Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Review

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Review
Note: The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D has been replaced by the Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D delivers 18 megapixels of professional grade image quality in a compact, lightweight, feature-filled, easy-to-use body that carries a very affordable price tag. That is the same opening line I used for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D DSLR review. These are the same qualities have anchored the flagship Canon Rebel model in the top-selling DSLRs category for years - and I fully expect the T4i to sustain the Rebel's popularity.

T4i Sample Picture

The T4i sample image above was captured at Island Pond in the North Maine Woods using a Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. Settings were 24mm, f/8, 1/80 and ISO 100.

The Rebel T4i, AKA "Kiss X6i" in Japan and "650D" in other non-North America continents, is the 8th 3-character Canon Digital Rebel model and, including the low-end Canon EOS Rebel XS/1000D and Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D, the 10th Rebel model produced by Canon.

T4i with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Mounted

As always, the latest model offers advantages over the previous model. This is a very mature camera line, but the advances we find in the T4i are of significance. The combination of new and existing Rebel features are going to make upgrading to the T4i the right choice for many new DSLR buyers and for those looking to upgrade from an older DSLR model (for some, even from the T3i) - or from a point and shoot model.

Let's kick this review off with a big list. Here are the key new advances found in the Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D:

  • New 9-pt all cross-type AF system (vs. 9-pt only center cross-type)
  • Diagonal cross-type AF point at center (vs. vertical line sensitive at center)
  • Hybrid CMOS AF allows AF during video recording (Movie Servo AF) and allows faster Live View focusing
  • Continuous AF in Live View
  • Vari-Angle Touch Screen 3.0" Clear View LCD II (vs. 3" Vari-Angle Clear View non-touch screen LCD)
  • Touch screen shutter release
  • LCD Display Off Sensor (vs. button)
  • DIGIC 5 Image Processor (vs. DIGIC 4)
  • ISO 25600 (vs. ISO 12800)
  • Video ISO 12800 (vs. ISO 6400)
  • Multi-Shot Noise Reduction
  • 4GB video recording limit removed
  • Video Snapshot
  • Built-In stereo sound recording with attenuator
  • 5 fps (vs. 3.37 fps)
  • Upgraded Scene Intelligent Auto
  • Art Bold and Water Painting Effects added to creative filters
  • HDR Backlight Control Mode
  • Handheld Night Scene Mode
  • Chromatic aberration correction
  • UHS-I memory card compatible
  • Photobook set-up
  • World time zone setting
  • Support for the GP-E2 GPS receiver

Here is a Canon-prepared Rebel model comparison chart that reaches back more models.

T4i Comparison Chart

I'm guessing that you see something in the above lists that catches your attention.

Missing from the lists above is the sensor resolution. The T4i/650D received an EOS T3i/600D, T2i/550D, 60D and 7D-resolution-matching 18MP sensor.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon PowerShot G1 X1.9x18.7 x 14.0mm4.3µm4352 x 326414.3  f/6.9
Canon PowerShot G124.7x7.4 x 5.6mm2.7µm3648 x 204810.0  f/4.3
Canon PowerShot G94.7x7.6 x 5.7mm2.5µm4000 x 300012.1  f/4.0
Canon EOS M1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0  f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .87x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D1.6x22.2 x 14.7mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.0 .80x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.2 .87x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .81x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .80x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm6.4µm3456 x 23048.0 .80x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel1.6x22.7 x 15.1mm7.4µm3088 x 20566.3 .80x95%f/11.8
Canon EOS 70D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 .95x98%f/6.6
Canon EOS 60D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .95x96%f/6.9
Canon EOS 50D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .95x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS 40D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .95x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS 30D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm6.4µm3504 x 23368.2 .90x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 20D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm6.4µm3504 x 23368.2 .90x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 10D1.6x22.7 x 15.1mm7.4µm3088 x 20566.3 .88x95%f/11.8
Canon EOS 7D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 1.0x100%f/6.9
Canon EOS 6D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.54µm5472 x 364820.2 .71x97%f/10.5
Canon EOS 5D Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.25µm5760 x 384022.3 .71x100%f/10.1
Canon EOS 5D Mark II1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .71x98%f/10.2
Canon EOS 5D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm8.2µm4368 x 291212.8 .71x96%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1D X1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.9µm5184 x 345618.1 .76x100%f/11.0
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV1.3x27.9 x 18.6mm5.7µm4896 x 326416.1 .76x100%f/9.1
Canon EOS 1D Mark III1.3x28.1 x 18.7mm7.2µm3888 x 259210.1 .76x100%f/11.5
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N1.3x28.7 x 19.1mm8.2µm3520 x 23368.2 .72x100%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1D Mark II1.3x28.7 x 19.1mm8.2µm3520 x 23368.2 .72x100%f/13.2
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .76x100%f/10.2
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm7.2µm4992 x 332816.6 .70x100%f/11.5
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)
What does not match these prior-released 18MP DSLRs is the image sharpness the T4i delivers at identical processing settings. Check out this Canon EOS T4i/650D vs. T3i/600D comparison. While you are there, compare the T4i results to the rest of the 18MP APS-C (1.6x) bodies tested with the same lens. The T4i is easily sharper than all of them in this regard.

