Canon EOS 1100D £419

16th Mar 2011 | 11:24

Canon EOS 1100D

Is Canon's 12.2-megapixel entry-level DSLR a worthy successor to the EOS 1000D?

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Like:

Affordable price; Good image quality; Easy to use;

Dislike:

Build quality same as EOS 1000D; You might quickly outgrow it;

Canon EOS 1100D: Overview


Canon EOS 1100D: Overview

Canon has long catered well for the entry-level digital SLR market. Canon's EOS 300D was the first digital SLR available for under £1000 and as technology has advanced, its cameras aimed at this market have been made cheaper and more compact, whilst still sporting a decent array of features.

In fact, the features on offer with this camera's predecessor, the EOS 1000D, were so good that Canon hasn't felt the need to replace it for around three years. This is quite a long stint for any digital camera in Canon's range, as most are tweaked or overhauled much sooner.


So why have we had to wait so long?

It is probably due to the fact that the Canon 1000D still represented good value and was still very popular with those on a budget. That is until very recently, as the range of features it offered were never too far off the next model in line for a more palatable price.

Canon's recent announcement of the EOS 600D, with its 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, swivel screen and full HD video recording facility, DIGIC 4 processor and 14 bit RAW output has obviously changed matters somewhat.

Canon EOS 1100D: Features


Canon EOS 1100D: Features

Despite it's similar looks and name, pretty much every feature on the spec sheet has been upgraded for the Canon 1100D compared with the EOS 1000D. A new 12Mp CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 provides a step up in resolution and flexibility, enabling larger prints to be made and shots to be taken in lower lighting conditions than the preceding model.

As far as image quality is concerned it doesn't end there. The EOS 1100D also sports Canon's DIGIC 4 processing chip, which can produce 14bit raw files and movie mode, both of which are absent from the Canon 1000D.

High definition (720p) footage can be recorded by the Canon 1100D at up to 30fps (frames per second), which should be perfect for those wishing to experiment with recording video with a digital SLR.

Continuous shooting is also possible, at three frames per second, which is fairly typical of a camera at this level.

 Exposure metering and autofocus have also been overhauled. The 7-point autofocus system of old has made way for the now familiar 9-point array of focusing points found on models higher up the pecking order.

Canon's iFCL 63-zone metering system has also been implemented, which is the same unit found in recently released higher specified models. This system is sensitive to colour as well as subject brightness, which is claimed to produce more accurate automatic exposures in a wider range of conditions than the previous metering system. However, it is known to be prone to giving too much emphasis to the subject under the active AF point.



Superficially, the most obvious upgrade since the EOS 1000D is the larger 2.7inch screen, which makes using live view and reviewing images much more pleasant than on its predecessor. The screen has a resolution of 230,000 dots, which is pretty low by modern standards, but is acceptable in an entry-level model.

To aid ease of use, especially for those with a phobia of instruction manuals, information on what each setting does is displayed clearly on the screen as settings are changed. Information settings can also be accessed at any time by pressing the button marked with a Q. 



The usual range of automatic scene programs are available such as Portrait, Landscape, Sports, etcetera, but with a twist. Canon has added Basic+ and it allows users to set certain parameters in each of the auto scene modes. For example, in the Portrait mode you can take control of the Picture Style and White Balance settings used. This should be very useful for those without the confidence to move completely off auto, but who still wish to take some control of the camera.

A Creative Auto Mode is also included, providing even more control, whilst retaining the safety of automatic operation, in a similar way that armbands are used for those learning how to swim. It's basically a hand-holding form of aperture priority mode as the user can select whether they wish to have a blurred background, or everything in focus and the camera will select the best setting it can for the conditions.

Another useful addition that was first seen on the EOS 60D, is the ability to rate captured images from 0-5 in-camera. These ratings are carried with the EXIF data so that they can be used to help identify favourite images once they have been downloaded to the computer.

Canon EOS 1100D: Build quality and handling

Canon EOS 1100D: Build quality and handling

Not much has changed with the appearance of Canon's entry-level models for some time now. Any design changes that have been made are subtle improvements rather than a complete overhaul and the EOS1100D follows this pattern.

