Canon introduces the EOS Rebel T4i, the first touchscreen DSLR

canon eos rebel t4iThis morning Canon introduced us to its latest DSLR, the EOS Rebel T4i. It’s the next iteration of the T3i, a camera we were impressed with. The follow-up is another entry-level DSLR that sports some pretty impressive internal hardware as well as one very new feature – a touchscreen. It’s the first bonafide DSLR in incorporate this, but before talking about that particular element, here’s a look at the T4i’s specs:

  • 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)
  • Digic 5 image processor
  • High speed continuous shooting up to 5 fps
  • Upgraded AF; 9-point all cross-type AF system; hybrid CMOS AF is supposed to bump up AF speed in Live View mode
  • New shooting modes including handheld night scene, HDR backlight control, and multi-shot noise reduction
  • And as previously mentioned, the vari-angle 3-inch, 1.04 million dot resolution LCD touchscreen

Point and shoots and Micro Four Thirds models have been experimenting with touchscreens for awhile, but no DSLR has yet to go all next-gen-electronics on us. According to Canon, the screen will be highly responsive and is higher quality than anything we’ve seen in its point and shoot models. “The electronic-static touch-panel is the most advanced that Canon has released to date with multi-touch capabilities allowing photographers to use familiar gestures such as ‘pinch-to-zoom’ and ‘swiping’ to scroll between pictures,” the company said its press release.

canon t41 two viewsThe touchscreen can utilize both the AF system and the shutter, as well.

Outfitting the T4i with a touchscreen is clearly a cue taken from what’s quickly becoming consumers’ favorite camera – the smartphone. Camera manufacturers are increasingly trying to find a happy medium between these two without isolating legacy users. Touch controls are edging us that way, and it wouldn’t be surprising if functions like setting ISO and shutter speed get the same treatment in the near future. Potentially, this would pave the way for mobile OS integration, allowing quality cameras to get the app treatment.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. While the EOS Rebel T4i might sport a touchscreen, it also includes some upgraded video capture technology. The T4i features Canon’s new Movie Servo AF for video recording, so that in-and-out of focus effect should be considerably improved upon – and it’s apparently very quiet as well, so no mechanical whirring in the background. Canon’s also releasing a new series of STM (Stepping Motor Technology) lenses, which are built for silent, smooth AF. The T4i also features a stereo mic, so in addition to your video being smoother, the cut down on camera noise means they should also have dramatically improved audio.

Keeping the DSLR relevant and useful in the face of the camera phone means taking risks with incorporated elements – a la, the touchscreen – while also provided upgrades for multiuse, like the new video capture capabilities. The T4i has one piece of the smartphone puzzle that everyone loves, but also does things a phone simply can’t

The T4i will be available at the end of this month for an estimated retail price of $850 (body only) and $950 (bundled with the EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens kit). There will also be a “Movie Kit” bundle available for $1199, which comes with the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.