Canon has had an admirably tight grip on the DSLR market ever since the phenomenally successful EOS 300D dived below the four-figure price barrier back in 2003. The success of the EOS D range has never been simply about price however, but the high quality kit you get for your money.
What's the difference?
In the case of the EOS 600D, that kit takes a bit of scrutiny before you can distinguish it from its predecessor, the 550. The CMOS is different, but has the same 18MP count, and the majority of the spec sheet looks remarkably familiar. Given that the EOS 600 has an edge on its rivals in terms of price and pixels, the limited evolution of the spec isn’t particularly bothersome, but it’s still a relief to discover a few new items in the features list.
The most notable of the new features are the things that seem to be de rigueur for mid-price DSLRs this year: special effects and a multi-angle screen that, in addition to being more mobile than that of the 550, is also sharper. The creative effects filters are applied to your RAW or JPEG shots after you’ve taken them and allow you to apply tilt-shift effects, grainy black and white shots, a fish-eye look and more. The effects are easily accessed and applied and confound expectations by being genuinely useful rather than gimmicks.
Focus on focussing
When it comes to the hard stuff, the EOS 600D has a 9-point AF that impressed us with its ability to consistently capture sharp shots. The rear thumb buttons can be used to select an individual point in the AF array, allowing you to have the AF prioritise a particular part of the shot.
The EOS isn’t quite as comfortable over long periods of use as some of its rivals, but its control labelling and layout will be familiar to anyone who’s used even a halfway sophisticated camera before, and while it isn’t quite pick-up-and-play, we found that a little tinkering allowed us to access any of the features without resorting to the manual.
The sensor does a good job of picking up and reproducing fine detail, resulting in shots that are sharp and full of texture. Colours are lively and eye-catching but not boosted, and never appear to float over the shot. The EOS 600D’s auto-modes aren’t the speediest, but they are hugely reliable, and when the camera is doing the hard work for you it never puts a foot wrong.