My first question to Canon was, of course, how was this additional sharpness achieved? Was it a sensor improvement or a processing algorithm change - including a simple increase in the base/in-the-camera image sharpness setting?

I was told that, *if* the T4i images appear sharper, it would be due to two enhancements. The first is the DIGIC 5 processor (previously DIGIC 4). The second image-quality-improving enhancement is the 9-point all cross-type AF system that includes a high-precision dual cross f/2.8 center point. Since serious image quality testing utilizes manual focus, the second reason can be ruled out.

While I'm sure that the new processor is more capable, I'm not convinced that this is the reason for the increased image sharpness.

Click on the color block image below to view a pair of image comparisons between several current-at-this time DSLR cameras. This comparison was previously featured on this page, but later moved to its own page to avoid (especially for mobile users) the large file download required.

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D High ISO Noise Comparison

If you read the image quality discussion on that page, you can skip down to the file size table and discussion.

While this comparison is primarily designed to show noise (and color), I am again struck with the obvious difference in the T4i's sharpness compared to the other APS-C bodies including the T3i. Results for the 1D X are not included here, but the T4i compares similarly in sharpness to this high end 18.1MP DSLR. Has Canon begun normalizing image sharpness across the EOS line?

The next obvious difference in the comparison above is an unusual one - the newer EOS model has more noise than its predecessor, the T3i.

The T3i delivered a slightly brighter image (using the same camera settings) that makes comparing results slightly more difficult. I could normalize the brightness between the two, but changing brightness affects apparent image noise. Comparing the T4i's results with the 60D results is also interesting - and the brightness from these two cameras is similar.

I definitely welcome the T4i's increased sharpness, but increasing sharpness often increases the visibility of noise. The set of T4i Sharpness=0 results were obviously processed with a sharpness setting of 0. These results are very similar to the T3i's results, both in terms of sharpness and noise levels. Essentially, the T4i's image quality matches the T3i's when the same amount of sharpening is added to both. The T3i has great image quality, so matching image quality is good.

In-camera noise reduction is standardly available in EOS DSLRs, and noise reduction is of course also available during post processing. The bottom three rows of results in the comparison above (and below) show examples of T4i noise reduction. All three NR examples utilized the Standard Picture Style in-camera with the default sharpness setting (so that the RAW NR results would match the JPG NR results). The default sharpening applied to these results examples the destructiveness of sharpening (look for halos around the low ISO color block examples). The noise reduction process is also destructive - I usually apply only light NR in my noisier images.

Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is new for EOS - and I was quite excited to see how the merging of multiple (four) exposures taken in a full-frame-rate burst could be used to reduce image noise. The concept makes a lot of sense. The bottom two NR examples provide a direct comparison with the standard NR and the Multi-Shot NR. There is definitely improvement with MS NR - a full stop or more at some ISO settings - including lower ones.

Some of the downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output - I want this feature to be added to DPP for RAW capture - perhaps as another HDR preset? Multi-Shot Noise Reduction will not be so useful with moving subjects. Long exposure NR must be off to enable MSNR. The T4i reverts to Standard NR in Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. And the camera remains "busy" for a brief period of time after the 4 shot burst - while processing the merged image.

New with the T4i is highest-ever-in-a-Canon-APS-C-DSLR ISO setting of 25600. As I see it, this setting is useful for marketing purposes only. Just my opinion of course.

