"The best camera is the one you have with you." You've probably heard the quote: it's often used these days to explain why smartphones are threatening to push traditional point-and-shoot cameras into early retirement. Pocketcams aren't the only category under siege, though. Lightweight mirrorless cameras like Sony's NEX series are threatening to replace the traditional SLR, and that's keeping manufacturers on their toes. Pros might want a purpose-built tool like a full-frame DSLR with loads of complex physical controls, but to compete with cheaper, sleeker shooters in the consumer realm, companies like Canon are finding they need to make their cameras easier to use, and more useful as well.

Case in point: Canon's EOS Rebel T4i (aka EOS 650D). The Rebel has long been Canon's lowly budget model, but this year the 18-megapixel APS-C shooter adds a number of features never before seen on any Canon DSLR, including a new focus system that allows for continuous autofocus during video recording, a stereo microphone array, and a touchscreen to control most every setting on the camera. The changes add up to something potentially huge: This is the first Canon DSLR that could substitute for a consumer camcorder, and control like a smartphone. In previous years, the 5D Mark II, 7D and T2i cemented Canon's reputation for quality video capture, but the T4i's additions could push it over the top. Has the Rebel broken out of budget territory? Read on.