The 1100D is aimed primarily at first-time DSLR buyers on a budget, and at compact users looking to upgrade to a DSLR they can expand their knowledge of photography with. As such, you’d expect ease-of-use to figure quite highly, along with the ability to deliver the same high image quality that’s come to be associated with Canon DSLRs. However, given the price, it’s also reasonable to expect the omission of some of the more advanced features found on more expensive DSLRs.
Indeed, with the 1100D this is pretty much what you get. As a direct replacement for the 1000D that was launched back in 2008, the 1100D enjoys several notable upgrades over its predecessor, while some of the features found on recent Canon models located higher up the range are unsurprisingly absent too.
The 1100D’s list of upgrades over the 1000D include an extra 2MP of resolution, a more powerful and up-to-date image processor, a larger rear LCD monitor, an expanded sensitivity range, and the ability to record movies. In addition, the 1110D also benefits from the same nine-point AF module and 63-zone evaluative metering system of the 600D.
In many other areas though, the 1100D is very much the younger brother of the 600D. For example the 600D has an 18MP sensor, a larger and clearer tilt-and-swivel LCD monitor, and an automatic vibration-based dust reduction system – all of which the 1100D lacks. The 1100D also lacks the Scene Intelligent Auto shooting mode and post-capture Creative Filter effects of the 600D. It is, as we already said, very much a bare-bones version.
As to its direct rivals from other manufacturers, well, there aren’t all that many. The three standouts would have to be the thoroughly excellent Nikon D3100 (£430 and currently subject to a £40 cashback deal), along with the feature-laden Pentax K-r (£400) and the cheap-as-chips Sony A290 (£350). What is surprising, though, is that only a couple of years ago you could get an entry level DSLR for under £300. Even accounting for inflation, it's a bit of a shame that downward trend hasn't continued. Clearly competition from advanced compacts and compact system cameras has caused manufacturers to rethink their pricing structures.
Does the 1100D have what it takes to keep up with these beginner-friendly rivals, or even leave them in its wake? Let’s take a closer look and find out…