ISO 12800 results are still ugly. I avoid ISO 3200 and above on APS-C DSLRs right now, but 3200 and 6400 can be used for extreme situations - or when Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is used. The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon PowerShot G1 X(14.3)19.119.620.220.921.723.124.926.2    
Canon EOS Rebel SL1(18.0)23.724.224.825.827.128.730.833.437.2   
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / T5i(18.0)24.124.525.226.127.629.031.133.737.4   
Canon EOS Rebel T3i(18.0)25.525.926.627.528.730.332.434.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T2i(18.0)25.525.826.527.428.630.232.334.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T1i(15.1)20.621.021.522.423.425.027.129.8    
Canon EOS Rebel T5(18.0)25.425.926.627.528.830.232.535.1    
Canon EOS Rebel T3(12.2)17.818.018.318.919.720.622.0     
Canon EOS Rebel XSi(12.2)15.415.916.617.518.7       
Canon EOS Rebel XS(10.1)10.410.610.911.311.9       
Canon EOS 70D(20.2)25.125.726.527.729.331.133.335.939.5   
Canon EOS 60D(18.0)25.225.626.227.028.329.932.234.8    
Canon EOS 50D(15.1)20.320.721.322.123.224.726.729.5    
Canon EOS 7D(18.0)24.124.525.326.227.328.630.733.2    
Canon EOS 6D(20.2)25.325.626.026.727.929.230.933.135.338.642.5 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III(22.3)28.629.029.530.331.633.135.337.840.644.749.2 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II(21.1)26.927.127.728.629.731.333.636.741.2   
Canon EOS 1D X(18.1)23.723.924.324.825.726.727.929.731.834.537.441.3
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV(16.1)22.022.222.823.424.325.326.728.530.834.235.9 
Canon EOS 1D Mark III(10.1)13.013.313.814.515.316.417.8     
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III(21.1)25.626.527.429.031.033.4      
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more. :)
Use the figures above to get a rough estimate of the size card you need. Of course, the JPG file format is significantly more storage space efficient and has selectable levels of image quality that also can adjust space requirements downward dramatically. My advice is to shoot RAW and buy lots of memory - it is cheap and the cards are useful for temporary archiving and backup use.

The Rebel T4i utilizes SD/SDHC/SDXC cards for storage. The T4i supports the fast UHS-1 standard as well as the Eye-Fi wireless/memory combo cards.

Overall, the Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D's image quality is impressive - good enough for professional-grade projects. I don't have any complaints - especially for the price of this camera. As I said in the T3i review - it was not many years ago that we could only dream about this image quality - and would expect to pay many times the T4i's price for lower image quality.

Proper exposure is important for a quality image and to this end, the T4i inherits the first-seen-on-the-EOS-7D 63-zone iFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance) Metering System that takes focus, color, illumination and data from all 9 AF points into account when establishing the proper exposure. Spot, Evaluative, Partial and Center-weighted metering modes are available.

Canon EOS DSLR Auto White Balance has been improved significantly enough that I now primarily shoot in auto white balance mode (though I often tweak white balance when post-processing my shots). Auto White Balance under tungsten lighting continues to be handled very well - and much better than ancestral EOS models.

Base image quality from the T4i/650D may not be changed (significantly) from the already-excellent Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D's image quality, but there are plenty of other T4i enhancements able to give you better realized image quality.

You've heard me say it before - if the shot is OOF (Out of Focus), the best image quality in the world is not going to save it. AF performance matters (unless you are using manual focus of course). The Canon EOS Rebel Series DSLRs typically get Canon's entry-level AF systems (a sacrifice made to achieve the low price), but even entry-level Canon AF is still very good. Perhaps the biggest T4i enhancement is the new AF system.

To start, the T4i shares the 60D's AF sensor including 9 cross-type AF points with a high-precision dual-cross center point that is activated when an f/2.8 max aperture or wider lens is mounted. The cross type AF points are sensitive to lines of contrast in two directions (instead of one).

This upgrade is from the Canon EOS 30D-era derivative AF system found in the Rebel T3i. The T3i's center AF point is a cross-type center point sensor but the other 8 AF points are horizontal-line-only sensitive. With an f/2.8 or faster/wider aperture lens, the T3i's center point also functions with greater precision.

Though not top-of-the-line, the Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D's phase detection AF is fast and accurate. Let me emphasize "fast" for the healthy percentage of T4i owners stepping up from point and shoot models that left them frustrated because the moment they intended to capture would be gone before the camera could take the picture. DSLR phase detection AF is a major upgrade from point and shoot contrast-detection AF.

In one shot mode, focus accuracy has not been an issue with the prior Rebel models, Now, with the cross-type AF points, locking peripheral AF point focus is even easier with more challenging subjects. My experience is that the T4i quickly focuses with good accuracy in one shot mode.

