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Canon EOS R100 review

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Canon EOS R100

The Canon’s brilliant AF tech comes to a beginner camera along with guided menus, 24MP APS-C image quality, 4K video, and cutting-edge RF-mount lenses (though you can also use EF-mount DSLR glass with an adapter)

PROS

  • Affordable yet capable
  • Great image quality
  • Easy to learn and use

CONS

  • No touchscreen
  • Crop + no Dual Pixel in 4K
Canon EOS R100

The Canon EOS R100 fulfills a long-awaited need in the R system’s lineup. While professional, 8K, and cinema cameras have been available, what we truly desired was an accessible, beginner-friendly camera. It needed to be user-friendly for families to effortlessly capture cherished moments, similar to using a smartphone, while also offering advanced features for budding photography enthusiasts to grow their skills.

The Canon EOS R100 perfectly meets these requirements. It’s a camera that simplifies the process for newcomers to capture outstanding images in automatic mode. However, its true capabilities shine when you switch to semi-automatic and manual modes, allowing for creative possibilities that surpass what’s achievable with a smartphone.

Consequently, the R100 takes the place of the popular Canon Rebel SL2 / Canon EOS 200D and the Canon Rebel T7 / Canon EOS 2000D. It serves as the most budget-friendly entry point into Canon’s EOS R camera system, providing access to their impressive assortment of Canon RF lenses. 

Specifications

Sensor: 24.1MP APS-C CMOS
Image Processor: Digic 8
AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF (88% coverage)
ISO range: 100 to 12,800 (exp to 25,600)
Stabilization: Electronic (Movie Digital IS)
Video: 4K up to 25p (1.55x crop), 1080p up to 60p (uncropped), 720p up to 120p • Vertical video
Viewfinder: 2.36m dots, up to 60fps refresh rate, 0.95x magnification
Memory card: 1x SD card
LCD: Fixed 3-inch (non-touch)screen, 1.04m dots
Max burst: 6.5fps (3.5fps with AF)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro HDMI, microphone jack
Dimensions: 116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm
Weight: 356g with battery and memory card

KEY FEATURES

Establishing itself as one of the top choices for beginners, the Canon EOS R100 intentionally ditches numerous advanced camera functions in favor of a user-friendly approach. Designed for individuals new to photography, particularly those accustomed to capturing images with a smartphone, the R100 presents a user interface that guides you through the process with approachable menus, ensuring that you can effortlessly command the camera to capture your desired shots.

If you’re not well-versed in camera settings, fret not, as the menus include explanations of different modes along with on-screen previews, making it a cakewalk to start taking pictures promptly.

Features like Creative Assist empower you to tweak aspects such as contrast, brightness, and background blur without requiring an in-depth knowledge of settings. And when you’re prepared to venture into semi-automatic or even manual modes, the exposure dial provides precise control right at your fingertips.

However, don’t mistake the simplicity and single control dial for a lack of capability; the R100 may be beginner-friendly, but it packs significant photographic power. 

The Canon EOS R100 features a 24.1MP APS-C image sensor, an improved version of the one found in the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, offering excellent detail and the ability to create a shallow depth of field. Additionally, its 1.6x crop factor enhances the focal length of your lenses, making it ideal for capturing distant subjects, such as wildlife or sports.

While newer EOS R cameras have been introduced, the R100 maintains the robust Dual Pixel Autofocus system found in professional DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, ensuring reliable and precise focusing. In terms of video capabilities, the R100 captures both Full HD and 4K video in both horizontal and vertical orientations, simplifying sharing and uploading. It’s important to note that shooting in 4K introduces an additional 1.55x crop factor, necessitating the use of ultra-wide lenses like the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM for a wider field of view, and Dual Pixel AF is not available in 4K, instead using a contrast-detect autofocus system (though Dual Pixel AF is available in Full HD).

BUILD & HANDLING

The Canon EOS R100 closely resembles the Canon EOS R50 in terms of size, shape, and layout, fitting between the more advanced Canon EOS R10 and the R100 in Canon’s product hierarchy. This mirrorless camera boasts remarkable compactness, even within the mirrorless camera category, and is complemented by a range of appropriately sized compact lenses. Notably, the Canon RF 28mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens, introduced simultaneously with the R100, pairs exceptionally well with the camera. For optimal portability and performance, this camera is ideally coupled with lightweight prime lenses and the bundled Canon RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens.

The camera’s controls are intuitively designed and straightforward. The ON/OFF switch is conveniently integrated into the mode dial on the right side of the camera, making it effortless to power up the camera with a single hand, ensuring you’re ready to capture moments swiftly, whether it’s street photography or shots of kids playing in the yard. Additionally, a pop-up flash is integrated into the camera body, providing the flexibility to continue shooting in low-light conditions or indoor settings with limited illumination. Above the flash, a hot shoe is available for attaching accessories such as flashguns or vlogging microphones, offering creative possibilities.

However, two notable concerns arise with the R100’s handling. First, the rear LCD screen lacks touch functionality, a feature commonly expected in entry-level cameras. Considering the R100’s target audience primarily comprises smartphone photographers, this omission may disappoint users who are accustomed to tapping the screen for tasks like capturing a photo or adjusting menu settings. Second, there is occasional interference with the mode dial while adjusting the exposure control dial during shooting. While not a major issue, it’s worth noting that users with larger hands may experience inadvertent button or dial adjustments due to the camera’s compact chassis.

PERFORMANCE

The Canon EOS R100 excels in producing outstanding imagery, whether you opt for auto, semi-auto, or full manual shooting modes. In auto modes, it mirrors the simplicity of a smartphone, selecting the optimal settings to deliver well-exposed images with minimal camera shake. Notably, it also provides the advantage of achieving a shallow depth of field, creating those sought-after “blurry backgrounds” reminiscent of portrait or cinematic mode on a phone. Shifting to manual control modes unlocks the potential for experimentation with aspects like depth of field and capturing fast-moving subjects. Regardless of the mode, the camera consistently delivers pristine images characterized by vibrant colors and ample detail, courtesy of its 24.1MP image sensor.

The camera’s ability to capture RAW files in addition to JPEGs enhances post-processing flexibility, enabling creative editing with software such as Adobe Photoshop or Canon’s free Digital Photo Professional application. However, the ISO range of the image sensor has its limitations, with a top end of ISO 12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,600). This conservative range means that noise may become noticeable more quickly when shooting in low-light conditions and relying solely on the ISO setting to expose your images. 

While the Canon EOS R100 exhibits reliable autofocus, particularly with Dual Pixel AF’s Face+ Tracking and Eye Detection, it’s worth noting that Dual Pixel AF is unavailable in 4K mode, making 4K video performance suboptimal.

For video enthusiasts, Full HD (1080p) shooting supports Dual Pixel AF up to 60p for semi-slow-motion shots, while 720p allows for 120p recording for full slow-motion. Canon’s Movie Digital Image Stabilization feature is available across all modes to eliminate camera shake in your footage. Additionally, two noteworthy but often overlooked features of the R100 include 4K Frame Grab, allowing you to extract high-quality still frames from 4K footage, and Hybrid Auto, which records 2-4 seconds of video when taking a photo, creating an interesting compilation of your day’s clips. 

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