Canon EOS T3i Received and Zoomed

The Canon T3i is in, and so far looks very close to a Canon T2i. There is one cool feature that none of the other Canon's have and it's the 3x-10x Zoom feature. The T2i and 60D had something similar but could not perform this while shooting in HD resolution. The Panasonic GH2 already had this feature built in, so it's nice to see Canon stepping up with the same.

canon-t3i (1 of 1)

The new T3i has this Zoom ability that can only be used in 1080 either 24fps or 30fps. You can't use this feature when shooting in 720. It's not a hard set Zoom factor, as you can start at 3x and slowly work your way to any Zoom in between all the way up to 10x. For people trying to find a solution to shooting far (wedding guys?), this new feature can essentially change my 100mm F/2.8 into a 1600mm F/2.8. So a simple 50mm F/1.4 can become a 500mm F/1.4. You see where this can come in handy? Oh and because my 100mm is one of Canon's finest 'Macro' lenses, the 10x feature on this lens is 'INSANE!!'. A must see, I mean seriously this is where this feature really really shines. It's crazy....

Let's hope Canon has the ability to throw this feature in via Firmware updates to our older cams, but don't hold your breath.

find-price-button Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR

58 thoughts on “Canon EOS T3i Received and Zoomed

  1. This sounds REALLY stupid but does the digital zoom only work for taking video? I am a newbie with the DSLR things and I got this camera and am still learning. I'm wondering if I can use the digital zoom when taking photos. I'm thinking you can't because I can use it to zoom but then when I take a photo it comes out just as far away as it actually is. I don't know if that makes sense. Help?

  2. MovieBuff

    @Fabdex I tried to post this "T2i ML firmware zoom request" on many youtube comments sections. Let's try to pass the word around and try to contact the ML programmers and initiate a firmware update with the 3x - 10x zoom for the Canon T2i.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @JSS - The Zooming feature is pretty cool, best when used between 3x-5x. If most of your videos require a distance, this could save you some cash on long lenses. There's many great features in the T3i and I know several people who are still using the T2i and making good work from it. The 60D would appeal to those who are into Photography as well.

  4. JSS

    Emm, sorry to go back to an older post but I'm trying to decide whether to get the T3i or the 60D. It's this zooming feature that pushes me towards the T3i as most (70%) of my work would be video. With your experience with both cameras have any advice to offer? Thanks.

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @mojo43 - That's not correct. If you took a 2 megapixel image and cropped just the middle, it's no longer a 2 megapixel image. These cameras have over 18 megapixel chips and uses a certain portion of it to zoom in and save it as an HD file. Once it's saved as an HD file, you can't crop it and expect it to still be an HD file.

  6. mojo43

    I don't understand what everyone is so excited about? Can't you just take your video and zoom in later in post processing and have the exact same thing?

    It is digital zoom right?

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @terry_mickie - Yes would work with FD lenses as well. FD 85mm F/1.2L? Wow rare lens you're talking about...

  8. terry_mickie


    Since the zoom feature is a software thing and not a lens thing, would an 85 1.2 FD mount work considering it's manual? (As I hold my breath........)

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Seven - Although it's the same core, the firmware is different. I don't think it would work, and would not suggest trying it...

  10. Seven

    Emm, you think Magic Lantern will come out for this T3i? or that it would work on it since it's so close to the T2i?


  11. Emm,

    First time posting. Thanks very much for your work on this site.

    This feature has me getting very excited and I'm looking to get a T3i to replace my T2i.

    I'm very keen to see your tests at various zoom levels. I did realize as well that the 3x zoom is probably very good, but going to 10x doesn't make sense for a 1080p image. It has got to be literally digitally expanding the pixels. There simply aren't enough on the sensor to zoom in 10x at 1080p. Only about 3x.

    I await your samples.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Eric - Haven't tested, but i'm about 99% sure it still drops resolution. The core is the same as all the other cameras. Only the 7D has the fastest processor.

  13. gmsash


    Good idea about static shots with zoom. I think actual single frame snapshots in Full HD resolution would be very helpfull to estimate the softness/blurriness.

  14. Remember that anything longer than 100mm or something needs image stabilization (Unless you use tripod). So picking up a cheep 50mm f1.4 m42 lens would not work too well. However there are some nice, light lens with IS much cheaper than 70-200 2.8 IS And this leads to a question: how does IS work with this zoom feature? does everything work the same as with no zoom or the zoom somehow affects the efficiency of IS?

  15. J

    I think the main thing here is what was in the description -- wedding videos.

