Gadget review: The Canon EOS 100D

We don’t know about thin, but when it comes to cameras small is definitely the flavour of the moment. We had barely got over the surprise of seeing Sony pack in a 20x optical zoom into a palm-sized digital camera that Canon sprung another pint-sized shooter at us. Well, the pint-sized bit here is relative. When compared with the new range of uber sleek digital cameras out there, the EOS 100D definitely looks a tad bulky.

But consider, that this is NOT your run-of-the-mill point-and-shooter. This is pretty much THE camera most photography enthusiasts rave about -the DSLR. Yes, the EOS 100D is a full-fledged DSLR. AND you can hold it comfortably in the palm of your hand -its body is actually shorter than an iPhone 5! And at around 400 grams (with the 18-55mm kit lens attached), it is closer to the big super zoom prosumers rather than DSLR territory.

Mind you, this shrinking of form does not come at the cost of functions and features. The EOS 100D packs in an 18.0-megapixel APSC-C CMOS sensor, a nine-point autofocus system, support for a burst speed for 4 fps and full HD video as well.

Although the three-inch LCD on the back is not movable (unlike the ones being seen in new DSLRs), it is a fully functional touchscreen, allowing you to access most of the camera’s functions from within it. Of course, if you are the button and dial type, you can opt to go that way as well, as the camera comes with a mode switching dial on top, menu and info buttons on the back with navigation keys as well -and they are normal-sized buttons too.

We actually used the camera without touching the display for almost three days -truth be told, it was easier. Which is not to say that the touchscreen is without value -it can be very handy for those moments when you want to zoom into a particular portion of a photograph (pinch to zoom is so much better than button twiddling) or when you want to use some of the creative filters and effects bundled into the camera. You can also touch to focus on the LCD while taking photographs, although we think most people would prefer using the optical viewfinder.

Of course, what you will be mostly using the camera is for photography. And here the 100D really shines, even if you stick to auto mode -Scene Intelligent Auto can decide which setting works best -and avoid playing around with ISO and other settings (you can, if you wish -this is a DSLR after all). We got wonderfully detailed images with vibrant colours, right on par with some of the more expensive cameras we have used. Videos were very good too, although the sound quality was a bit of a let down.

So where were corners cut to get that compact size? Well, the answer is twosome - the plasticky frame is not the best we have seen in a DSLR and the battery seems to run out a lot faster. But honestly, we would not consider either to be a deal-breaker. The EOS 100D is a great camera for photographers who crave DSLR quality as well as portability - even with a kit lens, the EOS 100D can slip into a small handbag without too many problems. Yes, we would have preferred better battery life and a much more solid build, but when it comes to performance, there is nothing to complain about. What some may complain about, however, is the price -at Rs 48,995, the EOS 100D goes up squarely against some better built competition. Hard core photographers might even prefer the larger, heavier DSLRs as they tend to be more stable. But if it is portability without sacrificing image quality you seek, then this is pretty much the DSLR to have.

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