We've provided this printable version of our review for your convenience. Please remember that your shopping clicks support this site. If you think this camera is a good choice for you, please consider returning to the link below to check prices and make a purchase via our shopping links.

Also note that this is just one of the pages from this review. Full reviews have several pages with complete analysis of the many test shots we take with each camera. Feel free to download and print them out to see how the camera will perform for you.

Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3A.HTM

Like this camera?
Save money online!
Prices as of 11/27/2014
Save Money!
Canon T3

No price data available. Check back soon.

Canon T3 Image Quality


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Very good default saturation and excellent hue accuracy.

In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located towards the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center.
Saturation. The Canon EOS Rebel T3 produces images with near accurate saturation, particularly in the bright yellows, greens and cyans. Strong reds, oranges, dark brown, some greens and dark blues are pushed a little though. Overall saturation of 106.7% (6.7% oversaturated) is not too pumped yet not too dull, resulting in pleasing images. Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life.

Skin tones. Lighter flesh tones shot with the Canon Rebel T3 appeared quite natural, with appropriate saturation levels and accurate color, though slightly on the cool side. Darker skin tones show a small shift toward orange. Good results here. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.

Hue. The Canon Rebel T3's hue accuracy was very good, quite a bit better than average. The usual shift in cyan toward blue was actually quite small, while red toward orange, and orange toward yellow shifts were also fairly minor. (The cyan to blue shift is very common among the digital cameras we test; we think it's a deliberate choice by camera engineers to produce better-looking sky colors.) Whites and grays were shifted slightly toward magenta as well. Mean "delta-C" color error after correcting for saturation was only 3.76, which is excellent. Hue is "what color" the color is.

Picture Style
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 offers six preset "Picture Style" options, plus three user defined ones. You can adjust Sharpness (0-7), Contrast (+/-4), Saturation (+/-4) and Color Tone (+/-4) for any of the settings. For Monochrome images, you can adjust Filter Effect and Toning Effect instead of Saturation and Color Tone.

Picture Style Options

Mouse over the links above to see the effect of the presets on our Still Life target. Click on a link to load the full resolution image.

Saturation Adjustment
As mentioned above, Canon EOS Rebel T3 offers a total of nine saturation settings, four above and four below the default saturation. This covers a very wide range of saturation levels, about as wide a range as you're likely to find photographically useful, apart from special effects that are arguably better achieved in software. As it should, the Canon T3's saturation adjustment affects only the saturation, leaving the contrast of the image more or less unaltered. (In some cameras, saturation tends to affect contrast, and vice versa.) The fine steps between settings mean you can program the camera to just the level of saturation you prefer. As usual for Canon, well done.

Saturation Adjustment Examples
-4 -2 0 +2 +4

The table above shows alternate settings including the default as well as the two extreme saturation settings. Click on any thumbnail above, then click again to see the full-sized image.

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Auto and Incandescent settings both struggled with household incandescent lighting, though Manual white balance produced much a more neutral image. Slightly higher than average exposure compensation required.

Auto White Balance
+0.7 EV
Incandescent White Balance
+0.7 EV
 
Manual White Balance
+0.7 EV
 

Indoors, under incandescent lighting, the Canon EOS Rebel T3's Auto and Incandescent white balance settings both struggled, resulting in a strong, warm color casts. Unfortunately, this is quite common among cameras we've tested, but disappointing nonetheless. The Manual setting produced the most accurate results, though just slightly cool overall. The Canon Rebel T3 required a positive exposure compensation of 0.7 EV for this shot, which is slightly higher than the +0.3 EV average among the cameras we've tested. (Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.)

Outdoors, daylight
Color and saturation are very good, though a tendency towards slightly cool color balance and slightly high contrast under harsh lighting. About average exposure accuracy.

Auto White Balance,
+0.7 EV
Auto White Balance,
0 EV

Outdoors, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 tended toward a slightly cool color balance, as you can see by the skin tones in the above left shot, though overall color was generally very good. The Canon Rebel T3 performed about average in terms of exposure, requiring the typical amount of positive compensation we're accustomed to seeing among digital cameras. The Canon T3's default contrast is a little high, producing some washed-out highlights and dark shadows under the deliberately harsh lighting of our "Sunlit" portrait test shown above left, though the camera's contrast and Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) settings do help tame the highlights quite a bit. See below for examples of this. The Far-field shot (above right) was also a touch cool, though exposure was pretty good, just a touch underexposed. That prevented blown highlights but produced some pretty dark shadows in the trees. The Canon T3's Automatic Lighting Optimization (ALO) feature came in handy here. (See below for more on ALO.)