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for mistaking the 1100D for it's predecessor, except for the screen being larger.

 Saying that, Canon has put a lot of thought into the design and layout of the controls on this new model. The buttons on the rear are larger and spaced out well enough that it wouldn't be impossible to operate the camera when wearing gloves. The menu system is very clear and easy to navigate, only showing limited options in each of the automatic modes.



None of the rubberised material found on models higher up the pecking order has been applied, with Canon opting for a smooth plastic finish to the grips instead. Still the camera feels comfortable in the hand, partially aided by the lightweight design.

The 1100D is constructed of rigid polycarbonate resin, which doesn't creak or flex under stress, and this is all attached to a stainless steel sub-frame, which adds just enough weight to aid handling, without making the camera a burden to carry around.

Though it hasn't got the highest resolution available, the LCD provides a clear view of images and the menus are easy to read. Keen macro photographers to whom the ability to place manual focus very precisly is important, however, may prefer the EOS 600D's screen with its 1,040,000 dot resolution.

Canon EOS 1100D: Performance


Canon EOS 1100D: Performance

Focusing using the 9-point AF system is quick and accurate, giving the camera a very responsive feel when shooting using the viewfinder, especially when compared to the Canon EOS 1000D.

Focusing speeds in Live View (using the contrast detection system) are also improved although it can still take a little too long to be used effectively for quick snap shots or moving subjects, plus there is also noticeably longer shutter lag during Live View.



Nearly all of Canon's digital EOS cameras now sport the latest iFCL colour metering system (introduced with the ESO 7D), which works very well in a wide range of conditions. However, the exposure seems to be affected most by what falls under the active focusing point, so care needs to be taken, especially if focusing on a predominantly bright or dark subject. Dark subjects will result in over exposure of the scene, and the opposite is true for bright subjects. Centre weighted and Partial metering modes are also included, but spot metering is sadly absent. 



The EOS 1100D's auto white balance setting performs well enough, leaving just enough of a cast in typical conditions to retain some of the atmosphere of the scene. Only in very strong coloured situations does it really miss the mark by an amount that may be an issue. The usual array of presets for incandescent light, fluorescent and are all easily accessed with a dedicated button, making it easy to take control when necessary. Being an entry-level model there is no Kelvin white balance setting, but a custom preset mode is provided for setting your own white balance reading.



Resolution-wise, the 12 megapixels recorded by this camera should provide ample detail for most novice and enthusiast photographer's requirements and at 300ppi prints measure to 14 x 9.5 inches.
It's clear that the EOS 11100D is capable of producing high quality images, even at relatively high sensitivities.

The comparatively low pixel count may be a blessing in disguise for those who like to push the sensitivty (ISO) higher for shooting in low light, or to use faster shutter speeds. The level of detail in images captured at up to ISO 1600 is excellent and even images taken at ISO 3200 and beyond are usable, albeit at the expense of a slight softening of detail that increases with each ISO increment. Pair this camera up with a fast-aperture prime lens and you'll have an ideal compact solution for low light street photography for example. 



Although the high sensitivity performance is excellent for a camera of this level, long exposure noise reduction is disabled by default, which can lead to noise appearing in images taken at exposures longer than a few seconds. If that's something you wish to experiment with then it will be well worth diving into the custom functions menu to enable the noise reduction feature.



When popped-up, the built in flash with a guide number of 9.2m at ISO 100 extends about an inch and a half above the camera and is quite useful for fill in at close quarters. Unlike Canon's recent introductions higher up the DSLR line, there is no facility to control external Speedlites wirelessly using the pop-up flash unit. Canon probably consider this feature is a little too advanced for a basic DSLR model.



Being aimed at the entry-level end of the market, the quality of JPEG images straight from the camera is of critical importance as many owners of this camera may not ever shoot raw images. Although the raw files definitely contain more detail, the difference is only slight, especially at lower ISO sensitivities and most should be pleased with the results direct from the camera.

