The price point of DSLR cameras have significantly dropped over the last few years. With the implementation of new technology, DSLRs are becoming increasingly simpler to use and customers buy them  for their superior image quality and manual controls.

Sturdy pop up flash

Models like the Canon EOS 500D and the 550D are not the cheapest DSLR cameras in the range, but they still fall in the upper entry-level price segment. The Canon EOS 550D was launched in 2010 with features such as 18MP sensor size and 1080p video recording capability. The Canon EOS 600D is now being launched, a year later, not to replace the 550D but to add to the existing line of EOS series of cameras.

Features
The Canon EOS 600D has an 18 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor. It’s the same found on the EOS 550D. This camera lets you click photos at a maximum resolution of 5184 x 3456 pixels, which should be sufficient for printing on large format papers. The 600D sports a 3-inch flip-out TFT colour LCD display with approximately 1.04 million dots. The screen can be rotated to various degrees and can be used for low angle or high angle shots. The brightness of this monitor can be adjusted up to 7 levels for convenient viewing in different light settings. The camera features a DIGIC 4 processor, which is featured in other EOS cameras such as 500D and 550D, as well as Canon’s PowerShot cameras. The processor handles noise reduction and has support for large 14-bit RAW images. ISO sensitivities on this camera have been bumped up from the 3200 seen on the 550D to 6400, this is a minor, but interesting feature that should make clicking photos in low-lit areas easy. The camera features 9-point focus zone, which makes auto focusing quick and also gives the user more options to choose the focus point.

The flip-out screen

The flip-out screen

The EOS 600D features a Canon EF lens mount, which makes it compatible with EF and EF-S lenses. Bundled with the camera is an 18 – 55 mm EF-S lens. The lens has an image stabilization functionality, reducing the amount of blur during image capture. It can be turned on and off using a slider on the side of the barrel.

The interface of the Canon EOS 600D is easy to navigate through. It is similar to that used on the EOS 1100D. All settings are available on the screen such as ISO sensitivity, Aperture settings, White Balance etc. making it easier to view what settings a person is in at all times. The interface is really smooth, however, the issue we noticed was that while maneuvering through the ISO sensitivities, we could not merely press the down navigational button to access an option below. Instead we had to press the right button to navigate to the next line. This was a minor inconvenience we faced. The screen has an auto timeout function for energy saving and by merely tapping the shutter button the screen can come back on.

Display closed acts as a screen protector

Display closed acts as a screen protector

The Canon EOS 600D can record full HD videos with a resolution of 1080p at 30 fps while it can record smoother video clips at 720p at 60 fps. This makes it a really good option for on-the-go video recording. Videos can be recorded in a .MOV format, which is not the most commonly used video format. Videos can be played back using a compatible player such as Quicktime. Other features of this camera include filters for capturing images in settings such as grainy, soft focus, black and white, etc.

Overall, the features of this camera are quite impressive and the ease-of-use is the most outstanding feature of the Canon EOS 600D.

Design and Build Quality
The Canon EOS 600D is a smaller-sized DSLR, as compared to the higher end models from Canon or Nikon. It is approximately of the same size as the 1100D. The body is made of a matte black finish and a textured rubberized grip both at the front and a small area at the rear. These aid in the handling of the camera. The camera feels very comfortable in the hand, owing to its small form factor.

Mode dial and flash mount at the top

Mode dial and flash mount at the top

The flip-out screen is the major change between the 550D and the 600D. The screen foldable feature is smooth and the build quality of the hinge is sturdy. The controls are located to the left of the screen and can be easily adjusted with a right hand. There is a rubber padding around the view finder, which acts as a cushion while viewing through it. The dial located at the top is loaded with the different camera modes. There is no resistance while scrolling through it. The on/off lever is located beside it. At the top, we also find the scroll button, which can help in the changing of various settings.The flash located at the top is of the pop-up type and feels sturdy even when deployed. Above the pop-up flash, the EOS 600D features a flash mount, which can be used to attach an additional flash.

The memory card slot is located to the right of the camera and the flap for it is sturdy.The location of the memory card slot adds as an advantage and can be used as a hot swap especially when the camera is mounted on a tripod. The connectivity options are located to the left of the camera, which include a mini HDMI port and a mini USB port for outputting digital AV content. Next to it is the port for a mic and an option to add a remote control. The flaps for these ports are both made of rubber. The battery bay located at the bottom houses just the battery and the flap of the bay is sturdy.

Hot swap memory card functionality

Hot swap memory card functionality

Overall the design of the EOS 600D is quite sturdy and with a weight of 570g is pretty lightweight for a camera with these qualities.


Performance
The Canon EOS 600D was tested using the same light settings shot with different ISO settings in a controlled environment as well as outdoors.

Different ISO sensitivities, Aperture fixed at F22

Different ISO sensitivities, Aperture fixed at F22

ISO Test
There is no noticable noise at ISO 100 but some noise is visible, starting from ISO 400 – though it’s very negligible. Upto ISO 800, the images are still good and can be considered usable. From ISO 1600 images, colours start to get slightly paler with some amount of noise seen, as well.  At ISO 3200, there is visible noise. At an ISO sensitivity of 6400 the noise levels increase as expected, but the image is still viewable. We wouldn’t recommend using ISO 6400, except for extremely low light scenarios.

Different aperture settings, ISO fixed at 100

Different aperture settings, ISO fixed at 100

Aperture Test
At Aperture set to F3.5 the contrast and the depth of field seen is the most. Images show a shallow depth of field even when the object being used isn’t very wide. On the extreme end with aperture set to F22, the image is sharp across the target but colours for some reason appear paler.

Flash test

Flash test

Flash Test
There is a visible colour change when the flash is fired. White balance seems to shift drastically and the image appears bluish. Focusing seemed sharper with the flash enabled, most likely because of a smaller aperture size.

Performance (Continued..)

Outdoor images clicked with this camera shot really well with a lot of detail noticed. There was no colour fringing and colours looked natural.

Outdoor image shot well

Outdoor image shot well

Video recorded at 1080p initially noticed some focusing issues and later on the video recorded flawlessly. Upon playback, the video appeared to have a lot of grain, which was disappointing. The video quality overall was average. The file size for each video was extremely large while recording at 1080p, which was approximately 480 MB for a one minute video.

Macro image produced a lot of depth of feild

Macro image produced a lot of depth of feild

The battery used on this camera is an LP-E8 Lithium Ion battery and Canon rates the battery at 440 shots using the viewfinder. Overall, the entire performance of the camera is really good.

Small and compact DSLR

Small and compact DSLR

Verdict
The Canon EOS 600D sells at a market operating price of Rs. 49,460. This is overall a really great camera with a good design and build quality and impressive features. The cost of the camera is the only thing that comes into question. The EOS 550D has nearly all the same features as the 600D and is available at a price of approximately Rs. 10,000 less. The 600D may be a really great camera with good image quality, but in terms of features, apart from major changes such as a folding screen, it doesn’t bring a lot more to the table. As a 550D user, there’s definitely no need to upgrade to a 600D. However, if one does not have any budget constraints and is looking to purchase a good DSLR in this price range, the Canon EOS 600D should not be overlooked.

Publish date: July 22, 2011 6:48 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 8:13 pm

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