In AI Servo mode, all Canon DSLRs attempt to predictively focus the attached lens at the precise location the subject will be at the moment the shutter opens. The ability to accurately focus-track a subject rapidly approaching the camera is a differentiator between camera models. The faster a subject is approaching the camera and closer the distance is, the more taxing the situation is on AF - and the more out of focus shots you will likely experience with the even best lenses mounted. Canon's 1-Series cameras (and the 5D III as of review time) have faster and far more sophisticated AF systems - if your income is depending on you getting the shot, these are the models you need to be using - a huge number of non-pros are using these models as well.

I was hopeful that the T4i's new AF system would bring significant change in the AI Servo AF department, but in the live action testing I did using the center focus point only, my results were not so exciting. Even a child running a steady speed at distances well beyond frame frame-filling proved difficult for the T4i and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens I was testing with. There are an infinite number of AF situations to throw at a camera, but subjects moving parallel to the sensor plane typically pose much less of challenge for a camera. Shooting at narrower apertures results in more DOF that better-hides AF precision issues. Starter lenses tend to have these narrower apertures at even their widest aperture settings.

As we have seen on Canon EOS DSLRs for a long time, Live View AF is once again available on the T4i. Not seen before on a Canon DSLR is the Hybrid CMOS AF system that is utilized in Live View including during video recording.

Canon Hybrid CMOS AF

Hybrid CMOS AF uses the CMOS imaging sensor for both contrast (typically slow) and phase-difference detection (typically very fast) autofocusing methods simultaneously to provide fast and smooth (important for video) focusing. Included as part of the Hybrid CMOS AF system are phase detection AF points embedded within the image sensor itself.

One Shot Live View focusing remains available, but Continuous AF in Live View is a big new feature for a Canon DSLR and of course needed for the new video AF (called Movie Servo AF). Continuous AF is also available in still capture mode - to keep the lens prefocused for quick image capture.

Continuous AF options are Subject tracking AF, Flexi-Zone Single and FlexiZone Multi. Subject Tracking AF will attempt to keep the AF frame on a face (the T4i tracks faces very well) or other selected-via-touch subjects. Flexi-Zone Single allows selection of the focus point and FlexiZone - Multi AF utilizes one of 31 (or optionally 9) selectable zones for the AF frame location. The non-continuous-but-fast Quick Mode AF remains available (the mirror is lowered for conventional phase detection AF to take place).

Live View Continuous AF (including Movie Servo AF) works with all EF lenses, but Canon states that it works more quietly and smoothly with a newly developed STM lens mounted. As of review time, this statement is indeed mostly correct.

The two STM lenses available at review time are the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens focuses smoothly and silently - and its image stabilization system is silent. The 18-135mm STM lens is a very good lens choice for those planning to shoot T4i video using continuous AF.

As I noted in the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens review, the 40 STM is not a silent focusing lens. And as I feared, AF adjustments are easily audible through the on-camera mic.

With Hybrid CMOS AF behind them, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens and Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens (and other similar lenses) quickly snap to close-to-correct focus and then relatively slowly step into precise focus. You can hear the AF mechanism of these lenses clunking into position in video recordings.

Movie Servo AF is not going to be picked up for use by major motion picture studios in the near future. It works and will get used, but unless the subject and camera are still, there will be plenty of OOF (Out of Focus) frames.

Embedding AF components on the sensor left me wondering if these system parts would be detectable in images. The good news is that they are not.

As is the norm for Canon's non-1-Series bodies, the T4i requires a lens or lens plus extender combination with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or wider (as reported by the lens) for the standard phase-detection AF to function.

Let's jump back to video. Like all of the other modern Canon EOS DSLRs - and now obvious from the AF discussion, the T4i supports video capture. Video image quality, especially with the shallow DOF (Depth of Field) capabilities of compatible lenses, is very impressive for a camera at this price point. I'm not keen on the video autofocus capabilities yet, but using careful setup and manual focusing, very impressive results are obtainable from this camera.

Here are additional video recording features and specs: Movie exposures are either Program AE or manual exposure. The ISO speeds up to ISO 12800 can be used for manual exposures. The movie file size is now unlimited (or limited by the card being used) - continuous HD recordings can be as long as approximately 22 minutes utilizing 4GB clips. Created are H.264-encoded .MOV files.