Canon EOS 1100D: Image quality and resolution

Canon EOS 1100D: Image quality and resolution

To test the Canon EOS 1100D's image quality, we shot our resolution chart with a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens. If you view our crops of the resolution chart's central section at 100% (or Actual Pixels) you will see that, for example, at ISO 100 the Canon 1100D is capable of resolving up to nearly 24 (line widths per picture height x100) in its highest quality JPEG files. Examining images of the chart taken at each sensitivity setting reveals the following resolution scores in line widths per picture height x100:

Canon eos 1100d resolution chart photo, iso 100

JPEGs

Canon eos 1100d review: resolution iso 100

ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: resolution iso 200

ISO 200 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: resolution iso 400

ISO 400 (Click to view full size image)

100% crop – iso 800
ISO 800 (Click to view full size image)

100% crop – iso 1600
ISO 1600 (Click to view full size image)

100% crop – iso 3200
ISO 3200 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: resolution iso 6400
ISO 6400 (Click to view full size image)

ISO Test

Canon eos 1100d review:  iso 100
ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d iso test
ISO 200 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d iso test
ISO 400 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: iso 800
ISO 800 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: iso 1600
ISO 1600 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: iso 3200
ISO 3200 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: iso 6400
ISO 6400 (Click to view full size image)

Canon EOS 1100D: Sample images


Canon EOS 1100D: Sample images

Canon eos 1100d review
30secs at f/8, ISO 200 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review
1.3secs at f/16, ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review: low light reflection
30secs at f/11, ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review
0.8secs at f/11, ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review
1/50sec at f/16, ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon eos 1100d review
4secs at f/11, ISO 100 (Click to view full size image)

Canon EOS 1100D: Specifications


Canon EOS 1100D: Specifications

Sensor
22.2 x 14.7mm CMOS

Focal length conversion
1.6x

Memory
SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card

Viewfinder
Pentamirror, approx. 95% coverage

Video resolution
1280 x 720

ISO range
ISO 100 to 6400

Autofocus points
9

Max burst rate
3fps

LCD screen size
2.7"

Shutter speeds
1/4000 - 30secs

Weight
495g

Dimensions
127.9 x 99.7 x 77.9

Power supply
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E10


Canon EOS 1100D: Verdict


Canon EOS 1100D: Verdict

With this being a basic model aimed at budding photographer looking for an introduction to DSLR photography, the Canon EOS 1100D was never intended to set the world on fire with new technology.

The improvements Canon has made internally to this Canon 1000D replacement are more than welcome, and well overdue, especially in the area of high ISO performance. In this respect the EOS 1100D blows its predecessor out of the water, bringing this camera's image quality at high ISO settings in-line with other contemporary models from higher up the pecking order.

With the Canon 1100D UK price at just over £400 with the standard non-stabilised lens, the Canon EOS 1100D represents a solid, good value choice in a no-frills package that is certainly more than capable of producing excellent results.

Considering the features added to improve ease of use, this camera should find a home in many a beginner's kit bag, and even maybe in the camera kits of some more advanced photographers.

We liked

With the Canon 1100D priced at just over £400, it represents great value for money.

Solid improvements over its predecessor, the Canon EOS 1000D, make this camera very easy to use and quite capable of producing quality results.

We disliked

While we like the Canon 1100D price at just over £400, you do get a sense of this in the camera's build quality.

Though it's much-improved internally over the Canon 1000D, the EOS 1100D is ultimately a beginner camera and one you might quickly outgrow.

Verdict

The improvements Canon has made internally on the EOS 1100D, particularly with its high ISO performance, blow its predecessor out of the water and bring the Canon 1100D's image quality in-line with other contemporary models from higher up the pecking order.

With the Canon 1100D UK price at just over £400 with the standard non-stabilised lens, the EOS 1100D represents a solid, good value choice in a no-frills package that is certainly more than capable of producing excellent results. With the features added to improve ease of use taken into account, this camera should find a home in many a beginner's kit bag, and even maybe in the camera kits of some more advanced photographers.

Features: 3
Build quality: 3
Image Quality: 4
Value: 4
Overall: 4

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