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The Canon EOS 600D is Canon's latest Digital SLR and updates the popular 550D and is the latest in a line of DSLRs dating back to the 300D. No longer the entry level SLR in Canon's line up, it is now a step up from that, as that role has been filled by the new 1100D, the 1100D being an update to the 1000D introduced last year.
The Canon EOS 600D is also know as the Canon Rebel T3i (US) and the Canon EOS Kiss X5 (Japan)
- 18mp CMOS sensor
- 3.0 inch live view swivel screen, 1040k dots
- Full HD video, with digital zoom (3-10x)
- 3.7fps continuous shooting
- 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 aspect ratios
- ISO100-6400, Extendable to 12,800
- Wide-area 9-point AF system
- 63-zone iFCL exposure metering
- Use with all EF and EF-S lenses
Table Key: Highlighted in green are new, improved or best, while amber shows a worse feature.
|Canon EOS 500D||Canon EOS 550D||Canon EOS 600D|
|3.0" screen, 920k||3.0" screen, 1040k||3.0inch vari-angle screen, 1040k|
|1080p 20fps Video, 29min||1080p 30/25/24fps video, 29min||1080p 30/25/24fps video, 29min|
|9 point AF||9 point AF||9 point AF|
|DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 4|
|Auto shooting||Auto shooting||Scene intelligent auto mode, Basic+ (Shoot by ambience selection, Shoot by lighting or scene type), Creative filters (Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Toy camera, Miniature effect, Fish-eye) - during image Playback only, Photo rating|
|Pentamirror 95% coverage, 0.87x magnification||Pentamirror 95% coverage, 0.87x magnification||Pentamirror 95% coverage, 0.85x magnification|
|Eye-detecting sensor||Eye-detecting sensor||No eye sensor (use disp button instead)|
|3:2 aspect ratio||3:2 aspect ratio||Aspect ratios 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 16:9|
|-||-||Compatible with Eye-Fi cards|
|-||-||Integrated Speedlite Transmitter, wireless flash support|
|SD, SDHC||SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card||SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card|
|Battery rating: Approx. 400 shots||Battery rating: Approx. 440 shots||Battery rating: Approx. 440 shots|
|128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm||128.8 x 97.3 x 62mm||133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm|
|480g||530g (inc battery, memory)||570g (inc battery, memory)|
Not much has changed since the 550D and 600D apart from the swivel screen, redesign controls on the back of the camera, an additional DISP/Info button, and a few new features such as aspect ratio selection, creative filters, and new auto-scene selector. To see the differences between the 600D and 1100D, see our Canon EOS 1100D review.
Canon EOS 600D - back screen closed.
Canon EOS 600D - sceen twisted around and placed back in the camera.
Canon EOS 600D Battery, and battery compartment.
Canon EOS 600D - The Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS II is an updated version of the earlier IS lens, however the changes appear to be cosmetic only.
Canon EOS 600D Lens off - you can see the 9 focusing points, and ample rubber grips.
Canon EOS 600D Memory card compartment - easy to access on the side.
Canon EOS 600D - external mic socket, remote, A/V out / Digital, HDMI. Flash button and depth-of-field preview button.
Canon EOS 600D top view.
Canon EOS 600D pop-up flash.
Canon EOS 600D top view - showing the command dial, DISP, ISO buttons, mode dial, on-off switch, flash hot-shoe, and strap loops.
Feel and build quality: Rubberised grips for thumb, right hand and left hand, metal mode dial (compared to the plastic dial on the 1100D). Very solid feeling camera with a large amount of rubberised hand grips makes this a re-assuringly solid feeling camera to use.
Ease of use: The live view button stands out from the rest of the buttons, the flash button is next to the flash where you would expect it, which is all good. However the ISO button is next to the command dial making it difficult to scroll through the ISO settings whilst trying to simultaneously hold down the ISO button and scroll the wheel at the same time. Shutter release slightly further forward than other SLRs, doesn't fall to hand instantly and can take a little while to get used to (especially noticeable when you ask someone to take a photo for you).
