The Canon EOS 1100D (Rebel T3) builds upon the previous EOS 1000D (XS) release. But just how good is the 1100D (T3)? Can it be crowned the king of entry-level DSLRs? The What Digital Camera Canon EOS 1100D (Rebel T3) review…
Canon EOS 1100D Review (Rebel T3 Review) – Performance
Fire up the Canon EOS 1100D (Rebel T3) and the AF system is clearly a winner. Put this side by side to the Nikon D3100 and it’s the Canon that’s far more decisive, quicker and, therefore, better overall. There’s the occasional struggle owed to low-contrast subjects, but generally the 1100D (T3) is a real winner here. Flip the camera into its live view mode, however, and things do slow down a fair bit. Think EOS 450D speed – good to have but not super-fast by any means. It’s an area where the Sony A390 and it’s Quick AF Live View, for example, far exceeds the Canon’s live view capability. But as to how much this will matter depends on what sort of photographer you are.
The 1100D (T3) can shoot Raw (CR2), JPEG or both Raw + JPEG files simultaneously at an apparent three frames per second (3fps). However, the moment a Raw file is popped into the equation it won’t be able to even nearly shoot this quickly and, using a Panasonic Class 6 Gold SDHD card, one frame followed by a slight delay before a long pause meant no more than two shots could be reeled off in succession. Switch down to JPEG-only mode, however, and we fired off 31 frames at a true 3fps before there was any sign of slowdown.
The latest Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens features as an 1100D kit option, though it does have its limitations. During focusing the lens emits a very high-pitched hum (it’s due to the image stabilisation system – you’ll need super-sharp hearing for it, but it’s definitely, and annoyingly, there) and the lens barrel itself isn’t the sturdiest of offerings – it feels like a basic lens. The stabilisation and manual focusing switches on the lens barrel itself are very useful however.
One slight oddity is Canon’s preference to use a 2.7in, 230k-dot LCD screen. We were anticipating at least a 3in model and preferably a higher resolution to set a new benchmark for the budget market. In use the screen is fine but is particularly prone to reflecting sunlight and, therefore, doesn’t have an especially good angle of view out of doors. Of course, being a DSLR, the optical viewfinder is a great help for framing, although it can only be used for shooting, not playing back images as per an electronic viewfinder.
For low-light shooting the 1100D (Rebel T3) provides an AF-assist lamp that illuminates poorly-lit subjects. It’s supported by a pop-up flashgun (now with a lesser guide number (GN) of 9.2 compared to the 1000D’s (XS’s) GN 13) that can also be a help for fill flash and other scenarios. A hotshoe flash can also be mounted and Canon’s E-TTL II (Electronic Through The Lens mk II) system can be utilised for automatic control.