The Canon EOS R100 is the entry-level model in the firm’s RF-mount range of mirrorless cameras. It’s designed to be a simple, easy-to-use family camera that’s compact and lightweight. We actually thought Canon had announced its entry-level model back in February, when the EOS R50 appeared with the same sensor and processor as the more expensive EOS R10, but in a much simpler body derived from the older EOS M50 Mark II. Now Canon has figured out how to make a camera that’s cheaper still, at £670 with the 18-45mm kit zoom, compared to £900 for the EOS R50.
Canon EOS R100 at a glance:
- £669.99 with RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens
- 24.1MP APS-C, Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor
- ISO 100-12,800, ISO 25,600 expanded
- Up to 6.5 frames per second shooting (3.5 fps with AF)
- 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder, 0.59x magnification, 60fps
- 3in fixed LCD
- 4K 25p video recording (with 1.6x crop); Full HD up to 120 fps
So how has Canon achieved this feat of affordability? Essentially, it’s gone back in time and re-used the innards of the EOS M50 Mark II – which aren’t much different from the original EOS M50 from 2018. And it’s put these in a body design that strongly resembles the R50 but is even simpler, with a fixed rear screen. The result is a camera reminiscent of the firm’s older, very basic entry-level DSLRs such as the Canon EOS Rebel T7/ EOS 2000D. So what do you get – and what do you miss out on?
Canon EOS R100 – features
Firstly, while the sensor specs look much the same at first sight – a 24MP APS-C-sized unit – here you get a slightly slower top sensitivity of ISO 25,600 compared to ISO 32,000 on the R50. You also get the older Digic 8 processor, which essentially means that the R100’s core imaging components are now five years old. Let’s be clear, though, the EOS M50 / Mark II were still capable of giving very nice results, and we can expect much the same from the EOS R100. Just perhaps not quite as nice as the EOS R50.
The older processor has one obvious drawback – it’s not beefy enough to run the sophisticated subject detection autofocus algorithms that are on all of Canon’s other recent cameras, which are capable of focusing specifically on people, animals or vehicles. Instead, the EOS R100 just makes do with face and eye detection. If you buy into the idea that this is a simple family camera that’ll mainly be used for taking pictures of people, that might not be a huge loss.
Another penalty of the older sensor and processor comes with regards to video. Specifically, 4K recording is available at 25fps, but only using a substantial 1.6x crop of the sensor. This is a serious drawback when you take into account that Canon’s widest matched RF-S lenses offer only an 18mm wideangle view (equivalent to 29mm on full-frame). Once that crop is applied, this jumps to 46mm equivalent, which isn’t very wide at all. In fact, it’s extremely limiting.
In 4K, you also don’t get Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, so are limited to the slower contrast detection, which is prone to producing disconcerting ‘wobbling’ during recording. This means that for decent video AF performance, you’re practically limited to using Full HD. As a result, Canon is downplaying the EOS R100’s video features and has only fitted a fixed, rather than articulated LCD screen. If you consider yourself a ‘creator’, the message is that you should buy an EOS R50 instead.
Canon EOS R100 – Design tweaks
Looking at the top of the camera, there are some small but important differences compared to the EOS R50. Most notably, the R100 lacks an ISO button beside the shutter button, which feels odd for a camera that’s supposed to be tailored towards shooting still images. On a more positive note, you get Canon’s standard hot shoe that’ll accept a wide range of flashguns, as opposed to the EOS R50’s multi-function shoe that’s more suited to video sound-recording accessories, and which requires a £60 adapter to use a flash. Note that the EOS R100 appears to have only a mono microphone in front of the hot shoe.
Another area where the EOS R100 differs from the R50 lies with regards to connectors. On the side of the handgrip, you get the same USB-C port for charging and connecting to a computer, and micro-HDMI for video output. There’s also a 3.5mm stereo mic input for higher quality sound. But the EOS R100 actually gains a feature here, with a 2.5mm wired remote release port. It feels like we’re getting slightly mixed messages, given the loss of the ISO button.
Turning our attention to power and storage, here the EOS R100 uses Canon’s familiar LP-E17 battery, which is the same as the M50, M50 Mark II and R50. It also has a single SD card slot in the same compartment as the battery. This is a resolutely conventional approach for this kind of camera.
Canon has made a point of including all of its interface features that are designed to help inexperienced users understand how to use the camera. You get a Guided UI, with descriptive cues for what the various controls do, complete with onscreen examples. There’s also Creative Assist, which provides a set results-driven adjustments (for example using terminology such as lighter/darker in place of exposure compensation).
Canon EOS R100: First Impressions
Canon has clearly brought the EOS R100 to market with the aim of it being one of the simplest, cheapest and most user-friendly mirrorless cameras available. Its £670 price tag with the 18-45mm kit zoom may look high to those used to sub-£500 DSLRs like the EOS 2000D, or the indeed the better-featured EOS M50 Mark II that’s £650 with its 15-45mm kit zoom. But it’s actually pretty affordable compared to cameras like the Fujifilm X-T30 II, Nikon Z50 and Sony Alpha A6100. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Canon tends to launch entry-level cameras at prices that look rather high, but which come down over time.
Unsurprisingly, my initial concerns about the Canon EOS R100 relate pretty much directly to the corners that have been cut to achieve its price point. Arguably the best EOS R50’s standout feature compared to its competitors is subject detection, but that’s missing here. Likewise, the R50’s saving grace in terms in terms of usability is its excellent touch interface, which you don’t get here. Instead, changing settings on a shot-by-shot basis will likely require a lot of tedious button-pressing. The EOS R100 just doesn’t look like it’ll be a very pleasant camera to use. That’s before we even start thinking about Canon’s disappointing RF-S lens range.
The even bigger question, though, is whether anyone needs a small, light, simple family camera for taking pictures of special occasions without having to fuss around with complicated settings. Surely that’s what their smartphone does already…