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Canon EOS 600D EF-S 18-55 IS II Kit review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £750
inc VAT

Subtle yet welcome improvements over the 550D, but it's expensive once necessary lens upgrades are taken into account.


22.3×14.9mm 18.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (29-88mm equivalent), 570g

Our photo quality tests revealed no discernable differences compared to the excellent 550D. The new-and-improved automatic mode, called Scene Intelligent Auto, may be more sophisticated than before but it’s impossible to draw conclusions without testing the two side by side. We had no qualms with the 550D’s automatic exposures, and none here too. JPEG colour processing struck an excellent balance between honesty and flattery, and the highlight- and shadow-recovery functions proved their worth in high-contrast scenes. Noise levels were extremely low, producing attractive shots at ISO 1600 and presentable snaps at ISO 6400. The 12-megapixel Canon EOS 1100D was a little cleaner at high ISO speeds, though.

One area where EOS cameras fall behind their rivals over at Nikon is for chromatic aberrations, where the red, green and blue elements of the picture become increasingly misaligned towards the edges of the frame. The problem was reasonably subtle with the 18-55mm kit lens (see the example below – click to enlarge), but Nikon’s SLRs remove it digitally, giving notably sharper details towards the edges of frames.

Canon EOS 600D sample 1 Chromatic aberrations are still an issue for Canon

We also noticed a problem with autofocus using the kit lens, where focus was often slightly less than pin-sharp. Testing with a tripod and static subject, and using the normal phase-detect autofocus followed by live view’s slow but extremely accurate contrast-detect autofocus, the second shot was often a little sharper, particularly at the telephoto end of the zoom.

We’ve seen this issue before on the 550D, 500D and 450D, and only when using the 18-55mm kit lens. This lens now bears a Mk II suffix but apparently the redesign is purely cosmetic; it’s disappointing that this problem persists. Confusingly, it didn’t appear in our tests of the EOS 1100D, which uses the same lens. We won’t second guess the root of the problem, but as with the 550D and its predecessors, we recommend against buying the 600D with the 18-55mm kit lens.

Canon EOS 600D front

The 600D sits in an odd space in the consumer SLR market. It’s more expensive than the entry-level models but lacks the larger viewfinder and superior controls of the Canon EOS 60D and its ilk. Its main rival is the Nikon D5100, announced earlier this week, but we’re yet to get our hands on that model.

Most people needn’t spend this much when the Nikon D3100 offers arguably superior quality (with no autofocus issues or chromatic aberrations) for just £420. However, for those who are interested in video as much as photography, the 600D is a serious contender despite the various flaws of its video mode.

Ultimately, the 600D was, without a doubt, an excellent camera for its time. But, nowadays, you’re much better off looking at a newer camera such as the Canon EOS 700D that has introduced considerable improvements, not least the slow autofocus in live view mode. So unless you’re getting a considerable bargain price for the EOS 600D, we would advise looking at something newer in the EOS range.

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Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels18.0 megapixels
CCD size22.3×14.9mm
Viewfinderoptical TTL
Viewfinder magnification, coverage0.85x, 96%
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution1,040,000 pixels
Articulated screenYes
Live viewYes
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent29-88mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution5,184×3,456
Maximum movie resolution1920×1080
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slotSDXC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)440 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI, wired remote, microphone minijack input
Body materialplastic
Lens mountCanon EF-S
Focal length multiplier1.6x
Kit lens model nameCanon EF-S 18-55 IS II
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables, neck strap

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-36 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 12800
Exposure compensation+/-5 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, colour tone, noise reduction, highlight tone priority, Auto Lighting Optimiser, colour space
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus25cm
Auto-focus modes9-point
Metering modesEvaluative, partial, centre-weighted average, spot
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, wired remote, AE bracket, WB bracket

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