Canon EOS 1100D

      Photo Review 9

      In summary

      A user-friendly entry-level DSLR that is compact, lightweight and available in three colours.The EOS 1100D steps into Canon’s DSLR line-up between the EOS 1000D and EOS 550D and features a 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. Offered for the first time in three colours – Black, Metallic Grey and a limited edition Red – the EOS 1100D supports 720p HD video recording and introduces a new Feature Guide function that provides simple explanations of shooting modes and functions. . . [more]

      Full review


      The EOS 1100D steps into Canon’s DSLR line-up between the EOS 1000D and EOS 550D and features a 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. Offered for the first time in three colours – Black, Metallic Grey and a limited edition Red – the EOS 1100D supports 720p HD video recording and introduces a new Feature Guide function that provides simple explanations of shooting modes and functions.


      Colour options for the EOS 1100D. (Source: Canon.)
      Other features include a fast, wide-area autofocusing system with nine sensor points and the same iFCL metering system as used in the EOS 7D. This camera is compatible with all EF and EF-S lenses. The table below lists the main differences between the EOS 1100D and EOS 1000D.


      EOS 1100D

      EOS 1000D

      Effective resolution

      12.2 megapixels

      10.1 megapixels

      Exposure compensation

      +/- 5EV

      +/- 2EV

      AF points






      Shooting modes

      P, Av, Tv, M, A-DEP, Full Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Movie

      P, Av, Tv, M, A-DEP, Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Flash Off


      720p HD


      ISO range

      100 to 6400

      100 to 1600

      Built-in flash

      GN 9

      GN 13

      Continuous shooting

      Max. 3 fps (JPEG); 2 fps (RAW)

      Max. 3 fps (JPEG); 1.5 fps (RAW)

      LCD monitor

      2.7-inch; 230,000 dots

      2.5-inch; 230,000 dots




      Battery capacity

      700 shots/charge

      600 shots/charge without flash

      Body dimensions

      129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm

      126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9 mm

      Body weight

      495 grams

      450 grams

      Build and Ergonomics
      Superficially, the EOS 1100D has a plastic-clad body with a stainless steel chassis like the EOS1000D, although it’s slightly larger and smoother overall. Not unexpectedly for its price tag, it looks and feels slightly plasticky, although it is generally well-built and nicely finished. A generous grip is provided and most controls are logically located and easy to operate.


      Front view of the EOS 1100D in black with the EF-S 18-55mm lens. (Source: Canon.)

      The front panel is almost identical to the earlier model, although the camera model name has been moved up to just below the EOS logo and there are now four microphone holes just above it. The auto pop-up flash rises high above the lens axis, as in the previous model. It can be raised by pressing a button just behind the main dial on the top panel (although the black-on-black labelling on the review camera made this button rather difficult to find).


      Rear view of the EOS 1100D in grey. (Source: Canon.)

      Some changes have been made to the control buttons on the rear panel, which are larger and positioned to make frequently-used functions more accessible. The Menu button has been moved to below the arrow pad, while the Display button sits just above it.

      The up/down arrows now access the ISO and white balance settings, respectively, instead of the metering and Picture Style settings. The exposure compensation/delete button is unchanged but a new Live View/Movie button sits below it, with a new Quick Control/Direct Print button further down. The Playback button is level with the Menu button on the outer side of the arrow pad.


      Top view of the EOS 1100D in grey. (Source: Canon.)

      A couple of new modes (Creative Auto and Movie) have been added to the mode dial on the top panel but, aside from the replacement of the ISO button with the flash-up button, nothing else has changed. The metal strap eyelets and accessory hot-shoe are the same as those on the EOS 1000D.

      A significant alteration in the new model is the inclusion of the SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot in the battery compartment in the camera’s base plate instead of in the side panel. As a result, the right hand side of the camera has no compartments, while on the left side a rubber cover lifts to reveal a remote control terminal plus USB and HDMI mini ports.

      The optical viewfinder has a small range of dioptre adjustments and still covers only 95% of the sensor’s field of view. But the latter will only worry potential buyers who require precise coverage and they can work around it in the Live View mode by using the monitor for shot composition.

      Despite its relatively low resolution, the LCD monitor is bright and easy to read and provides a decent platform for viewing images. The Feature Guide displays will be very handy for novice users and can be accessed by pressing the Quick Control (Q) button.

