With the launch of the EOS 1100D video capture has eventually arrived on Canon's entry-level DSLR. However, the 1100D's video mode looks a little simple in comparison to its stablemates. There is only one resolution available (720p) and very few manual options. The lack of an image stabilization system (with the 18-55mm non-IS kit lens: if you are planning to shoot a lot of video we would strongly recommend to opt for stabilized 'IS' version of the lens) increases the possibility of shaking in your footage and there's no option to connect an external microphone. Nevertheless, the ability to shoot movies with a large sensor and therefore a cinema-like, shallow depth of field and interchangeable lenses still allows you to create attractive and professional looking video footage.

Video specification

The 1100D offers progressive HD video capture at 720p resolution and 30 or 25 frames per second. The built-in internal microphone captures mono audio and unfortunately there is no socket for an external microphone. Autofocus is not available during recording and you cannot take any stills images. During recording the aperture, shutter-speed and ISO are all set automatically. However, you can apply exposure compensation and lock the exposure. Videos can be played back on compatible TV sets using the 1100D's HDMI connector (with an optional cable), and the camera's playback functions can be operated remotely over HDMI with a CEC-compatible remote control.

Sizes 1280x720p (HD): 30 fps (NTSC), 25 fps (PAL)
Audio 48kHz Mono (Internal Mic), Linear PCM
Format .MOV MPEG-4 AVC, H.264
File size 3.7 MB/sec
Max file size per clip 4GB or 29min 59 sec
Running time (approx. based on 4GB file) 17 min

Using Movie Mode

Like the EOS 600D, the movie mode is accessed on the main shooting dial. At this point, the mirror flips up, and a Live View screen appears on the LCD which is cropped to the aspect ratio of the 16:9 movie recording format. Video capture can then be initiated by pressing the Record / Live View button on the back of the camera. After that the process is pretty much automated and there is very little scope for manual intervention. That said, you can apply exposure compensation before recording and you can lock the exposure and apply a picture style before you press the movie button.

The AF is not available during shooting but you can pre-focus by half-pressing the shutter-button in video mode. Just as in regular live view, it's possible to select which form of autofocus you wish to use at the beginning of recording - Live Mode (contrast detect AF - slow but no need to flip the mirror down), Face Detection Live Mode or Quick Mode (phase detection AF, which is very fast but requires the mirror to flip down for focusing, blocking the live view). Alternatively you can of course focus manually.

Overall the video shooting isn't as seamlessly integrated as it is on some of the competitors - you still have to select a separate mode to engage video shooting. However, as the 1100D is arguably not geared towards video shooting, most users probably won't mind having to turn the mode dial first.

Movie mode displays

In the movie shooting menu you can choose between Live mode (contrast detect), Live mode with face detection and Quick mode (phase detect, mirror flap required). However, you have to pre-focus as AF is not available during movie recording. The standard movie shooting screen is fairly minimalist, just letting you concentrate on framing your scene and giving you information on exposure compensation and video quality.

Video quality comments

Despite the lack of manual control the EOS 1100D produces generally good video results. At 720p the footage is not quite as detailed as the 1080p output of some of the competitors but motion is smooth and there are no visible artifacts.

With an APS-C sensor the 1100D can't produce the very shallow depth-of-field footage that a full-frame camera, such as the 5D Mark II, offers but still gives you much more control in this respect than most movie cameras on the market. Noise becomes increasingly visible in low light, as you would expect and this can be slightly increased if you turn the Auto Lighting Optimizer up too high. On the upside the 1100D uses the entire range of its available ISO settings in video mode, increasing your chances of capturing usable footage even in very low light.

Like pretty much all video-enabled DSLRs the 1100D suffers from distortion caused by its rolling shutter. The readout of the sensor means horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go. The upshot is that verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast - the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. The effect is clearly noticeable on the 1100D but it will only be too intrusive during quick panning.

Sample videos

Caution: very large files

Sample video 1

This clip shows the EOS 1100D's video output in good light. There's no reason to complain about the image quality but the internal microphone is struggling with the wind noise and since we shot this with a Non-IS lens some handshake is noticeable.

1280 x 720 25 fps, MPEG-4 .MOV file, 13 sec. 48.2 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 2

This shows the EOS 1100D's video performance under indoor lighting. Again the camera was handheld.

1280 x 720 25 fps, MPEG-4 .MOV file, 20 sec. 76.5 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 3

Another clip under artificial light, the camera was rested on a barrier.

1280 x 720 25 fps, MPEG-4 .MOV file, 20 sec.77.9 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 4

This video was shot handheld at night.

1280 x 720 30 fps, MPEG-4 .MOV file, 13 sec. 44.1 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 5

Finally another clip that was shot in good light. Like all our samples with the EOS 1100D this was shot with the 18-55mm Non-IS kit-lens. If you are planning on shooting a lot of video we strongly recommend you get the image-stabilized kit lens which will reduce handshake in your videos significantly.

1280 x 720 30 fps, MPEG-4 .MOV file, 9 sec. 32.9 MB Click here to download original .MOV file