Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested

The least expensive camera body in this group, the 1100D is actually cheaper than most other bodies on test, even if you include its kit 18-55mm IS lens.

You get quite a lot for your money, with a similar layout of control buttons and dials to the Canon EOS 550D and Canon EOS 600D, along with the same iFCL (intelligent Focus Colour Luminance) metering system, Digic 4 image processor and a nine-point autofocus system.

However, while all three Canon cameras feature a cross-type AF point at the centre, the Canon EOS 1100D's doesn't offer extra sensitivity when using 'fast' lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger.

In some respects, the Canon EOS 1100D isn't really a great sporting option. Its maximum drive rate of 3fps is the joint slowest in the group, with the Nikon D3100. Unlike with the Nikon, though, this slows to a very disappointing 2fps if you shoot in raw rather than JPEG mode.

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested

It's also the only camera here that delivers just 720p rather than 1080p (full HD) video resolution. The three-inch LCD screen also has a relatively low 230k-pixel resolution, again in common with the Nikon D3100.

Image quality is similar to that of the Canon EOS 550D and 600D in terms of colour rendition and contrast, as you'd expect from a camera that has the same image processor and auto lighting optimiser.

However, despite also having the same metering system, the Canon EOS 1100D's images are often rather lighter than those from the other Canon cameras and can sometimes look a bit washed out. Resolution is also substantially lower, as the 1100D only has a 12.2MP sensor, compared to the 18MP sensors of the other two Canons in the group.

There are plenty of direct access buttons to enhance responsiveness, but handling is significantly impaired by the unfortunate lack of any textured surfaces on the grip areas. On hot, sunny days when you're shooting with sweaty hands, the Canon EOS 1100D feels positively slippery.

Image quality

Outdoor

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested

The Canon EOS 1100D tends to produce rather light images, often at the expense of highlight detail and vibrant skies.

Resolution

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested

Boasting a modest 12.2MP image sensor, the Canon EOS 1100D has the joint lowest resolution score in the group.

Noise

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested
ISO 100

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested
ISO 3200

Partly due to its lower-resolution sensor, image noise is less noticeable than with the other Canons at high ISOs in low light.

Colour error

Best sports DSLRs: 6 tested

The Canon EOS 1100D gives natural-looking colour rendition, but its tendency towards light exposures can drain saturation.

Image test verdict

Sporting images from the Canon EOS 1100D can look a little insipid, but the camera redeems itself in low light with very good high ISO performance.

Read our Canon EOS 1100D review