Canon EOS Rebel T3 image quality issue

Started Apr 15, 2011 | Discussions thread
tigrebleu Senior Member • Posts: 2,060
Re: Canon EOS Rebel T3 image quality issue

maxnimo wrote:

Okay, I'm at the jpeg comparison test chart for the fourth time and I'm looking at the Rebel T3 and Nikin D3S side by side, both set at iso 3200. Both samples look excellent, with the Rebel T3 having just a bit more noise, one f stop at the most. For a cheap camera with no metering and focusing problems and an image nearly as clean as the D3S, this should be seen as a miracle of the decade.

It's not only the noise, but also the level of detail. Look at the hair in the paint brush and at similar objects, and you'll see much more details in the D3s image at ISO 3200 than in the T3 image. Noise is annoying, but if the noise reduction kills the detail, then you're sacrifying detail to noise reduction. And that's where the D3s beats the T3 hands down: detail retention.

However, since the T3 is brand new, it takes advantage of the latest imaging technology (including on-sensor and/or in-camera noise reduction, depending on the manufacturer). The D3s is about a year old now, and since then, noise reduction has improved a lot.

The Rebel T3 is indeed excellent and very capable at high ISO, but it's not better than the D3100 or the K-5, so I wouldn't call that a miracle... And the full frame D3s still has the upper hand, thanks to its large photosites. In fact, the 5DII, D700 and D3 are still superior to APS-C DSLRs because of that. But the gap is getting smaller... for now!

Because when the next full frame is released, it will also benefit from the same improvements in noise reduction technology that the latest APS-C DSLRs took advantage of, and it will again take a clear lead over APS-C cameras. I'm sure the upcoming D4, D800 and 5D Mk III (or whatever name they have) will offer at least a full F-stop noise improvement over their predecessors, if not two F-stops.

But right now, some APS-C cameras are getting indeed excellent at high ISO, so much that the difference with FF cameras is almost impossible to tell on normal size prints (4x6 and 5x7) up to ISO 1600. Not bad, considering for instance that the T3 is about eight times less expensive than the D3s!

The recent Nikon D5100 and D7000 are amazing in the high ISO departement, pretty much like the Pentax K-5, which is using the same sensor. Same goes for the EOS 7D, 60D and T3i, which are similar to their Nikon and Pentax competitors in terms of high ISO performance. The T3 is in the same leagues, and behaves pretty much like the D3100.

These cameras almost match up the full frame DSLRs at high ISO when it comes to how noise is kept low, but the FF sensors still offer more detail retention than any APS-C camera. Period.

So why are the reviews so negative? Something don't add up here.

I think the bad reviews have more to do with the global "how good is it as a photographic tool" than with just the high ISO and overall image quality performance.

The T3 lacks some of the features that you can find on competitors' models with similar prices, which is a bit disappointing.

The video, for instance, is only 720p HD, while the D3100 offers 1080p full HD. Not a meaningful difference if you don't care about video, but if you do, the D3100 looks like a more interesting product right from the start. Why Canon didn't put 1080p video in the T3 is still a mystery to me... Maybe to make sure the T3 was set well apart from the T3i?

But mainly, I think the reviewers were expecting more from Canon with this new product, for they were used to that in the past (think about the 7D). It's not that the T3 isn't good, it's just that it's not as good as some were expecting. The same thing happened with the Pentax K-r, which was excellent but didn't offer much more than the already excellent K-x. The same goes for the T3 vs. the T2i and T1i. And yet, both the K-r and the T3 are still great cameras.

I'm a photo store manager and I have the chance to try many DSLRs for different brands, and I can honestly say the T3 is an excellent camera. It has faster AF than a D3100 and it has great image quality.

But besides the AF, I also thought it didn't offer much more than a D3100, which is a bit cheaper, has a better warranty, better features and similar high ISO image quality.

I think this is mainly why the reviews were a bit hard on the T3, even though the camera is actually very good and quite capable. It just offers less than the other cameras in this segment, even though the price is similar. Canon could have put a little more effort in the T3, and I think that's why it falls short of being a "highly recommended camera".

Just my two cents.

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If photography can be considered like painting, then I'm still at the preschool "paint with your fingers" level.

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