Normally, I like to steer people toward last-generation (or more) models for the best value on a budget, and that’s especially true with Canon’s entry-level dSLRs, the Rebel series in the US. The newer cameras tend to get trickled-down technology from older, higher-end models whose prices have dropped, and it just makes sense to buy those better models instead of the new one with the ancient insides. But the Rebel T7i (800D in the UK and Australia) represents Canon’s first truly significant update to the series, really since the T2i in 2010. The T6i got a new-to-it sensor and autofocus system in 2015, but that was a transitional change.
The T7i’s body remains the same as its predecessor’s, but it finally incorporates Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, a 3-year-old technology with on-chip phase-detection autofocus that’s in almost all Canon’s other interchangeable-lens camera lines. But it’s a current sensor and metering system, the same ones that are in the EOS 80D, but with an even newer image-processing engine (Digic 7). They’re the same updates that Canon’s bringing to its two other new consumer models, the EOS M6 mirrorless and the EOS 77D step-up-from-the-T7i dSLR.
All of those allow Canon to increase the continuous shooting speed with autofocus to 4.5fps from 3fps (the spec Canon cites of 6fps is with focus and exposure fixed on the first frame and no image stabilization, which isn’t very useful most of the time). And I expect the new sensor and processor should deliver images comparable to the 80D.
The second significant change for the newbie-focused dSLRs is a new alternative interface. Every other camera manufacturer long ago implemented a thumbnail-based option for beginners to communicate how changes to settings will affect changes to the photo. Welcome Canon! And the company also adds low-energy Bluetooth to maintain a persistent or quick-pairing connection for improved Wi-Fi connectivity.
To go with the T7i/800D and the 77D, Canon also introduced a new kit lens, the EF-S 18-55mm f4-5.6 IS STM. It’s a bit more compact than its predecessor: shorter by 0.8 in/67 mm and slimmer by 0.6 in/62 mm. But oddly it’s heavier by about 0.4 oz/10g. While “20 percent smaller” may sound like a lot (and that’s only the length, the width is 11 percent narrower), it’s a pretty trivial difference at that size. Especially given the the tradeoff of 1/3-stop; in other words, it lets in a third less light at 18mm. And it will cost the same $250 (£200, AU$309). It’s also the first of Canon’s new line of consumer f4 lenses. The good news is that it will work with Canon’s $150 (£125, AU$230) PZ-E1 power-zoom adapter.
Canon plans to ship the camera in April 2017 at $750 for the body, $900 for the kit with the new 18-55mm lens or $1,300 for a kit with the 18-135mm STM lens. I don’t have prices for the UK or Australia, but those convert directly to roughly £600, £725 and £1,045 or AU$980, AU$1,180 and AU$1,700.