Unless you're a camera nut (like me), most DSLRs will either look the same to you or are too expensive to even consider. Canon's new T4i camera attempts to differentiate by adding a touchscreen to make it easy for smartphone camera shooters to make the leap to a DSLR.
One of the most-asked for features that consumers are looking for in lens-based cameras is a touchscreen because they're conditioned to use them in various ways thanks to smartphones. Up until now, if you wanted a touchscreen camera, you could either buy a point-and-shoot or certain mirrorless cameras, but not a DSLR.
The T4i is the first DSLR to have a finger-friendly 3-inch display that also flips out 180-degrees, which should make shooting videos a godsend. The touchscreen can be used just as you'd expect on a smartphone: touch to focus for stills and videos, touch to fire off the shutter, swiping to browse photos, pinch to zoom in and out. The T4i is going to make DSLRs a whole lot less menacing.
Camera purists will insist that there is no place for DSLR to have a touchscreen as physical shutters and buttons will always trump all, but they've griped about HD video in DSLRs being just a fad, and look how that's blowing up. Today, many professionals shoot cinema-quality videos with high-end DSLRs.
We are a little skeptic as to how using a touchscreen will compare to just firing off a shutter button, but not because of the button/software debate, but because DSLRs are heavier to hold with one hand than smartphones and mirrorless cameras. And most people we know use their right fingers to touch focus on a touchscreen, which might be a problem because a DSLR's grip is on the right side.
Maybe with tripod, the touchscreen could reduce shock from pressing the shutter, but we'll reserve judgment when we can actually play with one of these DSLRs.
In addition to the touchscreen, which is really the T4i's biggest feature, there's also a new nine-point autofocus system, an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor powered by the new DIGIC 5 processor, ISO that can climb up to 12800 (25600 in H mode) for low light shooting, five frames per second burst shooting and an improved continuous autofocus motor that's said to be much quieter.
Canon's T4i will go on sale at the end of the month for $850 (body-only), $950 (with 18-55mm kit lens) and $1,200 (with an 18-135mm lens). Start saving those pennies, graduates!