    Emm, would love for your next test to include 3x-10x zoom and see how it looks on PEOPLE. Using a 85mm at 3x instead of the bulky 70-200 sounds attractive, but everything depends on the quality.

    Maybe zoom 3x with the digital zoom then 3x by "zooming" in with your feet. That would be a good test.

  16. Olphus

    A few things to point out:
    - While 100mm x 10x x 1.6x=1600mm is awesome, you still need "IS" on your lens or you will have a nightmare keeping it stable - even on a tripod.
    - Haze/UV and plain air should soften the image outdoors. Maybe testing indoors zooming in on fine detail should tell us the quality of a 10x zoom.
    UV filters outdoors should be very useful.
    - I assume you will lose the shallow depth of field on a f2.8 at 10x, but that's to be expected.

  17. Jason

    Heads up to Emm, Thanks for the zoom info and prompt video demo.

    About the 3-10x zoom myth:
    The zoom sample looks pretty good
    However, it's digital zoom done in software (firmware), not optical zoom done in rotating lens elements.
    Optical zoom bring superb image quality
    Digital zoom maginify the pixels.
    At 18MP, the resolution is 5184 x 3456, roughly 9 times more than the 1920x1080 pixel counters. So at best when the software is done correctly, the 3x zoom (square root of 9) provides you 1:1 ratio in optical quality through digital zoom. Anything more than than, it has to maginifiy the pixels to fill the 1080p frame. That's why the 3x zoom looks much better than the 10x zoom. Of course, at 10x, or 1600mm equivalent, any kind shake will also magnified the effect and degrade the sample video quality.
    We all know digital zoom for still photos are unacceptable and no pro will use it. What about digital zoom for 1080p video? Is it acceptable by pros?
    At 1080p consumer level, probably it's OK to use 3x, maybe even higher, 6x. 10x is overkill.
    At 4K, 4.5K, 9K pro level. Absoluted NO. Pixelation will be very obivous in each high reoslution video frame just like 12MP still photos.
    Based on the pricing structure of Canon's DSLRs, the zoom feature worth about $10. It will neither challenge the optical supremacy of Canon zoom lenses nor shake the market of these zoom lenses. Otherwise, Canon won't even reelase this feature.
    Is zoom feature going to be back ported to mk2, 7d, 60d? Most likely, no. b/c pros and prosumers buy zoom lenses for better results. Or at least, Canon want you to do it.
    It will never back port to t2i b/c it's dead.
    At last, I really wish Canon focus more on better sensor and digi 5 processor that offer higher pixel counter to control noise in high iso and bring more DEPTH OF COLOR meantime. Maybe even shot 2K RAW video in 5Dmk3. That would be a $1000 feature vs. this $10 niche.

  18. @Emm cool looking forward to it, i dident read much into the t3i but am very impressed right now

    and just wondering if canon set this up right how would everyone like a camera that can jump from full frame and 1.6x crop you could use any lens on this camera yes in photography you would take a M.Pix drop but small price to pay for any lens on one body.

    Alex McCranor

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Alex - Yeah I guess it is great. Even with Canon's extenders you lose a few stops. Here you add a 3x extender and can still maintain your aperture. I'll try to do some tests between 3x and 10x without camera movement so that we can compare where the quality starts to look different.

  20. @Emm Yer but 99% of my work is as video so this is amazing for what i do and the times where i need the reach in stills work i can always rent a lens.

    and it being a little soft is a shame but then it has added a 10x zoom to your lens for no extra cost so can only be a good thing even if you only use it a 3x its still extra reach for no cost, in my book thats a good thing.

    but we shall see if canon adds this to there other cameras interesting to see how it would look on a full frame camera could you get a better zoom humm or how about we see the 5dmk3 with full frame and cropped sensor options giving you the real best of both worlds no more carrying 2 bodys around.

    Alex McCranor

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Alex - It does sound all good and dandy, but keep in mind that it only benefits HD Video. If you wanted to take Still Photos, you'd still need to a great zoom lens. But this is an awesome feature I could have really used. Instead of hauling my long lenses, I could have just brought my 85mm F/1.2. At 10x it does look like it's a bit softer, but i'd take soft over High ISO noise..

  22. @Emm that would be crazy loving the idea that you could pick up that super cheap canon 50mm 1.8 and have a 80-800mm zoom f1.8 for next to no money.

    Might be worth picking up a t3i as my second camera next to my 60d but shall see if canon play the update game with this.

    Dont think my ex3 will ever come back out the box


  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Alex - I have a 70-200mm I can test out today, but for kicks I want to test my Tamron 18-270mm. LOL.