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
High resolution, 1,600 ~ 1,700 lines of strong detail from JPEGs, slightly higher from ACR converted RAW files.

Strong detail to
1,700 lines horizontal
In-Camera JPEG
Strong detail to
1,600 lines vertical
In-Camera JPEG
Strong detail to
1,700 lines horizontal
ACR Converted RAW
Strong detail to
1,700 lines vertical
ACR Converted RAW

Our laboratory resolution chart showed the Canon Rebel T3's images with sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,700 lines per picture height horizontally and about 1,600 lines vertically. Extinction of the pattern occurred just past 2,600 lines horizontally and at about 2,400 lines vertically. Adobe Camera Raw converted .CR2 files show slightly more resolution than the in-camera JPEGs, perhaps 100 lines, though complete extinction of the pattern was extended to about 4,000 lines horizontally, and about 3,000 lines vertically. While ACR was able to extract more detail, it also produced more color moire here than JPEGs from the camera when using default settings. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Sharp images overall, though some edge-enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects. Low to moderate noise suppression visible in the shadows.

With the default sharpening setting,
the Canon Rebel T3's JPEG
files show some visible
sharpening artifacts.
Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression blurs
detail in areas of subtle contrast,
as in the darker parts of
the model's hair here.

Sharpness. The Canon T3 captures fairly sharp images overall, though some obvious edge enhancement artifacts are visible on high-contrast subjects such as the halos around the branches, pine cones, and the tips of pine needles in the crop above left. (The above crop is from our pine tree shot taken with Canon's very sharp 35mm f/2 lens at f/8 instead of the softer kit lens.) Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.

Detail. The crop above right shows visible noise suppression artifacts in the darkest areas of the model's hair, blurring and smudging individual strands together. There's also a little more chroma noise visible in the shadows than we're used to seeing at ISO 100. The camera's overall response here is a bit below average for an SLR, but not bad for an entry-level model. The chroma noise is still visible when converting RAW files with Adobe Camera Raw at default settings, but can be tamed by turning up ACR's chroma noise reduction (CNR) during conversion. Mouse over the links at right to see how ACR's minimum, default and maximum chroma noise reduction compare to the in-camera JPEG. Increasing the camera's high ISO noise reduction may also help even at ISO 100, but we didn't test that.  Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.

RAW vs In-Camera JPEGs
As noted above, the Canon T3 produces some visible sharpening artifacts in camera JPEGs at default settings. As is usually the case , more detail can be obtained from carefully processing RAW files, especially for natural subjects. Take a look below, to see what we mean.

In the table above, mousing over a link at the bottom will load the corresponding crop in the area above, and clicking on the link will load the full resolution file. Examples from left to right include in-camera Fine JPEG, a matching RAW file processed through Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software using default settings, and finally, the same RAW file processed through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) version 6.4, then sharpened in Photoshop using 250% unsharp masking with an 0.3 pixel radius.

Canon's DPP software produced images very similar to in-camera JPEGs, though they do contain a touch more detail than the matching JPEG. Images processed through ACR show noticeably more fine detail than the DPP conversion and far fewer sharpening artifacts with sharpening settings we used, but also show more noise at default noise reduction settings, though this is not unusual. You may want to experiment with ACR's noise reduction settings to find the detail versus noise trade-off you're looking for. Bottom line, though, the Canon T3's RAW images offer excellent detail when converted with a good RAW converter.

ISO & Noise Performance
Good high ISO performance for its class, with low to moderate noise to ISO 800, though chroma noise is a little high even at base ISO.

Default High ISO Noise Reduction
ISO 100 ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1,600 ISO 3,200
 
ISO 6,400

The Canon Rebel T3 produced low to moderate image noise overall, however as mentioned previously, there is what looks like chroma noise and blurring in darker areas of the model's hair, even at the base ISO. At low ISOs, the "chroma noise" is likely caused by color moiré interference patterns, as there is no sign of it in darker regions that have less detail. Noise remains fairly low up to ISO 400, but more smudging and actual chroma noise is visible at ISO 800, though fine detail is still pretty good. ISO 1,600 shows a sharper increase in luminance noise, as well as a jump in blotchy chroma noise. ISO 3,200 actually looks a little cleaner than ISO 1,600 but at the expense of more detail loss to smudging. As you'd expect, ISO 6,400 shows more noise than 6,400, further reducing detail.

