Expert Review of Canon EOS 1100D DSLR Kit EF-S18-55mm IS II Black
Canon EOS 1100D SLR has been the face of entry level DSLRs from Canon for quite some time now. The camera was announced two years back and was launched after a good two and a half years after one of its early entry level DSLRs - Canon EOS 1000D. The gap that Canon has put between the launches of its Canon EOS 1xxxx models, makes people to wonder if the multinational has decided to abandon the budget level DSLR market, and with Canon developing budget CSCs, these rumors seem to have struck root. Canon EOS 1100D, at the time of its launch had managed to hit a very unexpected high point in sales much to the consumers delight and was able to successfully undercut its rival Nikon D3100. While talking of the specifications of Canon 1100D, it pretty much takes most of its digits from the preceding cameras from Canon, although not surprisingly, adding some welcome features to the device as well.
Canon, when it comes to the sensor has never really been a fan of going after huge digits and that is why, the sensor still sports the simple and primitive strength of 12 megapixels. Not much of a significant upgrade has been made in the AF point system with Canon lifting the 7 point AF system to 9 point AF system and the metering mode is now able to feature all of the company’s very latest 63 zone sensors, which are spread across most of the DSLRs in the current array of Canon. A good news is that the dedicated screen on Canon EOS 1100D is now bigger than what used to cover the rear before, and is the first entry level DSLR from Canon to feature HD movie making capability although at 720p.
Apparently, there is also a new body for the camera, which is home to the SD card and battery. Therefore, if not the best, Canon EOS 1100D packages a good and solid specification for an entry-level device, and one that has been launched at a highly reasonable price given the huge brand name. The question that arises however at this point, is how well does it compete with other cameras. It is clear that the biggest rival of Canon EOS 1100D is clearly Nikon D3100 and both the devices definitely make do for a very interesting comparison. Canon has made it a point to hit as low a price as possible with the launch of Canon EOS 1100D, whereas Nikon, always interested in huge numbers has gone for up-sell budget oriented customers by offering a stronger specification set, albeit at a higher price.
Design and Build Quality
When you take a glance at Canon EOS 1100D for the very first time, it does look strikingly a lot like Canon EOS 1000D, its predecessor, and thereby, also shares much similar dimensions and weight. The weight of 465 grams is quite low for a DSLR given that the battery is included in the weight. Now, with a keen eye, you will be able to spot the key differences that make Canon EOS 1100D different from its predecessor. The most obvious difference is the finish, which feels a bit of plastic-like and sports a bundle of rubber coatings around the grips - quite a bit of cheap looks and design wise, does not match up to high-end DSLRs. But, it is no different to what Panasonic and Sony have done to their entry level DSLRs, but then, this is not really Canon’s way of dealing with things.
The second major change in the body comes with the slot of memory card, which more or less for the first time for any Canon DSLR is available inside the compartment of the battery of the device. This makes up for the cost of fitting a door on the side of the camera, and some may actually argue that would be neater, although it is obvious that this compartment will be completely blocked when the camera is fitted to all but the smallest of tripods.
Focus and Face Detection
Now, turning our attention to the AF of Canon EOS 1100D, Canon has made a decent job in upgrading the 7-point AF system to the standard 9-point system that accompanies a single cross type sensor point right down the middle of the camera. With this system, you get to set your own AF point manually or you can just instruct the camera to choose it automatically. Depending on the conditions, you can choose from the following set of systems:
One Shot AF
All Servo AF
All Focus AF
When you set the camera to Al Servo AF and Automatic AF selection along with that, Canon EOS 1100D will track a subject which was placed initially under the central AF point.
Lens and Image Stabilization
The lens mount on Canon EOS 1100D is capable of working for both Canon EF and Canon EF-S lenses. All credits are due to the APS-C sensor size, for all the lenses effectively have their field of view reduced by 1.6x. The camera kit is sold with one of the two dedicated kit lenses that include either a non-stabilised EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 III or the stabilised lens, which has the same dimensions although in addition, there is an Image Stabilisation feature available. Since both the lenses have exactly the same cover of focal lengths, it is totally up to you to decide with which lens you want to continue up the mantra.
