Not all DSLR cameras are built equal. In general, there are three tiers: entry level, mid level and high end.
The Canon EOS 1300D falls in the entry-level category. But this does not mean it is stripped of features. In fact, I find it to be a very capable camera for budding photographers.
Like its predecessor, the EOS 1200D, ithas an 18-megapixel image sensor along with nine autofocus (AF) points and a polycarbonate body.
PRICE: $669 (with EF-S 18-55mm IS II kit lens)
SENSOR: 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
DISPLAY: Fixed 3-inch LCD display with 920,000 dots; optical viewfinder
SHOOTING SPEED: Up to three frames per second
WEIGHT: 485g (body only, with battery and memory card)
BATTERY LIFE: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
However, the sensitivity of the APS-C-sized sensor has seen a minor upgrade, with the maximum ISO at 12,800, compared to 6,400 on the older model.
But what caught my eye were the new built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities. This means you can connect your iOS or Android devices to the camera to retrieve your photos and then edit them with the plethora of smartphone apps available.
Connecting the camera to my iPhone was a breeze. I just had to download the Canon Camera Connect app from the app store and the on-screen instructions got me connected within minutes.
For Android users with NFC- enabled devices, the pairing should be easier as you just need to tap the devices together to get them connected.
The button layout of the EOS 1300D is quite straightforward. The mode dial sits on the top deck, next to the power switch. This configuration makes it easy for one-handed operations.
One small gripe that I have is that the camera has only one jog dial for changing settings. While this works well in Program and Aperture/ Shutter Priority modes, I had to hold the AV button at the back to change the aperture settings in Manual mode. It would have been great if there was another jog dial.
Autofocus is generally fast and accurate. While it is not as speedy as the more expensive models like the EOS 8D, I find it acceptable in most lighting conditions.
In Live View mode, however, phase detection becomes unavailable and the contrast detection AF stuttered in low-lighting or low- contrast scenes. This can be resolved by toggling to the Quick AF function, whereby the camera disables Live View for a short while to focus using phase detection and resumes with Live View again.
Image quality is what you would expect from an entry-level DSLR camera. Photos are generally clear of noise up to ISO 1,600. Beyond that, you will notice noise creeping in. RAW files showed accurate colours. Straight-out-of-camera Jpeg images have vivid colors that are not overly saturated, giving them a natural look.
• Verdict: The EOS 1300D packs a load of features with decent image quality, along with a capable kit lens at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended for first-time DSLR buyers.
• Leonard Goh is a photography instructor and freelance writer who used to write about cameras at CNet Asia.