Available resolutions and frame rates are:
1080p: 1920x1080px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps, 24fps (23.976fps)
720p: 1280x720px at 60fps (59.94fps), 50fps
SD: 640x480px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps

A new built-in stereo mic captures good sound quality and a 3.5mm miniphone jack allows use of an external stereo mic. Audio gain can be automatically or manually set. An attenuator function reduces audio distortion in unusually loud sounds. Electronic wind cut filtration is provided.

A new Video Snapshot mode allows for two, four, or eight second video segments to be easily recorded and then combined or reordered in-camera. An integrated mini-HDMI port makes it easy to view the results on any HDTV.

T4i and Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens compared to Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens - Top View

Let's now look at the physical camera. First, the viewfinder. And the first thing point and shoot users will notice when peering into the T4i's viewfinder is that it is surprisingly large and very usable. And the first thing that 60D (or similar body) users will notice is that the T4i's viewfinder is very small. It is all about what you are used to, but the T4i continues the Rebel tradition of having a relatively small body size in part due to its relatively small viewfinder. The Rebel T4i also continues the Rebel tradition of using a pentamirror (instead of a pentaprism).

As noted in the first chart in this review, the T4i viewfinder provides 95% coverage. You are going to have a little more subject in your image than you see in the viewfinder. I seldom hear people complaining about this - you get used to it. But you might need to crop out something unintentionally present in your image during post processing if you are not careful. Typically using 100% viewfinders, I find the 95% finders slightly annoying when reviewing images later.

T4i LCD Screen

The previous flagship Rebel, the T3i, inherited the EOS 60D's excellent 3:2 aspect ratio, 1.04 million dot Vari-Angle 3" Clear View LCD screen with anti-reflective and smudge-resistant coatings. I wasn't too enthused when the 60D's Vari-Angle LCD was announced, but I quickly became a big fan after using it. With the LCD screen angled to your convenience, it is now easy shoot from high, low and other angles/positions that are far from convenient to use the viewfinder or non-articulating LCD from. The bottom line is that you will likely capture more varied perspectives and have a better overall portfolio if your DSLR has a Vari-Angle LCD.

The closed-reversed LCD is well-protected from damage during transport, storage or even use (including protection from nose prints). So, I really like the new twist on the DSLR LCD.

The Rebel T4i adds a "II" along with "Touch" to the T3i's LCD panel name: Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0" Clear View LCD II. Best-available describes the panel. "Touch" describes the big change.

Once again, I was not excited about this new feature. Really, my first thought was that I dreaded the finger prints accumulating on the LCD. At least the full conventional controls remained available.

It is not unusual for long-time photographers to grow very accustomed to the system they have. The camera is a tool and the results are what the tool is used for. We know how to achieve our goals/get the job done. And, sometimes new features take us a little time to work into our flow.

I've now been using the Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D for well over 3 months and have now begun using the Canon EOS M that shares the electro-static touch panel capabilities - and sheds most conventional controls. I have worked "Touch" into my flow - and I like "Touch".

What am I using the T4i's touch for? Touching to select the focus point location in Live View. Pinch-to-zoom when reviewing images - and dragging to pan around a zoomed image. Jumping from one menu tab or option to a distant menu tab or option by touching that tab or option. Quick camera setting changes such as ISO - no need to click many times to go from a low ISO to a high ISO value - just touch the value. Practically all setting changes can be made using touch.

The LCD's touch sensitivity seems ideal. Good news is that my fingertips are not nearly as oily as my nose. Keeping the LCD clean has not been a problem, though you might want to carry a microfiber cloth for this purpose.

Touch Shutter control (photo taken when touched point locks focus) is available, but I'm not thinking this feature will make it into my flow.

One problem I have with my Rebel T4i's Vari-Angle LCD panel is that it does not open to the full 180 degree position. Stopping just shy of 180 degrees means the LCD does not properly align with the cameras back when used in the open position.

Here is a visual comparison of the back of many Canon Digital SLR bodies.

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Back View Comparison

T4i w/ BG-E8 | T4i | T3i | T2i | T1i | T3 | XSi | XS | XTi | M | G1 X | G12 | G9 | 60D | 50D | 40D | 30D

Comparing the Rebel T4i back to the Rebel T3i back yields few differences. The top left buttons are now round (better) and the top right buttons have a nicer bevel under them. The speaker was moved downward slightly.

A proximity sensor is now present under the hot shoe - replacing the T3i's top-mounted Display ON/OFF button (seen in comparison just below).