There are also what look to be demosaicing errors in areas of fine vertical detail and high local contrast, such as the strange horizontal bands in the strands of hair on the model's forehead at lower ISOs (see ISO 100 crop at right). We've seen these errors in our indoor portrait JPEG images from other Canon SLRs, as well as hints of it in JPEGs from other manufacturers, so they're not that unusual. The aberrations are very subtle to be sure, but they're something to be aware of if you plan to make very large prints of similar subject matter from JPEGs. They don't appear in RAW files processed with a good converter such as Adobe Camera Raw.

See the Print Quality section below for our evaluation of maximum print sizes at each ISO setting.

A note about focus for this shot: We shoot this image at f/4, using one of three very sharp reference lenses (70mm Sigma f/2.8 macro for most cameras, 60mm f/2.8 Nikkor macro for Nikon bodies without a drive motor, and Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds bodies). To insure that the hair detail we use for making critical judgements about camera noise processing and detail rendering is in sharp focus at the relatively wide aperture we're shooting at, the focus target at the center of the scene is on a movable stand. This lets us compensate for front- or back-focus by different camera bodies, even those that lack micro-focus adjustments. This does mean, though, that the focus target itself may appear soft or slightly out of focus for bodies that front- or back-focused with the reference lens. If you click to view the full-size image for one of these shots and notice that the focus target is fuzzy, you don't need to email and tell us about it; we already know it. :-) The focus target position will simply have been adjusted to insure that the rest of the scene is focused properly.

Extremes: Sunlit, dynamic range and low light tests
High resolution with strong overall detail, but somewhat high default contrast and unremarkable dynamic range. Highlight Tone Priority and contrast adjustment options do a great job of dealing with tough lighting, though. Good low-light performance.

+0.3 EV +0.7 EV +1.0 EV

The Canon EOS Rebel T3 produced moderately high contrast with some washed-out highlights and deep shadows under the deliberately harsh lighting of the test above. The mannequin's face was too dim at the default and +0.3 EV settings, so we preferred the image with +0.7 EV exposure compensation. Oddly, the +1.0 EV exposure showed very little difference compared to +0.7 EV. Using +0.7 EV exposure compensation resulted in more clipped highlights in the shirt and flowers than we're used to seeing from an APS-C sensor lately, indicating unremarkable dynamic range compared to the best of recent competitors. Shadow detail was however pretty good. Bottom line: while dynamic range isn't bad, the Canon T3 struggled a bit with this difficult shot compared to other recent competitive offerings.

Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here. In actual shooting conditions, be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown here; it's better to shoot in open shade whenever possible.)

Dynamic Range
A key parameter in a digital camera is its Dynamic Range, the range of brightness that can be faithfully recorded. At the upper end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is dictated by the point at which the RGB data "saturates" at values of 255, 255, 255. At the lower end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is determined by the point at which there ceases to be any useful difference between adjacent tonal steps. Note the use of the qualifier "useful" in there: While it's tempting to evaluate dynamic range as the maximum number of tonal steps that can be discerned at all, that measure of dynamic range has very little relevance to real-world photography. What we care about as photographers is how much detail we can pull out of the shadows before image noise becomes too objectionable. This, of course, is a very subjective matter, and will vary with the application and even the subject matter in question. (Noise will be much more visible in subjects with large areas of flat tints and subtle shading than it would in subjects with strong, highly contrasting surface texture.)

What makes most sense then, is to specify useful dynamic range in terms of the point at which image noise reaches some agreed-upon threshold. To this end, Imatest computes a number of different dynamic range measurements, based on a variety of image noise thresholds. The noise thresholds are specified in terms of f-stops of equivalent luminance variation in the final image file, and dynamic range is computed for noise thresholds of 1.0 (low image quality), 0.5 (medium image quality), 0.25 (medium-high image quality) and 0.1 (high image quality). For most photographers and most applications, the noise thresholds of 0.5 and 0.25 f-stops are probably the most relevant to the production of acceptable-quality finished images, but many noise-sensitive shooters will insist on the 0.1 f-stop limit for their most critical work.

