The Canon PowerShot A1100 IS is a slight upgrade from the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS. Two main features set the A1100 IS apart from its predecessor: the beefed-up resolution and new Canon DIGIC 4 image processor. The A1100 IS has 12 megapixels, although the higher resolution doesn't necessarily mean better picture quality, as it's squeezed into the same size sensor (1/2.3 inches) as the 10-megapixel A1000 IS. Still, there's no denying the boost from the new processor, which heaps on automatic features that "take the guesswork out of shooting" for beginners, says Mark Goldstein of PhotographyBlog.com. Otherwise, the cameras share identical components and form factor. The A1100 IS has the same 4x optical zoom lens, and its optical image stabilization works in movie mode. Focal range spans from 35 mm to 140 mm with an "exceptional macro mode," according to Ben Long of Macworld.
Reviewers are less than impressed with the A1100's 2.5-inch, 115,000-pixel LCD display, which Long describes as "washed out." While the optical viewfinder is a convenient and energy-saving alternative for shooting in bright sunlight, Long notes it displays only about 85 percent of the actual image. Ease of use is the A1100 IS's strength. Strictly a point-and-shoot camera, the A1100 IS offers finger-friendly, roomy control buttons that PCMag.com's PJ Jacobowitz considers "excellent" -- clearly labeled, firm to the touch and with enough resistance to avoid accidental activation. CNET's Joshua Goldman says the straightforward menu navigation offers "simple" operation, while Easy Mode and Smart Auto Mode take all the guesswork out of snapping the perfect shot. Its advanced face detection can focus on a specific face in group photos, and there's even a Face Detection Self-Timer function so you can join in the group shot. The slimmer Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS (Discontinued) boasts a higher resolution LCD and a pocketable size, although it's not quite as easy to use as the A1100 IS.
PhotographyBlog.com and Steves-Digicams.com, along with CNET, PCMag.com and Macworld provide the most extensive testing and evaluation of the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS. Rounding out our sources are user reviews from Amazon.com and CanonUSA.com, which help to confirm expert findings and reveal problems with long-term use.
In his extensive testing of the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, Mark Goldstein notes that the camera is nearly identical to its predecessor -- the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS -- but "builds on key strengths," especially the beginner-friendly features. Setbacks include the low-resolution LCD, slow continuous shooting speeds and image noise above 200 ISO.
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100 IS Review, Mark Goldstein, March 17, 2009
For reviewer Joshua Goldman, the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS "gets the job done" in spite of its lack of manual controls. With its simple operation, excellent image quality and real image zoom viewfinder, he says the A1100 IS "provides a good point-and-shoot experience."
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, Joshua Goldman, July 7, 2009
The Canon PowerShot A1100 IS is considered a good point-and-shoot camera that's easy enough for anyone to use. It includes fully-loaded features that are considered a bit more versatile than other entry-level cameras, but editors note that shooting performance is not a great improvement over the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS.
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, March 19, 2009
Despite its upgraded sensor resolution and Digic 4 image processor, he finds the performance of the PowerShot A1100 IS to be nearly identical to the A1000 IS, with top notch image quality, fast speeds and good controls.
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, PJ Jacobowitz, July 9, 2009
Ben Long considers the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS "a great starter point-and-shoot camera" that delivers better image quality than other cameras in its class. While the A1100 IS lacks any manual controls and falls short when shooting in low-light conditions, it nonetheless excels with its automatic scene and focus modes, standardized control layout and "exceptional" macro mode.
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100 IS, Ben Long, May 12, 2009
Over 200 owners weigh in on the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS. While the A1100 IS rates well for its automatic features and easy functionality, reviews on image quality are mixed, ranging from very good to grainy and overexposed.
Review: Canon PowerShot A1100IS, Contributors to Amazon.com
Numerous users provide mixed reviews about their experience with the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS. Some say it's an all-around excellent camera that takes great photos, while others complain about long shot delays and mediocre image quality. Several users concur that the instruction manual is less than stellar.
Review: Product Reviews: PowerShot A1100 IS, Contributors to CanonUSA.com