Obviously, the reviewed kit lens, 18-55mm at 35mm equivalent is also the cheapest lens available for you. Moreover, we would advise you to use a full optically stabilised lens, unless your hands are rock steady or you always shoot in a good lighting condition, which to be fair to ourselves is just an ideal condition. Its rival Nikon D3100 also comes packed with an 18-55 lens.
Screen and Menus
Canon has fitted EOS 1100D with a very modest 2.7 inches screen, which is 230k dot pixel detailed, this may be larger than the 2.5 inches screen featured in its predecessor, but talking in today’s terms, the screen is quite disappointing. And 230k detailed, the cheapest of cheap Point and Shoot device has a screen which is 230k dot pixel detailed, so what is the point of putting it on a DSLR? We fail to understand. Also, the screen falls below the now somewhat standard 3 inches screen of Nikon D3100 and there is no need to mention about other DSLRs and CSCs which have never heard of a 2.7 inches screen.
But then, Canon is never much concerned with the numbers game, for the quality of screen is surprisingly decent with images being in bright and wide angle viewing mode, but the major shortcoming here is the fact that the screen certainly looks very small to all the modern day cameras - Compact and high-end alike. The high-end feature of ‘eye sensing’ is absent and should you find the screen a bit distracting, you have to press the DISP button to turn off the screen. Like all the DSLRs of Canon, this screen can be used to perfection for displaying and adjusting a huge variety of settings, which include AF mode and area, drive mode, quality, drive mode and sensitivity.
The powerhouse of Canon EOS 1100D is surprisingly, the LP-E10 lithium-ion battery pack, which although contains 20% less capacity than what has been available in the predecessor, manages to bring out more shots. As per the claims made by Canon, under CIPA conditions, Canon EOS 1100D’s battery is good for 700 shots with 50% flash usage - a big improvement compared to the 500 shots of Canon EOS 1000D. As before however, once you switch to Live View or video making aspect of the device, your battery depletes much sooner than you would have expected. However, unlike in the case of its predecessor, there is no optional battery grip given for Canon PowerShot EOS 1100D. On the left side of the camera, there are three ports behind a rubber flap, a socket available for RS-60E3 optional remote switch, a USB port, and a mini HDMI port.
This a feature where Canon EOS 1100D lacks, for in today’s world - 1080p full HD video quality is pretty much a basic feature, be it at 50i or 60i. But, Canon EOS 1100D has been made available with 720p HD video recording that too at the basic 30/24p mode, which comes as a disappointment.
Sensor or transducer, the device that converts optical images into electronic signals is at the heart of any camera. As mentioned before, Canon does not believe in increasing the numbers to prove its Numero Uno status and hence, still clings to the 12MP sensor to make images with a resolution of 4272 x 2848 pixels, and in turn, allow prints of 14.2 x 9.5 inches at 300dpi. Nikon D3100 comes with a 14.2 megapixels sensor, which makes images at 4608 x 3072 pixels that in turn, allow you to make prints that measure 15.2x 10.2 inches at 300dpi.
Lightweight and compact body available in four colors; Black, Red, Metalic Gray, and Brown
Loads of useful exposure options for the user
Image quality is excellent, both indoors and out
Flash button in comfortable location
Button customization for various controls; like the flash and Set buttons for instance
Robust shooting performance
Capable AF system, even in low-light to almost total darkness with flash as AF-assist lamp
OVF is nice and comfortable
Impressive high ISO performance
Amazing low price with the EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens
No full HD video mode
Exposure can be bit strong at times when shooting in automatic exposure modes in bright sunlight
No rubberized grip like the T3i
LCD is a bit small (2.7 inches), but usable
Live View shooting performance is still quite sluggish
Autofocus during Live View is very poor, hunting for focus both indoors and out