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Go pro for cheap

tech reviews Updated: Aug 12, 2011 11:23 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani

Getting good at photography is a never-ending process. There will always be better cameras and lenses that will make your photos prettier and more professional. But at the other end of the spectrum, there is a bare minimum required to get started. Here’s where Canon’s digital SLR camera, the EOS 1100D steps in.

Also called the ‘Rebel T3’, this camera sports a 12-megapixel image sensor and an 18-55mm kit lens with image stabilisation. You can shoot at 2fps when using the RAW format and 3fps when shooting JPEGs.

Unattractive body
Canon’s tried its hardest best to pack in as much as possible for the photo-taker, but the bulky plastic body is quite a turn-off. Although there are multiple colours to choose from – red, grey, dark brown and black – the 1100D looks more like an expensive toy than a professional camera. The back panel has a smallish display for viewing photos and videos, along with numerous buttons for accessing the menu and customising settings. The buttons are inconveniently designed though, so forget about shooting intuitively without needing to look at the camera all the time. There’s a mode dial at the top to select the shooting mode — like ‘Program, Manual and Aperture – and a rotary dial for scrolling through options. Thanks to the rubberised finish, holding the camera and taking photos isn’t much of a chore.

Can record videos
A big addition the 1100D sports compared to its predecessor (the 1000D) is 720p grade video recording at 30fps. While zoom levels are entirely dependent on the attached lens, video quality is quite good. Even videos shot in low light capture plenty of detail. Just ensure that the ‘noise reduction’ feature is disabled, and you’re good to go.

Photos, on the other hand, aren’t much better than those from high-end compact cameras like Panasonic’s Lumix LX5 or Canon’s Powershot S95. While you can shoot in the dark and still get acceptable results, the process isn’t worth the time and effort spent doing it. You’re arguably better off buying micro four-thirds cameras like Sony’s NEX-5 or the Olympus EPL-2 for approximately the same price.

Battery life, though, at about 700 shots per charge is very impressive. You can easily shoot for several days without recharging the battery. That’s the biggest ace up this camera’s sleeve.

What we like
Good video recording
Long-lasting battery

What we don’t
Average photo quality
Bulky and plasticky body

Verdict
Priced at Rs 29,990, the 1100D doesn’t offer anything different from high-end compact or micro four-third cameras. Battery life is terrific, and will really save the day if you’re going on a weeklong trek or safari. If you already have a stable of Canon lenses, then this might be a good option for you. But for others moving up from point-and-shoot cameras, there are better models
available in the market.

Rating: ***