Canon EOS T3i vs. T2i (600D vs 550D): Which one to buy?

Canon EOS T3i /600D vs. T2i / 550D

Despite all the buzz created by the MILC (Mirrorless interchangeable Lens Cameras) these days , traditional DSLRs -especially entry level models- are still the best sellers in almost all interchangeable camera markets around the world. Canon T3i / 600D and T2i / 550D shares the top 2 spot currently (and almost always on Top 3 since their introduction) on the US market best seller list (Check Amazon's Best Seller DSLR List) and there actually are very little that differentiates these two besides the price difference. If you don't look close enough, you may not be able to distinguish them. So I just wanted to list out the advantages/disadvantages of these two and add my comments in order to help you in your decision process.

Canon T3i / 600D advantages over T2i / 550D:

  • Fuly articulated LCD screen vs. Fixed LCD Screen
  • Wireless flash control capability (with T2i you need a master flash like the 580EX II or a Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter to control other wireless flashes)
  • More Image Ratio options: 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 vs. 3:2

 Canon T2i / 550D advantages over T3i / 600D:

  • Lower selling price: $625 vs. $771 (both with 18-55mm IS Kit lenses)
  • Smaller: 129x98x62 mm vs 133x99x79 mm
  • Lighter: 530 g vs 570 g
  • Slightly larger viewfinder: 0,54x vs 0,53x (due to higher magnification ratio - 0.87x vs. 0.85x)
  • Faster startup: Delay 400 ms vs 1500 ms

Conclusion:

As you see, both cameras has their own advantages and it depends on your priorities and shooting style if the T3i / 600D justifies the $150 price difference or not.

  • If you are into off-camera flash photography, T3i has a big advantage of wireless flash control capability. If you need a similar capability with the T2i, you need to buy an expensive flash  to use as a master like Canon 580EX II to control your other off-camera flashes wirelessly.
  • The most important deciding factor in my opinion is the articulated screen of the T3i. I have to confess when the first DSLRs with flip-out or articulated screen came out, I was strongly against them cause I have seen it as a point-and-shoot type of camera feature. But once I used a DSLR with one, I didn't want to go back. It gives you such a flexibility in some difficult angles and positions that it was almost impossible to shoot properly with a fixed screen. But again, it depends on how frequent you encounter such shooting positions.

So for me, the advantages of T3i / 600D over T2i / 550D justifies the $150 price difference. But then again, if you are not interested in off-flash photography nor  the articulated screen, I say go for the  Canon T2i / 550D. It gives %95 of what T3i offers in a smaller and lighter package for a lower price. (Below you can see a spec comparison table for further detail)

Buy / Read User Reviews: Canon EOS T3i / 600D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit on Amazon

Buy / Read User Reviews: Canon EOS T3i / 600D Body Only on Amazon

Buy / Read User Reviews: Canon EOS T2i / 550D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit on Amazon

Buy / Read User Reviews: Canon EOS T2i / 550D Body Only on Amazon

Canon EOS T3i / 600D vs. T2i / 550D Comparison

Model
Canon EOS T3i / 600D
Canon EOS T2i / 550D
Price
Canon EOS T3i / 600D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit -  $771
Canon EOS T2i / 550D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit - $625
Max resolution
5184 x 3456
5184 x 3456
Image ratio
1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
3:2
Sensor Resolution
18 MP
18 MP
Sensor size
APS-C
(22.3 x 14.9 mm)
APS-C
(22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Sensor type
CMOS
CMOS
Processor
Digic 4
Digic 4
Lens mount
Canon EF/EF-S
Canon EF/EF-S
Focal length multiplier
1.6×
1.6×
ISO
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, (12800 with boost)
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, (12800 with boost)
White balance presets
6
6
Custom white balance
Yes
Yes
Image stabilization
No
No
Uncompressed format
RAW
RAW
JPEG quality levels
Fine, Normal
Fine, Normal
Autofocus
Contrast Detect (sensor)
Phase Detect
Multi-area
Selective single-point
Single
Continuous
Face Detection
Live View
Contrast Detect (sensor)
Phase Detect
Multi-area
Selective single-point
Single
Continuous
Face Detection
Live View
Number of focus points
9
9
Articulated LCD
Fully articulated
Fixed
Screen size
3"
3"
Screen resolution
1.040K
1.040K
Touch screen
No
No
Live view
Yes
Yes
Viewfinder type
Optical (pentamirror)
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
95%
95%
Viewfinder magnification
0.85×
0.87×
Min. shutter speed
30sec
30sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000sec
1/4000sec
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Manual exposure mode
Yes
Yes
Subject / scene modes
Yes
Yes
Built-in flash
Pop-up
Pop-up
Flash range
13 m
13 m
External flash
Yes
(Hot-shoe, Wireless plus Sync connector)
Yes
(Hot-shoe, E-TTL II)
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye
Max fps
3,7 frames/sec
3,7 frames/sec
Self-timer
Yes
(2 sec or 10 sec)
Yes
(2 sec or 10 sec)
Metering modes
Multi
Center-weighted
Spot
Partial
Multi
Center-weighted
Spot
Partial
Exposure compensation
±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing
±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing
Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Format
H.264
Motion JPEG
H.264
Microphone
Stereo
Stereo
 
1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC
SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage included
None
None
USB
USB 2.0
USB 2.0
HDMI
Yes (HDMI mini)
Yes (HDMI mini)
Wireless
EyeFi
EyeFi
Remote control
Yes (E3 connector, InfraRed)
Yes (E3 connector, InfraRed)
Environmental Sealing
No
No
Battery description
Lithium-Ion LP-E8 rechargeable battery & charger
Lithium-Ion LP-E8 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)
440
 
Weight (inc. batteries)
570 g (1.26 lb / 20.11 oz)
530 g (1.17 lb / 18.70 oz)
Dimensions
133 x 100 x 80 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.15")
129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.08 x 3.86 x 2.44")
Orientation sensor
Yes
Yes
Timelapse recording
Yes (by USB cable and PC)
Yes (by USB cable and PC)
GPS
None
None

 

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