I finally joined the DSLR camp with Canon EOS 600D aka Rebel T3i.
Well, I’d been a long-time user of PowerShot series and never had long thoughts about my next compact camera: so was with picking a SLR. I felt like improving my shooting experience but not to change it radically. I expected a comfortable learning curve and that the basic UI things were common among all Canon line-ups that would make my transition smoother.
To be said, I looked at reviews and tests of few competing cameras in the mid-level DSLR range and found no attractions which would seduce me from buying one of the latest EOS Rebel or X0D models. DPReview.com site did a great help for this research, thanks to their extremely useful scoring and comparison system.
I went to a store with EOS 550D, 600D and 60D in my mind. I had enough background information on them to understand their pros and cons, but still had no clear idea which one to prefer. The winner had to be determined in my hands.
Why not 550D?
Yes, I could save a hundred of bucks getting basically the same camera but articulated screen captivated me. Also, I found that 600D feels much better in my hand, due to a slightly bigger grip.
Why not 60D?
I could add another two hundreds of bucks for an elder brother of 600D/550D, positioned in a “semi-pro” segment. Though the same component base (the sensor and CPU) makes no difference for image quality in tests, it has slightly better shooting speed, larger viewfinder and the second screen that is very appreciated. EOS 60D had actually good chances to win, but again, when I took it in my hand after 600D, it is turned out that 200g of extra weight matter even more than extra $200. Sorry.
Picking a right glass is a long separate story I don’t feel like to dive into right now. Fortunately, modern Canons are shipped with a kit lens which is outstandingly good for dabblers like me: EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 with an image stabilizer. Serious photographers will, indeed, turn their noses up, but I am happy with that so far. All in all, the quality is pretty good for the shots made for my photo site or our home gallery on TV screen with few exceptions printed on a regular A4-size printer.
There are few shots I randomly made to test the camera at these days (click on images to preview and download larger images).
Low light (dim electric light, no flash):
Low light close-up:
I looked for a regular camera bag but a cute black Lowepro FastPack 250 caught my eye. This is a compact but capacious backpack that can hold a full-size DSLR camera and a 15″ laptop while leaving a lot of space for accessories and personal things. There also was a bigger 350 version for 17″ laptop but I found it somewhat bulky next to slightly more compact and handy 250.
A single big flap opens the whole camera compartment, easily customizable with movable velcrum dividers. What I particularly liked in FastPacks, is how fast is access to the camera area. It is enough to open the flap a little to grab the camera even while wearing the pack:
As you can see, EOS 600D looks pretty small inside the pack, so even a much bigger camera would fit without problem.
The laptop compartment in the back of the pack is designed for maximum 15.4″ laptop, though even my 15.6″ Acer Aspire easily fits to there. The sides are quite well padded and are hard enough to protect a laptop and provide a comfortable support for my back as well.