FIRST LOOK: Canon EOS 100D
The rumour mill has been grinding out predictions that Canon will release a smaller and lighter DSLR camera before the end of March. Today those rumours are put to rest with the announcement of the EOS 100D, which claims to be the smallest and lightest APS-C DSLR on the market.
Equipped with the same 18-megapixel CMOS sensor as the EOS 650D and EOS M cameras, the 100D will be positioned at the top of Canon’s entry-level DSLR range, along with the EOS 600D and new EOS 700D, which replaces the 650D. The compact size, light weight and full DSLR functionality will give the 100D real appeal to travellers but it will also be attractive to compact digicam users who have avoided buying a DSLR because of its bulkiness and weight.
The table below shows key specifications for the EOS 100D, compared with the EOS M and EOS 700D, which is announced concurrently with the EOS 100D and the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the highest rated compact interchangeable-lens camera released last year.
Build and Ergonomics
Despite the small body size, the 100D’s grip will suit users with small to average-sized hands. A textured surface on the grip provides secure and comfortable handling.
The control layout on the new camera is similar to other EOS cameras at this level. The mode dial on the top panel now rotates through 360 degrees, making it quicker to swap settings. It carries the usual array of options, including Auto+, P, Av, Tv and M modes, plus flash-off and Creative Auto settings. Separate settings are provided for the Portrait, Landscape, Close-up and Sports mode, with the remaining Scene pre-sets (Kids, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control) bundled together in the SCN setting.
The viewfinder is smallish ““ but quite bright for a pentamirror and its magnification of 0.87x and field-of-view coverage of 95% place it in the same class as other entry-level finders. The 0.87x magnification can make subjects easier to see, particularly when they are moving. Dioptric adjustment of -3 to +1 dpt is available.
The monitor is fixed to the rear panel but boasts the same 1.04-million dot resolution as the screen on the EOS M. Clear View LCD II technology makes the screen more dirt resistant and reduces reflections in bright outdoor environments. The 100D also has a Display Off Sensor which automatically turns off the monitor when shooting with the finder to conserve battery consumption.
It also offers the same touch-screen controls over a wide range of camera functions and supports Touch Focus and Touch Shutter operation, along with familiar reviewing gestures like pinch-and-spread movements and swiping to scroll between pictures. You can set the screen’s sensitivity levels to either Standard or Sensitive.
Sensor and Image Processor
Accordingly, the EOS 100D supports ISO settings from 100 to 12800, with expansion to ISO 25600 in the ‘H’ mode. The movie mode is normally restricted to a maximum of ISO 6400 but expansion is available to ISO 12800.
Continuous shooting is supported at a maximum of four frames/second (fps), which is marginally slower than 4.3 fps on the EOS M or the five frames/second burst speed of the 700D. The buffer memory can accommodate up to 28 Large/Fine JPEGs or seven CR2.RAW frames before capture rates are slowed to allow for processing.
Raw files are only recorded at 5184 x 3456 pixels and Large/Fine is the only JPEG size available for RAW+JPEG capture. For JPEGs, users can choose from four aspect ratios: the standard 3:2 plus 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios, achieved by cropping. The table below provides a guide to typical file sizes for 3:2 aspect ratio images.
The Movie Servo AF setting (which is enabled by default in movie mode) enables focus to lock onto moving subjects while clips are being recorded and the wide detection area provided by the new AF system (see below) can cover subjects well out from the centre of the frame.The hybrid AF system works in much the same way in movie mode as it does for shooting stills. It uses phase-difference AF to achieve approximate focus and drive the lens at high speed, then switches to contrast AF for final focusing.
The normal clip limit is 29 minutes and 59 seconds, with a maximum file size of 4GB. However, a new No 4GB setting allows this to be extended, when required. A special attenuator function reduces audio clipping that can occur when recording scenes in noisy situations.
The 100D also supports Canon’s Video Snapshot mode, which allows the camera to record short movie clips that can be combined to produce movies that cover a period of time. Three shooting durations are available: two, four and eight seconds. The resulting movies can be played back with music soundtracks. A new EOS Video Snapshot Task 1.2.0 (for Win/Mac) function in the supplied ImageBrowser EX software provides basic editing facilities.
The bigger detection area also makes it easier for the lens to pre-focus on the subject for shooting bursts of still images, particularly with an STM lens. Autofocusing speed is also improved when lenses without STM mechanisms are used because the larger area enables pre-focusing to be achieved faster. There will also be fewer instances of focus over-runs plus a reduced tendency to hunt for focus in dim lighting.
The detectors are arranged in a nine-point array, with the central point a cross-type detector, which provides extra sensitivity when lenses are used at an aperture of f/2.8 for viewfinder shooting. Focusing modes include AI Focus, One-Shot and AI Servo AFwith automatic or manual AF point selection. The selected focus point it illuminated in the viewfinder and indicated on the monitor screen in live view mode.
Live view AF options include Face Detection + Tracking AF, FlexiZone Multi-point Live AF and FlexiZone Single-point Live AF. The Quick AF mode uses phase detection. Touch AF is also supported for both stills and movies. A special Movie Servo AF mode keeps servo AF active at all times, even when the shutter button is not pressed.
