Features & Controls

The T3i uses Canon's EF/EF-S lens mount shown above. This camera is compatible with the full line of Canon-EF/EF-S lenses offered by Canon and other lens manufacturers, giving you a variety of lenses to choose from. On the right hand side of the lens mount, you can see the lens release button and the DOF preview button.

canon_7d_cmos1.jpgThe T3i is still equipped with the same 18-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS imager sensor that was used on the T2i. Designed to work with Canon's EF and EF-S lenses, this APS-C sized imager offers a conversion factor of 1.6x. Thanks to its high sensitivity and high-resolution design, this CMOS sensor is capable of recording at extremely high sensitivities settings, with a maximum ISO rating of 12,800 (with ISO Expansion set to On).

canon_7d_selfcleaning.jpgThis is the Self Cleaning system found on the T3i, that works to keep the CMOS sensor free from dust and other debris, using ultrasonic vibrations. It also has a fluorine coating on the surface of the low-pass filter, further increasing this units ability to repel dust. The self-cleaning system will automatically complete its cycle every time you turn the camera on or off, which takes about 2 seconds. You can also manually activate this option via the Setup menu, which will take about 5 seconds.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II SLR.

Also still being used is Canon's high-speed DIGIC 4 processor unit, which helps the camera provide you with fast start-up, live-view, image/video capture, and processing speeds. DIGIC technology uses advanced image processing algorithms to ensure precise, natural colors, accurate white balance, and advanced noise reduction. The DIGIC chips work with a high-speed DDR-SDRAM image buffer - reading, processing, compressing and writing image data fast enough to keep the buffer clear during long continuous shooting bursts (up to 3.7fps at full resolution). Still, because DIGIC integrates all key processing functions, power consumption is kept to a minimum. This powerful system also has the ability to quickly process the full HD (1920x1080) video that the T3i can record.

Shown here are some of the controls located on the front of the camera, and on the lens packaged with the T3i. Switching between manual and auto focus is controlled on the lens as well as the image stabilizer switch (if the lens offers this feature). On the camera body you will see the flash release button, followed by the lens lock release, and the DOF (Depth-of-field) preview button. You can also see the built-in microphone above the EOS Rebel T3i name stamp.


This is the auto pop-up, built-in flash unit for the T3i. It covers a focal length of up to 17mm with an approximate recharge time of 3 sec. The guide number is approximately 13/43 (meters/feet at ISO 100), and has an option to change the Flash Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 stops in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments.


Here we can see the T3i's hotshoe for connecting external speedlites (like the 580EX II shown below). The T3i utilizes an E-TTL II flash metering system, which is compatible with all EX-series Speedlites, and even offers in-camera configuration with some models.

E-TTL II features:

  • High-speed sync (FP Flash) with all shutter speeds from 30 sec. to 1/8000 sec.
  • FE (Flash Exposure) Lock on the desired part of the subject - this is the flash equivalent of AE lock.
  • Flash exposure compensation of ±2 stops in 1/3 of 1/2 stop increments.
  • FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing) is the flash version of AEB, flash bracketing can be up to ±2 stops in 1/3-stop increments.
  • E-TTL II wireless autoflash with multiple Speedlites provides all the above features. (Only with wireless-compatible Canon Speedlites.)

This is Canon's 580EX II external speedlite mounted atop the T3i. This unit will supply adequate light when using the T3i in situations that require a more powerful light source. The 580EX II offers both dust and water resistance, along with increased body strength to match up to the versatility of Canon's 1D line of professional dSLRs. While 20% shorter than the original 580EX, it boasts improved communication with the camera, 20% faster recycle times, full swivel (180° vertical/horizontal), and a powerful Guide number of 58m (GN 190, feet).

Here you can see the controls on the back of the 580EX II.

Here is the eye-level SLR fixed pentamirror viewfinder on the T3i. It offers approx. 95% coverage (vertically and horizontally), 0.85x magnification (with 50mm at infinity), 19mm eye point, and -3.0 - +1.0 dioptric adjustment. The T3i utilizes a fixed "Precision Matte" focusing screen, and displays typical exposure information.


The information presented in the viewfinder includes:

  • AF information: AF points, focus confirmation light.
  • Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed (always displayed), AE lock, exposure level, spot metering circle, exposure warning
  • Flash information: Flash ready, flash exposure compensation, high-speed sync, FE lock, red-eye reduction light
  • Image information: Highlight tone priority (D+), monochrome shooting, maximum burst (1-digitdisplay), white balance correction, SD card information
  • Depth of field Preview: Enabled with the DOF preview button located on the front of the camera by the lens lock release

The T3i utilizes a TTL-CT-SIR 9-point AF system, which features cross-type center AF point and a dedicated CMOS sensor for analyzing the scene being framed for quick and accurate focus. Focusing modes include:
  • Auto
  • One-Shot AF
  • Predictive AI Servo AF
  • AI Focus AF
  • Manual Focusing (MF)
  • AF Point selection (Auto or Manual)
The T3i also uses an AF assist lamp (aka AF assist beam), which helps the camera focus on subjects in marginal lighting conditions. This is accomplished by intermittently firing the built-in flash unit. The effective range is: Approx. 4.0m/13.1 ft. at center, approx. 3.5m/11.5 ft. at periphery. When using an external speedlite, the T3i will utilize the speedlite's AF beam.
canon_7d_metering_sensor.jpgShown here is the 63 zone metering sensor installed in the T3i. This unit helps the camera capture accurate exposures by collecting information on both the color and luminosity surrounding the chosen AF point(s). The inclusion of a color measurement function also helps reduce the possibility of exposure or focus errors, which are typically caused by different lighting sources.

On the back of the T3i you will see many camera control buttons, along with the 3.0-inch liquid crystal color LCD screen. This is a high-quality articulating display that offers over 1 million pixels of resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio(same as image sensor), 100% frame coverage (in Live view mode), 170° viewing angle, and a special anti-reflective, water-repellent, smudge-resistant, and scratch-resistant coating. It also features Auto (3 levels) or Manual brightness adjustment (7 levels). You can rotate the display to various angles to help you more comfortably frame subjects in Live View mode; whether holding the camera at waist-level or over the head.

Controls on the back: At the top left you can see the Menu button for calling up and dismissing the main menu system, along with the INFO button for controlling the amount of information displayed on the LCD. On the right side connected to the viewfinder is the dioptric adjustment dial. The next button with the camera icon is the Live View/Movie shooting button. Pressing this button will enter Live View mode when in a still image mode, or will Start/Stop video recording when the mode dial is set to Movie mode. To the far right you see the AE/FE lock button that seconds as the index key when in Playback mode, and next to that is the AF point selection button that seconds as the magnify button when in Playback. Underneath of these two buttons is the small speaker for audio playback. Next is the AV Aperture/Exposure compensation button. Depending on the exposure program being used, this button allows you to adjust the aperture and exposure compensation functions of the camera. Below that is the Quick Control button for the T3i's shortcut menu, and is also used as the print function menu while in Playback mode. Next you will see the 4-way controller, which has several jobs. These include navigating the menu system, scrolling inside an enlarged image in playback mode, and a quick recall of specific camera functions. Pressing "Up" will display the White Balance options, "Right" accesses the AF mode, "Down" gives access to the Picture Style modes, and "Left" toggles the drive mode (burst/self-timer). Lastly we have the Play button to send the camera into Playback mode, and the Delete key at the bottom right to delete images.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.