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Canon T3i vs T4i

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T4i (labelled Canon 650D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and June 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 17.9 megapixels.

As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Canon EOS Rebel T4i belong to Canon's Rebel line of DSLR cameras. This range of APS-C cameras, which started out with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel in 2003, has been a big commercial success and the backbone of Canon's dominance in the digital camera market. The popularity of the Rebel cameras is the result of them inheriting much of the sensor and shooting technology from earlier released professional DSLRs, while being sold at a much more budget-friendly price point. The strong brand reputation of Canon and the comprehensive EOS system of compatible lenses and accessories further contributes to the appeal of the Rebel cams, including the Canon T3i and Canon T4i. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon T3i versus Canon T4i
Canon T3i Canon T4i
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel touchscreen
3.7 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
440 shots per battery charge440 shots per battery charge
133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g 133 x 100 x 79 mm, 575 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Canon EOS Rebel T4i? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Canon T4i. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon T3i vs Canon T4i
Compare T3i versus T4i top
Comparison T3i or T4i rear

In this particular case, the Canon T3i and the Canon T4i have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the T4i is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the T4i are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The T3i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the T4i, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the T4i uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the T3i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon T3i and Canon T4i sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 17.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the T3i and the T4i have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the T4i is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the T3i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The T4i has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T4i are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

T3i versus T4i MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T3i and the T4i are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.53x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T3i and Canon T4i in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The T4i has a touchscreen, while the T3i has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T3i and the T4i write their files to SDXC cards. The T4i supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T3i cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and Canon EOS Rebel T4i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---

Both the T3i and the T4i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the T4i was followed by the Canon T5i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon T3i better than the Canon T4i or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (29 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T4i:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T4i is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 2 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

T3i 02:06 T4i

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Canon T4i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3i or the T4i perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T6s+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
Canon T2i+ +77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
 
Canon T1i+ +74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon T3i:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T4i:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon T3i vs Canon T4i

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon T3i Canon T4i
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2011 June 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 849
    Sensor Specs Canon T3i Canon T4i
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 5
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 793 722
    Screen Specs Canon T3i Canon T4i
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon T3i Canon T4i
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.7 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon T3i Canon T4i
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon T3i Canon T4i
    Battery Type LP-E8 LP-E8
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge440 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 133 x 100 x 80 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    133 x 100 x 79 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 570 g (20.1 oz) 575 g (20.3 oz)

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