Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1 Hands-on Preview
Last year Canon made its long-anticipated entry into the mirrorless camera market with the EOS M, taking aim at compact-camera upgraders who desire better image quality but don't want the bulk or intimidating controls of a DSLR. Yet the company has long hinted that another path to competing with mirrorless entries from Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic lay in the miniaturization of its familiar SLR design. With the announcement of the EOS 100D / Rebel SL1, Canon has laid its cards on the table. Billed as 'the world's smallest, lightest APS-C DSLR', the EOS 100D unabashedly merges the Rebel-series' DSLR operational hallmarks with an impressively small body.
Thanks to a downsizing of internal components that has resulted in a smaller shutter mechanism, thinner sensor module and smaller-footprint circuit board, the EOS 100D is significantly smaller and lighter than the co-announced EOS 700D, while offering the same 18MP pixel count, DIGIC 5 processor and, presumably image quality. The EOS 100D is, in fact, comfortably the smallest DSLR we've yet seen, and not so far off 'SLR-style' mirrorless models such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5.
As attention-grabbing as the EOS 100D's small footprint undoubtedly is, what's equally impressive is that Canon has been able to retain most of the controls and features typically found on a Rebel-series camera. A front dial and dedicated ISO, exposure compensation and AF/AE lock buttons are among the controls that will be familiar to any Canon DSLR user. Its touchscreen is identical in resolution to that on the EOS 650D and 700D, but is fixed, rather than articulated.
The EOS 100D introduces version two of Canon's Hybrid CMOS AF system, originally seen in the EOS 650D. While Canon is making no claims about focus speed improvements of its hybrid phase/contrast detect system, the new version covers a significantly greater portion of the live view area (80% of the area). This should make it a significantly more useful option than the version found on the EOS M and 650D.
Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 key specifications
- Small form factor DSLR weighing 400g/14oz.
- 18MP APS-C sensor with 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
- 'Hybrid CMOS AF II' system with 80% frame coverage
- Continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking
- ISO 100-12800 (expandable to ISO 25600)
- 4 fps continuous shooting
- 1080p30 video recording, monaural microphone (stereo input jack)
- 3-inch fixed capacitive touch-screen (same as EOS M)
- 9 point AF (central sensor is cross-type)
- 'Creative Filters' image-processing controls, previewed live on-screen
Compared to the Canon EOS Rebel 700D / T5i
The EOS 100D achieves its notable size reduction without sacrificing much in the way of external control compared to the EOS 650D. On the 100D the button at the center of the 4-way controller does double-duty as both the Q menu and Set button, and the surrounding buttons have lost their dedicated functions. The 100D has a lower capacity flash, with a guide number of 9m (versus 13mm on the 650D) and houses a mono versus stereo microphone, though it does retain a stereo mic input. And while the handgrip is not as deep as the one on its larger sibling, the 100D still provides a distinctly DSLR handling experience.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens
Introduced alongside the EOS 100D is the EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. This is the standard kit zoom for the 100D and brings the total number of EF-S STM lenses to three, with a 40mm pancake and 18-135mm (both shown below) also on offer. Canon's STM lenses are designed to take full advantage of the Hybrid AF system found in the EOS 650D, 700D and 100D. They offer quiet autofocus, helpful when shooting video, and full time manual focus. The 18-55mm lens has a close focusing distance of 0.25m and a circular seven-bladed aperture. An internal focusing motor means the lens does not extend while turning the focus ring.
|The EOS 100D's Hybrid AF II system is designed to work optimally with Canon's three-lens STM lineup which consists of an 18-55mm, 18-135mm and fixed 40mm pancake lens.|
|Compared to the previous EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, the STM version is slightly longer to accommodate the internal focus system, and has a 'proper' manual focus ring at the front of the barrel that drive the focus group electronically. As with the older design it's physically shortest in the middle of its zoom range, and extends on zooming either to 18mm or 55mm (click here for a comparison at 55mm).|
The STM focus motor is extremely quiet and, when using the optical viewfinder, impressively fast, offering a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. But switch the camera to live view and, just like the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, it slows down significantly. This is a unfortunate - Canon's live view AF system still distinctly lags behind the competition.
Hands-on preview video
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