed to show anyone. As with the T3i, the new model produces more noise in the blue and red channels than in the yellow and green. This is good news for leaf peepers and bad news for people who like to shoot the sky (or Ferraris). [More on how we test noise.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#noise) The native ISO range on the Canon T4i goes from 100-12800 by default, and can be expanded to encompass 25600. The camera's automatic ISO mode allows you to set a maximum limit of up to ISO 6400, but doesn't let you set the minimum ISO. Note that when using the Highlight Tone Priority option, the lowest and highest ISO settings are not available. 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. We tested the Canon T4i's low-light sensitivity under lab conditions and found that it needed only 5 lux of light to produce an image that achieved 50 IRE on a waveform monitor (i.e., a fairly acceptable image that, while dark, is still visible with some degree of detail). By way of contrast, the T3i required 8 lux to achieve the same feat. The T3i's mark was already a good one, and the T4i's is superb for a camera in its class. Paired with the 18-135mm STM kit lens, the Canon T4i produced very little chromatic aberration in our lab testing. There is some red and green fringing at the edges of the frame, but it's kept pretty well under control. The middle focal lengths suffer far less from aberrations, as does the center of the frame. While sharper than the old 18-135mm kit lens, the new STM version still suffers from some monstrous distortions, particularly at the wide end of the zoom range. At the 18mm setting, the lens exhibits barrel distortion of 2.7%. It's quite noticeable in everyday shooting, leading to curved walls, poles, and horizons. The good news is that it's pretty simple barrel distortion and thus relatively simple to correct in post-processing. The distortion quickly flips over to moderate pincushion at longer focal lengths, topping out around 1.6% at middle zoom settings. The Canon T4i captured motion fairly well. Artifacting was kept to a minimum, and while there was some substantial ghosting visible when the video was paused, it looked great in motion. There was visible rolling shutter effect with quick panning, but skilled videographers will find ways to get around it. Shutter speeds can be fine-tuned to minimize the effect, as well. Sharpness looked pretty good in motion, but freeze-frames showed that it could have been better. Luckily, people don't typically watch videos frame by frame. [More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.](/content/How-we-test-digital-cameras-20069.htm#videomotion) The T4i's performance in this regard is in line with most DSLRs in its class. It's better than the T3i in terms of artifacting and ghosting, perhaps because of the improved DIGIC 5 processor, but not by a whole lot. The T4i's video was about on par with what you'd get from the Nikon D5100 and quite a bit sharper than the Pentax K-30's output, but can't quite match the Sony NEX-5N's results with regard to smoothness and crispness when recording motion.

In our tests, the T4i with the 18-135mm STM kit lens produced reasonably sharp results when recording video. In the lab, we found that the T4i can resolve about 600 lw/ph of vertical sharpness, and roughly 650 lw/ph of horizontal sharpness. This is a slight backward step from the T3i, but in actual field use we couldn't really tell a difference between the two. Overall, it's a pretty good score for a video-capable DSLR, though it certainly doesn't come close to what we've seen from higher-end video-oriented cameras. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

We tested the Canon T4i's low-light sensitivity under lab conditions and found that it needed only 5 lux of light to produce an image that achieved 50 IRE on a waveform monitor (i.e., a fairly acceptable image that, while dark, is still visible with some degree of detail). By way of contrast, the T3i required 8 lux to achieve the same feat. The T3i's mark was already a good one, and the T4i's is superb for a camera in its class.

Like most other Rebels, the T4i is a very easy camera to use. If you're graduating from a point and shoot model, you could simply leave it on Auto mode and not change your technique at all, but it also offers plenty of room for budding photographers to grow into their craft. Operation is fast and fluid thanks to the DIGIC 5 processor, making paging through images or scrolling the menu quick and responsive. The capacitive touchscreen is actually a fantastic addition, and works nearly flawlessly; the experience of pinching to zoom and flinging the image around the screen with your fingertip is vastly superior to Canon's typical playback control scheme.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

Handling Photo 1

The T4i's front grip is pretty nice, but we wouldn't have minded if it were a little deeper.

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.

