Canon PowerShot A1100IS Brief Review

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REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 12 megapixels
  • Movie mode with sound (60 minutes / 4GB)
  • JPEG file format
  • 4x optical zoom / 4x digital zoom
  • Lens-shift image stabilization
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 2.5-inch LCD display
  • Viewfinder
  • Secure Digital memory card storage
  • 2x AA batteries
  • Release Date: 2009-04-01
  • Final Grade: 76 3.8 Star Rating: Recommended

3.8 Star Rating: Recommended
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Canon Powershot A1100 Review
The Canon A1100 is a satisfying point-and-shoot camera that should suit just about anyone. By Brenda Paro.
By Digital Admin, Last updated on: 8/21/2014

The Canon Powershot A1100 IS gives you great image quality and user-friendly controls, plus a ton of features and modes that let you control the final look of your images... but, it's still simple enough for beginners to use. All of this is packed into a pocket-sized, durable body with a large, bright LCD, a built-in viewfinder, and a 4x optical zoom. What more could you want, you might ask? The answer is: pretty much nothing. Having handled quite a few cameras while writing these reviews, I'm comfortable saying that the A1100 IS would be a satisfying buy for almost anyone.

Design

The Powershot series has just gotten better and better over time, and it seems like all the things that make it good—the great low-light imaging, the intuitive menus, and the flexible controls—are combined inside this particular model. The body of the A1100 is slim and portable, yet not so small that you end up with your fingers all over the screen, or tripping onto the wrong buttons when you try to navigate the controls. One end of the camera body is slightly thicker, which gives you a comfortable grip while keeping the profile slim. The body comes in a range of color options, too. While it's not the titanium build that some cameras are boasting nowadays, it still feels durable, and is lightweight enough to be your go-to travel camera.

In terms of controls, the buttons are laid out in much the same manner as all other Powershots, with a control dial up top and a four-way controller on back. The built-in viewfinder is a major bonus for those who are used to shooting through more advanced cameras, or for use in bright light where the LCD of any camera would likely become useless.

Performance

Canon has loaded the A1100 with the DIGIC 4 processor, and it shows: image quality, even in low light, is clear and low-noise. A host of fun options are included, which I didn't really test out because I know how they work, but if you want them, they're there: Face Detection (including on the self timer), Motion Detection (tracks moving objects to reduce blur), Red Eye Correction, etc. Twelve megapixels is probably a bit of overkill, but I'm not complaining: the important thing is that the image quality is excellent. The camera also has Easy mode, which is exactly like Auto but disables every function except for shooting and turning the flash on and off, so that even beginning users can't mess up the photo.

The Scene Modes are also the usual line-up of suspects, with Indoors, Foliage, Snow, etc. The most-often used, such as Indoors and Kids / Pets, are located on the dial itself rather than under the Scene setting, which means they're more quickly accessible (a handy feature). Pretty much the only option missing from the A1100 is a full manual mode, and frankly, most people dealing with a pocket camera like this don't want one anyhow. If you do happen to be someone who likes to control the fine details of the shot, the Program mode should be enough to satisfy your cravings, at least in terms of a pocket camera—it lets you control settings like ISO, white balance, and metering (spot, center-weighted, and evaluative are all available).

The A1100 has speedy, smooth operation, with a quick zoom and capable, accurate focus lock. The only time I ran into trouble was during use of the self timer... for some reason, the camera produced a whole range of blurry photos before finally locking in. To be fair, I was shooting a low-contrast subject, and without me behind the camera to half-push the shutter button and lock focus, it just didn't go too well. As with any digital camera, half-pushing that button and ensuring that the camera knows where it's supposed to be focusing is highly recommended and gives you better results.

Conclusion

What it really comes down to when reviewing a camera is image quality and usability, and the A1100 excels in both areas. Final images are satisfying, with realistic colors and sharp focus; menus make sense, and the camera is comfortable and simple to use, with enough flexibility for users from beginner to advanced. With so many factors that have to come together to make a "good" digital camera, the all-around capability of the A1100 is worth noting. It's a good buy.

Hillary Grigonis is the Managing Editor at DCHQ. Follow her on Facebook or Google+.

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Canon Reviews

Top quality optics, dependability, and convenience of use are just some of the reasons that customers choose Canon digital cameras. One of the top makers of digital cameras in the world today, Canon has attained a reputation for creating some of the best digital cameras and digital SLRs available on the market. Canon cameras are inevitably on the camera wish list of any consumer that desires a high quality camera.

Canon is not generally a cheap brand by any means. In spite of this, Canon digital cameras have achieved the best buy status. This proves that you get great value for the extra money. In the past few years, Canon has begun releasing several types that are more inexpensive, without cutting quality.

Canon cameras come in two main types—the smallest is the Powershot line, compact, point-and-shoot cameras that still maintain a reasonable level of image quality. Canon Powershot cameras range from budget point-and-shoots like the ELPH 115 to an advanced compact with a 1.5” sensor, the G1X Mark II. Typically, if you are going to buy a point-and-shoot on nothing but the reputation of the brand, Canon is a pretty safe bet.

The second type of Canon camera is the EOS line—the DSLRs. The EOS line has a solid reputation as well for performance across the board, including video. Canon has a wide range of options available too, from top of the line full frame professional models to small, entry-level DSLRs.

While other manufacturers are concentrating on mirrorless models and packing more power into smaller cameras, Canon doesn't seem to be following that trend exactly. They've released some smaller DSLRs like the SL1, but haven't been putting time into mirrorless models. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion, but the models that are out there are, more often than not, solid performers.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.