      The camera is supplied with battery pack and charger, neck strap and USB interface cable. An 84-page Basic Instruction Manual is provided in print form but the full user manual is only supplied on CD-ROM. Two additional CD-ROMs are included: one containing the EOS Digital Solution Disk (software) and the other the Software Instruction Manual.

      The shooting mode each user selects will depend on their photographic knowledge and expertise but there are enough settings on the EOS 1100D to satisfy a wide range of users. Novices can select from the Basic Zone modes: Full Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports and Night Portrait, most of which will match camera settings to a selected scene type.

      In the Full Auto mode, the camera will adjust exposure, white balance and image processing settings according to built-in pre-sets based on subject and/or lighting types. If moving subjects are detected, AI Servo AF clicks in to keep them in focus while the shutter button is half-pressed.

      Selecting the Creative Auto enables users to take advantage if the automatic adjustments but allows them to change lens aperture settings (and, thereby depth-of-field), drive modes and flash firing. Pressing the Q button lets them choose the adjustment to make (such as Background Blur) and adjust the strength of the adjustment.

      The iFCL colour metering system provided accurate exposures in all but a few situations, although when the active AF point falls on a very bright area, shots tended towards under-exposure. We assume the opposite would occur if the AF point was on a very dark area.

      Like Canon’s other entry-level DSLRs, the EOS1100D offers three metering patterns: Evaluative, Partial and Centre-weighted. The Partial setting covers roughly 10% of the centre of the frame, which is quite a bit larger than a typical spot meter.

      The EOS 1100D provides a few adjustments within the standard range of scene pre-sets. Although the default settings may differ with different pre-sets, in all of them you can choose from nine ‘Ambience’ selections (Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker and Monochrome) and adjust the drive and White Balance settings. This should be very useful for those without the confidence to move completely off auto, but who still wish to take some control of the camera.

      The customary range of Picture Style settings is included in the Creative Zone (P, Av, Tv, M and A-DEP) modes. It covers Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome and users can tweak the Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation and Colour Tone of any Picture Style and save the result as a new Picture Style setting. Up to three User-Defined settings can be stored in the camera.

      The Auto Lighting Optimiser function is also available in the Creative Zone modes, with four settings: Disable, Low, Standard and Strong. Peripheral Illumination Correction (for minimising vignetting) is another function ported down from higher-featured models and you can choose between the sRGB and Adobe RGB colour space settings.

      White balance adjustments include the normal auto mode plus an array of presets for daylight, shade, cloudy, incandescent and fluorescent lighting and flash plus a custom preset mode. Kelvin white balance settings are not provided.
      The other missing feature is a facility for controlling external flash guns wirelessly via the pop-up flash unit. But few novice users are likely to require this kind of support.

      Like the EOS 1000D, the new camera provides Live View shooting with three focusing modes: the Quick Mode, which uses phase-detection, plus two contrast-based Live Modes, one with face detection. We’ve outlined these modes in the review of the EOS 1000D.

      In the AF Live Modes, focusing takes a little longer but users can move the AF point around the screen with the arrow pad keys. Manual focusing is also supported in Live View and you can magnify a section of the displayed image to check focusing.

      Users can also overlay one of two grids on the Live View screen and, when shooting with the Creative Zone modes, use the Metering Timer to adjust how long the exposure setting will be displayed on the screen. Sixteen seconds is the maximum.

      The EOS1100D hides some worthwhile functions away in its Custom Function sub-menus, among them both long-exposure and high-ISO noise-reduction processing. Three settings are available for the former: Off, Auto and On. The latter provides four settings: Standard, Low, Strong and Disable.

      You can also switch Highlight tone priority on or off and enable the flash to be used for AF-Assist and a few functions can be customised to suit your preferences. The third page of the set-up menu also provides facilities for embedding copyright information in image files, a function normally only found on high-end cameras.
      Sensor and Image Processing
      By keeping sensor resolution at 12.2 megapixels, Canon has been relatively conservative. While a higher resolution would provide more scope for making very large prints and enable quite severe cropping for smaller output sizes, 12 megapixels should enable better low-light performance because the photosites are larger and can, therefore, collect more light.


      The sensor chip in the EOS 1100D. (Source: Canon.)
      The CMOS sensor in the 1100D appears to be a development of the chip used in the EOS 450D, which was released just over three years ago. Like that sensor, the 1100D’s chip can transmit 14-bit information to the camera’s image processor or output captured images as 14-bit RAW files.

