Canon’s EOS 100D has created a lot of interest since it was announced on 21 March. We published a detailed ‘First Look’ at the key features of the EOS 100D on the day of the announcement but were unable to conduct any performance tests. Having received a production-standard camera, we are now able to apply our full suite of tests and report upon them in this review.
The EOS 100 D is smaller than the EOS 700D (116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4 mm vs 133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8 mm) and weighs less (370 grams vs 525 grams). It’s larger than the EOS M because it has an SLR’s reflex viewing system with an optical viewfinder, whereas the EOS M forces users to compose shots on the LCD monitor.
Interestingly, there’s not much difference in body size between the EOS 100D and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the E-M5 body is actually three grams heavier, although it’s 27.5 mm thinner. But add the standard kit lens and the 100D plus lens becomes 42.2 mm longer and 92 grams heavier.
The EOS 100D has the same 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 as the EOS 700D, EOS 650D and EOS M cameras but in a DSLR body that is smaller and lighter than the 700D and 650D bodies. Continuous shooting capabilities are middle-of-the-road. The 100 D’s maximum continuous burst speed is four frames/second (compared with 5 fps for the EOS 700D and 9 fps for the E-M5) The buffer memory can accommodate up to 28 JPEG files or seven CR2.RAW files.
The EOS 100 D’s built-in flash has a guide number of 9.4 (metres/ISO100), which is less powerful than the EOS 700D’s GN 13 flash. The E-M5 relies on an external flash, supplied with the camera.
The 100D’s control layout is similar to other EOS cameras at this level, with a standard mode dial, Quick Control/Set button, Live View/Movie button and buttons for accessing the ISO, Menu, Info, Aperture/Exposure compensation, AE/FE lock, AF point selection. magnify, Playback and Erase functions. Plenty of ‘creative’ filters and scene pre-sets are provided, including new Kids, Food and Candlelight modes.
The fixed 3-inch Clear View II TFT capacitative touch screen has a resolution of approximately1,04,000 dots and a viewing angle of roughly170-degrees. It supports familiar gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom and image-to-image swiping in playback. Touch focusing is supported all over the screen.
Playback options are standard for EOS cameras at this level and the bundled software includes Canon’s Digital Photo Professional raw file converter. Manuals in PDF format are supplied on disks for both the camera and the software.
Our review of the EOS 100D was carried out with the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, which is reviewed separately. The 100D’s Imatest results were similar to those from the EOS 700D, which is to be expected as they share the same image sensor and processor.
JPEG files from the review camera had slightly lower saturation than those from the EOS 700D, while the saturation in raw files was slightly higher. As with the 700D, JPEG files produced resolutions slightly below expectations for the 18-megapixel sensor, while CR2.RAW files exceeded expectations. High resolution was maintained across the review camera’s sensitivity range.
Image noise in test shots was also similar to shots taken with the 700D, with little noise visible up to ISO 3200 and a gradual increase in the visibility of noise thereafter. Although noise could be seen in long exposures at ISO 12800 and images were slightly soft, we found no noticeable deterioration in the intensity and accuracy of colours in test shots.
Flash exposure levels remained relatively constant across the camera’s sensitivity range and exposures were almost noise-free up to ISO 6400. Some softening could be seen at ISO 12800, where the influence of ambient lighting on exposures began to be evident. We found no evidence of red-eye in portraits taken with the camera’s flash.
Auto white balance performance was similar to the 700D’s. Shots taken under incandescent lighting retained a warm bias, while shots taken with fluorescent lighting were almost cast-free. For both lighting types, the pre-sets slightly over-corrected but manual measurement delivered a neutral colour balance. Plenty of in-camera adjustments are provided for tweaking images as you shoot and white balance bracketing of +/- three levels in one-step increments is available.
Video quality was as good as we found with the EOS 700D, which isn’t surprising as this feature is similar in both cameras. Differences between the HD 1080p and 720p video clips were largely related to the frame resolution. Clips shot at VGA resolution were very good for their frame sizes.
We found the same slowing in autofocusing speeds when shooting in the live view mode. Soundtracks were slightly less engaging than those from the EOS 700D because they are monaural. However, you can add an external microphone if you want stereos recordings. The wind filter/attenuator enabled us to reduce wind noises in soundtracks but couldn’t handle very windy conditions.
Our timing tests were conducted with an 8GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1card. The review camera powered up ready for shooting in 0.75 seconds. We measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds when the viewfinder was used for shot composition, and 0.95 seconds in Live View mode, caused by autofocus lag.
This lag was eliminated when shots were pre-focused for viewfinder shooting and reduced to 0.22 seconds in Live View mode. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.4 seconds without flash and 0.66 seconds with. High-resolution JPEGs took an average of 0.6 seconds to process, while CR2.RAW files were processed in just under two seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in a little over two seconds.
In the continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in 2.6 seconds, which is close to specifications. It took 3.5 seconds to process this burst.
With CR2.RAW files, capture rates slowed noticeably after seven frames, which were recorded in 1.8 seconds. It took 7.7 seconds to process this burst. For RAW+JPEG pairs, capture rates slowed after three frames, which were recorded in 1.2 seconds. It took six seconds to process this burst.
The relatively small size and light weight of the EOS 100D will make it a sought-after DSLR for travellers, bushwalkers and anyone who finds the current cameras have been too big and heavy. Its ability to accept most of Canon’s lenses and accessories and merge seamlessly into an existing system make it a good choice as an extra body to complement a ‘full frame’ camera system.
Like the EOS 700D, the 100D has a well-designed user interface with a wide range of user-adjustable controls plus a well-thought-out suite of automated functions to help less experienced photographers achieve the high picture quality this little camera is capable of.
RRP: n/a. ASP AU$720; MSRP US$649.99 (body only); ASP AU$850; MSRP US$799.99, as reviewed with 18-55mm STM lens