The Canon 600D is the newest entry level DSLR from Canon, engineered for
those looking to break into photography on a budget. The camera boasts
many excellent features on paper, but we put the camera through its
paces to see whether it can deliver on its claims.
In the Box
Canon LP-E8 battery pack (same as the one in Canon 550D)
Canon LC-E8E charger
EOS Digital Solution CD
Standard USB Cable
Audio-Video out cable
Canon camera strap
Warranty cards and manuals
Canon 600D is built from the same high-grade plastic as its
predecessor, the 550D. Despite being a plastic construction, the camera
feels robust and is light enough to handhold for several hours. This
can work in favour for most beginner photographers who would shoot with
kit lenses, but we found that with a heavier lens such as the Canon
24-70 f/2.8, it made the setup very unbalanced, with the bulk of the
weight being in the front.
The 600D gains an articulated
swivel-screen (1040K Dots) that adds a little thickness to the back.
This warranted the back buttons to be placed slightly closer to each
other, but they in no way feel cramped. Canon even crafted a rubber
channel that very naturally directs the thumb away from the buttons, to
avoid any accidental press of the button. The back of the 600D also
plays host to a dedicated video recording button, a feature straight out
of the 7D.
What we noted on the 600D was the lack of weather
sealing. Although it is a feature that is generally reserved for
higher-end DSLRs, it sure would have been nice to see some basic sealing
around the shutter button and the lens mount.
form factor of the 600D is very petite, very snug as compared to elder
siblings like the 60D or 7D. While this can be highly advantageous for
people with relatively small hands, those of us who sport slightly
larger limbs had somewhat of a hard time getting a comfortable grip on
the body. For the most part, it was our little finger we couldn't fit on
the length of the camera. It also was a little hard to wrap our large
hands around the camera grip, but not all that uncomfortable.
really helped (to a great extent actually) in getting a decent grip on
the camera was the textured rubber layer that is placed on all the areas
where your hands might rest.
The Canon 600D has a
really amazing feature set for the beginner photographer. It boasts the
same 18-megapixel sensor as the 60D and the 7D. It also supports video
recording at various resolutions to cater to both, the quality "Nazi"
and those looking to save space on their memory card by shooting lower
resolutions. Speaking of memory cards, the 600D sports a standard SD
card slot like its predecessor and supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
pop-up flash on the 600D is a nifty little thing if you ask us. For
one, it rises higher than its predecessors. This has been something of a
long awaited upgrade as the higher rise on the flash eliminates any
shadow when shooting with a longer lens (we tested this with the Canon
100 f/2.8 Macro USM, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and even the 18-55mm kit lens).
The flash also borrows the 7D's ability to remotely control Canon
flashes, allowing for creative lighting.
The 600D also features
six "picture styles" along with the option for saving three user-defined
styles. The 600D gets more points for creativity with the five built-in
"creative filters" (Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Fish-Eye effect, Toy Camera
effect and Miniature effect). In our testing, each of these filters
worked wonderfully for images that had the capacity to look good when a
certain filter was applied. We especially loved the "miniature effect"
as it gave our images the sort of look you'd only get from lenses
capable of selective focus.
The 600D gains a mini-HDMI port on the
left of the camera that can be used to view photos and videos on an HD
TV. The port can also be used to control the camera over HDMI using a
compatible remote control.
The 600D sports a
9-point autofocus system, no different from that found in the 550D. The
center focus point is a cross type focus point with a sensitivity of up
to f/5.6. What this means is that when the aperture of the lens is more
than f/5.6 (such as f/8) the focusing points will not be able to track
Speaking of tracking, the 600D has three focus modes;
One Point for stationary subjects that don't require tracking, AI Servo
for maintaining focus on moving targets and AI Focus is a hybrid that
gauges whether the subject is moving or not and effectively decides
whether to engage tracking or not.
We tested all the modes in two
different lighting conditions; mid-day and dusk (until sunset) using the
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens with the aperture set to f.2.0. During our
daytime test, we found all three modes to be very effective, with the
camera locking focus on the subject almost instantaneously. The center
cross-type focus point was also capable of keeping track of an 8 year
old that found it hard to sit still.
Things got a little
disappointing once the lights had dimmed down. The 600D found it a
little cumbersome to perform its focusing duties. The outer 8 focus
points hardly locked focus, unless the target was significantly large.
Only the center focus point was able to effectively lock focus in
One-Shot mode. Once we switched to AI Focus, the camera could not keep
up with our tracking needs.
Before we begin
our review of the image quality of the 600D, we must take a moment to
clarify something. Firstly, we tested our 600D with a few different
lenses (the 18-55 Kit lens, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 prime lens and the Canon
24-70 f/2.8 L lens) to eliminate any quality bumps expensive lenses
might have. Second of all, image quality is very subjective (as often
evidenced in the Canon vs. Nikon debate), so we will try to be as
objective as possible while giving our feedback on the images. We shot
all images in RAW+JPG format with the picture styles set to standard to
see how the two would compare.
