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[Part 2] EOS 100D with Enhanced Shooting Functions and Comfortable Body Design

The EOS 100D is the world’s most compact and lightweight digital SLR camera that is equipped with an APS-C size sensor. In this following interview, the development team shares with us stories behind the development scene. Here in [Part 2], stories of body design phase unfold. The new shooting functions are also introduced. (Based on the interview held in April 2013)(Interviewer: Ryosuke Takahashi/ Photos of interviewees: Takehiro Kato)

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(Back row, from left)
Wataru Yokota, Photo Products Group/ Takashi Watanabe, Camera Development Center/ Tatsuhiro Ohnaka, Photo Products Group/ Masahiro Kobayashi, Photo Products Group/ Hironori Oishi, Design Center
(Front row, from left)
Keisuke Kudo, Camera Development Center/ Tomoaki Tanaka, Camera Development Center/ Masanori Sakai, Camera Development Center/ Hiroaki Nashizawa, Camera Development Center

Camera with an active appearance

― Next, can you describe the design concept of the EOS 100D?

Oishi Our focus was to downsize the body boldly, so the design concept we decided on was to give the camera an active appearance that makes users want to carry it out with them.

― The body is black in color, but the impression I get from the coating seems slightly different from the other EOS models.

Oishi Yes, there is a very slight difference because we applied pearl coating to add a sportier feel to the EOS 100D. Since the EOS 100D was released concurrently with the EOS 700D, which are both black in color, we gave each model a different finish according to their characteristics.

The black coating of EOS 100D applies a pearl coating to add a sportier feel.

― Which part of the EOS 100D did you focus on the most when designing the camera?

Oishi The part that we focused on the most is the grip. At the initial design phase, the development team presented us with the target values for the camera size, so for us, the issue was how to incorporate them into the design.

― So, am I right to say that the design was determined based on the size?

Oishi Yes. When we first embarked on the design work, the development team presented us with the specs that were close to the final product. While this was an exciting moment, we had to work very hard to explore shapes that were able to maintain the operability. Simply downsizing the existing grips was not a viable option. We needed to go through many rounds of trial-and-error to come up with different prototypes.

― The shutter button on the EOS 100D has been shifted inward. What is the reason for this change in position?

Oishi By shifting the shutter button, the index finger can now rest naturally on it when you are holding the camera in your hand. Also, the grip forms an L-shaped design from the shutter button, which provides a comfortable grip despite the small size of the camera body.

The shape of the grip is one of the parts that was most focused on. The shutter button is shifted inwards a little to realize a comfortable grip.

― I see. So it seems that the shape of the grip has helped you to create the overall flow of the design.

Oishi That's right. Also, we accentuated the design by connecting the surface from the grip to the shutter button with geometric patterns formed from diagonal lines.

― Can you tell us more about the features of the three new Special scene modes?

Nashizawa [Kids] is a shooting mode that allows the user to photograph more comfortably children who are moving around. AI Servo AF is selected as the AF operation, together with a relatively fast shutter speed. Picture Style is also adjusted to reproduce the skin complexion of the subject in a healthy tone, while the drive mode is set to continuous shooting. Meanwhile, the camera is programmed to capture a more appealing shot of the food in the [Food] mode, with exposure slightly corrected to increase the brightness. White balance and Picture Style are also automatically adjusted at the same time to reproduce the food in vivid colors. More specifically, the colors are tweaked to retain a slightly reddish tone. However, different individuals may have different preferences in the colors and tones they want to use, so we made it possible for our users to adjust the color tone toward amber or blue in the Detail setting screen. The [Candlelight] mode, as the name suggests, is suited for photographing at scenes that make use of candlelight as the main light source. The colors are automatically tweaked to produce a warm tone unique to candles, while manual adjustment toward blue and amber is also possible in the same way as the [Food] mode. Flash firing is disabled in order to reproduce the ambience created by the candlelight.

[Kids] in the Special scene modes is good for shooting kids running around.

[Food] in the Special scene modes is programmed to capture a more appealing shot of the food by increasing the exposure and adjusting the white balance and Picture Style.

[Candlelight] in the Special scene modes reproduce scene with a warmer tone, a unique ambience to candlelight.

― Thank you for the detailed explanation. It does seem that there did not exist any shooting mode that corresponds exactly to these three Special scene modes.

Nashizawa You are right. Although the [Sports] mode can also be used to capture children who are moving around, it does not take the color tone into consideration. Also, the [Kids] mode allows you to fire the built-in flash at a dimly-lit place to brighten the subject. Meanwhile, the [Candlelight] mode controls AE with the Center-weighted average metering mode to prevent the subject from turning out dark, while the center AF point is used as a fixed focusing point to avoid the focus from being affected by the light source.

― Next, could you explain more about the new [Extra Effect Shot] feature found in the Creative Auto mode and tell us what its characteristics are?

Kobayashi The [Extra Effect Shot] option gathers a total of 19 effects from features such as Picture Style and Creative filter. When it is enabled, pressing the shutter button each time captures a shot in the normal settings, as well as another image that is applied with the selected effect.

