Canon EOS Rebel T3: Video and Image Quality

by Jim Keenan Reads (1,881)
Editor's Rating
7.60

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 6
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Expandability
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 7.60
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
HD 720p video quality with the T3 is fairly good – and that’s a good thing since the camera captures only 1280 x 720 HD; no other formats need apply. Video capture requires setting the mode dial to movie, establishing focus either with AF or manually and initiating capture with the dedicated movie shooting/live view button on the camera back. Canon recommends a class 6 or better memory card for movie capture. There is no continuous AF function to track moving subjects, but you can enable the camera to permit autofocus using the shutter button during the course of video capture. However, you can’t capture a still image during video capture. The camera will record sounds of lens zooming and stabilization functions if enabled and is also wind sensitive. Clip length is 29 minutes and 59 seconds or 4GB, but camera overheating may stop the video capture process before either figure is reached.

Sample Video Download

There is a degree of rolling shutter effect present with fairly modest panning speeds – a bit more noticeable than other Canons I’ve reviewed recently. Even so, T3 video performance shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for anyone seriously considering this camera.

Image Quality
Default image quality out of the T3 was generally pleasing as the color fidelity and upon a quick inspection suitably sharp as well. A little closer inspection of default images had me thinking perhaps a bit more contrast and sharpening would be more to my liking. The basic user’s manual acknowledges that the landscape mode provides sharper and more vibrant images than the full automatic settings, and I tended to use this mode until I figured out how to adjust settings in aperture priority to boost sharpness and contrast. Here’s a shot at default settings in program auto and the same shot in aperture priority with the ambience set to landscape and some additional sharpening.

Canon T3 Sample Image
Program Auto, default
Canon T3 Sample Image
Aperture Priority, landscape

The picture style color palette offers six preset color options as well as three user-defined custom settings for creative zone shooters. Here are the presets, which can be further user-modified for sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone.

Canon T3 Sample Image
Standard
Canon T3 Sample Image
Portrait
Canon T3 Sample Image
Landscape
Canon T3 Sample Image
Neutral
Canon T3 Sample Image
Faithful
Canon T3 Sample Image
Monochrome

I used auto white balance for all the shots in this review and found it did a very good job overall with the exception of shooting a bit warm under incandescent light. In addition to the automatic settings there are daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent, flash and custom settings.

Canon T3 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

Evaluative metering is the default method of exposure calculation and was used to capture all the images in this review. There are also center-weighted and partial metering options, with the latter involving approximately 10% of the viewfinder at the center of the frame. The T3 seemed to push histograms toward the right side of the frame in high contrast situations, capturing a bit more detail in shadow areas at the expense of highlights.

Just as with its big brother 60D, the T3 comes with an auto lighting optimizer enabled as a default setting. And just as with the 60D, disabling this feature does not seem to impact image brightness significantly. In normal lighting conditions evaluative metering provided pleasing results.

At the top of the performance section I alluded to the inexorable creep of technology with regard to DSLRs, and nowhere is this more apparent than in noise performance of the latest generation sensors. Among the cameras I’ve personally reviewed, the trend started with Nikon’s D7000 which boosted resolution significantly on its cropped sensor while at the same time providing improved high ISO noise performance. Next came Canon’s 60D with more of the same, and now we come to the T3.

The T3 is theoretically operating at a bit of an advantage since the resolution on its sensor is set at a 12 megapixel level, while making use of Canon’s current generation DIGIC 4 processor. I expected to see some fairly decent high ISO performance from the T3 and I was not disappointed.

Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 100
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 200
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 400
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 800
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 3200
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 6400
Canon T3 Sample Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop

ISO 100, 200, and 400 sensitivities were all quite clean and hard to tell apart. ISO 800 showed a bit of deterioration over 400, primarily a loss of some fine details in areas such as the bear’s nose. ISO 1600 showed another slight decline over 800, with a bit more grain showing up in printed areas and more loss of fine details. Things are much grainier at 3200, and fine details are beginning to smudge, but the image quality is certainly usable for small prints and possibly even a bit larger. ISO 6400 takes a dramatic turn for the worse, with some colors beginning to lose their luster, increased graininess and smudging and fine details. Still, usable for Internet and perhaps even small print work.

Additional Sample Images

Canon T3 Sample Image Canon T3 Sample Image
Canon T3 Sample Image Canon T3 Sample Image
Canon T3 Sample Image Canon T3 Sample Image


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