Canon EOS 100D

Offering the same image quality as other entry-level Canon SLRs but with a much smaller body, the 100D is a satisfying first step into the world of SLR photography.


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Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.


Lured by the prospect of an interchangeable lens camera (ILC)? Canon wants to bring you back to the world of SLRs with the 100D.

Design and features

Engineered for photographers who have always wanted the flexibility of an SLR, but have been put off by the size and weight, the 100D weighs just 407 grams. Though it looks like any other Canon SLR from the outside, everything is smaller — 12 per cent slimmer than the 650D, which was released last year.

Not much has been compromised on the specification sheet, however. The camera shares the same 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as the 650D and the 700D, which was announced at the same time as the 100D. It has a Digic 5 image processor and nine AF points, though only one cross-type at the centre.

Depending on the lens you pair the camera with, the 100D sits neatly in the palm of your hand. The grip is small, and larger hands will find they overwhelm the petite body. Swivel the camera around, and the 3-inch touchscreen takes up most of the back panel. This also means that other buttons and dials are kept to an absolute minimum. A four-way directional pad is present, but has no markings to show what each direction is used for. Playback, exposure compensation and an aperture button are the other main controls.

While the downscaling of buttons might look like the 100D is only for beginner photographers, the mode dial at the top does house all the same controls found on any other SLR in the form of full program, aperture, shutter and manual exposure modes. Beginners also get access to full automatic, portrait, landscape, macro, sports and no flash and creative automatic modes.

Canon 100DCanon 100DCanon 100DCanon 100D

Click through for hands-on photos with the 100D. (Credit: CBSi)

Like any other SLR, it can shoot JPEG and RAW images, while support for the faster UHS-I SD cards means that the buffer gets a boost to a maximum of 1140 JPEG shots when using continuous mode. At four frames per second, continuous shooting is no slouch, either. At the back of the camera sits the same 3-inch capacitive touchscreen that was on the 650D.

The hybrid CMOS AF system is designed for photographers who shoot primarily in Live View, or who take a lot of video. Also seen in the 650D, the phase-detection system quickly grabs a focusing point, and then the camera switches into the more traditional contrast detection to achieve precise focus. In the 100D, the hybrid system now covers 80 per cent of the sensor size, which is supposed to give better results than earlier cameras.

Connectivity comes in the form of a 3.5mm microphone jack, remote port, USB and HDMI out — all found underneath the one flap at the side of the camera. Like all other Canon SLRs, image stabilisation is provided through the lens.

The 100D now gets the ability to preview creative filter effects in Live View mode on the screen, before taking the photo.

Compared to

Canon 100D Nikon D3200 Canon 700D Sony A57
18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor 16.1-megapixel Exmor HD APS-C sensor
3-inch, 1.04-million dot touchscreen LCD 3-inch, 921,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 1.04-million dot touchscreen LCD 3-inch, 921,600-dot rotating (from base) LCD
Full HD video (1080p, 30/25/24fps, H.264) Full HD video (1080p, 25/24fps, H.264) Full HD video (1080p, 30/25/24fps, H.264) Full HD video (10800, 50/25fps, H.264/AVCHD)
9-point AF (centre cross-type) 11-point AF 9-point AF (all cross-type) 15-point AF (3 cross-type)
4fps 4fps 5fps 12fps
407 grams 505 grams 580 grams 539 grams

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • 0.30.40.50.1
    Canon EOS 650D
  • 0.30.60.60.3
    Nikon D3200
  • 0.60.20.30.1
    Canon EOS 100D
  • 1.60.50.50.1
    Sony A57

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)

  • 12
    Sony A57
  • 5
    Canon EOS 650D
  • 4.1
    Canon EOS 100D
  • 3.9
    Nikon D3200

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The 100D did not slow down significantly when producing a burst of JPEG shots, getting to around 30 frames before any evidence of processing time or buffering came into play.

The focusing system is nimble, on par with earlier cameras in this class from Canon. There are, however, very small focusing points in the viewfinder, which can be difficult to pinpoint on your desired subject. No doubt that Canon is counting on many users to compose and take shots using Live View and the touchscreen, which supports features like touch to focus for more precise handling. When using Live View, focusing is still just as slow as on all the other entry-level Canon SLRs, so don't expect any dramatic improvements there.

