Canon EOS 600D review

3 May 2011

A superb digital camera, but a botched attempt to appeal to HD video buffs mars the 600D’s appeal

Price when reviewed 
680
Buy it now for 
4

With even entry-level DSLRs boasting enough megapixels for poster-sized prints, camera manufacturers are being forced to find new ways to tempt upgraders. HD video recording is the current teaser.

The EOS 500D first introduced 1080p video recording to the Canon DSLR stable, but the standout new feature of the 600D is a 3in camcorder-style flip-out screen. It’s bright enough to see what you're shooting even in the fiercest of sunlight, and you can overlay a grid on the screen to help you keep the horizons perfectly level on those sun-drenched beaches.

Canon EOS 600D

However, the 600D is far from the perfect camcorder. Although the Full HD footage (recorded at 24fps) is perfectly sharp and well exposed to start with, there's no continuous autofocus. Instead, you have to semi-depress the shutter button to force the camera to refocus, or test your skills with manual controls.

Using the autofocus creates an awkward, blurry second or two as the camera struggles to lock on to the subject, but that's not the worst of its crimes. The integrated microphone picks up the screeching whine of the autofocus motor, making it sound like your idyllic beach scene is under attack by a flock of pterodactyls.

An external microphone (connected to the 600D’s 3.5mm microphone input) or a willingness to substitute the soundtrack are a must for anyone relying on autofocus.

Creative camera

The video features disappoint, but the 600D really begins to shine in conventional camera mode. The flip-out screen isn’t only a bonus for videographers: it encourages photographers to experiment with creative angles too, allowing you to accurately compose a shot with the camera held above your head amongst the crowd at a wedding, for example, or down at ground level.

For those who prefer to leave the creativity to the camera, there's a new Scene Intelligent Auto mode that hands full control of the autofocus points, exposure, flash and other settings to the camera. It did a remarkably good job in our tests, automatically adjusting focus with a group of children running towards the camera, and adeptly balancing exposures in shots containing both sun and shade.

Indoor shots were sometimes a half-stop under-exposed in this fully automatic mode, but it was nothing that couldn't be corrected in photo-editing software, especially as the 600D allows you to shoot in RAW, even in automatic mode.

Details

Price ex VAT £567
Price inc VAT £680
Overall rating 4
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Image quality 5
Value for Money 4

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 18.0mp
Camera screen size 3.0in
Camera optical zoom range 3x
Camera maximum resolution 18
Camera optical image stabilisation in kit lens

Weight and dimensions

Weight 770g
Dimensions 133 x 80 x 100mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 440 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range fUnknown - fUnknown
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed 30s
Bulb exposure mode? yes
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 5EV
ISO range 100 - 12800
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 3.7fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD card
Viewfinder coverage 95%
LCD resolution 1,040k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type N/A

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? yes
Accessories supplied N/A

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