Menu systems: Canon has a logical and well laid out menu system, allowing you to change additional settings and options, however I found I rarely had to enter the menus as the large number of buttons on the camera meant I was able to change settings quickly without entering the menus. The menus are colour coded, with the shooting menus red, playback menus are blue, setup orange, and "my menu" is green. The "my menu" allows you to customise the options onto one page, so that you can quickly access your favourite settings. The menu system is easy to use, however, the good thing about the camera's design is that you shouldn't need to access the menus too often anyway.
Battery life: The camera's battery life is rated at 440 shots according to CIPA standards. I took over 580 shots, surpassing the expected battery life, however the camera gives very little warning about the remaining battery life, and as soon as the battery is nearly empty, a red battery warning will appear and you will then only be able to take another two or three shots.
Speed: We tested the Canon EOS 600D and compared it to the Canon EOS 1100D to see how the cameras compare. We took a number of shots and calculated the average to ensure consistent results.
|Canon EOS 1100D||Canon EOS 600D|
|Shutter response (SLR, Live)||0.1||0.1|
|Focus - wide, shutter response||0.2||0.2|
|Focus - telephoto, shutter response||0.25||0.25|
|Focus - live view (wide)||1.3-1.5*||1.3-1.5*|
|Switch on time - taking photo||0.3||0.35|
|Shot to shot - without flash||0.5||0.4-0.5|
|Shot to shot - with flash||0.6-0.7||0.6-0.7|
|Continuous shooting - JPEG||3.1fps||4fps (unlimited?)|
|Continuous shooting - JPEG with Flash||2fps||0.6-0.7 between shots|
|Continuous shooting - RAW||2fps||3fps (6 shots)|
Testing on JPEG, Review off, live view off, flash off, unless otherwise stated. Thankfully the shutter response is still very quick in live view mode even though the focusing is much slower.
*These were the average results assuming the camera locked focus on the first attempt, if it failed, then it could easily add another second to the focusing time.
Exposure: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
Focusing: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
|Group shot - Indoor with flash||Grey Ferrari California 2010|
|Thoresby Hall Fountain||Thoresby Hall Water Spout|
Resolution: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
|Landscape (Snakes Pass)||London|
The size of JPEGs range from 3mb to 17mb depending on the content, with RAW files ranging from 13mb to 36mb so it's important to invest in a large memory card if you plan on taking a lot of RAW or detailed JPEG shots.
Noise: examples are shown below, click to view full size.
The ISO range starts at ISO100, up to ISO6400. ISO100 results, as expected, are very smooth, with very low levels of noise. ISO800 results are good although slight grain becomes visible. ISO1600 is when noise becomes noticeable. At ISO3200 the noise increases with white dots and some colour loss. ISO6400 noise becomes much more dominant with white and black dots and noticeable colour loss.
Photo Features - Auto lighting optimizer: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
Subtle but noticeable difference to images - noticeable more so when the main subject is more silhouetted etc...
|Standard||Black and white (high)||Soft|
|Auto White Balance - Tungsten light||Tungsten preset - Tungsten light|
|Auto White Balance - Fluorescent lighting||Fluorescent preset - Fluoresent lighting|
Impressive results, although tungsten lighting is quite yellow, and the 1100D seemed to produce more neutral conditions.
Macro / Close up shots: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
|Bokeh||Aston Martin DB9|
The kit lens provides a good level of macro ability when used at the telephoto end, and can produce especially detailed shots with nicely blurred backgrounds. Colour reproduction is extremely pleasing and makes photos pop.
Shooting in various lighting conditions: examples are shown below, click to view the sample photos full size.
|Shooting into the sun||Macro flower - impressive detail|
|Low light candle, bokeh||Red London bus|
Full HD video example, shown above, image quality is very good, and the camera allows you to take photos while recording. Sound quality appears to be good but is only recorded in mono unless you add an external mic. The camera can re-focus when shooting if needed, however, this is the same as live view focusing and can be quite slow.
Lens: We tested the camera with the IS kit lens, the Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS II, with built in optical image stabilisation. The lens has AF-MF and Stabilizer ON/OFF switches on the side, a large rubberised zoom grip, and mechanical focusing ring at the front.
