Canon has just announced two new entry-level DSLR cameras, theEOS 600D and the EOS 1100D (or Rebel T3i and T3 in North America). The company hopes that both cameras will bring in new, aspiring photographers looking to make that first jump from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR. Appropriately, Canon has built in a number of user-friendly features to make the EOS 600D and 1100D more accessible.
For anyone familiar with Canon's earlier 500D model, the first thing about the 600D that jumps out (quite literally) is the three-inch Vari-angle LCD screen. This flip-out view-panel allows users to take overhead or low-angle shots while still being able to check the composition on screen.
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Canon has also built in a Feature Guide Instruction which explains functions and settings to new users. Below you can see the aperture mode and ambience setting adjustment screens:
Canon's marketing materials don't attempt to market the 600D as the latest, sexiest thing in the stores, but rather quite explicitly state that it's a good reason "for mom and dad to step up to a DSLR."
With the EOS 1100D, Canon's replacement for the EOS 1000D, the company looks to be going after beginner lady-photogs. I don't say that because Canon has created a limited edition red version (although I'm sure that would certainly get my wife's attention), but rather because the company has described the 1100D as "chic," certainly not the most macho of product descriptions. Silver and, of course, black models are also available. Regardless, the 1100D looks to be a fine option for any aspiring photographer, though it doesn't get the flip-out LCD panel that the 600D received.
The kit lens for both cameras has received an upgrade as well, with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II zoom giving image stabilization that "yields up to a full four stops of image-shake correction."
The timing of Canon's announcement today was also noteworthy, as the company opted to pass on launching at last month's CES and at next month's Focus on Imaging conference. More and more companies appear unwilling to have new products get lost among the plethora of tradeshow headlines.
The 600D will go on sale in the U.S. in March, priced at US$799 for the body only. If you opt for the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II zoom lens kit, it should set you back about $899. The second option is the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom kit, estimated to retail for $1,099. As for the 1100D, it will be selling at an estimated $599.99 with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II zoom lens.
For those not yet ready to make the jump to DSLR, there's also the new Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, which should fill the needs of most casual photographers.