Most helpful positive review
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A little dated, but exceptional value
on 24 December 2012
I shot with the EOS 1100d for a week so I will convey my thoughts about this camera. I use multiple brands so have no specific loyalty to any mount or maker.
The 1100d is the cheapest entry point into Canon's DSLR range. Though it's now over 3 years old, and doesn't have the huge number of pixels/features some rivals have in their 2014 models. It's still a capable camera even if it's a tad dated in the marketplace.
**Update August 2014**
I've tested the new EOS 1200D and as the price is now very close to this model, I recommend buying the 1200D over this one due to a few improvements (LCD, higher resolution, better grip) for current 1100D users I would look at a 650d or higher to get a notable and worthwhile step up. Otherwise both the 1100/1200D models are good value and capable enough cameras for new users.
My pros and cons are as follows
+ Price, yes it's cheap and one of the best prices on a DSLR at the entry point I've ever seen (update 04/14 - it's the cheapest I've ever seen on a DSLR)
+ Image quality is "good" few users will be unhappy here with nice tonality and good colours, good jpeg processing even at high ISO levels
+ Good low light performance, the 12mp sensor delivers decent images even at ISO 3200, and with care and in raw ISO 6400 is not bad either (ISO 6400 is the max here but I can't say I'd find higher that useful in APS-C cameras)
+ Has exposure bracketing of +/- 2 stops 3 shots (Note the Nikon equivalents have no exposure bracketing D3100/D3200 an important point for some)
+ Supoorts HSS useful for fill flash shooting outside with a dedicated flash
+ Decent battery life. I was getting around 600 shots + using the viewfinder, expect quite a bit less for movie shooting and live view though.
+ Mostly well featured even for a budget model, this has Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer, a decent selection of creative styles and you CAN set the Auto ISO limit to what you want! (ie ISO 1600/3200 etc etc) Also has the ability to set your name in the "Copyright information" section which is a small but nice touch.
+ 63-area iFCL color-sensitive metering. Doesn't sound as impressive as Nikon's metering system, but in the field in practical use the metering is simply better than Nikon's. No metering is perfect, but this is quite consistent and predictable one of the better elements to have found their way down the Canon DSLR range
+ Decent jpegs most will be happy to shoot jpeg bar at the higher ISO levels. Even there Canon do a decent job balancing noise and noise reduction.
+ Satisfactory autofocus performance. It's not Canon 7d for AF speed (not unexpected) but the speed is fine at this price and more importantly the accuracy is in my view a good margin better than the Nikon entry models. It has a less impressive sounding 9 point AF with just one cross sensor. But I expect many users to use the central AF point.
+ Decent kit lens. Bundles are available with the 18-55mm IS and non IS, so check which one you get. Both deliver decent images across the focal range. Probably one of the better kit lenses, the build is as most kits are fairly basic and cheap. Optics are quite a lot better than the original 18-55mm which was found on the older Canon bodies, that lens isn't very good. These are quite a bit better and pretty sharp
+ Live view is decent (v the Nikon's live view which is poor) don't expect fast contrast AF but you can at least get a histogram and change aperture in live view mode! And a choice of contrast or flipping the mirror for phase detect AF.
+ Has Program shift. Some don't use it, some do it's there if you want it
- So so build quality. It's not badly put together by any means with no obvious creaking or gaps. Just the plastic used is clearly lower grade than the upper entry models (smooth finish). The grip is not rubber but plastic showing some cost cutting from Canon. Don't be afraid the camera will fall apart, it certainly won't.
- Small buffer. Not unexpected on an entry model jpeg shooting is satisfactory with a fast SD card (45mb Sandisk) (about 15-17 shots), raw is a bit below what you expect around 5 shots. And I would not even bother with raw+jpeg, the buffer is so small only good for a couple of shots. Expect less shots with a slower card. Clearing times are not that great even using a fast card.