Value for Money
The Canon EOS 600D is £739 with IS kit lens, this is especially good value for money compared to the introductory price of the 550D (was £899 with IS lens at introduction), and even more so compared to the 500D (was £969 with kit lens). Compared to the Nikon D5100 priced at £779 with VR kit lens, the 600D offers better value for money, and a higher resolution sensor. The cheapest Digital SLR with full HD video is the Nikon D3100. The Pentax K-r does not offer full HD video, while the Pentax K-5 does, it is considerably more expensive, although it does come with weather sealing. The Sony Alpha a33 and a55 both offer full HD video, and high speed shooting, although lack an optical viewfinder. The Olympus E-5 offers only 720p video. Panasonic offers the GH2 with full HD video, and is priced at around £833 with 14-42mm kit lens and is one of the smaller SLRs available thanks to the lack of optical viewfinder.
The 600D is fully featured with full HD video recording at 30/25/24fps, a high quality, high resolution screen that swivels to any angle, and simply looks gorgeous. Optical image stabilisation comes with the kit lens, and continuous shooting speed is quite decent at 3.7fps, slowing to 3fps when shooting RAW. Noise is very good, rarely visible until you start using ISO3200 and above. Live view focusing could be quicker, and put me off using the feature, which is a shame considering the swivel screen.
The design of the camera is very good, with ample rubberised areas, and a large hand grip. However I found some of the button locations slightly awkward, particularly the ISO button, although the rest were good. The Canon menus are easy to use and logically laid out as you would expect with a Canon camera. The battery life was better than expected, although there is little warning about when the battery is finally going to give up on you.
Overall what really counts, is the image quality, and this is an area that Canon has got very right. Photos straight from the camera come out looking great, with brilliant levels of detail thanks to the 18 megapixel sensor. Colour is a strong point with excellent skin tones, rich vibrant reds and blues, and excellent flash performance. As a whole this camera scores very highly and is a camera that should be very high on your list, and is Highly Recommended!
|The Canon EOS 600D delivers stunning image quality and is a joy to use.|
Canon EOS 600D Pros:
Gorgeous 3" 1040k dot screen
Excellent image quality
Brilliant colour reproduction
Solid body with great rubber grips
Low noise upto ISO3200
Better than expected battery life
Canon EOS 600D Cons:
Little battery warning
Slow live view focusing
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Price||£739 with Canon 18-55mm EF-S IS II kit lens|
|Max image size||5184 x 3456|
|Aspect ratio||3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 16:9|
|Focusing system||TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor|
|Focus points||9 focus points|
|Lens mount||EF, EF-S lenses|
|File types||JPEG, RAW|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO100-6400, extendable to ISO12800|
|Metering system||63-zone iFCL exposure metering|
TTL full aperture metering with 63-zone SPC
(1) Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points)
(2) Partial metering at center (approx. 10% of viewfinder)
(3) Center weighted average metering
|White Balance||AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom.|
|White Balance Compensation||1. Blue/Amber +/-9, 2. Magenta/Green +/-9, Bracketing: +/-3 levels in single level increments, 3 bracketed images per shutter release. Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias|
|Exposure compensation||+/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB), AEB 3 shots +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments|
|Shutter speed range||30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)|
|Frames-per-second||3.7fps JPEG, 3fps RAW|
|Flash sync speed||1/200sec|
|Image stabilisation||No - Lens based IS Image Stabilisation|
|Movie Mode||1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps), MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM), Max duration 29min, Max file size 4GB|
|Viewfinder||Pentamirror, approx 95% coverage, 0.85x magnification|
|Monitor||Vari angle 7.7cm 3.0" 3:2 Clear View TFT, approx. 1040K dots|
|Media type||SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card|
|Interface||Hi-Speed USB, Video output (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), External microphone (3.5mm Stereo mini jack)|
|Power||1 x Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8|
|Box contents||Canon EOS 600D with eyecup and body cap, Battery pack LP-E8, Battery charger, Wide strap, Interface cable, Stereo AV cable, EOS Software CD-ROM, Instruction Manual CD-ROM, Camera intruction manual (printed).|
|Size Approx.||133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7 mm|
|Weight Approx.||570g including battery and memory card|