[Extra Effect Shot] is a new feature found in the Creative Auto mode. This function captures a shot with the normal settings, as well as another image that is applied with the selected effect with each single push of the shutter button.

― It seems like a very handy feature. How do you make full use of it?

Kobayashi It has made it easier for users to challenge features which they have not used before to produce photographic works. We hope this can help to bring new inspirations to our users in their photographic expression. Among the 19 effects, you can register up to two favorite types in [Favorite effect].

― Next, can you tell us more about the [Background blur] option and their characteristics?

Kobayashi The [Background blur] option can also be found on the existing models. On the EOS 100D, however, you can now simulate the background blur effect in real time on the Live View screen while you are shooting. Also, the parameters available on the operation screen vary with maximum aperture of the lens in use.

The effect of [Background blur] can now be checked real time using the Live View while you are shooting.

― In other words, the number of selectable levels now changes with the lens in use.

Kobayashi Yes. The state of the aperture is indicated in one of the five levels with a bar. The aperture range that is shown on the LCD monitor is from f/2.8 to f/11. When a lens brighter than f/2.8 is in use, the background blur is set based on an aperture value between f/2.8 and f/11.

― One of the features that interest me most is the [Cropping] function. To what extent am I able to control it freely?

Kobayashi Yes, once you have given it a try, you would realize that it is a highly flexible feature. Besides changing the aspect ratio, you can also alter the size of the frame using your fingers on the touch screen. Not only so, the frame can also be dragged freely within the screen to crop the image according to the intended composition.

― Is Exif data saved in the cropped image?

Kobayashi Yes, it remains inside the data domain.

[Cropping] function is added newly to the EOS 100D. Stored in the Playback 2 menu, you can adjust the size of the frame using your fingers on the touch screen.

― You have some unique features for movie recording too, am I right?

Nashizawa Yes. The EOS 100D is the first camera in the EOS series to come with the [Miniature effect movie] feature, which allows you to apply the [Miniature effect] Creative filter to movies as well. In addition, you can manually select a playback speed from [5x], [10x], and [20x], which adds a comical effect to moving objects.

[Miniature effect movie] can be used to apply [Miniature effect] Creative Filter to movies.

― What kind of visual effect will I get when I change the playback speed?

Nashizawa By setting it to [5x], people who are walking would appear to move mechanically like robots. [20x] is suited for objects moving at a slow speed. For example, a ship in the distance would seem to be moving quickly and smoothly across the screen. You can enjoy the different effects according to the distance from the subject.

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is the new kit lens

― The EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is the new kit lens. Can you describe its features?

Yokota The greatest advancement in this lens is that movie recording with AF has become much easier. By adopting a focusing mechanism that employs a stepping motor and lead screw, the same mechanism as that of the EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, we were able to realize a high-speed and smooth AF drive.

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

EOS 100D with EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM attached

EOS 100D now comes with the new kit lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. Focusing is quiet and smooth realizing a comfortable AF operation during movie shooting.

― What type of motor did you use for the old kit lens, or in other words, the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II?

Watanabe The old kit lens uses a DC motor, which comes with a decelerating gear for moving the focusing lens group. The motor turns during the focusing operation to move the focusing lenses, and sound is generated when the gears are engaged. This sound is recorded during movie shooting, which can make the playback experience less pleasant. Particularly, the built-in microphone of the camera is located close to the lens, which makes it more likely to pick up the operating sound.

― Is there any difference with the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II when you are taking still photos?

Yokota At a scene where sound is unwelcome, for instance, the stepping motor (STM) of the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM allows you to perform focusing without producing almost any sound. This comes in handy when you are taking photos of a concert or a sleeping child.

― Is the AF speed affected by the change in the motor and focusing system?

Watanabe By adopting an inner focusing system, the operating range of the focusing lenses now varies with the zoom focal length. With a focal length at the telephoto end, where the amount of displacement of the focusing lenses is the largest, the speed remains unchanged compared to the old kit lens. Instead, since the amount of displacement is smaller at the wide-angle side, focusing can be performed at a faster speed. Also, the stop accuracy of AF is enhanced by the better performance of the in-lens CPU.

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM adopts a focusing mechanism that employs a stepping motor and lead screw which enables quiet and high-speed AF drive.

  1. Guide bars
  2. Focus lens
  3. Lead screw
  4. Rack
  5. Stepping motor

― What about the performance of the lens in terms of image quality?

Watanabe The image quality is almost the same as that of the old kit lens. Efforts were made to achieve high image quality throughout the entire zoom range by utilizing the high-precision spherical lens element effectively.

― The maximum magnification is also higher compared to the old kit lens.

Watanabe Yes, the maximum magnification of about 0.36x is the highest among the EF-S zoom lenses that we have released so far, with the exception of the macro lenses. By adopting an original design to enhance the optical performance, we were able to achieve a higher magnification, while maintaining a high level of operability at the same time.

Yokota The greatest appeal of the new lens is none other than the pleasant movie-recording experience it offers. In particular, focusing operation is smooth when it is used in combination with the Hybrid CMOS AF II sensor. Focus can be established accurately in a single operation, thus making viewing of the recorded movies a pleasant experience.

― Thank you very much for your time today.

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