- Raw shooting limited to 2fps. I have no idea why Canon did this bar the small buffer. This is below what you would expect for even an entry model. Not likely a deal breaker for many and normal users. Sports shooters clearly need to look at alternatives.
- Stange flash button location. Hardly a show stopper but the usual place is near the lens mount release or just above it.
- Small viewfinder. A bit smaller than the D3200 viewfinder and currently the smallest optical finder on a current DSLR in production. If you are coming from a superzoom with a fairly poor EVF you'll be fine, just don't every pick up a 35mm or FF DSLR or even a 60d you'll be quite disappointed.
- No wireless flash and low GN built in flash. GN of just over 9 is quite low v rivals but may prove ok for the intended market. There is no support for dedicated wireless flash (you can workaround this with optical flash ie yongnuo etc or radio triggers)
- SD card in battery compartment. Strange move as this could cause an issue not having a seperate SD comparment usually found on the side. If you tripod mount the camera, depending on how big the plate is you might have to remove the camera to get at the card.
- So so video mode: It's there and it's 720p mono sound with no microphone jack. The quality is perfectly fine, but things have moved on here, no AF for video either
- No sensor cleaning unit. I didn't notice many problems after a week of use, but this model lacks the sensor cleaning that the higher priced Canon's have (ie 600d) This is actually a downgrade from the EOS 1000d (which does have it) A slightly odd move but worth a mention.
- No dedicated DOF (depth of field) preview button. But you can go into the custom menus and all the set button to be used for this. And NO mirror lock up (but you can use live view to overcome this)
- 2.7" LCD, 230,000 dots. Not really a con, but taking into account the year even budget models now have better LCD's. Saying that it's perfectly fine just again a little behind the times. I've used smaller lower resolution screen and managed ok with that.
Balancing out the good and bad points and taking into account the good price of this camera. I'm listing con points that might not be that important to some users, but the information is there anyway.
Overall I quite liked the camera because at this price it delivers nice images, is reasonably well featured for this price thus delivering a decent "bang per buck". On the other hand this segment has moved on, and the rather weedy raw frame rate/buffer, somewhat outdated video mode, and clearly some corners cut regarding the build and quality of the camera as well as a rather sub par viewfinder. Do drop it down somewhat.
I would have liked to give it a 3.5 or even a 4 star, but nice price or not you might have better options available.
For a video shooter I would suggest alternatives by moving up the EOS range to the 600d (which is also quite well priced but adds more here)
For a stills shooter looking at various makers and models this has a bit more to get into v the entry Nikon cameras (it has bracketing and more flash functions as well as more core photographic features) Some might find 12mp again a little dated, but for many users 12mp is just fine for decent sized prints.
If you want more room to "grow" hunt out a good price on a Canon 600d (a step up in many ways). If you are on a tight budget, this is a very good choice, just be aware of some of the limitations. This camera is a bit of a bargain in most ways.
To reflect the even lower price (lowest ever seen in the UK on a DSLR) I'm giving it 4 stars (over my original 3)
There is a newer EOS 1200d out, which has more megapixels, a better LCD and a few other improved areas (at a higher price)
For many users the 12 megapixels is just fine, I've had some excellent prints off of my 6mp DSLR's in the past, at 12mp you will have no problems printing at large sizes. The image quality will blow away any small sensor compact even if it has 20mp, there is no comparison to having a larger APS-C size sensor. For users wanting to "cut their teeth" a bit more in photography, or moving up possibly from a bridge model or other camera, this is a good place to start.
Even if you never buy anything else with the camera, it's a great learning tool. If you are starting out on the DSLR journey, whilst you might outgrow this eventually and get higher models, it's the best value offering on the market today. As with any DSLR you can invest in the system (lenses flashes etc) if you do or not, it's your choice. Even with the kit lens, you'll see a notable improvement in the image quality over a simlar priced compact/bridge model. The real challenge of course is making quality images, and that's down to you!