Almost three years on from its release, Canon has updated its entry-level DSLR with HD video, an improved sensor and greater ISO range. We put the Canon EOS 1100D to the test
With improvements to image sensors during the past three years, it is likely that the 12.2-million-effective-pixel, APS-C-size sensor of the EOS 1100D has filtered its way down from the EOS 450D. The 450D occupies the next level up in the EOS range, although it has since been eclipsed by the newer EOS 550D with its improved 18-million-pixel sensor. What was good enough for an upper entry-level DSLR three years ago, it seems, is good enough for an entry-level DSLR now. This marks a two-million-pixel increase for the 1100D over the earlier EOS 1000D, which puts it on equal terms with the Pentax K-r but two million pixels shy of the Nikon D3100.
Like all EOS models, the 1100D records in both JPEG and CR2 raw format, and images measure 4272×2848 pixels at their highest resolution. The 14-bit Digic 4 processor, found in all other current Canon DSLRs, is an improvement over the last generation 12-bit processor found in the 1000D and should ensure fine colour reproduction. To process raw files, the camera comes with Canon’s excellent Digital Photo Professional software.
A main difference during these three years is the now common presence in DSLRs of HD video. The 1100D brings this feature to a Canon entry-level model, with 720p recording at 30fps or 25fps. This is one of the most significant improvements over the 1000D and is not a feature of the EOS 450D’s sensor. Another step forward is an increased sensitivity range, rising by 2EV to ISO 100-6400 with no expanded setting. The new processor should go some way to help produce images with low levels of noise.
New to the EOS range and found in both the 600D and 1100D is an in-camera shooting guide that is represented by one-line descriptions of a function when it is selected in the quick menu. This is used in the creative auto mode, too, and its language is nice and simple as it is aimed at the beginner. For example, opening up the aperture is described as ‘background blur’, and users are advised that ISO 400 is for ‘under cloudy skies and for bright indoor scenes’.
A shooting rate of 3fps helps to capture high-speed scenes, such as the erratic movement of these birds
The frame rate remains the same as before, with the 1100D offering 3fps in JPEG format, but the burst now lasts roughly 30% longer, giving up to 820 frames. Up to five raw files can be recorded at 2fps.
At the core of the 1100D is a nine-point AF system and 63-area iFCL metering system. These have both filtered down from higher specified Canon EOS models. Overall, the 1100D is solid at the core and has been kept simple, offering a good mix of scene modes and basic manual exposure modes.
Features in use: Compatibility with EF and EF-S lenses
When buying a DSLR body from a well-established manufacturer such as Canon, one is investing into a whole existing system. The label ‘entry-level’ is truly apt for the EOS 1100D, as it is compatible with the entire EOS range of EF and EF-S lenses, as well as Canon flashguns.
There are more than 60 lenses available in the company’s EF and EF-S range, including telephoto zooms and standard fixed-focal-length options, to cover a variety of needs. Some lenses are very reasonably priced, particularly in the EF range.
Full control is maintained when using any of these lenses with the EOS 1100D.