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Review Canon 100D

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How good is the smallest SLR camera with an APS-C sensor compared to its bigger brothers? Read our Canon 100D review and you'll know. The Canon 100D was introduced in mid-2012. A big advantage of the Canon 100D relative to the Canon EOS M is that the Canon 100D uses the same lenses without an adapter as any other Canon EOS camera. The heart of the Canon 100D is formed by an 18 megapixel 'Hybrid CMOS AF II' sensor with a Digi 5 processor. This hybrid sensor is particularly interesting for video, letting you use about 80% of the image by focusing on the sensor signal. Furthermore, the Canon 100D, like its bigger family members, has a 3″ ClearView II touchscreen, a light meter consisting of a sensor with 63 zones, 9 AF points, an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 (expandable) and the ability to shoot 4 frames per second.

Canon-EOS-100D-met-18-55mm-IS-STM

Canon100Dpraktijk

Electronic equipment after further development is often considerably more compact. A well-known example of this miniaturization is the metamorphosis of a Hi-Fi audio system with large, loose components in your living room to the iPod format in your pocket. And cameras are getting smaller, down to a pin-sized camera in a cell phone.
For a serious hobby photographer, those pin-sized cameras are not (yet?) an option, but thanks to mirrorless cameras it is possible to get the high image quality of an SLR in the housing of a small compact camera. Canon recognizes the need for more compact system cameras, but instead of switching to the mirrorless concept, they added the Canon 100D to their lineup, a full-fledged SLR of 90 by 114 mm and weighing just 420 grams. We took this mini-EOS out for a test.

Design and ergonomics

 

The shrinking of cameras (and lenses) has the advantage that you as a photographer can travel with less-heavy-luggage, you stand out less and your neck and arms are less burdened by heavy equipment. You are thereby more mobile, and it's less tiring. However, there is one big 'but' with extreme reduction. That is the reduced ergonomics and less easy operation of the camera. A camera the size of a pack of cigarettes with a relatively large lens is far from ideal for holding and set up, and you see that mirrorless cameras are again becoming a bit bigger, to offer a decent grip and so physical control buttons can be placed. How far can you go with the shrinking of an SLR?

Moregrip

LighDemoCanon100DThis Canon 100D shot was made with the Canon 18-55 mm STM kit lens (f/8 and a shutter speed of 45 seconds) in the dark of a light artist who twirled a number of lights.

With the Canon 100D, Canon has really pushed the limits, and if you compare the size of this mini-DSLR with for example a Nikon D7100, then they went a long way: 117x91x69 mm versus 136x107x76 (WxHxD). That is an accomplishment in itself, because the technique is the same in principle, with an APS-C sensor, TTL viewfinder, mirror and physical shutter. If you also compare the weight of these cameras (407 g versus 765 g), then you get the idea that you have a mini-DSLR in your hand. The Canon 100D, despit its small size, has a built-in flash. In terms of build quality, it's a decent consumer camera on the same level as the Canon 650D/Canon 700D. What's very beautiful is the texture of the material that is used for the camera body. Because it's not flat, you get more grip than with previous EOS cameras such as the Canon 600D or Canon 650D. And it also looks better.

compare 100D-700D-60D-700px

The difference with a mirrorless camera is that a DSLR will always need to be taller for the TTL viewfinder and also thicker, because there must be space for the mirror. The compact size of the Canon 100D, however, is not at the expense of the ergonomics or the hand-fit. For a medium-sized hand, the grip is nice because the camera is slightly thicker, so the right pinky supports the camera. The shutter release is placed so that your index finger can rest on it. If you put on this camera a Canon EF-S 40 mm 2.8 then you can effortlessly take photos all day with one hand. Also with a EF-S 18-55 mm, the Canon 100D remains well balanced. It's clear that larger and heavier lenses will become unbalanced. The Canon 100D is therefore a real 'day-off' camera, with which you can create high-quality photos both inside and outside, from portraits to children playing.
The back of the Canon 100D contains the most important buttons for settings and with the touch-sensitive LCD screen you can, just like on a cell phone, quickly find your way with the clear menus. For every EOS-photographer, the Canon 100D will immediately feel familiar. If you now have a compact camera or phone, then you will quickly become accustomed to the logical controls. Too bad the LCD can't swivel and tilt.

