Canon's thinking big when it comes to small: the Canon EOS 100D is a brand new line to the EOS range, which undercuts its bigger brother 700D by 25 per cent size and 28 per cent weight. But is this mini a master of all things DSLR?

Pocket-lint handled the 100D at Canon's London headquarters to get an initial feel for the camera. First impressions are, obviously, that it's a lot smaller than other DSLR cameras out there. We can't think of any that nearly match up to this size equivalent - if anything the 100D is closer to a compact system camera's size, yet it still utilises the same EF-S mount as per the majority of other EOS DSLRs. No compromising there then - if anything it leaves us feeling almost baffled as to the purpose of the EOS M following the announcement of this mini DSLR.

READ: Canon EOS M review

However the 100D's small size won't suit all. We found that holding the camera's shorter grip led to a stray little finger not really having anywhere to go. We doubt that long periods of use would be particularly comfortable, though those with small hands or more occasional snappers would likely disagree.

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The 100D's cut-back size has been achieved by a number of processes: Canon's totally redesigned the shutter mechanism, as well as the sensor module which, despite offering the same exposed APS-C area, is considerably smaller thanks to shrinking down its surrounding components - the sensor module has also been made thinner.

We queried whether this shrinking process meant that close-arranged components would cause excess heat due to their locale and, therefore, increased image noise - but Canon claims a thought-out arrangement of components means each keep their distance optimal from the next for best performance.

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At this stage we weren't able to snap pictures to take away with us, so we can't see what the quality from this brand new 18-megapixel sensor with Digic 5 processor is like. The claim is that it'll be identical to that of the EOS 700D.

READ: Canon EOS 700D hands-on

We did have a good play with the 100D of course - as well as its bigger brother model - and it really does feel just like a normal DSLR in operation.

There's a 9-point autofocus system with one cross-type sensor - not the all-cross type system of the 700D - that's super fast in operation and gives confirmatory, light-up feedback in the optical viewfinder. The diamond arrangement of the focus points covers a decent portion of the 95 per cent field-of-view 0.87x magnification finder - there's little compromise here in terms of size either. It's ever so slightly smaller than the 700D's 0.85x magnification finder, but only fractionally - the 100D's looked a little less tall from our assessment between the two cameras.

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The 100D's flush-to-rear 3-inch LCD touchscreen is as well specified in that of the 650D and, therefore, 700D too. It may not be mounted on a vari-angle bracket - in order to save on space - but it looks bright and is responsive to the touch too. As well as single-finger swipes, the touchscreen is also responsive to smartphone-like pinches to zoom in on images in playback. Good stuff.

READ: Canon EOS 650D review

Other sized-down features include the same battery as found in the EOS M which, in the case of the 100D, ought to mean around 440 shots per charge - slightly less than a bulkier DSLR competitor, but still a reasonable expectation nonetheless.

The 100D we saw was paired with the 40mm f/2.8 lens which won't be available as a standalone kit option - instead the model will be paired with the new 18-55mm IS STM lens which, as we outlined in our 700D hands-on, has a number of new benefits including new optical arrangement and non-rotational front lens barrel element.

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EOS 100D (left) next to EOS 700D

All in all the 100D is a rather clever little thing. Saying that we'd be more inclined to buy the more feature-rich 700D as preference for the sake of £50, while the impact of competitors' compact system cameras is also something to consider. In many respects its Canon's array of high-quality glass lenses that works to the its advantage, and yet the bulkier, longer lenses won't suit being mounted on a smaller body and, therefore, smaller grip.

This clever engineering project will set you back £699 for the 18-55mm kit when it launches in April. Clever, yes, but it won't be to everyone's preference.