Handling Photo 2

The rear thumb rest is positioned well, and the shooting controls all fall logically under your thumb and forefinger.

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.

Handling Photo 3

The touchscreen interface of the T4i is truly superb.

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.

Buttons Photo 1

Up top are the mode dial, main control dial, shutter release, dedicated ISO button, and on/off switch, which also has a dedicated setting for video.

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.

Buttons Photo 2

The rear control cluster includes playback zoom controls, a live view toggle, EV compensation, Q menu, white balance, drive mode, color mode, AF mode, playback, and trash buttons.

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.

The T4i has a total of 14 shooting modes on its mode dial. These include the standard PASM (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual) and automatic (in this case, "Scene Intelligent Auto") modes, as well as Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, and HDR Backlight Control. Video recording is no longer located on the main mode dial (as it was on the T3i), but rather enjoys a dedicated position on the on/off switch.

Like other Rebel-series cameras, the T4i is equipped with just one control dial, mounted on the top of the grip just behind the shutter release. The function of the control dial changes depending on the shooting mode currently in use; for instance, in Av mode it changes the aperture, and in Tv it changes the shutter speed. When shooting in Manual mode, pressing the exposure compensation button toggles the control dial between changing aperture and shutter speed.

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.

JPEG image quality settings on the T4i range from Large (18mp) to S(mall)3 (0.3mp), with Medium, S1, and S2 inbetween. There are also higher-compression options for Large, Medium, and S1, which give you more shots at the expense of slightly fuzzier images. Finally, you can also shoot in RAW or RAW+Large JPEG. The user can also select from among 4 aspect ratio choices: 3:2 (default), 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1. As on most cameras, the non-default aspect ratios simply crop the sensor area and give you slightly lower megapixel images.

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.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i has a competitive overall feature set for a mid-tier consumer DSLR. Quick continuous shooting framerates, a speedy and accurate traditional phase-detect autofocus system, and a competent 18-megapixel CMOS sensor ensure that it's not lagging behind many of its competitors, but its superb touchscreen interface and hybrid live view autofocus are what set it apart from the crowd. The ISO range of 100-25600 is an improvement over the T3i, and the camera can now autofocus continuously while recording video, a feat that not many cameras have been able to master. The flip-out and swivel screen is a plus for stills shooters and videographers alike, allowing for shooting in all kinds of unconventional positions.

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.

GPS

The T4i is compatible with Canon's GP-E2 GPS module, which connects via the hotshoe. The camera features a submenu within the camera's main menu system that allows the user to adjust GPS settings.

Like its predecessor, the T4i employs H.264 compression wrapped up in the .MOV container. Videos can be recorded at 1920x1080px (1080p) at either 30 or 24 frames per second, 1280x720px (720p) at 60fps, or 640x480px (VGA) at 30fps. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

Auto Controls

In any other shooting mode, the T4i takes over control of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The user only focuses (optionally) and frames the shot—everything else is handled by the processor. The camera does a pretty good job in most circumstances, but in some cases it can be fooled by scenes that have a very broad dynamic range.

Zoom

Interestingly, one of the most-loved features of the T3i's video mode—a 3 to 10x zoom that cropped the sensor to achieve insane focal lengths without loss of detail—has been dropped from the T4i. The only option for zooming is to use the manual zoom action of your lens.

Focus

One of the T4i's most notable improvements is its implementation of Canon's new Movie Servo AF. In this context, "Movie Servo AF" means continuous autofocus during video recording, which has long been something of a holy grail for DSLR video enthusiasts. Few manufacturers have ever gotten it right, whether due to noise from the AF mechanism, too-slow focus acquisition, or other snags. The T4i is almost, almost there. With the 18-135mm STM lens autofocus is really very close to absolutely silent. While it's not blazing fast (it won't ever be mistaken for real focus pulling), in good light it tends to find its subject reasonably quickly/smoothly and without too much hunting. In poor light, however, it can really struggle, and its desperate searching could ruin a video pretty quickly.

Three focus modes can be engaged during movie recording: Face-detect + Tracking, FlexiZone Multi, and FlexiZone Single. All of these work well, and all seem to work at pretty much the same speed. We would have thought that the single point AF would have been a bit quicker in continuous AF, but that wasn't really the case.