  24. Just wondering what lens would give the same as the 70-200mm 2.8 then when used with this feature.

    as Emm's 100mm 2.8 L prime is now a 160-1600mm 2.8 L Zoom that can be picked up second hand for around £300 u.k


  25. Wow very impressed that this works so well i was thinking about picking up a 70-200 2.8 but if they bring this 2 the 60d (Please canon please) then i will pick up some other lens with nice low fstops and use the "digital" zoom to get the extra range.


  26. Emm

    Post author

    @gmsash - You could be right, but there's also everything in between with a slow zoom in or out. It's like old camcorders that display the amount of magnification happening on the screen. I'm sure there's a point in between that should still be acceptable.

    Also because you're able to use this feature i'm sure the 10x quality on a 100mm F/2.8 would still be better than using a 200mm F/2.8 lens with an 2x extender that loses a few stops of light. I had to shoot a conference once and needed a tight shot of the speaker. By maintaining my F/2.8 or even F/1.2 might be soft, but definitely won't be HIGH ISO noisey.

  27. Fabdex

    Oh, by the way: once the first firmware update comes out for the T3i, I'm ready to bet that the Magic Lantern guys are gonna look into it to find a way to transfer the digital zooming feature to the T2i.

  28. Fabdex

    @ Emm: no, the 3X 10X zoom is NOT optical. No extra lens is involved, so it is not optical, but electronic (or digital). You're right in implying that it uses the center of the 18 megapixel sensor, but all that zooming is electronic, not optical.

  29. I believe that this is not a pixel-per-pixel crop mode.

    The 1:1 pixel crop on the 18MP sensor should give a X4,55 magnification on the 35mm equivalent focal length.

    Maybe the X3 zoom is a true 1:1 crop mode but the rest is digital zoom

  30. gmsash

    Thank you Emm!
    I'm looking forward for more test footages. But for now, I'm pretty sure the image quality will be quite crappy at 10x. It's just impossible to zoom 18mp sensor 10 times and get acceptable image. 3x seems to be usefull.

  31. mike

    Sounds like in this case the Canon again is behind the curve of the GH2. The GH1 was the revolutionary camera, not the 5dMk2 and now the GH2 is leading the pack.

  32. Joost

    But I'll just stick with my 60d.
    I really love the camera, and am going to do some awesome things with it!

  33. Stu Mannion

    Looks very useful. The big question is does the quality drop much when you do this and how does this affect the line-skipping artifacts?

    Is there a certain zoom level where the moire problem disappears?


  34. Jason

    Siiick! I want to know more after you do some tests with the zoom. I'm a skeptic some things about it that make me want to see before I go nuts about it..

    Also..does the t2i knock off battery grip fit/work? and the 550D lcd protector? sorry man, had to ask! its the make or break for me to sell my t2i, if all my accessories I invested in fit, I'm sold

  35. jason

    This is so epic! (no pun intended). I was considering the XF100 for my wedding work (I use DSLRS in conjunction with a regular vid cam) but I may go with this depending how smooth the zooming is. It would be amazing to have a remote zoom controller but I'm probably wishing for too much.

    I really wish Canon would step up the firmware for the 7D, I'd even pay for it!

  36. Emm

    Post author

    @Chris - Yes! Even the stock 18-55mm can be zoomed. Anything! But can you imagine my 85mm F/1.2?? That would be a 1360mm F/1.2. Talk about a kick ass lens in low light...

  37. That's pretty wild.

    As invested I am in my Nikon system, as I get more seriously into video Canon just keeps tempting me to make the big switch.

  38. crazyrunner33

    That's amazing, I was debating between this or the 60D for a backup to my 7D. I think this video made up my decision, thank you for posting this.

  39. Mikkel

    Very impressive, I would love to see that added to my 7D in a firmware update but might have to wait until I upgrade the camera in a couple of years.

  40. Paul frederick

    Amazing! This should also minimize the aliasing asociated with line skipping in the downsizing from 18mp to 1080! Wow, I'm thinking of getting one of these now just for this feature. Who wouldn't want to zoom up to 10x with no loss in picture quality?

  41. Emm

    Post author

    @Mark - It's all optical because it changes which Pixels on the chip to use. True HD is only 1080 pixels, while this chip is 18 Megapixels. It doesn't require all the pixels to still be HD. I have some Macro samples in a bit. Hang on...

  42. mark

    Is the 3~10x zoom digital zoom or optical zoom? How is the quality of zoom? Do you have a video demo for the zoom feature?

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