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Canon’s latest entry-level model DSLR represents excellent value, and provides many photographers with the opportunity to get on the first rung of the DSLR ladder.
It features an APS-C-sized sensor and some other interesting features, but nothing too revolutionary. In terms of an upgrade from the 1200D, it’s relatively minor: there’s a bump in screen resolution, a slightly better processor and the addition of Wi-Fi and NFC.
As well as appealing to first-time DSLR owners as a result of its low price, it’s also an attractive proposition for owners of the more advanced models in Canon’s lineup as a back-up or travel camera.
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If you’ve used or seen a 1200D, then you’ll be familiar with the 1300D’s build and layout - Canon hasn’t strayed too far from the blueprint here.
As befits an entry-level camera, it’s on the relatively small side for a DSLR, but it’s chunky enough to be satisfying for those upgrading from a compact camera. The grip is slightly contoured, as well being textured, which helps it to sit nicely in your hand.
Atop the camera sits a mode dial, which means you can switch between different exposure modes quickly. As well as manual and semi-automatic options (such as aperture priority), there’s also a range of scene and automatic modes too, which is great if you’re just starting to get to grips with DSLR photography.
There are quite a few buttons on the rear of the camera, but they’re grouped in one place to make changing settings easy. There are direct keys for some settings – such as ISO, AF type, white balance and exposure compensation – and a Q button to gain access to some of the other commonly used settings, such as metering.
A scrolling dial can be found close to the shutter-release button, which you use to set the aperture (when shooting in aperture priority mode), or the shutter speed (when shooting in shutter priority mode). If in manual mode, you’ll use the dial to control both, holding down the exposure compensation button to switch between the two.
The 1300D includes an optical viewfinder. It offers a reasonably bright and clear view, but it shows only 95% of the scene. That’s pretty normal for entry-level DSLRs, but it means you need to be careful during composition that something doesn’t creep in to the edge of the frame that you don’t notice. This is one place where electronic viewfinders definitely have an advantage over their optical cousins.
Wi-Fi and NFC is the big upgrade for this camera when comparing it to the 1200D. In order to use it, download the Canon Camera Connect App, which is available free on the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android). The connection process is quick and easy, and once you’ve connected your device to the camera you can use it to take remote control of the camera, or to download photos from the camera for uploading to social media.
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The screen is a fixed, 3-inch, 920k-dot panel - an upgrade from the 460k-dot screen of the 1200D. This means images viewed in playback are more crisp and sharp, while menus and icons also look better, too. It would be nice if the screen tilted or articulated, but since this camera is available at a bargain-basement price, it's not all that surprising.
As well as the viewfinder, you can compose using Live View on the LCD screen. This is activated via a button just next to the viewfinder. It’s useful for shooting macro and still-life subjects, as you can check focus precisely. However, since focus is slower when using it, it isn’t something I’d recommend for all subjects.