The T3i is a great beginner dSLR camera. The latest version, the T5i, only has a few small improvements. That price is really good for the bundle that you're getting. A nice introductory package that should serve you well.
I assume you're new to SLR photography, so you can give the sports mode a try. Eventually you'll probably move onto more user dependent settings. It doesn't matter what setting you use, use whatever is comfortable. I only bring it up in case there are other cameras you're considering that don't have a "sports mode". It's not necessary to shoot sports.
The main purpose of this camera will be to shoot action shots of my kids playing sports. I am a relative beginner to DSLR so I am trying to do as much research as possible before making a purchase.
This is probably one of the best options within this price range. If I was to recommend a beginner setup to a family member this is exactly what I would recommend. Though, as noted above, I'd buy it from B&H, not the link you posted.
Sports photography is one of the most demanding forms of photography. You need fast shutter speeds to catch the action, and you need long lenses to get close to the action. Fast shutter speeds is easy during the day. But in heavy overcast, at night, or indoors, the camera will struggle to get enough light. The solution is to use lenses with really wide apertures that collect a lot of light. But a long lens with a wide aperture is very, very expensive.
So, can you do what the pros do with this setup? No, of course not. But is there a better reasonable option out there, no. Like I said, this is a fine beginner system. You'll be able to get some nice photos of your kids. Will they be good enough for the cover of Sports Illustrated, probably not. But I don't know what you expect out of your camera. The performance will be far, far better than any point and shoot you've ever used.
Somebody may bring up more advanced cameras. Canon has cameras that are geared towards sports photographers with advanced autofocus systems. Yes, a more advanced camera may help you get a few more in-focus shots, but I don't think the cost difference is worth it. You're new to dSLR photography. So get a beginner setup. Shoot some photos of your kids. Have some fun, learn a bit about photography. And, if in the future you decide you upgrade to a better lens or something, then go for it.
Changing the Drive Mode on a Canon EOS Rebel T3 Series Camera
Setting the Drive mode tells the Canon Rebel T3 or T3i what to do when you press the shutter button: Record a single frame, record a series of frames, or record one or more shots after a short delay. To change the Drive mode, you have two options:
Press the left cross key. Notice that the key is marked by three little Drive mode icons to help you remember its function. After you press the cross key, you see the screen shown on the right in the following figure. Highlight your choice and press Set.
Use the Quick Control screen. You also can adjust the Drive mode via the Quick Control screen. After you highlight the Drive mode icon, the name of the current setting appears at the bottom of the screen. Rotate the Main dial to cycle through the available Drive mode settings.
Whichever route you go to change the Drive mode, remember these key points:
To access all Drive modes, you must use the P, Tv, Av, M, or A-DEP exposure mode. In Creative Auto mode on the T3i, you lose the 2-second self-timer option. And in all the other exposure modes, you get only the default Drive mode — either Single or Continuous — plus the 10-second and continuous self-timer options.
Check the Drive mode before each shoot. Your selected Drive mode remains in force until you change it or switch to an exposure mode for which the selected Drive mode isn’t available. So put this setting on the list of options to review every time you set out with your camera.
Cover the viewfinder for self-timer or remote shooting. Any time you take a picture without your eye to the viewfinder, light can seep in through the viewfinder and mess with exposure metering. For that reason, Canon includes a little viewfinder cover on the camera strap.
To cancel self-timer shooting after the countdown starts, press the Drive mode button (left cross key). If the camera takes the shot long before you remember this trick, that's why the camera has an Erase button.
Consider using Mirror Lock-Up for long exposures with the T3i. Although using the self-timer or remote-control Drive modes to shoot “hands-free” ensures that the action of pressing the shutter button doesn’t shake the camera enough to blur the photo, you can add another layer of security by enabling Mirror Lock-Up.
Here’s the deal: The camera’s optical assembly includes a little mirror whose job it is to reflect the scene coming through the lens onto the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror moves out of the optical path so that the scene can be recorded by the image sensor.
09/26/2023: New firmware updates are available.
08/18/2023: Canon EOS R5 C training series is released.
07/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/18/2023: New firmware updates are available.
03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.