A closer look at "the most sophisticated Rebel ever"
Chock full with technology previously only found on more advanced cameras, the new Canon Rebel T4i still offers a feature set that is designed to please technophobic point-and-shooters while giving them more room than ever to grow.
Note: Adorama is accepting pre-orders of the Canon Rebel T4i body, in a kit with the Canon 18-55mm IS II lens, or with the 18-135mm IS lens, as well as the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 EFS lens. Orders will be shipped on a first-come, first-served basis; credit cards won't be charged until order ships.
If you were to only look at the feature set of the Canon EOS Rebel T4i (see our news report: Canon Rebel T4i 18MP DSLR Launched for a comprehensive list), you might be forgiven if you thought it was a prosumer camera. After all, an 18MP CMOS sensor, a souped-up image processor that is said to deliver action-catching 5 frames-per-second burst rate, and an extended ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,000!) that is said to offer excellent low-light image quality, and an improved 9-point all cross-type AF system (see illustrative photo, below), are all features we've seen before, but on pricier cameras designed for serious hobbyists and pro shooters.
But the T4i's sophisticated features are overlayed with user-friendly technology, such as the first touch screen to be found on a Canon DSLR, as well as intelligent auto, all designed to make using such an advanced camera more intuitive for folks who are ready to step up from compact cameras and cell phones to the flexibility and creative possibilities of DSLR photography.
Let's take a closer look at the Canon T4i. Keep in mind that this article is based on our interpretation of information provided by Canon, and is not based on hands-on experience with a production model. We'll be posting a full report as soon as we can. In the meantime, let's take an in-depth look at this camera's tantilizing features.
Image Quality Improvements
Canon bumped up resolution to 18 Megapixels, so that the T4i is on par with the prosumer EOS 7D, and has increased the ISO range to 100-12,000, with a boost to ISO 25,000. (The CMOS sensor's center pixels are said to aid in the T4i's AF performance, which Canon says is greatly improved.) Image tonality is expected to be more subtle and accurate thanks to new 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion, recording up to 16,384 colors per channel. For the less technical reader, that means fine detail such as found in foliage and water will be recorded with greater accuracy and fidelity.
A new DIGIC 5 image processor is said to offer advanced noise-reduction technology, allowing users to shoot in low light without adding flash or other artificial light sources while expecting outstanding image quality. One of the ways it will do this is via a new feature, Multi Shot Noise Reduction. This takes over in very low light where the image processor's capabilities may be taxed. In Multi Shot Noise Reduction mode, the camera camera takes four consecutive shots, merges and aligns them. This eliminates more noise than the Rebel’s traditional Noise Reduction filter, with what Canon says is little or no apparent resolution loss. Moving subjects are even optimized to minimize subject blur. This is a clever new feature that we can't wait to try!
Another trick up the T4i's DIGIC 5 processor is a faster burst rate—up to 5.0 fps continuously at full resolution. This makes it a great camera for Soccer Moms and Nascar Dads who want to catch the action at the race and the match—and to catch fast kids and pets. The T4i's Autofocus speed is said to have been improved, thanks to several new autofocus developments. The Rebel T4i's revamped autofocus is a 9-point, all cross-type AF system (including high-precision dual-cross f/2.8 center point) for accurate focus whether the camera is oriented in portrait or landscape position. A new AI Servo AF system is said to achieve and maintains consistent focus with an exceptional degree of reliability.
The EOS Rebel T4i also offers a new Hybrid CMOS AF System, designed for shooting photos and video in Live View. This new system combines two distinct AF technologies, phase and contrast detection AF, for speedier and more accurate focus. These complementary focusing systems are aided by pixels on the camera’s CMOS sensor that assist in predicting subject location; therefore making continuous focus tracking quick and accurate in video recording while enhancing focusing speed, according to Canon.
Capable of shooting in a number of recording sizes and frame rates, offers manual control of exposure, focus and Live View features, even in-camera editing. New Movie Servo AF allows continuous autofocus tracking of moving subjects while recording video. When shooting video with one of Canon’s new STM lenses, Movie Servo AF takes advantage of the lens’ stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous AF. There's an internal stereo microphone and a wind filter feature to reduce wind noise when shooting outdoors. Sound recording levels can be manually (up to 64 different levels) or automatically controlled. A built-in attenuator is also provided to reduce audio clipping. For more advanced audio recording, the Rebel T4i is compatible with many third-party electret condenser microphones with a 3.5mm diameter plug.
