Canon 1100D : why it is perfect for a new photography enthusiast.

Canon 1100D is a no – non sense dSLR, in entry level segment from Canon. It eventually evolved from 1000D and it uniquely adapted the many capabilities of the higher siblings particularly of the 600D. Its name varies from region to region; called rebel T3 in U.S.A and Canon EOS KISS X50 in Japan and Canon EOS 1100D in rest of the world.  Canon has carved this model by including the specialties of some of the high end models and adding the full auto mode so that even beginners can handle it that have only used point and shoot compact cameras till now.  In general there is few hard buttons, and a quick and intuitive menu and good customization including the option to customize the interface about your need. All plastic body feels cheap and back LCD panel is fingerprint magnet. Hand Grip might be little small for some people, but the general advice is to hold the camera and try some photos before buying.

 

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Major specs can be summarized as :

· 12-megapixel CMOS APS – C size sensor

· On-screen Feature Guide

· Creative Auto and Basic+

· ISO 100-6400 sensitivity ( no expansion possible)

· Wide-area 9-point AF system (Up from 7 AF points in 1000D)

· 63-zone iFCL exposure metering

· 6.8cm (2.7”), 230,000-dot screen

· Use with all EF and EF-S lenses

· Eye-Fi wireless SD card compatible menu options

· 720p movie recording at 30 or 25fps (H.264 compression)

 

 

 

Image sensor:

• 12.2 million effective pixels
• 12.6 million total pixels
• 22.2 x 14.7 mm CMOS sensor APS – C sensor.
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in low-pass filter with fluorine coating
• 3:2 aspect ratio

It is fitted with a 12 MP CMOS sensor, with a APS — C size sensor which is standard for the entry level dSLR.  Lens Mount is backward compatible for EF lenses and comes with EF-S lenses, where EF means Electro Focus which means that lens include a motor to do autofocus.

 

 

 

While 9 point autofocus is distributed in the screen space and provide accurate focusing, though user can disable the autofocus system by sliding the AF button on the lens itself. Standard kit comes with camera body and 18-55 mm IS II lens; which is a general purpose lens. The back panel screen is 2.7 inch diagonally, with 230,000 dots resolution, which is in fact just average provided now days, many back panel screens are coming with 1,000,000 dots resolution. It has 63 zone iFCL metering which convert the images into 63 zones and then calculates the ideal shutter speed and f stops.  Camera has fair dynamic range and can take photos from

Why it is ideal for beginners is the inbuilt feature guide which helps the new comer to take decision for fine tuning the settings. Still dSLR settings can be overwhelming as there are lots of settings which can be tweaked. But the navigation system is easy and nice which can be adapted in a day or two at max.

Performance:

General responsiveness is good overall, almost no shutter lag and good image review speed has been observed so far. Live view auto focusing is very slow which is a true with most of canon line up and not only 1100D. Continuous shooting is comparatively slow ( 2 FPS in RAW mode till 6 frames  and 3 fps in jpeg until 850 frames) and buffer is low as well. In fact in certain dark conditions the recovery time is as high as 3 seconds and user might see a lot of “busy” messages in the view finder. Also Card speed also matters in this case a class 10 will help to reduce the busy message in challenging situations.

In LIVE VIEW the contrast detecting system works very nicely but in overall the focusing takes 3-4 seconds which is very slow and the time can go as far as 8-10 seconds in challenging situations, which is a area where the canon has lot of catch up to do

Video performance is good and you can record up to 17 min of video in 720 P at 30fps (NTSC) or at 25 fps(PAL). The maximum clip time is capped at 29.59 min and maximum file of a video file is capped at 4 GB .  Video can be selected through the main dial. The video mode utilize the full ISO range of the camera hence it can record usable footage even in low light but at the downside its video can be grainy and when you enable auto lighting optimizer at high this become prominent.

It can also have distortion which is in fact is due to rolling shutter which is pretty much in every dSLR which have video capability. Verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast – the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. The effect is clearly noticeable on the 1100D but it will only be too intrusive during quick panning. Also Camera include only mono microphone, and no provision of attaching a external microphone as well.

In terms of ergonomics, it is mainly a small body with takes some time for the experienced photographer to get accustomed of but to new joiners to dSLRs it is fine. Image quality is pretty decent with good performance in both sunlight and low light even at 3200 ISO. Flash is also typical but other models from competitors offer better flash range in this price bracket but on the cost of good intuitive interface.

Final Verdict:

At the end canon 1100D is pretty straight forward entry level dSLR, which does not offer anything new, and everything falls pretty much at par with the competitors. It offers good value for money and a nice learning curve with dSLR. New user will relish the camera experience as it gives pictures way better than point and shoot camera thanks to better optics and image processing in the house.