      Coupled to the sensor is the latest DIGIC 4 processor, which was introduced with the EOS 550D and provides fast image processing, more effective noise reduction, better raw file processing and Live Face Detection AF during Live View. It also underpins the camera’s HD video recording facilities.

      Like other Canon DSLRs, the EOS 1100D can produce JPEG, CR2.RAW and RAW+JPEG files (Large/Fine JPEGs only). The 14-bit RAW files are relatively large for an entry-level camera and have plenty of potential for post-capture editing.

      Only the 3:2 aspect ratio is supported but there are five image sizes and two compression levels for JPEG files. The table below shows typical file sizes.

      File format

      Image Size (pixels)

      Size Setting


      File Size




      4272 x 2848





      4272 x 2848



      16.7MB + 4.4MB




      4272 x 2848


      Large (L)



      3088 x 2056


      Medium (M)



      2256 x 1504


      Small (S1)



      1920 x 1280


      Small (S2)


      720 x 480


      Small (S3)


      As far as video capture is concerned, only one resolution is provided: 1280 x 720 at 30 or 25 frames/second. The aspect ratio is fixed at 16:9 for playback on widescreen TV sets and the soundtrack is recorded by the camera’s built-in monaural microphone. Audio levels are set automatically and few camera adjustments are available.

      The mode dial must be rotated to the Movie mode to engage Live View before recording can be activated. Once this is done, you can start and stop recordings by pressing the Live View/Movie button on the rear panel.

      ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, lens aperture and white balance are set automatically, although the Custom white balance setting is usable if you capture a reference image before embarking on a movie clip. Picture Styles can be selected before shooting a clip, and the Auto Lighting Optimiser, Highlight Tone Priority and Peripheral Illumination Correction functions are also available.

      Exposure levels can be adjusted by holding down the AV +/- button and turning the main dial. Half-pressing the shutter button displays the exposure data along the lower edge of the monitor screen. AE Lock is available by pressing the * button.

      Canon recommends using a card with a Class 6 or higher speed rating for video recording. A fully-charged battery should support up to one hour and 50 minutes of video shooting. Video is recorded at approximately 222.6MB/minute and a 4GB card will hold around 17 minutes of video recordings.

      Playback and Software
      Nothing much is new here. Pressing the playback button switches the camera to play mode and displays the last shot taken. Users can navigate from one image to the next with the horizontal arrows on the arrow pad or toggle between single, four-up and nine-up displays with the FE lock/Index button.

      Turning main dial selects Image Jump and you can jump by 10 or 100 images or display shots by date, folder, file type or image rating (up to five stars available). Pressing the AF point selection button magnifies the image in steps up to a maximum of 10x. You can turn the main dial to move to another image at the same magnification.

      Pressing the Q button during playback also lets you protect, rate or rotate images. Movies can be played back at normal or slow speed and you can step forward or back to the previous frame or the first or last frame in a clip. Clips can be trimmed at either end in one-second increments and saved as new files.

      Slideshow playback is supported with the option of playing all images or selections by date, folder, rating or file type. Auto playback is also available. Images can be erased individually (both files are erased when a RAW+JPEG pair is selected) or all shots on a card.

      You can also display still and movie thumbnails with or without a histogram (brightness or RGB) and highlight alert. The camera also supports direct printing via USB cable, along with playback on a TV screen.

      The software disk is Canon’s EOS Digital Solution Disk Version 24.0, which contains Digital Photo Professional 3.10, EOS Utility 2.10 and Picture style Editor 1.9 and PhotoStitch 3.1 for Windows and Macintosh plus ZoomBrowser EX 6.7 for Windows and ImageBrowser 6.7 for Macintosh. EOS Sample Music is also provided.

      Kit Lens
      The review camera was supplied with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, which is an updated version of the standard kit lens supplied with Canon’s entry-level and ‘pro-sumer’ cameras. The main difference between this lens and its predecessor is the new grip pattern on the zoom ring.

      Although equipped with a plastic mount, it is generally well-built and relatively small and light to carry. Constructed from 11 elements in 9 groups, it includes one aspherical element and has an iris made from six rounded blades. Minimum focusing distance is 28 cm, with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.34x.

      Aperture settings are reduced significantly as the focal length is increased. The table below shows how the aperture changes with different focal length settings.

