Canon’s Rebel SLR series is very popular, but the company has ignored its entry-level model for some time, giving it only minor upgrades. We rated the 2016 model, the EOS Rebel T6, fairly low because of this. New for 2018, the EOS Rebel T7 ($ 549.99 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens) sees the largest upgrade in years, a 24MP image sensor that replaces the dated 18MP chip used by previous iterations, but doesn’t do anything else to move the camera forward. We’ll see how much of a difference the sensor makes when the camera is available to review. It’s set to ship in April.
The T7 has the same body as the T6. It measures 4.0 by 5.1 by 3.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.1 pounds without a lens. It doesn’t deviate from the SLR design paradigm in any way. The body is finished in black, with a modest handgrip, integrated pop-up flash, and a hot shoe atop the optical viewfinder.
Aside from the lens release button, there are no controls on the front plate. The Mode dial, power switch, flash release, control dial, and shutter release are on the top plate. The shutter release is the most forward, sitting at an angle on the top of the handgrip.
Rear controls are all to the right of the fixed LCD. The Live View button is just to the right of the viewfinder, and below it you get the EV compensation, Q, Display, Menu, and Play buttons. There’s also a four-way button arrangement to set ISO, AF, White Balance, and the Drive mode, with the Set button at its center. Finally, there are two buttons at the top right corner that are used to zoom in and out of images during playback, with the zoom out button doubling as a focus point selector.
The LCD is a 3-inch fixed panel without touch support. It’s the same 920k-dot design used by the T6, sharp enough for image review and Live View. But it’s not nearly as useful as the vari-angle touch screen Canon puts in the next model up in the series, the T7i.
Wi-Fi and NFC are included. You can use it to transfer images to your Android or iOS device using the Canon Camera Connect app, a plus for sharing images on social media when away from home.
You also get a 2.5mm interface for a wired remote control, mini USB, and mini HDMI. The T7 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory, which is in the same compartment as the battery. The battery charges outside the camera, in an included wall charger.
Performance, Autofocus, and Video
The T7 uses the same 9-point autofocus system as the T6 before it. We found it to be a bit slow with the T6, especially in dim conditions, and expect the same performance with the T6. It’s rated to shoot at a modest 3 frames per second.
The 24MP sensor doesn’t support Dual Pixel AF, so Live View focus is likely to be slow and choppy as well. We hope that it delivers better high ISO output than the T6, although the JPG engine is still powered by an older Digic 4+ processor. Most current Canons use the newer Digic 7, and the just-announced EOS M50 introduces the Digic 8.
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Video tops out at 1080p. The T6 couldn’t autofocus when in video recording mode—it had to switch out of Live View and use the optical viewfinder’s phase detect focus system. We’ll see if the new sensor does anything to change that, but it’s a possibility that the behavior is a limitation of the Digic 4+.
Canon’s current entry-level T6 pales when compared with its pricier models, and with competitors. The T7 finally offers a modern 24MP image sensor, but other aspects of the camera are very dated. We’ll withhold final judgement until we get the opportunity to review it—there’s a chance that there are some improvements that don’t show up in the press release, and Canon didn’t have a T7 available when I was briefed on the camera.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for an entry-level SLR, think about spending a bit more on the T7i, as it delivers a lot more your money. On the Nikon side of the fence, the D3400 is a solid option, and you shouldn’t forget about mirrorless alternatives. The and Sony a6000 are both fine starter models.
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