JPEG. The graph at right (click for a larger version) was generated using Imatest's dynamic range analysis for an in-camera Canon Rebel T3 JPEG file with a nominally-exposed density step target (Stouffer 4110). At default camera settings and base ISO, the graph shows 9.96 f-stops of total dynamic range, with 7.56 f-stops at the "High" Quality level. These are decent numbers, though somewhat lower than some recent competitors. Compared to the Canon T3i which uses a higher resolution sensor, the T3 scored slightly better at the High Quality level (7.56 vs 7.31 f-stops), and about the same in total dynamic range (9.96 vs 9.95 f-stops). Note though that this measurement has a margin of error of about 1/3 f-stop, so differences of less than 0.33 can be ignored.

RAW. The graph at right is from the same Stouffer 4110 stepchart image captured as a RAW (.CR2) file, processed with Adobe Camera Raw using the Auto setting. The Canon T3's RAW file scored over two f-stops higher in total dynamic range (12.1 vs 9.96 f-stops) but the score at the highest quality level increased only 0.3 f-stops from 7.56 to 7.86, which is not much of an improvement and below average these days. Results are similar to those of the Canon T3i at the High Quality level (7.86 vs 7.63 f-stops), though the total dynamic range score was markedly better at 12.1 vs 10.7 f-stops. The higher quality numbers are below average for an APS-C sensor these days, though not bad for an entry-level model. It's worth noting here is that ACR's default noise reduction settings reduced overall noise somewhat (see the plot in the lower left-hand corner) relative to the levels in the in-camera JPEG, which would tend to boost the dynamic range numbers for the High Quality threshold. Also, the extreme highlight recovery being performed by ACR here would likely produce color errors in strong highlights of natural subjects.

Contrast Adjustment
We really like it when a camera gives us the ability to adjust contrast and saturation to our liking. It's even better when those adjustments cover a useful range, in steps small enough to allow for precise tweaks. As was the case with its saturation adjustment, the Canon T3's contrast setting meets both challenges very well.

Minimum Contrast
Contrast set to lowest,
+0.7 EV
Contrast set to lowest,
0 EV

At its lowest contrast setting, the Canon T3 did an excellent job of preserving highlight detail, maintaining fairly natural-looking skin tones, while holding nice detail in the shadows. Overall, very good results here.

Contrast Adjustment Examples
-4 -2 0 +2 +4

The Canon Rebel T3's contrast-adjustment control offers a very broad range of control in usefully fine gradations, and does a good job of adjusting contrast without affecting color saturation in the process. (As noted earlier regarding saturation adjustment, something that not all cameras manage to do.)

Highlight Tone Priority
The Canon EOS Rebel T3's Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) option did a good job of preserving highlight detail, as shown below. (Mouse over the Off and On links to load the corresponding thumbnail, histogram and crops.) 

Highlight Tone Priority
HTP
Setting:



Off (default)


On
Highlights
Shadows
(Levels boosted
to reveal noise.)
Histogram

Both shots above were captured at the same exposure, the only difference being that HTP was enabled for the second shot which necessarily increases the ISO to 200; part of how HTP works. The result is evident in the histograms and crops above, clearly showing the superior highlight preservation when HTP is enabled (even though few highlights were clipped to begin with at default exposure), while shadow brightness is left relatively untouched. As you can see from the shadow crops, an increase in noise is however the price you pay when ISO is boosted from 100 to 200. (Note that levels were significantly boosted in the shadow crops to reveal the increase in noise.)  Except in the very deepest shadows, though, overall noise is low enough at ISO 200 that this is really a negligible trade-off for all but the most critical applications.

Automatic Lighting Optimization
Like the EOS 60D and Rebel T3i, the Canon Rebel T3 offers three selectable levels of Automatic Lighting Optimization (ALO), plus Off. In fully automatic and Creative Auto exposure modes, ALO is automatically enabled. All four shots below were taken with the same default exposure settings. Mouse over the links below to load the associated thumbnail and histogram, and click on the links to load full resolution images

Automatic Lighting Optimization

As you can see above, ALO has the effect of shifting shadows and mid-tones in the histograms to the right, brightening shadows and indeed most of the image without clipping too many additional highlights. ISO is not boosted for ALO so increased noise is not an issue, though it may be slightly more visible in shadows that have been boosted significantly.


Face Detection
Aperture Priority
Face Detect: Off
0 EV
Aperture Priority
Face Detect: On
0 EV
Portrait
Scene Mode
0 EV

Face Detection
Just like most point & shoot cameras these days, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 has the ability to detect faces in Live View mode, and adjust exposure and focus accordingly. As you can see from the examples above, it works well, as the center image with face detection enabled is better exposed for the face (though still slightly dim) than the left image where face detection was not employed. Portrait Scene mode (right) did even better, producing the best overall exposure. Portrait mode also selected a much wider aperture (f/2.8 in this case), making the depth of field shallower to help isolate the subject from the background, though the camera backfocused a bit in this case, resulting in very soft detail in the face.

Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)


  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
100
Click to see T3LL01003.JPG
2 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL01004.JPG
4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL01005.JPG
8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL01006.JPG
15 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL01007.JPG
30 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL01007XNR.JPG
30 s
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see T3LL02003.JPG
1 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL02004.JPG
2 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL02005.JPG
4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL02006.JPG
8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL02007.JPG
15 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL02007XNR.JPG
15 s
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see T3LL04003.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL04004.JPG
1 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL04005.JPG
2 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL04006.JPG
4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL04007.JPG
8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL04007XNR.JPG
8 s
f2.8
ISO
800
Click to see T3LL08003.JPG
1/4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL08004.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL08005.JPG
1 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL08006.JPG
2 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL08007.JPG
4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL08007XNR.JPG
4 s
f2.8
ISO
1600
Click to see T3LL16003.JPG
1/8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL16004.JPG
1/4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL16005.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL16006.JPG
1 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL16007.JPG
2 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL16007XNR.JPG
2 s
f2.8
ISO
3200
Click to see T3LL32003.JPG
1/15 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL32004.JPG
1/8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL32005.JPG
1/4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL32006.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL32007.JPG
1 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL32007XNR.JPG
1 s
f2.8
ISO
6400
Click to see T3LL64003.JPG
1/30 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL64004.JPG
1/15 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL64005.JPG
1/8 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL64006.JPG
1/4 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL64007.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8
Click to see T3LL64007XNR.JPG
0.5 s
f2.8

Low Light. The Canon EOS Rebel T3 performed well on the low-light test, capturing bright images at the lowest light level (1/16 foot-candle), even with the lowest sensitivity setting (ISO 100). As is often the case, the T3's auto exposure system struggled to produce a good exposure the lowest light levels, so we used manual mode for these shots. As expected, noise increases as ISO goes up and light levels go down, but noise remains fairly low up to ISO 1,600. At ISO 3,200 and above, noise is higher and a few bright pixels appear. Color balance was pretty neutral with Canon Rebel T3's Auto white balance setting (just a touch cool), even at high ISOs, though at lower light levels there was a reddish or magenta tint. There were a few hot or bright pixels at higher ISOs where you'd expect them, but nothing unusual. We didn't notice any significant banding at any ISO or light level we tested.

When using the optical viewfinder and phase-detect AF, the Canon Rebel T3's autofocus system was able to focus on the subject down to between 1/4 and 1/8 foot-candle unassisted with the kit lens at f/3.5, and in complete darkness with the AF assist enabled. In Live View mode using contrast-detect AF, the Canon T3 was able to focus down to just below the 1/4 foot-candle light level.

As always, keep in mind that the longer shutter speeds here demand the use of a tripod to prevent any blurring from camera movement. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)

How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.

NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) Digital SLRs like the Canon T3 do much better than point & shoots, but you still shouldn't expect a quick autofocus lock with moving subjects.

Output Quality

Print Quality

Excellent 20x30-inch prints at ISO 100; Good 16x20-inch prints at ISO 1,600; and even ISO 6,400 shots are good at 11x14 inches.

ISO 100 shots look great printed at 20x30 inches, with good color and sharp detail.

ISO 200 images also print well at 20x30 inches.

ISO 400 shots show similar detail at 20x30 inches, but start to soften in reds just slightly.

ISO 800 images are a bit soft at 20x30, but still quite usable. Reds are softer than other low-contrast detail areas.

ISO 1,600 shots finally break down the low-contrast red areas and other detail enough that it's time to reduce print size to 16x20 inches. The red areas don't recover enough with this reduction, but other elements do, as is common.

ISO 3,200 files look better printed at 13x19 inches, and though chroma noise is blotchy in the shadows, it's not too detrimental to the image. Reduction to 11x14 removes their influence.

ISO 6,400 images are quite usable at 11x14.

Overall, the Canon T3's images look quite good printed. The trouble with our red-leaf swatch is pretty common, so no surprise there. A camera that prints 20x30-inch images from ISO 100 to 800 is doing quite well, and even its top ISO setting produces a good quality image at 11x14! Not bad at all.

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon Pro9000 Mark II studio printer, and on the Canon Pixma MP610 here in the office. (See the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II review for details on that model.)