      Focal length

      Maximum aperture

      Minimum aperture













      The stabilisation system uses a new design based on the systems in the latest Digital Ixus models. It includes automatic panning detection and tripod sensing and claims up to four stops of shutter speed advantage. It’s also remarkably quiet.

      No lens hood is supplied with the lens, which accepts the same EW-60C hood as its non-stabilised counterpart. We found the clip-on lens cap easy to attach and remove.

      Out Imatest testing showed the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens provided above average performance for its price tag. There was little evidence of edge softening across the focal length range and, although the best performance was measured at between one and six f-stops down from the widest aperture, this provides a useful range for most potential users.

      There was a gradual decline in resolution from f/5.6 on, with diffraction kicking in at around f/11. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest testing.


      Lateral chromatic aberration spanned from the lower end of the ‘low’ band to just inside the ‘moderate’ band, as shown in the graph below. We found evidence of coloured fringing near the edges of shots taken in bright outdoor conditions but not enough to affect image quality for most potential users of this camera.


      In the graph above the red line separates ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ chromatic aberration while the green line marks the border between ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ CA.

      Overall performance from the test camera was in line with previous Canon DSLR cameras we’ve reviewed. Autofocusing was fast and accurate under most conditions when shooting stills and noticeably slower (as expected) while recording video clips. In dim lighting, ‘hunting’ was negligible.
      Test shots were acceptably sharp (but improved by a little unsharp masking in an image editor) and almost always colour accurate, although Imatest showed slightly elevated saturation and minor hue shifts in the red colour band in JPEG files. For raw files, hue shifts were effectively negligible but slightly elevated saturation was seen from red through to yellow. Skin hues were close to the mark in both file types.
      All of our CR2.RAW files were converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software with no additional tweaking of sharpness and colour balance. Our Imatest tests showed the resolution of JPEG images levels to be slightly below expectations for a 12.2-megapixel camera. However, raw files showed resolution levels that were above expectations.

      Imatest shots taken at sensitivities up to ISO1600 contained plenty of detail and retained relatively high resolution in our Imatest tests. Resolution declined gradually from ISO 100 on but even at ISO 6400, images were quite usable, both for printing at modest output sizes and screen display. The highest two ISO settings produced minor image softening. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


      Low-light performance in the field was outstanding. Shots taken at ISO 1600 were sharp and colour-accurate with only a hint of visible colour noise and little noise was evident at ISO 3200 unless shots were magnified substantially. Shots taken at ISO 6400, however, were noticeably softened.

      Flash output was well-balanced and exposures were even throughout the camera’s ISO range. As with long exposures, little noise was evident across the ISO range, although shots taken at ISO 6400 were slightly soft.

      Auto white balance performance was similar to the EOS 1000D, with a failure to remove the orange cast of incandescent lighting. Shots taken under fluorescent lighting were free of colour casts. Both the pre-sets and manual measurement produced good results under incandescent lighting.

      Video quality was good, but not outstanding. We experienced a couple of instances of the rolling shutter effect during moderately fast pans. This resulted in minor smearing lasting less than a second as the camera caught up with the movement.

      Focusing was a little slow when zooming during video recordings and the microphone picked up some noise from the AF motor. Soundtracks were much as you’d expect from the camera’s monaural microphone; adequate for family videos but you’d probably want to over-dub if yuo want a more professional-sounding result.
      Our timing tests were carried out with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1card, the fastest card the camera could use. The review camera powered up ready for shooting in 1.2 seconds and we measured an average capture lag of 0.2 seconds, which was reduced to a consistent 0.1 when shots were pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.6 seconds.

      High-resolution JPEGs took an average of 1.3 seconds to process, while CR2.RAW files were processed in 1.8 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.1 seconds.

      In the continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 10 Large/Fine JPEGs in 3.5 seconds, which is close to specifications. Image processing appeared to be on-the-fly as it took 1.5 seconds to process this burst.

      With CR2.RAW files, we could only record four frames before capture rates slowed noticeably. They were captured in 1.7 seconds and it took 3.8 seconds to process the burst. For RAW+JPEG pairs, capture rates also slowed after four frames, which were recorded in 3.4 seconds. Processing was on-the-fly as it was completed within 2.8 seconds of the last pair of frames recorded.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You’re looking for a keenly-priced entry-level DSLR camera with most of the sophisticated functions provided by pro-sumer level models.
      – You want excellent performance in all kinds of lighting, including high resolution and low noise levels at high ISO settings.
      – You’d like the ability to shoot 720p HD video clips.
      – You’re interested in shooting raw files.