A Video Snapshot feature allows the EOS Rebel T4i DSLR to capture short video clips (of 2, 4 or 8 seconds) then combine them automatically into one video file as a snapshot or highlights “album.” Additionally, stills can be recorded during video shooting simply by pressing the camera’s shutter button. During playback, video clips in an album can now be reordered or deleted.
The T4i is the first Rebel to offer a touch screen LCD. The Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II is said to use the same capacitive technology as today’s popular mobile devices. It is touch-sensitive and delivers intuitive touch panel operation. Two finger touch gestures (multi-touch) can be used for zooming or changing images, menu and quick control settings can be accessed, and focus point and shutter release can be activated with the touch of a fingertip. Displaying fine detail (at approximately 1.04 million dots), this screen is perfect for composing and reviewing images. Thanks to a new, solid construction between the monitor’s resin-coated cover and the liquid crystal display, reflections are said to be minimized, and the display can be viewed, without glare, from any number of angles. The LCD’s surface is treated with a smudge-resistant coating to minimize fingerprints and maintain a bright, clear image display.
Other new features include:
Feature Guide: There are a lot of interesting features in this camera, but to DSLR newcomers it can be overwhelming. Canon's got your back. To help explain the specific function of features found on the EOS Rebel T4i, the feature guide displays a simple description helpful in determining the applicability for the situation at hand. It is displayed in each shooting mode, during mode dial operations, and for Quick Control screen functions. It appears automatically when a function is selected. The feature guide works automatically by default, and can be easily turned off if you know what you're doing.
Scene Intelligent Auto mode: Scene Intelligent Auto mode analyzes the image, accounting for faces, colors, brightness, moving objects, contrast, detects whether the camera is handheld or on a tripod, and then chooses the most appropriate exposure settings and enhancements.
Handheld Night Scene mode: Accessible on the EOS Rebel T4i’s Mode Dial, Handheld Night Scene mode captures nightscapes with bright highlights and detailed dark areas, delivering results previously impossible without the use of a tripod by shooting and combining four consecutive shots at a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake.
HDR Backlight Control mode: The EOS Rebel T4i’s HDR Backlight Control mode ensures that backlit subjects are not recorded too dark by shooting three consecutive shots at different exposures (underexposed, correctly exposed and overexposed) and then combining the images.
Seven Creative Filters, plus new Art Bold Effect and Water Painting Effect: To add to the fun and creative possibilities available with the EOS Rebel T4i, seven different creative filters that can dramatically alter the mood and visual effect of any particular scene. Creative Filters include Grainy Black and White, Soft Focus, Fish-eye Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Miniature Effect and new filters, Art Bold Effect (makes the photos look like an oil painting, with subjects appearing three-dimensional), and Water Painting Effect (photos are altered to look like a water-colored painting). Since the filters can be applied to the image after shooting, it’s easy to try several effects on the same shot.
Compatibility with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, including new Ultra High Speed cards
The EOS Rebel T4i uses popular SD, SDHC, SDXC and is even compatible with the newest Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) memory cards.
Lens Aberration Correction: The EOS Rebel T4i features onboard lens correction tools that compensate for lens characteristics that can affect overall image quality, according to Canon. The EOS Rebel T4i’s lens peripheral illumination correction feature corrects light falloff in the corner of the image according to the characteristics of the lens being used. It even has correction data for a number of popular lenses stored in its memory. Distracting color fringing can be corrected at the time of shooting.
Compatible with EF and EF-S lenses: The EOS Rebel T4i is compatible with all Canon lenses in the EF lineup including the new STM series, which is optimized for video shooting.
GPS Compatible: With the optional GPS Receiver GP-E2 attached to the hot shoe or the digital terminal, the EOS Rebel T4i can record location, including latitude, longitude and altitude, plus can track the trajectory of movement with its logging function. An electric compass records the camera’s orientation during each shot, and world time information is recorded through GPS syncing.
Photobook Set-up: Photographers can share their images in book form with the EOS Rebel T4i’s convenient Photobook Set-up feature. Users can easily choose specific images, images in a folder and even all images, then specify their sequence and layout. The results can be printed in book form.
Image Rating: To help organize images recorded to the camera’s storage, the EOS Rebel T4i makes it simple to rate individual images from one star to five. Therefore, image browsing, printing and slide shows can be based upon those ratings.
While Canon has announced some rather impressive new specs and image quality claims that make a compelling argument for this camera for both amateurs looking to step up their game and more experienced photographers looking to add a relatively inexpensive and highly capable spare body to their Canon system. We look forward to putting a production model through its paces and will report the results as soon as possible.