Canon EOS Rebel T4i Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: September 30, 2012

Last Updated: October 3, 2012

The EOS Rebel T4i (from $849) is Canon's latest entry-level digital SLR, and the replacement to last year's Rebel T3i. The biggest change on the new T4i is related to autofocus. When shooting with the viewfinder, there's a new 9-point, all cross-type AF sensor, which improves focus speed and accuracy. When using live view, Canon's new Hybrid CMOS AF system uses both contrast and phase detection, which also offers better accuracy and performance (which I'll test later in the review).

Other changes include the new DIGIC 5 image processor, faster continuous shooting, a touchscreen LCD, continuous autofocus in movie mode, and much more. The Rebel T4i retains the same 18 Megapixel resolution (though the sensors are different) and 3-inch LCD size of its predecessor.

Speaking of which, the chart below compares last year's Rebel T3i with Canon's latest and greatest T4i:

  EOS Rebel T3i EOS Rebel T4i
MSRP (body only) $699 $849
Sensor resolution (effective) 18.0 MP
Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 5
AF system (viewfinder) 9-point
(one cross-type)
(all cross-type)
AF system (live view) Contrast detect Hybrid
(Contrast/phase detect)
LCD size / resolution 3.0" / 1.04M px
LCD type Rotating
LCD touch functionality No Yes
Viewfinder mag / coverage 0.85x / 95%
ISO range (fully expanded) 100 - 12800 100 - 25600
Multi Shot Noise Reduction No Yes
Burst rate (full res) 3.7 frames/sec 5.0 frames/sec
HDR backlight control No Yes
Handheld Night Scene No Yes
Creative Filters 5 7
Max movie resolution (frame rate) 1920 x 1080 (30p)
Continuous AF for movies No Yes
Sound recording Monaural Stereo
Battery used LP-E8
Battery life (with viewfinder) 440 shots
Dimensions 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in.
Weight (empty) 515 g 520 g

So there you have it the differences between the Rebel T3i and T4i. I'll many of the new features in more depth as this review progresses. Speaking of which, let's get the review started!

The EOS Rebel T4i is known as the EOS-650D in some countries.

What's in the Box?

Officially, the Rebel T4i is available in three kits. You can buy just the body alone ($849), get it with the standard 18 - 55 mm kit lens ($899), or with the new 18 - 135 STM lens ($1199). In addition, don't be surprised if warehouse stores like Costco end up selling bundles that include two lenses and a camera bag (or something like that). Here's what you'll find in the box for the three official kits:

  • The 18.0 effective Megapixel EOS Rebel T4i digital camera
  • F3.5-5.6, 18 - 55 mm Canon EF-S IS lens [18-55 kit only]
  • F3.5-5.6, 18 - 135 mm Canon EF-S IS STM lens [18-135 kit only]
  • LP-E8 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Body cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Canon EOS Digital Solution
  • 371 page camera manual (printed)

Those just starting out in the D-SLR world will probably opt for one of the kit lens packages. The 18 - 55 mm (second generation) kit lens features optical image stabilization, plasticky build quality, and average performance. The 18 - 135 mm STM lens is brand new, and uses Canon's new STM (stepping motor) technology, which allows for quiet, responsive autofocus, which is important when recording movies. The 18-135 definitely focuses faster than its non-STM counterparts, though it's a bit soft, and has issues with purple fringing. If you want to use other lenses, the Rebel T4i supports both EF and EF-S lenses, with a 1.5X crop factor.

As with all D-SLR and mirrorless cameras, there's no memory card included in the box with the Rebel T4i. Therefore, unless you've got one already, you'll need to pick up a memory card if you want to actually take any photos. The T4i supports, SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards, including high speed UHS-I models. I'd recommend a Class 6 card at the very least, and perhaps faster if you're going to be taking a lot of Full HD videos.

