For a long time, Canon has been focusing on DSLR cameras aimed at the prosumer target audience. However, the trend has slowly changed with Canon launching competitive DSLR cameras for the lower price segment. The EOS 400D and then, the EOS 1000D were all designed for this market. Canon recently launched the EOS 1100D, which is an update to the 1000D.

The flash component also has the metallic grey finish

The flash component also has the metallic grey finish

The camera is marketed as DSLR for beginners who want to make the transition from compact cameras. The previous version of this model was the 1000D which found itself with many admirers. Let’s see if the 1100D can outshine its predecessor.

Design and Build Quality
The Canon EOS 1100D we received was a metallic grey colour. Canon offers customers the option of red, brown and black as well. This is one of few DSLR models that comes with a choice of colour. Canon bundles the usual 18 – 55mm stabilized lens with the camera. There are a variety of lenses that are compatible with the 1100D. The mount of this camera is an EF-S lens mount, which is a subset of Canon digital single-lens reflex cameras with APS-C sized image sensors . The IOS 1100D having a EF-S mount makes it backward compatible with the EF lens mount. There’s a switch to toggle between auto and manual focus as well, and a switch for enabling and disabling the stabilization is present, too.

Next to the dial is a slider for switching the camera on or off; a common feature of Canon cameras. Above the on/off switch is a designated flash button which when pressed activates the flash. The buttons are spaced out well on the top and there no issues of pressing wrong buttons were noticed.

Sturdy battery bay

Sturdy battery bay

We found the quality of the display to be average. The small screen means less preview area. The preview screen also takes up a lot of space displaying details of the image.

Placed to the right of the display are the controls for changing the camera settings while shooting. To the left, you find the bay for the HDMI-out port, a standard mini USB, as well as a port for an optional remote control. Underneath the camera is a bay which houses the battery and the memory card slot. The strap that came along with the EOS 1100D is light grey in colour and is more comfortable than most other straps. There’s a patch of smoother fabric that doesn’t rub against your neck.

Bundled with the standard 18 - 55mm lens

Bundled with the standard 18 – 55mm lens

The body of the camera is made entirely out of plastic. Though the look and the smooth plastic finish make the camera look attractive, it lacks any sort of grip on the side. This makes the camera slightly uncomfortable to hold and there’s a tendency of it slipping out of your hand. The Canon EOS 1100D is a sturdy camera and could withstand a few bumps here and there. Overall the design of the camera is good with the layout of the buttons being spaced well. Weighing in at a mere 495g, the 1100D is a light weight camera and can be easily carried around .
Features
The Canon EOS 1100D has mostly all the features expected in an entry level camera, chief among them being the HD video recording feature. The 1100D also sports a 12 mega-pixel CMOS as opposed to the 1000D’s 10 megapixel sensor. The other noticeable change is the DIGIC 4 processor. The 2.7-inch LCD display on the 1100D is a tad larger than the 1000D’s 2.5-inch display. This is still smaller than the Nikon’s D3100 3-inch display. The resolution of this display is approximately 230,000 dots.

2.7-inch screen, an improvement from the 1000D

2.7-inch screen, an improvement from the 1000D

The interface of the 1100D is easy to navigate through with all options directly available on the screen. The keys having denoted everything on them makes it easier to use and hence a beginner can get used to this camera in a short amount of time.

The features of the camera are common to most DSLRs with the exception of a few like Creative Auto where all the scenes can be set easily. The Creative Auto mode works like the Full Auto mode. However unlike the Full Auto mode, in Creative Auto you can adjust flash, brightness, sharpness, and Picture Style, hereby tweaking the settings and also making use of the auto mode. The 9-point AF is more advanced than the Canon EOS 1000D. These improvements in the features show a noteworthy change from the EOS 1000D.

The usual set of controls for aperture and shutter priority are present but there are also a few unique ones such as Auto-Depth-of-Field and most importantly, Video Recording.

Flash mount for fitting an additional powerful flash

Flash mount for fitting an additional powerful flash

The older 1000D model lacked the video recording feature even though it had LiveView. The 1100D is capable of recording 720p videos. The closest competitor to the 1100D, Nikon’s D3100 is capable of 1080p video recording.

The battery that came along with the 1100D is an 860 mAh Lithium-ion battery. The 1100D supports SDHC cards and now, SDXC which means that you can plug in higher capacity memory cards than you can with SDHC. SDXC supports capacities up to 2 TB. A 4 GB SD card is bundled up with this camera. Overall the features of the EOS 1100D are pretty decent for an entry level DSLR.

Performance
As with all other DSLR improvements, other than a resolution increase, very few things change in terms of image quality. The 1100D doesn’t outshine the 1000D. The colours are natural, perhaps a little pale at times. Canon images also have a typical soft look to them, which quite a few people like.

Captures great outdoor images

Captures great outdoor images

Across our test scenes, we were pleased by the sensor performance across the range. At ISO 100, we noticed no sensor noise in the image on any shades of colours. On the other end of the spectrum, with ISO 6400, there was noise but it wasn’t as high as we expected. The Sony A33 had considerably more noise and the images couldn’t be used beyond a certain point. In this case, low-light performance is good at 3200 and 6400 ISO levels, but at the same time, image quality doesn’t degrade as much.

Fine detail seen in macro images

Fine detail seen in macro images

The natural colours we were talking about earlier were obvious when we clicked photos outdoors. The skies have a deeper blue than the Sony A33 for example. The camera shoots videos at 720p and the quality of the videos shot is average. In indoor footage, there’s a lot of noise visible. The camera also takes time to adjust its settings while moving from well lit to poorly lit areas. We saw better video quality on the slightly more expensive A33.

Stylish metallic grey body

Stylish metallic grey body

Verdict
The Canon EOS 1100D is a big upgrade to the 1000D, but in areas such as the screen size and video recording capabilities, you don’t get as much as the Nikon D3100 for example which costs Rs. 31,960. The Canon is priced lower than the Nikon D3100 though at Rs. 29,990. For that price, you miss out on the full HD recording. Although the 720p video shooting mode didn't impress us much, we feel that the larger screen makes shooting easier and more fun, but full HD video recording is something you could live without. Apart from these few things, the 1100D is a good buy if you don’t want to spend that extra bit on a more expensive D3100. The EOS 1000D was lacking in comparison to their competition during that period, but Canon has made sure that’s not the case this time around. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,