Click on the labels below the following image to compare the various DSLR camera models from a top perspective.

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Top View Comparison

T4i | T3i | T2i | T1i | T3 | XSi | XTi | XS | M | G1 X
1D X | 1D IV | 1D III | 5D III | 5D II | 5D | 7D | 60D | 50D

A pair of microphones located in front of the hot shoe give away the T4i's new in-camera stereo recording capability.

Gone from the mode button are the video recording mode (moved to the power switch) and A-DEP (gone - I never used it), but the T4i's mode button remains full of beginner through professional options with the addition of HDR Backlight Control and Handheld Night Scene modes.

HDR Backlight Control mode instructs the T4i to take three differently-exposed images to capture a wider dynamic range than possible with one image. The three images are combined in-camera with image brightness adjusted for no loss of detail in highlights or shadows within a single JPG image.

Handheld Night Scene mode instructs the T4i to take four similarly-underexposed images using an easier to handhold shutter speed. The four images are then combined to a normal-brightness single JPG image.

The T4i retains full exposure and image setting control in these two new modes, and output is JPG-only.

For quick image capture that requires no thinking, Canon's fully-automatic, point and shoot Scene Intelligent Auto mode (green square+ mode) utilizes the EOS Scene Detection system to determine the type of scene being photographed and adjusts the camera settings to best capture your image.

"Canon’s fun range of Creative Filters" (sorry - they're not my thing) are once again available with two new effects added: Art Bold Effect and Water Painting Effect.

T4i Front with LCD Open and Reversed

Size is of course one of the biggest reasons to select the EOS T4i as your DSLR choice - for either your primary, secondary or backup DSLR. There is little difference in size or weight among the Rebel models. I see no reason to select any other current DSLR for weight reasons.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon PowerShot G1 X4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)18.8 oz (534g)
Canon PowerShot G124.4 x 3.0 x 1.9"(112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3mm)13.7 oz (389g)
Canon PowerShot G94.2 x 2.8 x 1.7"(106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5mm)12.9 oz (365g)
Canon EOS M4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)10.5 oz (298g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)14.4 oz (407g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.5 oz (580g)
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.3 oz (575g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm)20.1 oz (570g)
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.7 oz (530g)
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.6 oz (527g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.6 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm)16.9 oz (480g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)17.5 oz (495g)
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.4 oz (522g)
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"(126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)17.5 oz (497g)
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 65mm)19.9 oz (564g)
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 64mm)19.0 oz (539g)
Canon EOS 70D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5mm)26.7 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 60D5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1"(144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 50D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)29.1 oz (826g)
Canon EOS 40D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"(145.5 x 112 x 73.5mm)29.5 oz (836g)
Canon EOS 30D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm)28.1 oz (796g)
Canon EOS 20D5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8"(144 x 106 x 72mm)27.5 oz (781g)
Canon EOS 7D5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9"(148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm)32.2 oz (914g)
Canon EOS 6D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)33.5 oz (950g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)31.9 oz (904g)
Canon EOS 5D6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0"(152 x 113 x 75mm)32.0 oz (906g)
Canon EOS 1D X6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)54.0 oz (1530g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)48.5 oz (1374g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark III6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)47.6 oz (1349g)
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.5 oz (1574g)
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)49.5 oz (1404g)
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.2 oz (1564g)

he T4i sides essentially remain unchanged from the T3i.

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Side View Comparison

1D IV | 5D III | 7D | 60D | T4i | T3i | T2i | T3 | M

Canon does not make any boasts about shutter life in its Rebel models. I expect that the T4i's shutter durability rating is in the 50-100k range - and more likely on the low side of that range.

ModelShutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100Dn/a
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D100,000
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D50,000
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D50,000
Canon EOS 70D100,000
Canon EOS 60D100,000
Canon EOS 50D100,000
Canon EOS 40D100,000
Canon EOS 30D100,000
Canon EOS 20D50,000
Canon EOS 7D150,000
Canon EOS 6D100,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark III150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark II150,000
Canon EOS 5D100,000
Canon EOS 1D X400,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV300,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark III300,000
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N200,000
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III300,000
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II200,000

Disclosed shutter durability ratings are shown above. An image of the T4i's shutter assembly can be seen below

T4i Sensor Images

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D's DIGIC 5 processor (shown above - right) speed is approximately six times faster than the DIGIC 4 and is responsible for some of the new features found in this camera.