      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You require high burst speeds and buffer capacity.
      – You require a more robustly built camera.

      For JPEG files.


      For CR2.RAW files processed with Canon Digital Photo Professional.




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      ISO 100, 30-second exposure at f/3.5; 35mm focal length.


      ISO 1600, 13-second exposure at f/7.1; 35mm focal length.


      ISO 6400, 8-second exposure at f/11; 35mm focal length.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.


      Flash exposure at ISO 1600; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.


      Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 1/60 second at f/5.6; 55mm focal length.


      18mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/250 second at f/9.


      55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/250 second at f/10.


      Skin tones; 55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/125 second at f/6.3.


      Hand-held low light; 21mm focal length, ISO 3200; 1/30 second at f/3.5.


      18mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/60 second at f/11.


      Crop from a 100% enlargement of part of the above image showing slight coloured fringing and edge softening.


      Close-up; 55mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/50 second at f/5.6.


      32mm focal length, ISO 400; 1/80 second at f/6.3.


      34mm focal length, ISO 100; 1/80 second at f/11.
      Three still frames from 720p HD video clips recorded with the review camera.


      Zoomed in from the same vantage point.




      Image sensor: 22.2 x 14.7mm CMOS sensor with 12.6 million photosites (12.2 megapixels effective)
      Image processor: DIGIC 4
      A/D processing: 14-bit
      Lens mount: Canon EF-S/EF
      Focal length crop factor: 1.6x
      Image formats: Stills – CR2.RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies – MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)
      Image Sizes: Stills – 4272 x 2848, 3088 x 2056, 2256 x 1504, 1920 x 1280, 720 x 480; Movies: 1280 x 720 at 30/25 fps
      Image Stabilisation: Lens-based
      Dust removal: Fluorine coating on low-pass filter; manual cleaning and Dust Delete Data acquisition
      Shutter speed range: 30 seconds to 1/4000 second plus Bulb; flash synch at 1/200 second
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV increments
      Exposure bracketing: 3 frames across +/- 2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
      Focus system: TTL-CT-SIR phase-detection system with a CMOS sensor; 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at centre); auto/manual AF point selection
      Focus modes: AI Focus, One Shot, AI Servo; manual focusing supported
      Exposure metering: 63-zone TTL full aperture metering with Evaluative, Partial, Spot and Centre-weighted average modes
      Shooting modes: Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Creative Auto, Program AE , Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, A-DEP
      Picture Style/Control settings: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
      Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
      Custom functions: 10 functions with 32 settings
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100 to 6400 (in 1-stop increments)
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom. White balance compensation: Blue/Amber +/-9; Magenta/Green +/-9; +/- 3 levels of WB bracketing
      Flash: Built-in Auto Pop-up, GN 9 (metres at ISO 100)
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV increments
      Sequence shooting: JPEG Approx. 3fps for approx. 830 images; CR2.RAW Approx 2fps for up to approx. 5 images
      Storage Media: Single slot that accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
      Viewfinder: Pentamirror with fixed focusing screen, 95% FOV coverage, 0.8x magnification, approx 21 mm eye relief, dioptre adjustment from -2.5 to +0.5 dpt
      LCD monitor: 2.7-inch (100% field of view), 230,000-dot TFT with 170-degree viewing angle
      Live View modes: Manual Focus (magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
      Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode; Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor; grid/histogram overlay
      Data LCD: No
      Playback functions: Single-frame, Index (4 or 9 frames), Jump display, Enlarge (1.5x to 10x), Slideshow, Picture rotation (auto mode available), Histogram (independent luminance/RGB available), Shooting information with/without highlight alert
      Interface terminals: USO 2.0, Video output (PAL/ NTSC integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible)
      Power supply: LP-E10 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 700 shots/charge
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm (body only)
      Weight: Approx. 495 grams





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      RRP: $699 (body only); $849 (as reviewed with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens)

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 9.0
      • Autofocusing: 8.5
      • Photo quality: JPEG 8.5; RAW 9.0
      • Video quality: 8.0
      • OVERALL: 9.0