It appears that the EOS 1000D’s reign is coming to an end. The 1100D (also known as Rebel T3 in the USA and EOS Kiss X50 in Japan), is the new arrival from Canon, and like the EOS 1000D, is meant to lure newcomers and beginners into the Canon fold.
This segment – the low-end D-SLRs – is most threatened by competition, considering the barrage of lightweight ILCCs that provide image quality very close to what this segment can provide, along with a friendly user interface and at a very similar price. Though Canon has the best marketing strategies of all camera manufacturers, it will have to find new ways to keep the wolf away from its doors!
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
By design, the EOS 1100D is a compact APS-C size sensor D-SLR. The outer body is made from engineering plastic and has a stainless steel chassis but the body mount is made from metal. A few colleagues felt that the build quality is lower than that of the 1000D, but I thought that it is built adequately strong. The steel gray body with its black rubberized grip appears muted but elegant. To save on costs, the 1100D uses a penta-mirror viewfinder rather than penta-prism.
Let’s make a note of the main differences between the EOS 1100D and the EOS 600D which SP reviewed last month.
The table shown here clearly demonstrates the segment the EOS 1100D is aimed at. Naturally, this is also reflected in its lower price. The 1100D was supplied to us with its kit lens EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, though we believe Canon also has another kit lens – the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.4-5.6 IS III – which may be for the American/European markets.
Canon users will immediately notice that the flash pop-up button has been moved from its usual resting place by the left side of the flash to the top plate just near the on/off button. I personally feel that this position is not as convenient as the earlier one where one could easily push the flash button with the thumb of the left hand when required. The ISO button too has been repositioned. It is now on the 4-way Cross Keys on the camera back. Here too the original position was more convenient but I suppose one could get used to this.
The 1100D is powered by a DIGIC 4 engine and autofocuses using a 9-point CMOS sensor. Three auto – focusing modes are available: One-shot AF (suitable for still subjects), AI Servo AF (suitable for moving subjects), and AI Focus AF (which automatically switches between One-shot AF and AI Servo AF, if the subject starts moving). AF point selection can be automatic or manual. The camera uses EF-S lenses though EF lenses could also be used. Since EF-S lenses should not be mounted on camera bodies solely designed to receive EF lenses, all EF-S lenses have a white square at the lens flange to discern them from the EF lenses.
The Mode Dial includes the Basic Zone modes as well as the Creative Zone modes. The usage is very simple. The Basic Zone modes are Full Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto (similar to Full Auto but allows the user to change depth of field, drive mode and flash firing), and the Image Zones (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, and Night Portrait). Additionally, there is the Movie mode which records movies in MOV format. Beneath the Live View button on the camera back, there is a ‘Q’ button that lets you select the following:
1.Shoot by ambience selection. You can select from Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome.
2.Blur or sharpen the background. By moving the cursor to the left, you can blur the background; moving the cursor to the right sharpens the background.
3.Drive mode/Flash firing. The Drive mode lets you select Single, Continuous, 10-second self-timer or 2-second self-timer. Flash firing can be set to Auto Flash, Flash On and Flash Off.
Images can be recorded in JPEG, RAW (14-bit) or RAW+JPEG Large. The 1100D offers TTL full aperture metering with 63-zone iFCL SPC (borrowed from the EOS 7D) with 3 Metering modes: Multi, Center-weighted and Partial. Exposure modes include P, Tv, Av, M, and A-DEP.
What is iFCL? iFCL is a type of metering sensor, and stands for intelligent Focus, Color, and Luminance. Advanced metering systems evaluate color as well as brightness (luminance), but the metering system in the EOS 1100D (also in 7D) also analyzes the data supplied by the AF sensors.
Exposures can be compensated as well as bracketed up to +/- 2EV in 0.3 or 0.5EV steps, whereas ISO sensitivity can be set to Auto or from 100-6400. The 1100D uses a vertical travel focal plane shutter having speeds from 30seconds to 1/4000sec plus Bulb. X-sync speed for flash photography is up to 1/200sec. White Balance can be set to Auto or the usual 6 Presets as well as Custom setting. WB can also be fine-tuned. Depth of field is ascertained using the DOF preview which is assigned via the custom menu.
The Canon EOS 1100D can be set to sRGB or Adobe RGB color space and offers 9 Picture Styles: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, and 3 User Defined settings. The camera is equipped to fire a single frame at every press of the shutter release button or continuously at 2fps up to 5 RAW frames or up to 3fps up to 830 JPEGs. And to maximize sharpness when shooting with extreme telephoto lenses and macro lenses, the 1100D offers Mirror Lock-Up (through Custom Function).
The 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor has a resolution of 230,000 dots but offers a wide-viewing angle of 170 degrees. It also offers 7 brightness levels and provides up 10x zoom during playback. An E-TTL II auto pop-up flashgun (GN approx. 9.2m at ISO 100) that covers the view of up to 17mm focal length lenses (27mm equivalent) is fitted on the body. External flashguns (EX-series Speedlites) can be used.
Other useful features include Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings), High ISO noise reduction, Long exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority, and Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction. Images are stored in SD/SDHC/SDXC card. The camera operation is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack LP-E10. Optional AC adapter kit (ACK- E10) is available. The camera allows direct printing with Canon Selphy printers, Canon Bubble-jet printers having direct -print function, and Canon Pixma printers supporting PictBridge. The EOS 1100D measures 130 x 100 x 78 mm and weighs 495 g including battery.
Though small in size, the 1100D should fit comfortably well in most hands. The hand-grip is well designed. The camera is user friendly but the flash pop-up button is definitely not.
The Canon EOS 1100D was tested with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens. The image size was 9.493 x 14.24 inches at 300ppi. What impressed us most was the control over digital noise. At 12.5 percent screen size, we did not notice any noise throughout the ISO range. At 25 percent, traces of noise could be seen in the shadow areas at ISO 1600. At 50 percent screen size, noise could be seen from ISO 1600 upwards, but still, very well controlled. At 100 percent, the noise at ISO 6400 was something like film grain at ISO 200.
White Balance performance was average. I suppose if this test was done 2 years ago, I might have said that the WB performance was good. This is because we expect better performance as technology improves. Slight color cast was observed under most lighting conditions, but again, most users may not even notice it. Flare was visible in direct against-the-light shots that included the sun, but chromatic aberration was well controlled (very slight purple fringing was noticed). Images shot with the kit lens were sharp and the sweet spot varied between f8 and f/11. At wider apertures, as expected, corners did exhibit some softness. All in all, a good performer.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Canon EOS 1100D is available at an MRP of Rs.32,590/-. At this price, we say that the 1100D is very good value for money. However, let it be noted here that Canon does not provide a printed user manual with this camera. Only a basic instruction manual is supplied in print.
+ Reasonably priced
+ Definitely better in image quality when compared to ILCCs and high-end compacts
– Full user manual only on CD
– Battery/card compartment door flimsy
– Wrong position for flash button
Design and Build Quality 15/20
Key Features 16/20
Performance Autofocus 4/5
Noise control 4/5
Auto White Balance 3.5/5
Extra Features 2.5/5
Value for Money 8/10
Grand Total 75/100
If Canon’s idea in introducing the EOS 1100D was to keep the wolf away, they are on the right track. As an entry level D-SLR at a very modest price, it will definitely lure users who might have otherwise opted for an ILCC. But we are yet to see for how long Canon will be able to compete with the new breed of ILCCs.