Canon's entry level line of EOS DSLRs has historically trailed the rest of the EOS line in regards to speed-related performance. The Rebel T4i, however, has essentially caught up to the EOS 60D in frame rate (but not in buffer depth) and is closing the gap in shutter lag time.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.028/11407/875ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.022/306/675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.030675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D3.4170990ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D3.0696  
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D3 / 28305110ms150ms
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D3.553690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D3 / 1.5n/a590ms
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D3.02710100ms170ms
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D3.0144100ms170ms
Canon EOS 70D7.040/6515/1665ms97ms
Canon EOS 60D5.3581659ms100ms
Canon EOS 50D6.3901659ms100ms
Canon EOS 40D6.5751759ms100ms
Canon EOS 30D5.0301165ms110ms
Canon EOS 20D5.023665ms115ms
Canon EOS 7D8.0110/13023/2559ms100ms
Canon EOS 6D4.573/125014/17<60ms 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.065/16k13/1859ms125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark II3.978/31013/1473ms145ms
Canon EOS 5D3.0601775ms145ms
Canon EOS 1D X12/141803836-55ms60ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV10.01212840-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark III10.01103040-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1D Mark II N8.5482240-55ms87ms
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III5.0561240-55ms80ms
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II4.0321140-55ms87ms

Point and shoot users taking their first picture with the T4i will think that it is lightning-fast and those used to a 1-Series body will think the T4i feels a touch sluggish. While this impression is based on user experience, the truth is that the Rebel cameras have not been the ideal camera for capturing critical fast action partially due to the relative slowness of the shutter and the relatively slow frame rate. The T4i notably improves upon the prior models with a faster frame rate (5 fps vs. 3.37 fps) and shorter shutter lag (75ms vs. 90ms).

To test burst rate, I shoot in M mode (wide open aperture, fastest-available 1/4000 shutter speed), ISO 100, MF, IS off, lens cap on, and all noise reduction off. Testing in this method delivers a 6 shot RAW burst in exactly 1 second followed by additional frames every .3 seconds for a count of four and then a frame about every .6 seconds. While the T4i can capture 30 JPGs before filling its buffer, the 1 second, 6 frame RAW burst goes very fast. Just sayin.

The T4i has a quiet shutter sound to go with its discrete size. Here are the MP3 clips.

Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Burst Sound
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D Single Shot Sound

The Canon T4i uses the same battery as the T3i and T2i - the small 1120mAh/7.2VDC Lithium Ion Canon LP-E8 Battery Pack. I am disappointed with Canon again including the corded version of the LP-E8 battery charger, the Canon LC-E8E Battery Charger (same as with the T3i and T2i). I always love the Canon self-contained chargers that plug directly into an outlet - I don't want to deal with a cord - especially when traveling. A normal non-corded Canon LC-E8 Battery Charger appears in the user manual beside the LC-E8E, so the charger I want exists.

Canon rates the LP-E8 + T4i combination for up to 550 (440 w/ flash) shots. Battery life of course varies greatly with temperature, flash use Live View use, etc. The T4i tracks 4 levels of battery charge on the rear LCD.

T4i and Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens compared to Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens - Angled View

Want more battery life? Shoot in portrait orientation a lot? Want more control over your camera? Get a Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip as shown mounted on a T4i above.

The BG-E8 accepts two LP-E8 batteries (or 6 readily available AA batteries in the included tray). Better yet, the BG-E8 provides a complete vertical grip with the appropriate buttons. The BG-E8 adds a lot to the size and weight of the T4i but it definitely makes the small body easier to control. It is easily installed or removed to give you the best of both worlds.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D is compatible with the small, inexpensive Canon wireless remotes including the Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote. Want to be part of your own family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord? This is the accessory you want. Flip the LCD around and you can even see yourself in the frame.

T4i Pop-Up Flash

Obvious from the picture above, the T4i has a built-in flash - like all of the Rebel models before it. Not obvious is that built-in flash contains new functionality - it can remotely control off-camera Speedlite flashes. Like the EOS 7D, EOS 60D and the T3i, the T4i contains an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter.

No external flash controller (such as the Canon 580EX II Flash and Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter) is needed to completely control as many remote flashes as desired. Using one of 4 available channels, the T4i can take complete control of multiple groups of flashes with ratios of up to 8:1. Flash settings are controlled from the T4i's menu which includes an extensive range of controls for both the built in and remote flashes including an EasyWireless or CustWireless option and up to ±2 stops of FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation). The Integrated Speedlite Transmitter feature alone, if needed, will save you the purchase of a device with a significant cost - and the convenience factor of having this feature built-in is huge.

