How to Choose Your Next EOS Camera: Part One - Digital Photography School
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How to Choose Your Next EOS Camera: Part One

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This article is written by Andrew S. Gibson, the author of Understanding EOS, on sale now at SnapNDeals for a limited time.

In these articles I’m going to take a look at the current range of Canon EOS cameras, giving an overview of each model and the reasons that you may consider buying one.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about Canon EOS cameras – after all there are other brands such as Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus to choose from. The answer is that I’m a Canon EOS user, and I write about EOS cameras for a living. If you want to know anything about other brands, I’m definitely the wrong person to ask.

Maybe other DPS authors will jump in and write similar guides about the brands they’re familiar with (hint, hint). I think it would make a fantastic series.

A note about prices: DPS has an international readership, so I haven’t included prices as they vary so much. The cameras are listed roughly in order of ascending price to give you an idea of where each model fits in the EOS range.

Entry level EOS cameras

Let’s start with ‘entry level’ EOS cameras. Canon calls these enthusiast cameras. They are designed for hobbyists rather than professional photographers. If you are buying a digital SLR for the very first time, or you’re on a tight budget, you will probably buy one of these models.

An idiosyncrasy of entry level EOS cameras is that Canon gives the same model different names depending on which territory they are sold in. Hence the same camera is a 700D in Europe, a Kiss X7i in Japan (where it is marketed to the female demographic) and a Digital Rebel T5i in North America.

Canon currently has five enthusiast models:

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EOS 100D/Rebel SL1/Kiss X7

March 2013

Key specs:

  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 9 point AF with 1 cross-type sensor
  • 63 zone evaluative metering
  • Live View and movie mode
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • Uses SD cards
  • 3 inch fixed touch screen LCD display
  • Built-in flash with no wireless flash control

According to Canon the EOS 100D is the world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR. It’s aimed at photographers who are moving up from compact cameras or smart phones and don’t want to buy a larger camera.

It is ideal for photographers who want a light body to carry around all day, or who need to keep the weight down when travelling overseas. It may also appeal if you like the idea of being able to carry it around in your bag or handbag.

The small body of the EOS 100D will be more inconspicuous when you are travelling than other EOS cameras. This may suit some people, including street photographers.

The spec is similar to the EOS 700D, although it doesn’t have as many features. The main selling point of this model is the size. If size doesn’t matter, then consider a more advanced model – you’ll get more bang for your buck.

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EOS 1100D/Rebel T3/Kiss X50

March 2011

Key specs:

  • 12.3 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 9 point AF with 1 cross-type sensor
  • 63 zone evaluative metering
  • Live View and movie mode
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • Uses SD cards
  • 2.7 inch fixed LCD display
  • Built-in flash with no wireless flash control

This is Canon’s least expensive SLR, ideal for anybody on a tight budget. However, it also has the lowest spec and lacks some of the features found on the other models in this list, such as the three inch vari-angle LCD screen and built-in master unit for controlling external Speedlites.

It also has the lowest megapixel count. To be honest, if you buy it you’re probably going to outgrow it fairly soon. It’s also possible that Canon may update this model soon as it’s two years old.

Don’t let that put you off though if you’re on a tight budget – this is a very capable camera for learning on and is by far the cheapest model in this list. Might also make a good gift for a relative or friend who has expressed an interest in photography. Budget allowing, you’ll be better off with a more advanced model.

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EOS 600D/Rebel T3i/Kiss X5

March 2011

Key specs:

  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 9 point AF with 1 cross-type sensor
  • 63 zone evaluative metering
  • Live View and movie mode
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • Uses SD cards
  • 3 inch vari-angle LCD display
  • Built-in flash with wireless flash control

The EOS 600D is a step up from the EOS 100D and 1100D models. It has a larger body and a high resolution vari-angle LCD screen that you can use with movie mode or for taking photos at awkward angles (ie with the camera at ground level).

Another benefit of the vari-angle screen is that you can turn it around so the screen faces the back of the camera, protecting the LCD surface during travel.

The built-in flash doubles as a wireless master for external Speedlite flash units, so if you want to use (or learn to use) external flash then this is a good camera to buy instead of the EOS 100D or 1100D.

You may be interested in this camera if you are upgrading from an 1100D, or an older model such as the EOS 400D camera. It’s not as advanced as the EOS 700D, but much less expensive.

