Canon EOS 100D Review

Providing the exact same picture quality as other entry-level Canon SLRs but with a considerably more compact body, the 100D is a satisfying first step into the world of SLR camera photography.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Angle

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM kit

Tempted by the prospect of an interchangeable lens camera (ILC)? Canon would like to get you back once again to the world of SLRs with the 100D.

Layout and features

Developed for photographers that always desired the flexibility of an SLR camera, but have become discouraged by the dimensions and weight, the 100D has a weight of only 407 grams. Even though it looks a lot like every other Canon SLR camera from the exterior, everything is more compact — 12 % trimmer compared to the 650D.

Not a great deal has become compromised on the specifications sheet, nevertheless. The camera offers exactly the same 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as the 650D along with the 700D, which was revealed simultaneously with the 100D. It features a Digic 5 image processor chip as well as nine AF points, although just one cross-type at the centre.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

Dependant upon the lens you couple the camera with, the 100D rests beautifully in the palm of your hand. The grip is compact, and bigger hands may find that they overwhelm the slim body. Rotate the camera around, and the 3-inch touchscreen display occupies the vast majority of rear panel. This also ensures that other control keys as well as dials are kept to an absolute minimum. A four-way directional pad exists, but lacks any marks to demonstrate exactly what each and every direction is utilized for. Playback, exposure compensation and an aperture button are the other principal controls.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

Even though the downscaling of control keys may appear as if the 100D is merely for novice photographers, the mode dial on the top does indeed accommodate each of the same controls available on every other SLR camera in the form of full program, aperture, shutter and manual exposure modes. Newcomers additionally gain access to complete automatic, portrait, landscape, macro, sports and no flash and creative automatic modes.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

As with any other SLR camera, it is able to capture JPEG as well as RAW pictures, whilst support for quicker UHS-I SD cards ensures that the buffer receives a boost to a maximum of 1140 JPEG photos when you use continuous mode. At four fps, continuous shooting isn’t a slouch, either. On the rear of the camera sits the identical 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display which was on the 650D.

Canon EOS 100D Sample Photo

Canon EOS 100D Sample Photo

The hybrid CMOS AF system is perfect for photographers who shoot mainly in Live View, or who take a large amount of video. Additionally present in the 650D, the phase-detection system swiftly grabs a focusing point, and then the camera switches in to the more conventional contrast detection to attain accurate focus. In the 100D, the hybrid system now covers 80 per cent of the sensor size, which is designed to give much better results than previous cameras.

Connectivity can be found in the form of a 3.5mm microphone port, remote port, USB as well as HDMI out — each revealed beneath the single flap at the side of the camera. As with any other Canon SLRs, image stabilisation is supplied through the lens.

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EOS 100D 18-55mm IS STM Kit

The 100D now receives the capability to preview creative filter effects in Live View mode on the display screen, before you take the photo.

The 100D didn’t slow down significantly when producing a burst of JPEG photos, progressing to about 30 frames before any indication of processing time or buffering came into play.

The focusing system is agile, on level with previous digital slr cameras found in this class from Canon. There are actually, nevertheless, very small focusing points within the viewfinder, which might be challenging to pinpoint upon your desired subject. Undoubtedly that Canon is counting on many users to compose and take photos utilizing Live View along with the touchscreen display, which supports features like touch to focus for more precise handling. When you use Live View, focusing remains equally slow as on all of the other entry level Canon SLRs, therefore try not to expect any remarkable improvements there.

Just what is absent on the 100D is an inbuilt Wi-Fi option. With an increasing number of ILCs and SLRs having this particular functionality, it’s a pity that there is not a way to instantly transfer pictures or movies to a mobile device, particularly as this is a characteristic touted on various other Canon digital cameras, such as the PowerShot N and higher-end 6D.

Canon rates the battery pack at 350 photos utilising the optical viewfinder or 150 photos with Live View, which is considerably less than the other SLRs found in this range, including the 1100D, that can handle 750 shots making use of the viewfinder before a recharge is required.