I say it in each Canon EOS DSLR review, but it remains true. When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses and other accessories. The camera body is of course the base and a lens is the other essential piece of kit.

The T4i is, at review time, available as a body-only or in a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens or the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. The 18-55 IS II kit lens is decent and is a good value when purchased in the kit. The 18-135 IS STM lens costs more, but is also a much better lens.

DSLR image quality is only as good as the weakest link in the imaging system. And the weakest link is often the lens. The quality of the lens makes a big difference in the image quality realized by any camera.

I strongly recommend buying (now or later), one of the better Canon general purpose lenses available. As of review time, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS Lens, Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS Lens and the and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II Lens are my most-recommended general purpose lenses for the Rebel T4i.

When you buy a camera, you are also buying into the company behind it. I have been very satisfied with the support Canon's USA division has provided to me. When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is. Repair service, though I have seldom needed it, is fast and reliable.

This review is not a complete description of every Rebel T4i feature available. For that, I recommend the manual. The T4i owner's manual is 372 pages long - my advice is to get to know the information contained in it. One reading will not likely suffice for beginners (for many topics at least) The paper version comes in the box, the digital version is linked for download at the top of this review. Read it, go use your camera, repeat.

The manual will tell you all about features such as Auto Lighting Optimizer, Chromatic Aberration Correction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, remote control via a USB-connected computer, the Self-cleaning Sensor, the built-in flash, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority ... and many, many other topics.

Not surprisingly, my advice for purchasing the T4i is very similar to what my advice for purchasing the T3i was. The T4i is not a dramatic advancement over the T3i, but if one or more of the new/improved features (see the long list at the beginning of this review) is important to you, the upgrade could be very worthwhile.

For someone buying their first DSLR or upgrading from a couple of models back, features such as the improved AF, Vari-Angle Touch LCD Panel, Movie AF, built-in flash controller, etc make the T4i the camera to own - and worth the price premium over previous models.

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D is a great choice for someone moving up to a DSLR from a smaller, less-capable camera and an especially great upgrade for anyone shooting with a two or more-generation old Canon EOS Rebel ***/***D body (such as the XSi/450D) or from any Canon EOS Rebel **/****D body (such as the XS/1000D).

Need a backup camera to throw in the pack? The T4i is a great choice. Or a great choice if you just need a small camera that can fit into the pack. Or, you can have your kids carry the backup camera for you (using it of course). The T4i is a great option for your child's entry into the world of DSLR photography - which leads to a great way to spend family time together - sharing your passion with your kids. Your kids learn a useful life skill while spending quality time with you. If your camera fails, you can "share" the kids' camera. :)

Those wishing to consider an even more capable camera should next read the Canon EOS 60D DSLR Review. The EOS 60D is currently the next step up in Canon DSLR performance. Some of the 60D's advantages include:

  • Larger viewfinder (pentaprism vs. pentamirror)
  • Larger grip
  • Longer battery life (almost 3 times as many shots on a full charge as the T4i)
  • Rear control dial
  • Top LCD
  • Shorter shutter lag
  • Deeper frame buffer
  • Faster shutter speed (1/8000 vs. 1/4000)
  • Faster max flash sync shutter speed (X-sync = 1/250 vs. 1/200)
  • Finer ISO setting control (1/3 stop vs. 1 stop - note that the T4i has 1/3 stop ISO increments in Auto ISO)
  • Color Temperature White Balance (degrees Kelvin)
  • Tighter partial and spot metering areas (6.5% and 2.8% vs. 9% and 4% of viewfinder at center)
  • Horizon level

The price jump to the 60D is not dramatic. The modestly larger size and weight of the 60D will not be seen as a benefit to everyone or every use.

T4i Sample Picture 2

The T4i sample image above was captured in Kennebunkport, Maine using a Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. Settings were 135mm, f/8, 1/160 and ISO 100.

I summed up the T4i review in the first paragraph: The Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D delivers 18 megapixels of professional grade image quality in a compact, lightweight, feature-filled, easy-to-use body that carries a very affordable price tag. These are the qualities have anchored the flagship Canon Rebel model in the top-selling DSLRs category for years - and I fully expect the T4i to sustain the Rebel's popularity.

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