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Operation and controls

Top of camera controls

The top plate plays host to the camera's major controls. Immediately behind the shutter button is the command dial that, in concert with the +/- button on the rear, is used for changing the main exposure parameters (shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation). Behind this are two large, prominent buttons; 'DISP' for switching the rear LCD on and off, and 'ISO'. The latter is particularly well-placed for operation with the camera to your eye; simply press the button then spin the command dial to change the sensitivity (which is permanently displayed in the viewfinder).

The large exposure mode dial offers a full range of auto and manual options - this is also your port of call when shooting video, as you have to explicitly set the camera to movie mode (on the whole we prefer cameras that have direct record buttons which work in all exposure modes). It's surrounded by the large, positive on/off switch.

Rear of camera controls

The rear of the camera is laid out pretty well identically to the 550D. The button shapes are more stylized, and the four-way controller is a little bit smaller, but overall Canon has stuck to its tried-and-tested layout. This angle also emphasizes the deeply-sculpted channel that provides a positive grip for your thumb.

Canon has clearly set the 600D up to be controlled as far as possible by the right hand, and three key shooting controls - autoexposure lock (*), AF point selection and exposure compensation (+/-) are all placed within easy reach of your thumb. The latter has also moved slightly away from the viewfinder, making it a little more accessible, but it's still all-too-easy to hit the Q button below it by mistake. However he need to press a button to enter AF point selection mode, then the 4-way controller to select the required point, makes this process slightly more fiddly than on competitors which use the controller directly (but in turn sacrifice some other external controls).

The 'red dot' button beside the viewfinder has two functions. In movie mode, it starts and stops recording, whereas in all other modes it's used to enter or exit live view. The four-way controller provides direct access to white balance, focus and drive modes, and picture style during normal shooting, but there's no hard button for metering mode. However this is still relatively easy to set using the 'Q' button, which 'activates' the rear control panel to allow quick access to pretty well anything else you'd like to change while shooting.

When you switch to Live View or Movie shooting, the 4-way controller buttons no longer operate their marked functions, but are used directly to move the AF point around the frame (with WB etc now accessed via the Q button). We found this mode change somewhat disconcerting, and more than once ended up inadvertently changing the AF point position when we really wanted to set the white balance or drive mode.

Front of camera controls

The 600D's external controls are rounded-off by two buttons on the lens throat. The upper of the two is used to raise the flash in the P, Av, Tv and M modes (in the others it pops up automatically), but sadly doesn't do anything else, for example set flash exposure compensation. The lower button, just below the lens release, is the depth of field preview - press this to stop down the lens to the working aperture and see the effect in the viewfinder. Unlike some cameras, this also works perfectly sensibly in live view, where the much brighter, clearer view makes it far easier to judge what's going on.

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Total comments: 12
vladimir funtak

It was kind of funny to take a 24-70 f 2.8 lens on a 600D, was afraid it will broke…Don't worry, work just fine, only the neck-strapp is maybe to delicate…Great little camera. Like video options too.


Does anyone knows if this camera has a socket for studio flash sync cord?


The Canon EOS Rebel T3i is great. It has the ability to take excellent shots, you can learn alot about photography with it. And if you're new to photography it wouldn't be wise to invest in a higher-end expensive camera that you have no idea how to operate. Read the manual a couple of times and you'd be good to go, its not that difficult to use. Read more at

1 upvote

I've had my t3i for about four months now and I find learning how to use it properly an enjoyable project. This camera can be as complex or as simple as one would like it to be, depending on one's interest.

I bought a 70-300 TeleZoom to add to the camera's flexibility and to be able to shoot wildlife.

So far, I have no regrets purchasing this camera and I can't imagine having any going forward.

1 upvote

Pretty good review, thanks.


I have had this camera for over 2 years. The video works very well for exposure, especially in difficult lighting areas. The problem is the focus is slow and hunts. It is best to use it in manual mode and with fairly fast lenses. This was an upgrade to EOS 350, but I only use 2 of the lenses I used before with the 600D - Canon EF 50mm 1.8 and Sigma 70-300 mm. Photos are good and the lens profile works well with the Canon lenses I have. Profile does not work with non-Canon lense like my sigma 17-70 2.8-4 and the 70-300mm. I have also bought a Canon 10-18mm wide angle lens to add to the 18-55 is and 55-250 is lens, plus the lenses mentioned earlier.
I had to buy Nissin flashes as the Sigma 500 flash is not compatible, even after being sent to Sigma for a fix.
The worst issue is the slow focus in live view. Fast lenses are better, but it is best to go manual or use the view finder. I was think of getting the 700D, but not sure if it is worth it, even with the upgrades.


Great camera for shooting still photos. The quality is superb and low-lighting is a breeze (as soon as you get used to working the correct settings).
The main reason I chose the T3i was for the 1080p video is offers. The video quality is great, but there are a few things to be aware of.
You'll want to get a memory card rated at a 10 for speed, and make sure it's a good-quality brand. If you scrimp on the card you'll forever be hitting yourself when the video recording repeatedly stops for no apparent reason. I have been through three cards that don't cut it (three different brands). Make sure you shell out the money for a quality card or you won't be able to record the data fast enough for 1080p (particularly in bright lighting or when you have a light source in the background--like a TV or lamp).

1 upvote

This is my first DSLR as well and I think it functions very well. I use the kit lens and additionally I bought a telephoto zoom lens 55 to 250mm (f4 to f5.6) and a prime 50mm (f1.8). The camera gives me reasonably sharp shots. It does not have as many focus points as a competitive Nikon D3200. I post process with Aperture and then the pictures look even better!


This is my first DSLR, coming from two previous Canon PowerShot cameras and a Minolta 35mm SLR. For my purposes (not professional) this camera has been outstanding. I mainly wanted a camera that allowed me to take better family and vacation photos and one that would allow me to learn about shooting manually. I also feel confident that lens purchases I make for this camera will be supported on better Canon cameras should I see the need for it in the future.


Even for an amateur camera very well. Of course, for a good job requires additional configuration. Plus, the lens plays an important role. That the work of the unit, I want to note the high processing shots. Good sharpness and color rendition. In general, a good camera. And not expensive!


Canon t3i 600D

This new piece of kit is very similar but quite a few dollars cheaper. The specs are similarly very close, with one exceptional difference: the new baby is 240 grams lighter in weight, made from stainless steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fibre. Which says a lot: pros like cameras with a dab of weight while the amateur fraternity goes kinky for models that don’t lower the shoulders.

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So All In All., Im Looking Between This &The Rebel SL1 For Video... I Would Like To Kno Which Would Be Best For The Task &Video Editing ...

Total comments: 12