Canon EOS 1100D review

This 12.2-megapixel DSLR upgrades the 1000D and slots in at the start of the EOS range, where it does battle with Nikon’s equally beginner-friendly D3100. As this is supposed to be Canon’s most affordable DSLR, it unsurprisingly features a plastic, grey outer shell which makes it appear a little toy like, plus unthreateningly large and obvious controls. Our sample came with a revamped 18-55mm IS (image stabilised) II zoom, offering a focal range equivalent to 28.8mm to 88mm in 35mm film terms. With the lens attached, the 1100D felt slightly more solid. While the kit lens could perhaps be sharper, we were able to get some lovely shallow depth of field effects with it.

The camera powers up in just over a second, and pictures and 720p HD video are then composed via a 2.7in LCD with Live View. When recording, manual focusing is required, as auto-focus doesn’t feature in video mode.

Screen resolution is a modest 230k dots, but there’s the option of getting an eyeball level with the optical viewfinder directly above, highlighting the camera’s nine auto-focus (AF) points when the shutter release button is squeezed halfway.

As it’s not the most svelte DSLR, we managed to squeeze almost the full four fingers around its chunky grip to help achieve a steadier handheld shot, plus there’s a thin rubber coating front and back to prevent slippage. Since this is an entry-level DSLR, we were surprised to find a busy 14 options crammed around the shooting mode dial.

The 1100D is a competent entry point into the Canon EOS system for would-be DSLR owners on a tight budget

Subject-optimised shooting modes are joined by the creative quartet of program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes, plus there’s not one but two all-auto options, the second of which is creative auto. With a press of the backplate button marked with a Q in creative mode, users can swap between the default setting and vivid, soft, intense, warm, cool, brighter, darker or monochrome picture settings. All settings are applied automatically so no specialist knowledge is required, plus there are onscreen text prompts.

OUR VERDICT

The 1100D is a decent first rung on the EOS ladder, though a compact system camera like Panasonic’s G3 might be a better bet for anyone who prefers DSLR-like control but a smaller form factor.

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