We shot some Mughal architecture
under the mid-day sun to see how the camera would handle colour,
contrast and texture and we were pleasingly surprised! Our RAW files
were exposed just right, with excellent detail in all parts of the
image, save for the corners (which is mostly due to the wide angle lens
and not due to the sensor). The colors were a little muted, but that's
to be expected from the harsh sun. The JPG counterpart of the same image
was a little more saturated and had greater contrast, as it should be
(since the camera automatically processes RAW to produce vibrant JPGs).
we shot the usual foliage and found the renditions of the greens to be
rather pleasant. Again, as to be expected, the RAW files were rather
flat in color and contrast, while their JPG counterpart was vibrant and
had a good level of contrast.
We ran into some troubles indoors
(despite fast aperture lenses). When shooting under regular CFL or
Tungsten lighting, the auto white balance rendered our images a little
too warm for our liking. Shooting in RAW helped to correct this issue,
but our JPG files were way too orange to be considered usable.The level of digital noise (red and blue grain) also increased drastically as we went over ISO 800.
18-megapixel sensor rendered colors that were beautifully balanced
between "saturated and faded". The contrast on the images was also a
little low for RAW files, but we sort of like that as it gave us room to
decide our own saturation and contrast levels. What we also found
helpful was the ability to crop our images without much loss in quality,
thanks to the large pixel count.
The 600D allows
shooting of video in various resolutions with corresponding frame rates.
Video recording is supplemented with a mono mic on the camera itself
that records audio in Linear PCM format. The 600D does have a standard
headphone jack to attach an external stereo mic for better audio
recording. The addition of a wind cut filter was a nice touch.
shot some test footage at 1280x1080 (at 25fps) and the quality was what
you would expect from something with the label of HD. The images are
crisp, with very good color and contrast rendition. We wouldn't expect
any less, since the 600D shares the exact same sensor as the 60D and the
Low light shooting of video changed the equation for us quite
a bit. We started seeing noise in areas with minimal illumination.
Another area of concern was the lack of live AF while shooting. This
caused us to manually change focus, especially if we were recording a
moving object/person, which led to plenty of camera shake in our
The 600D, in our opinion, is a great
beginners camera that offers a great megapixel count along with the
capability to record HD video, however, it suffers from some pitfalls.
first, in our opinion would be the body's construction. While this is
PURELY a personal preference, we like the sturdy and solid build of the
magnesium-alloy based 7D. The 600D sort of feels like it might crack if
it took a tumble, something that made us very vary of how we carried it
around. The lack of any kind of weather sealing didn't help our paranoia
Those looking to use the 600D to record live performances
will be disappointed as there is a recording limit of 29 minutes and 59
seconds (or 4GB, whichever is reached sooner) that Canon has placed on
the camera. We are not sure whether this was to preserve sensor
integrity, or just a ploy to get people to invest in higher-grade
bodies, but either ways, it was not appreciated.
The camera is
not all bad though. The ability to control remote flashes and a
dedicated video button come straight from the high-end 7D and are a very
pleasant addition to the feature set. The small form-factor will also
be appealing to those with small hands who are looking to avoid lifting
The Canon 550D is a cheaper DSLR, though we
wouldn't necessarily call it an alternative. The difference in price
comes with a serious trade-off in terms of features as the 550D has a
smaller megapixel count, does not have a swivel screen and also lacks
the ability to control external flashes remotely. The Nikon D5100 does
offer some competition to the Canon 600D with its lower price point and
amazing color rendition, but loses out due to the fact that the 600D
sports the same beefy sensor as the Canon 7D.
consideration we would like to elaborate on is the fact that if you were
to spend an additional Rs.10,000, you could buy the bigger Canon 60D,
that boasts of better ergonomics and a host of improvements to the AF
system, along with some level of protection against water and dust. The
video mode on the Canon 60D works just like the one on the 600D, but it
includes live focusing (the ability to use auto focus while shooting).
Other than that, you also get double the shooting capacity (for stills)
over the 600D.
Click here to see more images of the Canon 600D.
18-megapixel sensor, the same as in the 60D and the 7D
Records full HD video at various frame rates
Vari-angle 1,040K dot swivel screen is great for shooting in awkward positions
USB and mini-HDMI output
Compact form factor that doesn't feel cramped
Excellent dynamic range for shooting in harsh lighting conditions
Nice in-camera effects that can be applied to any photo
Video limit of 29 minutes and 59 seconds
Significant noise in video in low light conditions
Noise is prominent in photos shot at ISO 1600 and above
No weather sealing
Autofocus is unable to perform in lowlight
Body only: Rs. 46,990
Body with 18-55 IS Lens: Rs. 50,990
Body with 18-135 IS Lens: Rs. 67,990
Ease of use: 5
Wow Factor: 4
Value for Money: 4