Canon T3 Exposure
Canon T3 Exposure
The T3's AE system also integrates distance information from the autofocus system into the exposure metering process, thanks to a rather clever assumption: If you've identified the subject as being located a certain distance away from the camera, nearby objects that are close to the same distance are most likely part of the subject, too. Thus, rather than simply relying on a spot AE reading centered on the primary AF point, or blindly combining exposure information from a cluster of AE points in some arbitrary geometric grouping around the active AF point, the Canon T3 instead gives stronger weighting to exposure sensor segments that lie beneath adjacent AF points showing a similar distance reading.
Although we've not had confirmation of this from Canon, we suspect that the color-sensitive capability of the new AE sensor plays a role here too: It seems highly likely that the T3's exposure system takes color into account and considers contiguous areas of similar color to be an indication of the extent of the subject as well.
The Canon T3's exposure metering options include 63-zone Evaluative, Center-weighted Average, and Partial (10% of viewfinder at center) options, but no spot metering mode is provided. Metering sensitivity range is specified at 0-18 EV (at 23°C/73°F, with EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100).
The Canon T3's Exposure Compensation setting allows the user to increase or decrease the metered exposure by up to five stops positively or negatively, in one-third or one-half EV increments -- a much more useful range than the two stops either side of nominal exposure offered in the previous Rebel XS model.
Here you can see the coverage of the three metering settings. Evaluative (63-zone) is on the left, Center weighted is in the middle and Partial is on the right. The T3 has no Spot metering mode, but you aren't missing much without it, since Spot is usually not much different from Partial on Canon consumer SLRs.
In Live View mode, evaluative metering is always used, however Canon does not specify how many zones. The sensitivity range for Live View metering is specified at 0-20 EV (again, at 23°C/73°F, with EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens, ISO 100).When Face Detection AF is enabled in Live View mode, the Canon T3 biases the exposure in an attempt to properly expose for a detected face.
ISO Sensitivity Options
Automatic Exposure Bracketing
AE/FE Lock (" * " button)
Through the Custom Functions menu, the behavior of the AE / FE lock button can be changed. By default, a single press locks exposure until the shutter is released, or the T3's metering system powers down, while focus is locked with a half-press of the shutter button. There are three alternatives to this behavior. The first swaps functions so that the AE / FE lock button locks focus, and a half press of the shutter button locks exposure. The second alternative uses the AE / FE lock button to cancel continuous autofocus in AI servo mode, with the shutter button starting autofocus operation, but not locking exposure. Finally, you can opt to dedicate the AE / FE lock button to start autofocus operation while depressed, and the shutter button meters, but doesn't lock the metered value.
In Movie mode, there is similar functionality set through the Movie menu, but the last two options are subtly different, since continuous autofocusing isn't available for movies. Instead of canceling continuous autofocus in the second option, the AE / FE lock button pauses a single AF operation triggered by pressing the shutter button before movie capture starts, and focusing isn't possible during recording. In the final option, the AE / FE lock button performs a single AF operation and locks focus when pressed, rather than operating autofocus continuously.
White Balance Options
A White Balance bracketing option snaps only one image, but then writes three successive files from that single capture. Bracketing steps are from -/+ 3 steps. (Each step corresponds to five mireds of a color conversion filter, for a total range of +/- 15 mireds. This corresponds to about a +/- 500K shift at a normal daylight color temperature of 5,500K.)
Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO)
Highlight Tone Priority (HTP)
HTP's action is pretty subtle, but the results are very evident when dealing with strong highlights under harsh lighting. The way it works is to set the camera's base ISO up one notch, to 200, so it's only half-filling the sensor's pixels with charge during the exposure. The Canon T3 then alters its tone curve, basically compressing the top half (that would normally be blown out) into a smaller range, thereby preserving the highlight detail. You can do this yourself when working from RAW files, you just need to significantly underexpose most of the scene, and then fiddle with the tone curve to drastically reduce the contrast, but only in the extreme highlights. If that sounds difficult, it is; it can be a real time-sink, and very difficult to make the end result look natural. Canon's HTP does this for you automatically, though, and the results look just great: You have no sense that the camera has been making radical adjustments to its tone curve; you just see all the detail in the highlights that otherwise would be missing. HTP is controlled via Custom Function setting II-5, giving you options to Disable (the default) or Enable it.
Noise Reduction Options
The T3 also offers the user four levels of high ISO sensitivity noise reduction. Options are Disable, Low, Standard and Strong, with Standard being the default. Though the name implies this noise reduction is only applied at high ISOs, the Canon T3 applies it to all ISOs. This explains why the T3 exhibits minimal chroma noise in shadows and darker tones at low ISOs, when using the default Standard setting. These settings are accessed in Custom Function II-4. High ISO noise reduction is not applied to RAW files, and if set to Strong, reduces the T3's burst shooting speed and depth whenever JPEG images are being recorded.
Continuous Shooting Mode and Self-Timer
The Canon T3's Drive setting also accesses three Self-Timer modes, which open the shutter 10 or 2 seconds after the Shutter button is pressed, giving you time to dash around in front of the camera. The third mode will take a programmable amount of shots (2 to 10 shots), after a 10 second delay. There is no separate Remote Control drive mode, as the T3 only supports the tethered RS-60E3 Remote Switch, which simply replicates the functionality of the camera's own shutter button, albeit with an additional plastic latch that can be used to lock the button down for longer bulb exposures.
The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon EOS Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) Photo Gallery .
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Canon EOS Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
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