Image quality

Employing the same sensor as the 700D and 650D, it isn’t surprising that the 100D generates pictures that are extremely consistent to these somewhat larger cameras. On default settings, the camera produces punchy JPEGs with good colour rendition and noise control at low ISO levels.

Reaching up to higher ISO sensitivities, the 100D does a respectable job of keeping noise at bay. ISO 1600 is the highest sensitivity, where noise is very well managed even at maximum resolution — anything greater, and colour shifting begins to happen.

The 100D preserves an identical level of detail in its RAW files, just like the previous cameras mentioned. Detail is recovered best from shadow areas, whilst highlight detail is mainly recoverable except within the most extreme instances of overexposure. Utilizing automatic exposure modes, the 100D does demonstrate a slight level of overexposure when making use of evaluative metering mode.

Video quality is once more in line with what we have observed previously on the Canon series of SLRs. Colours are yet again punchy with strong, defined contrasts between shade and highlight areas using default picture styles. When used along with the kit 18-55mm STM lens, autofocus in video recording is actually noiseless and smooth.

As opposed to cameras like the 700D, for example, the 100D has only room for an integrated mono microphone. This means owners looking for the very best audio quality would want to incorporate an external microphone for stereo sound.

Conclusion

The Canon EOS 100D offers a gratifying experience for newer photographers or those who find themselves looking to purchase a rather compact entry in to the world of SLRs. Nevertheless, it may not be sufficiently small to attract prospective buyers away from a similarly priced mirrorless ILC with additional features.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 G Review

July 16th, 2011 122 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

The Panasonic GF3 is even smaller than its predecessor, the GF2, by approximately 16.7% in size and 16.2% in weight, measuring 107.7 x 67.1 x 32.5mm and weighing 222g without a lens attached or battery inserted. With a pancake lens like Panasonic’s own 14mm f/2.5 fitted, the GF3 is about the same size as a typical fixed-lens compact camera, even though it boasts a much bigger sensor. The GF3 is not much bigger than the LX5 compact, mostly through the lack of a shooting mode dial and several other external controls, and the adoption of touchscreen technology.

Importantly this significant reduction in size makes the GF3 smaller than the diminutive Sony NEX 5 and 3 compact system cameras, which additionally suffer in comparison by not having a built-in flash unit. Indeed, Panasonic claims that the GF3 2 “breaks the record of being the world’s smallest and lightest system camera”, although the newly-announced Olympus E-PM1 gives it a run for its money. If you’re looking for the smallest possible compact system camera, then the Panasonic GF3 certainly fits the bill.

The main changes versus the GF2 – apart from the obvious size/weight reduction and design overhaul – include the omission of the flash hot-shoe / accessory terminal and the rear-mounted thumb-wheel, and the inclusion of a scroll wheel around the four-way pad, a first on a Panasonic Lumix G Micro System camera. Another change to the user interface is that the Up button is now dedicated to exposure compensation rather than ISO sensitivity, which may dismay some enthusiasts.

The mechanical button for the pop-up flash has also been retained, although its position changed somewhat along with that of the flash itself. The top-mounted controls – including the shutter release, movie record button, power switch and dedicated intelligent Auto button – have been reshuffled and grouped more tightly together, but otherwise remain essentially the same both in appearance and functionality. The GF2′s stereo microphones have given way to a more modest monaural mic.

The DMC-GF3 has a significantly raised and curved vertical area on the front-right of the body which acts as a handgrip, allowing you to hold the camera with three fingers whilst operating the shutter button with your forefinger. This works in tandem with the useful rubberized thumb-rest on the rear. The GF3 sports a new design characterised by clean lines, gentle curves and a polished exterior. Whilst still not as charismatic as the retro Olympus Pen models, the GF3 is a handsomely futuristic camera with more of an obviously electronic feel to it, and is also extremely well-built despite its mid-range price-point, with a high quality aluminum body, lens mount and tripod socket.