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EOS 700D/Rebel T5i/Kiss X7i

March 2013

Key specs:

  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 9 point AF with 9 cross-type sensors
  • 63 zone evaluative metering
  • Live View and movie mode
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • Uses SD cards
  • 3 inch vari-angle touch screen LCD display
  • Built-in flash with wireless flash control

The EOS 700D was announced in March and replaces the EOS 650D (which you may still be able to buy until stock runs out). The EOS 600D remains available as a lower cost alternative to the 700D.

The key differences between this camera and the 600D is that the 700D has a more advanced processing chip, a greater ISO range and hybrid AF that gives better autofocus performance in Live View and movie mode.

You may be interested in this camera if you are upgrading from an 1100D, or an older model such as the EOS 400D camera. It’s an ideal model if you want an advanced EOS camera but don’t like the extra size and weight or need the more advanced features of models like the EOS 6D, 7D or 5D Mark III. It is also cheaper than those cameras.

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EOS M

July 2012

Key specs:

  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 31 point hybrid AF
  • 63 zone evaluative metering
  • Live View and movie mode
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • Uses SD cards
  • Three inch fixed LCD display
  • Comes supplied with 90EX Speedlite flash unit in most countries when purchased in kit form

The EOS M is Canon’s first compact system camera and marks the company’s entry into the mirrorless camera market. It’s essentially a scaled down EOS 650D without a pentaprism or viewfinder.

Another important difference is that the EOS M has its own lens mount (the EF-M mount). At the moment there is a choice of two EF-M lenses, plus an adapter that lets you mount the EF-S and EF lenses that other EOS cameras use.

The appeal of this camera is the small size and beauty of the design. Coupled with the EF-M 22mm pancake lens it makes a very portable setup that will create high quality images, something that could be ideal for travel or street photography.

However, reviews about the camera’s autofocus performance aren’t encouraging. The lack of a viewfinder means you have to take photos by composing them on the LCD screen, something regular digital SLR users could find hard to get used to.

If size isn’t important, then go for an SLR camera instead. The optical viewfinder and phase detection autofocus make them a much more versatile tool.

Conclusion

That concludes the round up of entry level EOS cameras. I will take a look at the current range of semi-professional and pro cameras in the next article.

Understanding EOS

It’s wise to remember that whichever camera you have, it’s only a tool. Photographers create photos, cameras just take them. An understanding of the principles of light and composition are just as important as which model you own.

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This is the principle behind my ebook Understanding EOS, which I wrote to help people learn to use their EOS cameras. It’s available now at Snap N Deals for a special price for a limited period. Whichever EOS camera you own, it’s the essential accessory to help you get the most out of your camera.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to DPS. Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

  • http://www.writeangel.ca Angela Heidt

    Great article! I have a T3i and was considering the T5i, but I think I’ll save up for a slightly more advanced camera so I don’t outgrow it too quickly. Thanks!

  • Tod

    do you know of the reasoning behind replacing the 650D rather than the older 600D? I have the 600D and its a great camera but i find it strange that they are keeping that instead of the newer 650D

  • http://www.andrewsgibson.com/blog Andrew S Gibson

    Tod, I think it’s because the EOS 700D is only a minor upgrade over the 650D. Just a few tweaks here and there. I guess Canon don’t really want to sell the the 650D and 700D at different prices because they are more or less the same camera. But they can sell the 600D more cheaply because there is a clear difference in spec between that and the 700D.

  • David S

    I’m looking for an EOS body to mate up with some older EF Lens from a 35mm film body. I’d rather buy a body with a warranty then pickup something from a an unknown seller w/o warranty etc from Amazon etc. I’ve been watching the Canon Store Referb listing, but the cheap bodies move quickly (Canon had T1i’s for $230 this week, gone within hours). Other than B&H or Adorama can you recommend a re-seller that supports a good warranty?

  • Jurek Jerry

    Good article. Can’t wait to see the next one. How about an article on EOS flash.

  • http://bit.ly/oufr4c gnslngr45

    Looking forward to your pro camera review. I just upgraded from a 400D (XTi) to the Canon 7D. A huge jump in price (and size), but significantly better auto-focus, controls, low light abilities, and of course speed and megapixels. I feel I was hitting the limits on the 400D and felt if I had the cash available, why upgrade one step when I could jump right to the best one I could afford. I had already upgraded all my lenses (all f2.8 or f1.4)
    Loving it so far.

