Design and features
The 1100D is well and truly a beginner's SLR, with a simple control layout and intuitive operation that means just about anybody can pick up this camera without too much hassle. It's an all-plastic exterior that's smooth and surrounded by as many rounded corners as you can imagine. Compared to its other entry-level brethren, cameras like the Nikon D3100 and Sony A33, the 1100D feels a little cheaper in its construction and build quality. That's not to say it's going to fall apart in your hands — far from it — just that the surface has less grip and it takes a bit longer to get more comfortable in your hands.
Controls are the same as would be found on any other camera of this class: think a mode dial complete with full program, aperture, shutter and manual exposure modes, as well as automatic and a range of scene modes. Movie mode, available via a selection on the dial as well, records HD video at 720p.
This is the first camera from one of the big manufacturers that has taken a bit of a bold move in its aesthetic choices, coming in a range of colours. Cherry red, black and a brushed silver/grey look are all options when buying — a refreshing change from the boring black that permeates the rest of the market.
Click through for a complete photo gallery of the 1100D and 600D. (Credit: CBSi)
The 1100D is slightly heavier than the Nikon D3100, weighing in at 500g without battery or lens (compared to the Nikon's 455g). Its image sensor has been bumped to a 12.1-megapixel CMOS, up from the 10-megapixel on this camera's predecessor, the 1000D.
At the rear, a standard Canon four-way directional pad and a range of buttons sit alongside the 2.7-inch LCD screen, with a resolution of 230,000 dots. Activating Live View is as simple as pressing the dedicated button at the back in any mode, with the button also doubling as a record button when movie mode is selected. Like the Nikon D3100, the 1100D also has a mode that helps newbies to SLRs get to know certain functions without needing to understand technical terms like aperture and shutter speed. It's called Creative Auto and can be found on the mode dial. Unlike the Nikon's Guide Mode though, Canon's variant isn't as user-friendly without the nice big graphics and detailed descriptions.
The viewfinder is quite small, covering just 95 per cent of the scene, though this is common on cameras of this class. The 1100D does have exposure and white balance bracketing options. Connectivity is provided via mini-HDMI, a standard AV out for connecting via mini-USB, and a remote release port.
|Nikon D3100||Canon 1100D||Sony A33|
|14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor||12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor||14.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor|
|3-inch, 230,000-dot LCD||2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 920,000-dot flip-down LCD|
|Full HD video (1080p, 24fps)||HD video (720p, 30/25fps)||Full HD video (1080i, 30fps)|
|11-point AF||9-point AF||15-point AF (phase detection)|
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- JPEG shot-to-shot time
- RAW shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- Nikon D31000.40.810.4
- Canon 1100D0.30.51.70.2
- Sony A3126.96.36.199.3
Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)
- Nikon D31002.9
- Canon 1100D3
- Sony A337
The 1100D has a buffer of approximately three RAW shots before it slows to process them.
The 1100D produces accurate exposures across all lighting conditions. White balance on automatic settings is also very good, producing natural-looking results without too much tweaking. That said, the options are there for adjusting white balance for your JPEGs should you need it. Colour rendition is typical Canon, with punchy reds and greens on default settings.
Noise control is pretty decent, with the 1100D able to hit a maximum of 6400 when extended via the appropriate menu options. Optimum performance is achieved when extending up to ISO 1600, with higher measures resulting in a fair amount of colour noise.
Autofocusing is accurate, though we found it to be on the whole less precise than the D3100, which is to be expected given the reduction of AF points in the 1100D. There's also no AF lock button, which you can use to lock the selected point of focus while you recompose the shot.RAW vs. JPEG
The 1100D shows little difference between processing its RAW and JPEG images for most users. RAW files provide a little more detail and clarity at high ISO levels, better for getting a good result in post-production. Image taken at ISO 1600. (Credit: CBSi)
Video recording is limited to 17 minutes on the 1100D. There is no manual control provided in movie mode, with adjustments limited to exposure compensation, white balance and picture styles. The 1100D's video mode is underwhelming, particularly given the strong showing in its other SLR, the EOS 600D. If you're looking for the best video performance from a beginner-level SLR, look to either the D3100 or Sony A33.
Click each image for full-sized samples from the 1100D. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos. Note that some images were taken using a 35mm f/1.4 L series lens.
Exposure: 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 1600
Exposure: 1/16, f/1.4, ISO 1600
Exposure: 1/500, f/1.4, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/640, f/1.4, ISO 100
The Canon 1100D offers a good shooting experience for a great price, with enough features and functions to satisfy SLR beginners. Compared to the competition though, the 1100D falls behind the pack in terms of top-line specifications and overall build quality.
Configurations include body only (AU$699), single kit with 18-55mm mark III (AU$799), single IS kit with 18-55mm mark II (AU$849), twin kit with 18-55mm mark III and 75-300mm mark II (AU$1049), and twin IS kit with 18-55mm mark II and 55-250mm (AU$1199).