Canon 40mm STM: the ideal lens for a Canon 100D

The 3 most obvious lenses for the Canon 100D are the three modern lenses with a quiet and quick stepper motor: Canon EF-S 18-135 mm IS STM, Canon EF-S 18-55 mm IS STM and Canon 40 mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens. These lenses have a new stepper motor for more precision and - importantly for video and nice for photography - super quiet autofocus. We tested all three STM Canon lenses. The Canon 40 mm STM offers the highest image quality and far and away also the smallest. That would be our first choice for the Canon 100D. 

LENS-EF-40mm-product

Canon 100D versus Canon 1100D

If you compare the Canon 100D entry level model with the EOS 1100D, then you see that a lot has happened in 2 years. Although you can still make great pictures with a EOS 1100D, the speed, experience and image quality of the Canon 100D is many times better. This is thanks to a higher resolution (12 Mp versus 18 Mp), a better processor (Digic 4 versus Digic 5) and a nice LCD screen (2.7 "230 k versus 3", 1040k, multi-touch). And funnily enough the Canon EOS 100D also fits better in the hand than the 1100D. 

EOS-100D-BCK

EOS100D ISO6400-JPEG

Canon 110D versus Panasonic GM-1 versus Panasonic GX7

For high image quality you need a 'big' sensor: APS-C or micro Four Thirds. You then have the choice of DSLRs or mirrorless cameras (CSC). If the camera should be as small as possible, then you choose a CSC, like the Panasonic GM-1. You trade in on ergonomics and operation though. If you find those two aspects of interest, then you can consider the more 'mature' Panasonic GX7, but that's in a higher price range. For the novice photographer all three camera systems have virtually equal capabilities, although the Panasonic GM-1 has no viewfinder and no flash contact for an add-on flash.

Viewfinder, screen and menu

With the Canon 100D you can frame the subject with the viewfinder, which looks through the lens (TTL, 97% frame) or with the LCD screen on the back of the camera. This is high resolution (3 ", 1040k) and has a very good brightness and viewing angle, so you – even given the compactness of the Canon 100D – quickly adjust to using this as a standard viewfinder. Thanks to the excellent touch sensitivity, the LCD screen is well suited to setting up the camera, and with the multi-touch, it's a joy to go through the photos on the camera by sweeping and to zoom in/out. The menus are standard as with all EOS models, so clear and easy. The Canon 100D offers lens correction for vignetting and chromatic aberration.

 

EOS-100D-BCK

 

Sharpness Canon 100D

In September 2009, Canon introduced the EOS 7D 18Mp application of its highly praised CMOS image sensor. Many models have since inherited it and it's also used in the Canon 100D. With regard to resolution and detail registration, this new camera anno 2013 thus delivers no surprising results. In RAW photos in Lightroom the Canon 7D is hardly distinguishable from the Canon 100D. However, there is a big difference in JPEG quality, because the image processing (noise reduction, color and contrast at high ISO) of the Digic 5 in the Canon 100D is improved relative to the Digic 4, found in the EOS 7D. Even with shots in the dark, such as the test shot of the light artist above, this enhanced image processing is very good.

Dynamic range Canon 100D

The total dynamic range is quite constant over the range of 100 ISO to 6400 ISO. At high ISO settings the dynamic range is equal to that of a Nikon D3200, but at low ISO settings, we found a lower dynamic range for the Canon 100D. At low ISO values we measured for a RAW file without noise suppression a dynamic range of nearly 10 stops and a usable dynamic range of 6.3 stops. That agrees with our findings for the EOS 650D, which has the same sensor.
100ISORAWdr
DynamicRangeThe dynamic range of the Canon 100D is sufficient in most situations to sufficiently high to prevent simultaneous overexposure of the highlights and underexposure of the shadow areas. In sporadic cases, such as for the test shot above, that still appears.

Highlight tone priority

If the personal choice "C.Fn II-3 Highlight tone priority" is selected, bleached-out highlights, as in the above shot, are prevented. It also delivers, surprisingly enough, a slightly higher dynamic range. The disadvantages of the highlight tone priority are that the ISO value can only be set between 200 and 6400 and that a bit more noise appears in the shot.

HogeTonenPrioriteit

Noise Canon 100D

 

Because the sensor of the Canon 100D is comparable to that of for example the EOS 650D, in RAW in Lightroom there is virtually no distinction in the amount of noise over the entire ISO range. And that means that the signal/noise ratio is fine, and well-lit shots at ISO 1600 or 3200 ISO are fine for display and printing up to A4. However, the competition is not standing still and, for example, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 delivers with a smaller mFT sensor at ISO 3200 a cleaner RAW image than the Canon 100D, although the difference is small and only visible at 100% view.
In JPEG, the amount of visible noise is mainly determined by the image processing and the noise reduction (NR). The extent to which this should be done on the Canon 100D can be set, and the default value is a fine balance between preservation of detail and the remaining grain.
A nice option is the Multishot noise reduction. If it is enabled, then makes the camera multiple recordings and assembles them into a photo with less noise. The best results are obtained when working with a tripod and the subject has no moving parts.

