I am in Tokyo again this week, and when I am here I always make sure to have a camera with me as I make my way around the city. With all the walking and hopping on/off trains in crowded environments, smaller is better when it comes to cameras and this is why I am reluctant to carry around my full-size 5D bodies. In previous trips my “walk-around” camera has been either the Canon G11 or my FUJI X-100 and they have served me well.
For this trip I have opted to go with Canon’s new “world’s smallest” DSLR, the EOS 100D Kiss X7 (identical to the soon-to-be-released EOS 100D Rebel SL1 in the states). I’ve paired the body with my 40mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens for an ultra portable setup. After spending 3 days with the setup hanging on my shoulder, I am in love with it. The compact size (compare it to my iPhone 4s in the photo above), light weight and snappy SLR performance is great. I love my FUJI X100, but using this camera I have to say I haven’t missed the quirkiness of the X100 one bit. Even though it only has a limited amount of focus points, especially compared to my 5D Mark III, it does its job well.
The huge selling point for me is that the camera disappears when I sling it over my shoulder. The light weight and the narrow profile (especially with the pancake lens) combine for a very unobtrusive package. And with the camera looking like nothing to be taken serious, people hardly pay attention to me snapping pics. When I have pulled out a 5D III with a battery grip and 24-105 in similar environments, it is very evident that people take notice.
I’m not going to dig into image quality (check out the sample pic gallery on DPReview.com for that), but I will say that I am pleased with what is coming out of the camera. They do lack quite a bit behind my 5D III with L glass, but of course this little setup can be had for about 1/5 of the cost.
The only shortcoming that I feel with it so far is the limiting focal length of the 40mm (64mm equivalent) pancake lens. I could pair it with an 18-55 kit lens, but the size of that would hamper the compactness. I would really like to see Canon add another pancake form factor in a wide angle focal length to their lineup. An 18mm pancake would be awesome.
At around $650 in the US for the body, I feel that the camera is a bargain. It will take its place as my everyday carry-around camera for the foreseeable future.