Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D Dynamic Range (JPEG)
Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).
To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.
The 600D uses the same the tone curve as we've seen many times before from Canon, giving good dynamic range (around 3.3EV above middle grey) and a gentle roll-off as you move towards the highlights. The Neutral and Faithful Picture Styles are a little different from the others, employing slightly lower contrast in the upper mid-tones but clipping a bit more abruptly to white (although at the same point relative to middle grey). Overall this is exactly what we're used to seeing from Canon DSLRs, meaning a little less highlight range by default than is typically obtained from Nikon and Sony competitors (but much the same as other brands).
The Highlight Tone Priority option (Custom Function II.6) is a method for capturing more information in the brightest parts of the scene. It does this by applying less amplification to the signal coming from the sensor, then compensating for it by using a different tone curve to ensure the correct brightness in the final image. Turn this on and the 600D captures an extra stop in the highlights, resulting in an overall range that at least matches that of Sony and Nikon models.
When used at ISO 200, the effect is the same as underexposing an ISO 100 shot by one stop, then pulling up the mid tones and shadows to compensate. The result is an image that looks right but doesn't lose the extra highlights you've captured. It means you have to use ISO 200 and upwards, because you're using the sensor at its lowest amplification setting but with one stop less exposure than in normal mode. The penalty is a touch more noise in shadow regions (as shown by the bottom limit of the HTP ON strip being slightly higher), but in return you get around one stop more highlight detail, which can be invaluable on bright, sunny days.
Focus Camera Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Zoom Lens & EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens + 11pc Bundle 16GB Deluxe Accessory Kit
Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR
with 18-55mm IS II Lens + Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens
Focus Camera Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Zoom Lens & EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens + 10pc Bundle 16GB Deluxe Accessory Kit
Canon Kiss X5 (EOS 600D / Rebel T3i)
with Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II Lens
Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Lens (discontinued by manufacturer)
Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR Kit
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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 18.0 MP CMOS Digital SLR
with 18-55mm EF-S IS STM Lens + Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera USA warranty
with canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS [Image Stabilizer] II Zoom Lens & EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens + 17pc Bundle with 24GB Complete Deluxe Accessory Kit
Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera & EF-S 18-55mm IS
with 55-250mm IS STM Lens + 32GB Card + Backpack + Flash + Battery + Grip + Tripod Kit
Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera Body Only (discontinued by...