NR-comparison

 

Color reproduction Canon 100D

The color reproduction of modern cameras is in daylight very similar. Often the chosen image style greatly affects the accuracy of the color reproduction. The Canon 100D delivers in daylight JPEG (picture style: natural) and RAW files in terms of color reproduction just as good as, for example, the color reproduction of the Canon 7D or the Canon 600D - so very true to life and appealing.
The white balance is usually good, but a neutral color registration in artificial light - just all in all other cameras – remains difficult. In all cases the shots made in artificial light tend clearly to orange. In artificial light or mixed light situations, it is therefore recommended to shoot in RAW and to correct the color balance afterwards. Anyone who photographs in RAW will significantly improve the white balance in artificial light relative to the automatic white balance.

Daglichtkleur

Video

 

As far as the video capabilities of the Canon 100D there are no shocking innovations to report: 1080 p with 25/30 fps and 720 p with 50/60 fps, in which all the picture styles can be used. An advantage is of course that with an image stabilized lens with STM, fairly smooth and sharp video-handheld shots can be made. The target audience for a camcorder or smartphone is accustomed to making quick movies will probably find the video feature of the Canon 100D a bit uncomfortable and probably won't use it often.

PhilipsGlowPicture taken with the Canon 100D during the Glow festival in Eindhoven. In such situations you get with a RAW image (like this shot) a better end result than with a jpg picture directly from the camera. In the vast majority of cases, the jpg file stored in-camera will already meet the quality requirements of most amateur photographers.

Autofocus

 

When working with the viewfinder to frame the subject and so the mirror is folded down, then camera uses the standard phase detection AF of any DSLR. This is quick and generally fairly accurate and effective. When we used the LCD screen as a viewfinder, then the speed of focusing is much lower, because contrast-AF on the sensor is used. During filming in Live view, and to increase the Canon autofocus speed, phase detection pixels are built into the sensor. The first results were not spectacular, but on the Canon 100D is the first application of the second generation of this principle. Now the AF speed during video in Live view has improved considerably. It's still not as good as standard phase detection, or contrast-detection in micro-43 cameras, but it's fine in many cases for sharp photography in Live view.

Conclusion Canon 100D test

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Starter
Year:2013
Overall score:6.8
Resolution:6.5
Dynamic Range:6.8
Noise:7.5
Color:9.3
Whitebalance:7.0
Megapixels:18
Sensor:APSC
Sensor magn.:0.56
fps:4
Weight (gram):407
MSRP NL (Euro):649

Look in our list of tested cameras for specifications or to compare the performance of this camera to other cameras.

Pros

Cons

  • Compact measurements: the world's smallest SLR camera with an APS-C sensor
  • Small and light
  • Surprisingly good ergonomics
  • Great image quality at high ISOs
  • Beautiful LCD touchscreen
  • Compatible with all EF and EF-S lenses
  • Full-HD video with manual operation and continuous AF
  • Limited dynamic range, that improves with the use of the Highlight tone priority
  • Fewer megapixels and a lower resolution than the competition (Nikon D3200, Sony A77)
  • No wifi
  • No GPS
  • No real HDR
  • No tiltable-rotating LCD screen
  • Few small lenses available

With the Canon 100D, Canon managed to make a super compact DSLR, which still has all the extended capabilities of its big brothers and barely sacrifices ergonomics or operation.
For the 'days out'-and the vacation photographer, it's an ideal travel companion, with the inclusion of a small lens. Canon currently has, however, only the Canon EF 40 mm f/2.8 STM that fits well with the small size of the Canon 100D and the 'hybrid AF II'. The EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM wouldn't look bad on this camera, but a new EF-S 22 mm f/2 STM pancake and a small EF-S 30 mm f/1.8 STM would be welcome additions for optimal usability in street and travel photography.

 
Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (2)

  1. earl

another great option for this is the Canon 28mm IS USM. Nice size, 45mm equiv and IS USM. Super sharp all purpose.

 
  1. Ivo    earl

Hi earl,<br /><br />Thanks for your contribution!<br /><br />Ivo

 

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