What is missing on the 100D is a built-in Wi-Fi option. With an increasing number of ILCs and SLRs featuring this functionality, it's a shame that there's no way to instantly transfer photos or videos to a mobile device, especially since this is a feature touted on many other Canon cameras, like the PowerShot N and higher-end 6D.

Canon rates the battery at 350 shots using the optical viewfinder and 150 shots using Live View, which is significantly less than the other SLRs in this range, such as the 1100D, which can manage 750 shots using the viewfinder before a recharge is necessary.

Image quality

Using the same sensor as the 700D and 650D, it's no surprise that the 100D produces images that are very consistent to these slightly larger cameras. On default settings, the camera creates punchy JPEGs with good colour rendition and noise control at low ISO levels.

Reaching up to higher ISO sensitivities, the 100D does a decent job of keeping noise at bay. ISO 1600 is the highest sensitivity, where noise is well controlled even at full resolution — anything higher, and colour shifting starts to happen.

While the kit 18-55mm lens only has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, you can still get some smooth-looking bokeh on images in the right situations.
(Credit: CBSi)

The 100D maintains the same level of detail in its RAW files, like the earlier cameras mentioned. Detail is recovered best from shadow areas, while highlight detail is mostly recoverable except in the most extreme cases of overexposure. Using automatic exposure modes, the 100D does exhibit a slight amount of overexposure when using evaluative metering mode.

Like the 650D and 600D before it, the 100D captures a good amount of detail in its RAW files, with more scope for detail and highlight recovery than JPEG photos. There is more smoothing and lens correction on JPEG files straight from the camera, though, which is ideal for beginner photographers who don't want to post-process their images much.
(Credit: CBSi)

Video quality is again consistent with what we've seen previously on the Canon series of SLRs. Colours are again punchy with strong, defined contrasts between shadow and highlight areas using default picture styles. When used in conjunction with the kit 18-55mm STM lens, autofocus in video recording is quiet and smooth.

Unlike cameras like the 700D, for example, the 100D only has space for a built-in mono microphone. This means that users looking for the best audio quality will want to add an external microphone for stereo sound.

Image samples

Exposure: 1/500, f/4, ISO 400

Exposure: 1/800, f/5, ISO 1600

Exposure: 1/500, f/5, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/60, f/5, ISO 3200

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The Canon EOS 100D offers a satisfying experience for new photographers or those who are looking for a very compact entry into the world of SLRs. However, it might not be small enough to lure potential buyers away from a similarly priced mirrorless ILC with more features.

Expect the 100D on store shelves in mid-April and in several kit configurations: body only; with the 18-55mm STM; 18-55mm STM and 55-250mm.



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SamuelH posted a comment   

Hi Lexy,
How is this compared to the 1100D?

 

anii.kinz posted a comment   
Australia

Hi Lexy,

As far as I can tell - the 700D and the 100D are pretty much the same camera in all but size and movement of screen.

Is this right - am I missing anything else? I'm hoping to move up from my Sony Nex-C3 but the 700D was massive in my hands when comparing.

Appreciate your advice,
Elly

 

Danish posted a comment   

Hi Lexy,

As you have mentioned above, this camera does not have WiFi built into it.
Is there any way to directly upload photos to social media, using a smart phone?
i.e. using a micro HDMI to HDMI cable or through use of some other form of USB WiFi dongle?

Cheers,

Dani

 

Lexy Savvides posted a reply   
Australia

Hi Dani,

The easiest way would be to use an Eye-Fi card. This is like a regular SD card, so it can store your photos and videos as normal, but has a wireless transmitter built-in. Download the dedicated app on your smartphone to transfer photos across for sharing.




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User Reviews / Comments  Canon EOS 100D

  • SamuelH

    SamuelH

    "Hi Lexy,
    How is this compared to the 1100D?"

  • anii.kinz

    anii.kinz

    "Hi Lexy,

    As far as I can tell - the 700D and the 100D are pretty much the same camera in all but size and movement of screen.

    Is this right - am I missing anything else? ..."

  • Danish

    Danish

    "Hi Lexy,

    As you have mentioned above, this camera does not have WiFi built into it.
    Is there any way to directly upload photos to social media, using a smart phone?
    i.e. us..."

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