The Rebel T4i uses the same LP-E8 lithium-ion battery for power. This battery packs 8.1 Wh of energy into its plastic shell, which is on the lower end of average for a D-SLR. Here's how that compares to other D-SLR and mirrorless cameras:

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon EOS Rebel T4i 440 shots LP-E8
Nikon D5100 660 shots EN-EL14
Olympus E-PL5 * 360 shots BLS-5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 * 310 shots DMW-BLC12
Pentax K-30 410 shots D-LI109
Samsung NX20 * 360 shots BP1310
Sony Alpha SLT-A57 590 shots NP-FM500H

* Mirrorless ILC supports live view only

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

Comparing just the D-SLRs, the Rebel T4i's numbers are about 15% below average. Naturally, the T4i will beat the mirrorless cameras when using its optical viewfinder, but do note that it can only take 180 shots per charge if you use live view exclusively.

The EOS-650D (what the rest of the world calls the Rebel T4i) with its optional battery grip
Image courtesy of Canon Europe

If you want more battery life, you can pick up the optional BG-E8 battery grip (priced from $136), which holds two LP-E8 or six AA batteries. For those who aren't great at math, that means that you can get twice the battery life by using this grip.

When it's charging time, just pop the LP-E8 into the include charger. The charger may or may not plug right into the wall (depends on your country), but both models charge the LP-E8 in two hours.

If there's one thing that's true about a Canon D-SLR, it's that you have a huge selection of accessories at your disposal. Some of he most interesting include:

Accessory Model # Price * Description
External flash 270EX II
430EX II

From $124
From $224
From $269

The 270EX II is a pretty basic flash that doesn't bounce or rotate. The 320EX can do both of those things, and also has a built-in video lamp. The 430EX II is even more powerful but lacks the video lamp. All three flashes can be controlled wirelessly by the T4i.
Remote shutter release RS60-E3 From $20 A shutter release button on a 2 foot-long cable.
Wireless remote RC-6 From $22 Release the shutter using this infrared remote control.
GPS receiver GP-E2 From $270 Embed your location into the metadata of photos and videos.
Battery grip BG-E8 From $136 Holds two LP-E8 or six AA batteries, and adds additional controls for portrait shooting.
AC adapter ACK-E8 From $72 Power the camera without draining your batteries
A/V cable AVC-DC400ST From $33 For connecting your camera to a old school television
Semi-hard case EH19-L

From $55

This vinyl case holds the camera with smaller lenses (like the 18-55) attached.
* Prices were accurate when review was published

And those are just the highlights! There are also macro ring flashes and numerous viewfinder accessories available.

Canon has one of the nicest software bundles out there. You'll first encounter EOS Utility, which will download photos from the camera onto your Mac or PC. The main photo organizing suite is called ImageBrowser EX, which replaces the old ImageBrowser and ZoomBrowser software that came on earlier models. I'm not sure what Canon used to build this software (it feels like Adobe Air), but it definitely doesn't feel like a native application anymore, at least on the Mac side. That said, it'll let you edit your photos in a number of ways, including auto correct, redeye removal, tone curve and level adjustment, and more. It also allows you to edit your videos, including adding transitions and special effects, and save the results as a new movie. Both stills and movies can be shared via e-mail, Facebook. YouTube, or Canon's own Image Gateway service.

For editing RAW images you'll need to use Digital Photography Professional, which is a very capable product. Here you can adjust exposure, highlight and shadow detail, the tone curve, noise reduction, and white balance. There are also tools for reducing lens distortion, vignetting, and purple fringing. If you'd rather use Adobe Photoshop instead, just make sure that you have the latest version of their Camera Raw plug-in first.

Also included with the T4i is PhotoStitch. PhotoStitch can take photos that you've lined up (manually in the case of the Rebel T4i), and combine them into a single panoramic image. The only thing easier is if the camera did it automatically, which the Rebel does not.

Unlike some other manufacturers, Canon still puts a full, printed manual in the box with the Rebel T4i. Sure, it's not the most user-friendly book out there, but it's very detailed, and should answer any questions you may have about the camera. Documentation for the bundled software can be found on an included CD-ROM disc.