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Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3I/T3IA.HTM

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Canon EOS Rebel T3i Performance

Timing and Performance

Average to slower than average speed for consumer digital SLR these days.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.5 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off.

Buffer clearing time
6 seconds
after 9 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
11 seconds
after 5 RAW files*
11 seconds
after 3 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon Rebel T3i turned in a sluggish startup time, though shutdown was super fast and difficult to measure. (Automatic sensor cleaning was enabled, by default.) The Canon Rebel T3i's buffer clearing times were a little long, especially considering the shallow buffers.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.2 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon Rebel T3i's Play to Record mode switching time was quite sluggish for an SLR, though Record to Play and displaying a recorded image are about average.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
Optical Viewfinder

0.283 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro lens.)

Full Autofocus
Auto Selection AF
Optical Viewfinder

0.160 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Auto Selection AF
TTL flash enabled
Optical Viewfinder
0.260 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Metering pulses from flash often slow shutter response.

Prefocused
Optical Viewfinder

0.087 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
Optical Viewfinder
0.129 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
Optical Viewfinder
0.114 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Live View
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Quick Mode"
(Phase Detect)
1.176 seconds
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is phase-detect autofocus, the camera drops the mirror to focus, then raises it to grab the shot.
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Live Mode"
(Contrast Detect)
0.826 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is contrast-detect autofocus, the camera reads Live View data from the image sensor to determine focus.
Prefocused
Live View
0.084 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button..

The Canon Rebel T3i's full autofocus shutter response was a touch slow using our standard single-point AF test, at 0.283 second. Interestingly, switching to Auto Selection AF and allowing the camera to choose the focus point reduced shutter lag to 0.160 second, which is very good. As expected, enabling the built-in flash increased full AF lag a bit, to 0.260 second. (The camera emits flash metering pulses and analyses the results before taking the final flash exposure.) "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.087 second which is good for a consumer SLR. Shutter lag in Manual focus was a bit slower than prefocused, at 0.114 second, which is still quite fast. In Continuous focus mode, shutter lag was 0.129 second, very good.

The Canon Rebel T3i's AF lag time in Live View mode was longer than using the optical viewfinder (as expected). We measured 1.176 seconds using "Quick Mode" (phase-detect AF) which is a bit slow for PD AF. Surprisingly, Live Mode (contrast-detect) AF was faster at 0.826 second, but keep in mind we don't defocus the lens between trials, so phase-detect AF will likely be faster in most real-world situations. Prefocused, the Canon Rebel T3i's shutter lag was pretty fast in Live View mode, at 0.084 second.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.44 second

Time per shot, averaged over 11 shots, 6 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.46 second

Time per shot, averaged over 6 shots, 7 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
0.39 second

Time per shot, averaged over 4 shots, 11 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.28 second (3.64 frames per second);
9 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 9 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.83 second or 1.20 frames per second when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.28 second (3.64 frames per second);
5 frames total;
11 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 1.77 seconds or 0.56 frames per second when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine
JPEG

0.30 second (3.33 frames per second);
3 frames total;
11 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 3 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 2.61 seconds or 0.38 frames per second when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

3.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon T3i's single-shot mode were about average for an SLR, at 0.44 second for large/fine JPEGs, 0.46 second for RAW and 0.39 second for RAW + large/fine JPEGs.

Continuous mode speeds are also about average for a consumer model, at about 3.6 frames-per-second for large/fine JPEGs or RAWs, and 3.3 frames-per-second for RAW + large/fine JPEGs. Measured buffer depths in continuous mode were low at 9 frames for large/fine JPEGs, 5 frames for RAW mode and only 3 frames for RAW+ L/F JPEG. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.)

The Canon Rebel T3i's flash took an average of 3.2 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is pretty fast.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

7,602 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Canon Rebel T3i's download speeds are quite fast.

Bottom line, the Canon Rebel T3i is average to slower than average in most aspects of its operation for a consumer SLR. While continuous mode speeds aren't state-of-the-art, they are fast enough for most moving subjects, and shutter lag and cycle times are fair. Buffer sizes are small, and clearing times are sluggish with our 30MB/s SDHC card.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Below average battery life for a lithium-ion SLR design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
440
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
180

The Canon T3i uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is bellow average when using the optical viewfinder even for a consumer SLR, and of course Live View mode draws more power reducing battery life. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings. The Canon T3i is compatible with an optional BG-E8 battery grip, which can double capacity with two rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs. The grip also accepts AA batteries.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon Rebel T3i is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Canon Rebel T3i accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and does not ship with a card. Canon recommends a Class 6 card or faster for recording HD movies. UHS-I compliant cards are supported, but the camera does not take advantage of their increased bus speeds.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal RAW
(14-bits)
RAW
+ L/F JPEG
5,184 x 3,456
Images
(Avg Size)
142
7.2MB
280
3.7MB
37
27.3MB
27
37.2MB
Approx.
Comp.
8:1
15:1
1.1:1
-
3,456 x 2,304
Images
(Avg Size)
267
3.8MB
525
2.0MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
6:1
12:1
-
-
2,592 x 1,728
Images
(Avg Size)
417
2.5MB
795
1.3MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
6:1
10:1
-
-
1,920 x 1,080
Images
(Avg Size)
695
1.5MB
-
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
4:1
-
-
-
720 x 480
Images
(Avg Size)
2,695
380KB
-
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
3:1
-
-
-

We strongly recommend buying a fast, large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card for the Canon Rebel T3i: at least a 4GB card, preferably a 8 or 16GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, or when shooting RAW files or video. Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)