Canon EOS 1300D review – the latest entry-level SLR

The EOS 1300D is Canon’s latest entry-level SLR. It has a fair amount in common with the pricier Canon EOS 750D except that it omits various extra features that the 750D and its predecessors has accrued over the years. The 1300D’s 18-megapixel sensor, fixed LCD screen and nine-point autofocus mean it’s similar to the EOS 550D, which first appeared in 2010.

One thing that’s included on the 1300D that you didn’t get with the 550D — or with the 1200D that this camera replaces — is Wi-Fi. It’s a feature I increasingly rely on when I want to share photos via a tablet or phone rather than grappling with a PC and card reader.

The 1300D’s Wi-Fi implementation comes complete with NFC for easy connection to Android devices. It wasn’t quite effortless but after a few attempts I managed to establish a connection. The companion app includes remote shooting, transfers and GPS tagging. Remote shooting was a tad sluggish, both to update the remote viewfinder and to respond to input, but it did the job. I like the ability to star-rate photos on a tablet, giving you something useful to do during long journeys home. Video isn’t supported over Wi-Fi, neither for remote shooting nor transfers.

Canon EOS 1300D angle

The 3in screen’s resolution is up from 460,000 to 920,000 dots, which is welcome enough, but the 1200D’s screen didn’t look particularly blocky. I’d have preferred it if Canon had upgraded the optical viewfinder size. Its 0.8x magnification (equivalent to 0.5x on a full-frame camera) is one of the smallest on the market and isn’t as rewarding to use as the larger optical and electronic viewfinders offered elsewhere.

The controls have been tried and tested on many EOS cameras, and on the whole they’re well designed. There are quite a few labelled buttons, and while the labels might not be familiar to newcomers, I always prefer a camera that encourages people to learn the ropes rather than hide useful features out of sight. Manual white balance is much harder to access than it should be, though. Hitting the WB button brings up various white balance presets but calibrating it using a white or grey subject involves jumping through lots of hoops.

Canon EOS 1300D back

Tapping the Q button reveals various functions on the screen, which can be navigated using the four-way pad and adjusted using the command dial. However, when making adjustments via the main menu or the labelled buttons, settings must be saved by hitting OK. Adjusting a setting and then pressing the shutter button means the adjustment is discarded. I was often caught out by this and can’t think of any reason for it. The EOS 1200D did the same thing.

Otherwise it’s responsive and straightforward to use, with nippy autofocus contributing to a shot every 0.4 seconds in normal use. However, it’s worth noting that Canon sent me its 18-55mm STM lens for testing, whereas the 1300D is normally sold with the 18-55mm IS II lens, which may behave differently.

Canon EOS 1300D top

Setting the flash to full power, it managed a shot every 2.7 seconds — an excellent result. Continuous shooting trundled along at 3fps, which is the slowest I’ve seen for a while. Shooting in RAW mode, it slowed to 0.8fps after six frames. This isn’t a camera for wildlife or sports photography.

Videos are recorded at 1080p resolution, but while the big sensor should deliver excellent quality, it isn’t as simple as that. The algorithm used to resize the sensor’s 18-megapixel output down to 2-megapixel (1080p) video frames produces slightly coarse details and is prone to moiré interference. Autofocus is locked during recording by default, and enabling continuous autofocus for videos results in clumsy adjustments. Videos stop recording without any after about 12 minutes, once the video file reaches a 4GB limit.

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