    Flickr:
    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • Nathan

    Thanks so much for this article! Not being a Canon user myself, I’ve never been able to get my head around Canon’s numbering of their DSLRs (the EOS 1100D not being in numerological order doesn’t help!) which makes it hard when helping out friends who are looking for a new DSLR. I look forward to the next article, and also hope that others will do the same type of articles for other brands.

  • http://www.lenslocker.co.uk Martin

    Great article, we often get amateurs who hire from us asking what the differences are, I will share this with them. Will you be doing one on the professional range of Canon cameras? Also, do you have an equivalent for Nikon? Thanks

  • Jim Donahue

    I solved all my problems by buying a NIKON D7100.

  • Jon

    Jim you obviously didn’t solve ALL your problems buying that Nikon. Your attitude still requires work.

    Looking forward to the semipro list!

  • Jim Donahue

    Poor Jon..got his pixels all in a dander

  • http://shutter-speed-and-aperture.com Japheth

    You have done a great review,as a Dslr user i prefer a camera that gives me gud quality.For the new cameras i dont think i can buy the likes of EOS 650 coz i dont believe in touch screen cameras unless its Black magic.i have a 60D,6D,7D and 5D mark III which serve me gud.I think before u purchase a camera look at the egornomics and the quality it gives u.

Some older comments

  • Japheth

    April 22, 2013 01:57 pm

    You have done a great review,as a Dslr user i prefer a camera that gives me gud quality.For the new cameras i dont think i can buy the likes of EOS 650 coz i dont believe in touch screen cameras unless its Black magic.i have a 60D,6D,7D and 5D mark III which serve me gud.I think before u purchase a camera look at the egornomics and the quality it gives u.

  • Jim Donahue

    April 20, 2013 07:16 am

    Poor Jon..got his pixels all in a dander

  • Jon

    April 19, 2013 10:39 am

    Jim you obviously didn't solve ALL your problems buying that Nikon. Your attitude still requires work.

    Looking forward to the semipro list!

  • Jim Donahue

    April 18, 2013 11:25 am

    I solved all my problems by buying a NIKON D7100.

  • Martin

    April 18, 2013 05:04 am

    Great article, we often get amateurs who hire from us asking what the differences are, I will share this with them. Will you be doing one on the professional range of Canon cameras? Also, do you have an equivalent for Nikon? Thanks

  • Nathan

    April 17, 2013 12:06 pm

    Thanks so much for this article! Not being a Canon user myself, I've never been able to get my head around Canon's numbering of their DSLRs (the EOS 1100D not being in numerological order doesn't help!) which makes it hard when helping out friends who are looking for a new DSLR. I look forward to the next article, and also hope that others will do the same type of articles for other brands.

  • gnslngr45

    April 15, 2013 11:22 pm

    Looking forward to your pro camera review. I just upgraded from a 400D (XTi) to the Canon 7D. A huge jump in price (and size), but significantly better auto-focus, controls, low light abilities, and of course speed and megapixels. I feel I was hitting the limits on the 400D and felt if I had the cash available, why upgrade one step when I could jump right to the best one I could afford. I had already upgraded all my lenses (all f2.8 or f1.4)
    Loving it so far.

    Flickr:
    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • Jurek Jerry

    April 15, 2013 09:33 pm

    Good article. Can't wait to see the next one. How about an article on EOS flash.

  • David S

    April 15, 2013 03:09 am

    I'm looking for an EOS body to mate up with some older EF Lens from a 35mm film body. I'd rather buy a body with a warranty then pickup something from a an unknown seller w/o warranty etc from Amazon etc. I've been watching the Canon Store Referb listing, but the cheap bodies move quickly (Canon had T1i's for $230 this week, gone within hours). Other than B&H or Adorama can you recommend a re-seller that supports a good warranty?

  • Andrew S Gibson

    April 14, 2013 08:55 pm

    Tod, I think it's because the EOS 700D is only a minor upgrade over the 650D. Just a few tweaks here and there. I guess Canon don't really want to sell the the 650D and 700D at different prices because they are more or less the same camera. But they can sell the 600D more cheaply because there is a clear difference in spec between that and the 700D.

  • Tod

    April 14, 2013 08:29 am

    do you know of the reasoning behind replacing the 650D rather than the older 600D? I have the 600D and its a great camera but i find it strange that they are keeping that instead of the newer 650D

  • Angela Heidt

    April 14, 2013 06:33 am

    Great article! I have a T3i and was considering the T5i, but I think I'll save up for a slightly more advanced camera so I don't outgrow it too quickly. Thanks!

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