Exposure Controls

When the mode dial is set to "M," the T4i allows the user to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting, which is great for videographers who like to do it all themselves. You can also change these values while recording, though doing so may cause your video to make sudden jumps in brightness or darkness. White balance can be set in any mode, as can Picture Styles, which are previewed in real time.

Other Controls

Also present in the movie options is a mode called "Video Snapshot." In essence, this mode creates "albums" of short video clips that are meant to be played together in sequence. Canon bills it as a way of creating "dynamic short movies"—a sort of video collage. The short clips can be either 2, 4, or 8 seconds long, and only clips of the same length can be combined into an album. Optionally, music stored on the memory card can be used as a backing track for the video collage.

The T4i has an on-board stereo microphone (positioned just in front of the hot shoe), and also offers an external mic jack on the left side of the body. Within the main menu, sound recording can be set to automatic or manual, or can be entirely disabled. When it's set to manual, the user can specify the recording level. In any of the modes, you can also turn the wind filter and attenuator on or off (note that wind filter only works with the built-in mic) to reduce audio distortions.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i is a very solid mid-level DSLR. If that sounds like faint praise, it should. This is not a camera that inspires strong feelings in either direction. It’s a competent, incremental upgrade to a well-received ancestor. It gets the job done. It’s not the best at many things, but it’s not the worst, either. It rests comfortably in its class. Still, that’s not to say it doesn’t have a couple standout features.

The new capacitive touchscreen is one of the T4i’s few claims to “best” status. It’s a surprisingly fluid and intuitive implementation during both shooting (tapping to focus and shoot) and image review (swiping between photos and pinching to zoom). Autofocus in live view is another major improvement. Canon’s “hybrid” live view AF system, which cleverly combines phase-detect AF pixels on the imaging sensor with a traditional contrast-detect system, results in much quicker and more accurate focusing across the board. Also notable is the absolutely silent autofocus action provided by the company’s new STM lenses.

Beyond the silent focusing and touchscreen focusing, there’s also another huge improvement to the T4i’s HD video mode: continuous autofocus. While we’ve typically found this to be a useless feature on other DSLRs, Canon has done well here. It’s reasonably quick, smooth, and error-free (in good light), and should please the many users who have been clamoring for it.

While the T4i’s sensor is a subtle variation on the same 18-megapixel unit found in both the T2i and T3i, the image processing unit has been upgraded to the new DIGIC 5 model. The overall image quality hasn’t changed much; it’s still middle of the road for a camera in this price range. The new processor does produce some tangible improvements, though. The camera has a slightly higher maximum ISO setting, claims faster continuous shooting, and crams in a few new processing-related options, such as the in-camera HDR mode and multi-shot noise reduction.

On the handling front, Canon’s Rebel-series cameras have always been notoriously easy for beginners to pick up and use, and the T4i is no exception. While it offers a number of advanced features, the controls are simple enough that newbies won’t have any trouble finding their way around. A few buttons are awkwardly placed (we didn’t love the location of the review button, for instance), but generally speaking they’re logically laid out and convenient to the shooting hand. The flip-out capacitive LCD is a great addition, and the improved 18-135mm STM lens provides a very convenient focal range for everyday shooting.

In the future, we’d like to see Canon rest on its laurels a little less. It could stand to get a bit more serious about image quality—that 18-megapixel unit is getting a bit long in the tooth—and generally speaking we’d love to see an exciting new product rather than another incremental upgrade. The Rebel T4i is a fine camera for its target market; it checks all the major boxes and even tosses in a few class-leading features to sweeten the deal. But it’s not exciting, and it’s not new. It just is.

Meet the tester

Ben Keough

Ben Keough

Contributor

@ben_keough

Ben is an experienced industry journalist who formerly served as Senior Editor of News and Features at Reviewed. He now contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Most recently hailing from the vast wilds of the American southwest, he is an avid photographer who is deeply disturbed by the lack of wide open landscapes in Boston.

See all of Ben Keough's reviews

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