The Canon 1100D was announced in February 2011 as the successor of the Canon 1000D. The target group of the Canon 1100D consists of amateur photographers who want a cheap and compact SLR. In this segment, there are many competitors, including the Panasonic G3, Nikon D3100, Nikon V1 or the Sony NEX 5N. In-house, the Canon 1000D and the Canon 600D are the Canon 1100D’s competitors. Why would you choose a Canon 1100D?
Design camera body of Canon 1100D
The Canon 1100D is small and light for a Canon SLR. The smooth plastic body of the camera is less comfortable to hold than Canon’s more expensive cameras.
Unusual with a Canon camera is that an SD card is not put into the side of the camera, but under the camera near the battery. If you want to change card while the camera is on a tripod, you will first have to take the camera off the tripod to change the card. Cameras from other brands like Panasonic have the same problem.
Canon 1100D vs Canon 1000D
- The Canon 1100D has more: 12 instead of 10 megapixels, 9 instead of 7 AF points and HD (720p) video @ 25 fps. The Canon 1000D has no video.
- Both have a 230,000 dots LCD screen with just enough resolution.
- The Canon 1100D offers a function guide at the LCD screen: a description of the camera features and advice on how you can use these functions. Leave your user manual at home 😉
Canon 1100D versus Panasonic G3, Nikon V1, Nikon D3100 and Sony NEX 5N
- The Panasonic G3, Nikon D3100 and Nikon V1 offer full HD video. The Canon 1100D not.
- The Panasonic G3, the Nikon V1 and the associated lenses are more compact than the two SLRs (Nikon D3100 and Canon 1100D) and their lenses.
- The Sony NEX 5N is much smaller than the Canon 1100D, but the lenses for the NEX are not more compact than the Canon lenses.
- Cameras with an electronic viewfinder, like the Panasonic G3 and Nikon V1, have a 100% viewfinder coverage. The Canon 1100D has a viewfinder coverage of 95%. The Sony NEX 5N has no viewfinder at all.
Viewfinder, display and menu
The screen at the back of the camera is not rotating or tilted. This makes the ease of use in some situations less than many other cameras that have a tilt-shivel screen.
The viewfinder is smaller than that of the larger Canon brothers, like the Canon 60D. Those who want to transition from a compact camera to a Canon 1100D will not be bothered as much. But if you have a Canon 1100D and you may look through a viewfinder of a Canon 5D MK2 or Canon 5D MK3 once, a new world will open to you.
We have tested the Canon 1100D with the Canon 24-70 mm and with the Canon 60 mm macro. Besides the practical test of the Canon 1100D, we have also subjected the Canon 1100D to a series of measurements. The measurements were carried out with the aid of Imatest. The measurement results are listed in the Canon 1100D test report. For the test method and explanation of terms, see the FAQ.
Resolution / sharpness
The Canon 1100D delivers in this test, both for RAW and JPG files and thanks to the Canon 24-70 mm lens, files that are as sharp as files created with a Canon 60D or Canon 7D, both 16 megapixel cameras, while Canon 1100D ‘only’ has 12 megapixels. With the naked eye, you will not see the difference in resolution between these cameras.
The noise in an ISO 6400 jpg image is so well suppressed that you can make a print on A3 size without processing. Here is a cropped image of a 6400 ISO shot. If you click on the picture, you see the noise at 100%.
Canon 1100D: jpg @ 6400 ISO
Dynamic range Canon 1100D: measurement results and practice
The with Imatest measured total dynamic range of the Canon 1100D sensor is 9 stops on average for both a RAW file and a jpg file. The test results are listed in the Canon 1100D test report.
But more important than the total dynamic range is the usable dynamic range. The signal to noise ratio helps determine what remains of the dynamic range for a displayable image. With RAW files without noise reduction, you see the usable dynamic range decrease from 6.6 stops at ISO 100 to 1 stop at ISO 6400. Thanks to a good noise reduction, the dynamic range of jpg files is less dramatic: from 7.3 stops at ISO 100 to 4 stops at ISO 6400.
Above you see a shot taken at 3200 ISO, where the dynamic range of the Canon 1100D is insufficient: both clipping of the highlights and the shadows occurs. Those who want to use such a shot for HDR processing will also notice that the usable dynamic range is insufficient at the high ISO settings. Even with a very strong noise reduction, deviating pixels are still visible. The sensors of the current Nikon SLR cameras are better suited for this type of HDR photography.
Noise Canon 1100D
The Canon 1100D shows little noise in jpg images. The test results are listed in the Canon 1100D test report. Here you see an example of a 100% image cropping of an ISO 6400 jpg image.
On a monitor, you can see the noise at the highest ISO settings, but in print this is probably not evident. Here you see a 400 ISO jpg image, taken with the Canon 1100D. At 400 ISO, the noise is still well controlled, both of RAW shots without noise reduction and jpg images with in-camera noise reduction.
The measurement results, displayed in the Canon 1100D test report, confirm the quality of the practice shots. The Canon 1100D delivers shots with a very good color reproduction in daylight. The color deviation (delta E 94) is very small for both a RAW file converted in Lightroom and a jpg file (visual style: neutral) directly from the camera. The automatic white balance of the Canon 1100D does its job well.
The Canon 1100D has a built-in flash. In the test, we have not looked into this further.
Autofocus speed and accuracy
The accuracy and speed of the autofocus of the Canon 1100D is at the same height with that of a Canon 600D or a Canon 60D. This is agreeable for an SLR at this price range.
Autofocus tracking Canon 1100D
In sufficient light, the Canon 1100D succeeds in taking a large number of, but not all, sharp images of a car that is coming towards the camera with a speed of about 50 km/h. The buffer of the Canon 1100D is not so big. You can only take these kinds of action series with jpg images. If you save jpg and RAW images simultaneously, the camera stops within a few shots because all information must be saved before you can proceed taking pictures.
- Easy to use lightweight
- Good image quality
- Good price to quality ration
- Useful is – and not just for novice photographers – the manual option on the screen
- 12 megapixels, no full HD video
- Slippery plastic finish
- Less direct configuration options than larger Canon brothers
We started this test with the question: “Why you would choose a Canon 1100D?” The answer is clear: the Canon 1100D is an inexpensive, lightweight SLR with an image quality that is almost synonymous with more expensive cameras from the EOS series. Compared with the cameras that enter the market now (early 2012), the Canon 1100D has a limitation with the video specifications: the Canon 1100D has no full-HD. The smooth plastic finish of this camera will not appeal to everyone. If you are used to working with a more expensive Canon EOS camera, you will also miss the direct setting possibilities. But those who are switching from a compact camera to a SLR will probably be less bothered by it. And those who decide to spend some more money on a better lens instead of a more expensive camera body will enjoy the Canon 1100D much in terms of image quality.