Shooting modes provided on the EOS 100D. (Source: Canon.)
In the Kids mode, the shutter speed is increased to record movement without blurring, the flash is set to auto, focusing defaults to AI Servo AF and the drive is set for continuous burst shooting. Skin tones are also optimised for a ‘healthy’ appearance.
The Food setting increases colour saturation and sets the focus for close-ups. No Flash is set by default, although this can be over-ridden. Control over excessive redness (imparted by incandescent lighting) is available when flash is not used.
The Candlelight setting sets the camera to No Flash mode and locks the focus on the central detector. One-shot AF is the default focusing mode. This mode also minimises exposure fluctuations that can occur in candlelit situations and subtle emphasises warmer tones.
In addition, effects like Miniature can now be applied to movie clips. Miniature Effect Movie produces silent movie clips and users can select recording speeds of 5x, 10x, and 20x to emphasise the ‘fantasy’ effect of the selective blurring. The zone of sharpness can be set horizontally or vertically in any plane on the screen. (If still frames are recorded while shooting a clip, the camera will revert to the normal miniature mode.)
Creative Effects available on the EOS 100D. (Source: Canon.)
Creative filters have been made available as presets, with seven options, each with three levels of adjustment: Low, Standard and Strong. A new Effect Shot setting, available only in the Creative Auto mode, lets users shoot using different Picture Style, Basic+, and Creative Filter effects and view two images: one with effect and one without, taken simultaneously and then saved.
This setting allows users to experiment with different rendering functions and still produce an un-changed JPEG image. Users can also register favourite effects for use with both viewfinder and live view shooting modes so they are quick to access subsequently.
Background blur simulation is also available in the Creative Auto mode for live view shooting. It can be used to check depth-of-field through aperture simulation and uses a simple slider adjustment like that in the EOS 6D. Aperture values, from f/2.8 to f/11 are displayed. This feature also supports open f-stop changes during zooming and displays the values that can be selected for each lens used.
When shooting in live view mode with the Auto+ mode, the EOS Scene Intelligent Auto system comes into play, detecting faces, colours, brightness, movement, contrast, distance, and other factors that can influence exposures. An icon showing the selected scene mode is displayed on the top left corner of the monitor screen. This mode also includes a Help function to support novice photographers.
More advanced photographers can benefit from the mirror lock-up setting, a first in a camera at this level. It enables the reflex mirror to be locked up to allow smoother ““ and quieter ““ continuous shooting in live view mode at up to four frames/second (fps). Silent viewfinder shooting is available at 2.5 fps with mirror-lock, a handy feature when shooting with the camera tripod-mounted.
High-speed continuous shooting enables the 100D to support popular multi-shot modes for recording sharp images in dim lighting (the Handheld Night Scene mode) and reducing image noise (the Multi-shot Noise Reduction function). HDR Backlight Control is another multi-shot mode, which is useful for controlling highlight blow-out and shadow block-up in contrasty lighting conditions.
Ambience settings are available for subtle tuning of images in the Basic+ zones, with the same rendering options as provided in the EOS 6D: Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker or Monochrome. Multi-shot noise reduction is also supported in the EOS 100D, recording four frames in rapid succession and superimposing them in the camera to minimise the effects of noise at high ISO settings. This mode is ideal for candid portraiture and handheld shooting in dim lighting.
A new in-camera cropping function allows users to crop an image at the angle and aspect ratio of their choice while viewing the image on the camera’s LCD display. This is an alternative to the ‘digital zoom’ function on digicams and allows users to preserve detail in the cropped shots and swap between cropped and un-cropped views of the image on the monitor screen.
Cropping options supported on the EOS 100D.(Source: Canon.)
Other features include in-camera image rating, to help you search for shots you want to keep, Another new function allows you to select images for use in photo books (up to 998). When the EOS Utility is used to transfer these images to a computer, they will be copied into a dedicated folder.
World time support makes it easy to adjust time differences as you travel. Once the initial location and time have been set, all the user needs to do is select their current time zone and the camera will make the required adjustment.
In-camera adjustments are available to correct chromatic aberration, that can be produced by some lenses. This fault appears as coloured fringing along contrast differences. The correction is not available in movie mode and applying it will reduce burst capacities for continuous shooting.
Slideshows of images stored on the camera’s memory card can be played back from the camera with or without background music, which can be uploaded to the SD card via the supplied EOS Utility software.
Also available for the EOS 100D is a specially designed camera case, which accommodates the camera with the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM attached. Optional neck straps are also offered. Other accessories include the GP-E2 GPS receiver and Canon’s Speedlite flashguns.
During our briefing we kept wanting to pick up the pre-production camera and each time we did, we were delighted with the quality of its ‘feel’ and its control layout. We can’t wait to get our hands on a production unit ““ and we suspect there are plenty of other photographers who will feel the same when the camera arrives in stores next month.
Given the current pricing for the bracketing cameras, we estimate the retail price in Australia will be in the vicinity of AU$750 to $799 or around US$650. We will update the pricing when we publish our full review.
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