Olympus PEN E-P3 Review

July 16th, 2011 61 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

Further building upon the existing PEN range, the OLYMPUS PEN E-P3 is a high performance compact system camera based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard. As the flagship camera of the PEN series of new generation system cameras, the E-P3 is aimed at camera enthusiasts looking for a camera which combines traditional style and functionality along with advanced imaging capabilities and high responsiveness. Like previous models in the PEN series, the E-P3 maintains key SLR advantages such as high performance and high image quality and its remarkably compact design has been made possible by the elimination of the quick-return mirror and the reflex prism.
The E-P3 auto-focuses faster than any interchangeable lens camera on the market and utilises the powerful new ‘FAST’ AF auto-focus system. FAST AF combines MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) lens technology,  double-speed detection capability of the new Live MOS sensor, a new focusing algorithm and a dedicated focusing processor within the TruePic VI engine. The new AF system sports a 35ne AF pattern which covers nearly twice the screen area of previous PEN cameras enabling enhanced AF detection. Each autofocus zone is also smaller for more precise point focus and enhanced AF tracking capability.

Pentax Q Review

July 9th, 2011 184 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

Review Summary: Pentax produces a small-sensor digital camera with interchangeable lenses, a first for the digital camera industry. It’s early to tell, but we think the Pentax Q could give both the enthusiast digital cameras like the G12 and the compact system cameras a run for their money, provided it’s not too small for the average user.

Pros: Interchangeable lenses that are also light and compact. Very small size that’s easy to take anywhere. Still has physical controls where other companies seeking small designs have opted for other solutions with a steeper learning curve.

Cons: Small buttons and small size might be too hard to use for some. Image quality is bound to trail other compact system cameras, especially low light shots.

eleased via the slider just behind it. It takes a little practice to release the flash without your fingers getting in the way. Next to that is the Playback button, something we’d have preferred to see on the back, but admittedly there’s very little room on the Pentax Q. The hot shoe looks relatively massive on the Q, compatible with Pentax’s current line of flashes, however large. Five holes mark the position of the speaker. The small power button is right of that, and the gunmetal shutter button rises fairly high from the camera body, offering a very soft half-press with a clean break at full press for a very good feel.

The Mode dial sits atop and dictates the shape of the small fingertip grip, just as the Rear dial describes the shape of the rear thumbgrip. Strap lugs are molded into the top plate of the Pentax Q, presumably also of magnesium alloy.

Tightly fitted into the small chassis is the 460,000-dot, 3-inch TFT LCD with a 170 degree viewing angle. Unlike the Sony NEX-C3 and Panasonic GF3, two cameras also pushing the size barriers for interchangeable lens cameras, the Pentax Q doesn’t take the minimalist approach to the camera’s interface to eliminate buttons. Instead they take the approach that’s worked for pocket digital cameras for years: small buttons; no scroll wheels, soft buttons, or touchscreens. I can see some objecting to the use of such small buttons, but those who don’t like small buttons have no business looking at a camera this small to begin with. Most of the buttons are recessed and stiff enough to avoid accidental activation, yet they yield to gentle, inward pressure with a soft click. The four outer navigation buttons are beveled upward from the center out for easier tactile differentiation from the other buttons, which are admittedly quite close.

Nikon D5100 Review

April 16th, 2011 141 Comments   Posted in Digital SLR Cameras

Nikon is naturally keen to build on the success of recent Nikon DSLRs, and the company understands that in order to compete in today’s competitive market an SLR has to be much more than just a camera. It must be a complete imaging system that allows images (or movies) to be captured in a range of styles and adjusted without having to connect to a computer.

A DSLR must encourage its users to experiment and educate them about their hobby. Since the advent of the compact system cameras, there’s also increasing pressure for DSLRs to be made smaller and more portable despite their incredible specification.

Excellent photo quality with a good noise profile, a streamlined shooting design for both photo and video, and a broad, practical feature set contribute to the Nikon D5100‘s strengths.