The Canon EOS 550D was a pretty damn good dSLR and now the 600D, Canon's flagship entry-level model, continues with this winning formula.
The most notable new feature on the 600D is the new 3" vari-angle screen featuring a massive 1 040 000 dots. It’s basically the same display found on the more expensive Canon 60D and makes life easier if you often find yourself on your knees taking pics. Simply fold out the screen, tilt it, and both above the head and below the waist photography becomes less of a hassle.
Just like the previous model, the 600D provides full HD (1080p) video recording (the other new entry-level model from Canon, the 1100D offers lower 720p recording), but new to the 600D’s video oeuvre is video snapshot mode, first seen on Canon’s camcorders. Here 2-, 4- or 8- second video clips are stitched together on-board to provide you with a ready-made movie.
Also new is the ability to digitally zoom (3-10x) into a subject without losing video quality, while manual audio levels are also worked into the equation – making it even more appealing for amateur videographers.
Even though the 600D sits at the top of Canon’s entry-level range, it includes helpful functionality that makes it very accessible for amateur shooters. The on-screen feature guide that explains certain functions helps a lot, while the Scene Intelligent Auto mode very cleverly automatically identifies the shooting mode.
We’ve seen this very clever shooting mode first on Canon’s range of compact cameras, and what it does is actually recognise the type of picture in front of the camera, adjusting setting accordingly if it ”sees” a portrait shot, a macro of flowers or a sunset.
Another trick Canon picked up from their compact range is the use of creative filters. On playback you can add certain effects to your pics, such as grainy black and white, toy camera (as achieved on Lomo cameras) and miniature (tilt-shift) effects. We think these are excellent additions and really expand on the creative possibilities.
If there are criticisms that can be levelled against the 600D, it includes the fact that auto-focus during video recording is simply not there yet. It’s slow while the camera’s effort to focus (with the standard lens) is clearly audible on video playback. The same rings true when auto-focusing using Live view that's activated when using the LCD screen to view what is in-front of the camera. This unfortunately makes using the new twistable screen a hassle and in many cases we rather opted to go back to the optical viewfinder.
Apart from most noticeably the vari-angle screen, better video control and a few extra inclusions, a lot on the 600D (R9450 body only) remains the same as the previous 550D. This includes the DIGIC 4 image processor and 18 megapixel CMOS sensor. If the extras warrants the ±R1000 premium we’re not too sure, but one thing we do know is that the 600D is a heck-of-a-good entry-level dSLR.
Vari-angle screen, new video improvements, in-camera filter effects.
Live focusing during video recording still a hassle.