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Canon’s Best Beginners Camera Ever

 

Canon 600D © Dave Cracknell 2011

This is officially the first product review for my blog. I’ve chosen to review the latest DSLR offering from Canon, the new EOS 600D. My reviews will be a little different from the usual this button does this and this one has these 5 functions. I’m not going to tell you what each button does in infinite detail, if you’re after that type of review there are thousands of other sites that will ramble on about the camera’s functions. What I will pass on is my first impressions and my opinions about the functionality of the camera and how this will help the photographer who intends to buy the camera. Something else I won’t do is tell you what should have been in the camera simply because I wasn’t on the designing crew, what I think is missing has no bearing on the capabilities of the camera. Wishing something is there when it’s not is not what I believe a review is about.

 

Is the latest Canon DSLR the “Best” beginner’s camera? In my opinion absolutely. I’ve been selling cameras for over 27 years. The Canon 600D is the first DSLR camera I’ve picked up and have been able to use 100% of its functions, without using the instruction manual or looking something up on You Tube. Even the sometimes complicated wireless flash setup has been simplified on the 600D. The main reason for this is, Canon has put into the camera a simple explanation of each mode as you scroll through the functions. I have to admit I didn’t need the explanations and there is a menu option to turn it off, but it’s there for the newbies, who don’t know it all yet.

The first thing I noticed when I took the camera out of the box was the new 18-55 IS lens. It seems a touch smaller than the previous model. The focus speed seems to be slightly faster than the older one but that is subjective as I didn’t have the older one handy to test against. The next nice change I found was the grip, finally Canon has made a small camera with a decent grip. The camera felt very comfortable in the hand, no doubt it will feel much better with the optional vertical grip. People with average size hands will stop complaining. The main reason I wanted to road test the camera was to see the Vary Angle LCD Screen and Canon haven’t disappointed me here either. I love it. One on the first “would like to have” of mine when I first bought a digital camera was a swivel screen and it still is something I would like in a DSLR.

After waiting the mandatory period of time to charge up the battery I was ready to start testing the camera. Now remember I haven’t read the instruction manual. Within minutes I had the camera set to fire my Canon 580EX II wirelessly and was taking photos. The performance of the camera was as I expected. The shutter sound was no different from the other entry-level cameras. My 7D has a more solid sound as it’s not made with the same lighter materials as the 600D. The 600D is an 18 Mp camera, I already knew, from previous models, what to expect. I shot in Jpeg mode and used the Picture Styles for most of the shoot. I did change to my 7D during the shoot so I could compare the Jpegs from the 600D to the RAW files of the 7D.

My mini photo shoot consisted of around 100 images, I changed to an 85mm f1.8 for part and went to a 50mm f1.4 to round off the shoot. Every photo was sharp except those where I set too slow a shutter speed for what I was doing. User error not camera. The camera performed flawlessly. The Autofocus was spot on and the exposure control on the flash, perfect. This is exactly how I expected it to go.

I found it very hard to tell the differences between the images I shot with the 7D and the 600D. In post processing I had to check the data panel in Lightroom to see which one I was developing. With the 7 shots I placed in the slide show in the previous blog entry I think there are 2 or more from the 600D in the series, it’s impossible to tell.

The 600D is by far the best entry-level camera Canon has produced to date. It’s easy enough for a beginner to get their head around the functions and be able to learn what everything is in no time. Advanced users are not left without the finer modes that everyone wants in a camera. I personally like a few of the nicer tweaks Canon have made and hope that a firmware upgrade to my camera will bring these functions to my camera. I especially love the swivel screen. I know I can put that to good use on a DSLR. If you know someone who wants to buy a DSLR and is not sure of the one they should get, I would highly recommend the Canon EOS 600D, to both beginners and enthusiasts.

Happy Shooting

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