Hands-On Review: the Canon EOS Rebel SL1

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Canon Rebel DSLRs have always been impressively smaller than the competition, going back to their original film models. Canon’s EOS Rebel SL1 doesn’t disappoint in the size department, either. If anything, the EOS SL1 elicited variations of “Whoa,” “Wow,” “Jeeeeez,” and “Is that really a DSLR?” when coworkers caught sight of the new Rebel as I encountered them in the office hallways. More than a few passers-by in the street also took note as they spied me shooting with the EOS SL1 around midtown Manhattan.

The main appeal of the EOS Rebel SL1 is its size. At first glance, it looks like any number of long-zoom bridge cameras. In fact it’s smaller, at approximately 4.60 x 3.57 x 2.74” (116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm), and lighter, at about 13 oz (370g) without a lens, than many bridge cameras. Granted, the EOS Rebel SL1 doesn’t sport a 30x, 40x or 50x zoom, but in addition to the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized EF-S STM kit lens, the EOS Rebel SL1 accepts almost every Canon EF and EF-S lens made. From a creative standpoint, this means that if you can visualize the picture, you can most likely capture it.

Despite the Rebel SL1’s diminutive size, it fills the hand securely, thanks in part to the "lip" on camera’s grip that protrudes between the user’s middle and index finger, the latter of which conveniently comes to rest directly over the shutter button. Shooters with larger mitts might find the graspable surface area of the EOS Rebel SL1 a bit tight, but my average-sized hands felt quite comfy when using the camera.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 features a similar 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor, with a 1.6x crop factor, and the same DIGIC 5 image processor found in Canon’s EOS Rebel T5i and EOS-M, a camera that other than the mirror system, shares many components with, and comparisons to, the Rebel SL1.

As with all DSLRs in this class, the EOS Rebel SL1 has a built-in flash (GN 9.4 at 100 ISO), which is the same output as the flashes found in Canon’s EOS T3 / 1100D, but slightly less than the output of Canon’s EOS T5i / 700D (GN 13). Also, you can't use the EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D's built-in flash as a wireless controller.

Like the EOS-M, the EOS Rebel SL1 has an ISO range of 100-12800, expandable to ISO 25600, a shutter-speed range of 30 seconds through 1/4000-second with a 1/200-second flash sync, 4 fps continuous burst rates (compared to 4.3 on the EOS-M), JPEG and RAW capture, and full 1080 x 1920 video capture at 24-, 25- or 30 frames per second with full AF during shooting. The EOS Rebel SL1 features a 9-point Hybrid CMOS AF II autofocus system that has a precision cross-type f/2.8 center point and the advantages of both high-speed phase-detection AF and high-precision contrast AF, for quicker AF speed and accuracy when shooting in Live View mode. In addition, the Rebel SL1’s Hybrid CMOS AF II autofocus system also provides 80% frame coverage, which is greater frame coverage than the hybrid AF systems found in other cameras.

Audio is monophonic when recording with the SL1’s built-in microphone, but there’s a 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to plug in an optional stereo mic, if desired. The fact that the EOS Rebel SL1 has a 3.5mm audio input jack is, in itself, pretty impressive considering the target audience of this camera. Ditto for the camera’s depth-of-field-preview button, another feature that isn’t common on entry-level DSLRs. A Mini-HDMI port is also built into the EOS Rebel SL1.

Out in the real world, the EOS SL1 performs well. Although it's small—and as is typical of this class of camera—the EOS Rebel SL1’s optical viewfinder is fairly bright when using the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and quite bright when used with f/2.0 lenses and wider. The EOS Rebel SL1’s pentamirror displays about 95% of the total image area, with a magnification rate of 0.87x, and all 9 focusing points are clearly marked. Autofocus response sensitivity and performance levels were quite satisfying, and rarely did the camera struggle to find its mark.

There’s also a choice of two grid patterns for those who prefer grids over clear viewing fields. The camera’s AF system is quite responsive in bright light and responds reasonably well when shooting in lower light, even when shooting with slower lenses (f/3.5 and smaller apertures).

The EOS SL1 feels comfortable, handheld or on the shoulder, over the course of several long walks. Since it's lighter and more comfortable than the full-frame DSLR kit I shoulder on my personal weekend photo jaunts, I can easily see myself becoming enamored with a quality camera system as small and light as Canon’s EOS SL1.

Along with an optical viewfinder, the EOS Rebel SL1 has a 3” TFT Touch Panel LCD that packs 1,040,000-dots for true high-definition image viewing. By pressing the "Set / Q" button, centrally located on the rear of the camera, you can toggle between traditional buttons and control wheels for adjusting camera settings, or jog it over to touchscreen control. This is a neat feature that should appeal to fans of both camps as well as to photographers who simply like to choose preferences on the fly.

Depending on the ambient-light conditions, the ISO range on the EOS Rebel SL1 goes from 100 through 12800, and is expandable to 25600. From ISO 100 through 400 there’s little, if any, evidence of noise or blocked shadows. Starting at ISO 800, noise starts becoming noticeable and color smear begins to appear in the shadow areas. Noise and color smear continue to build as you advance through the ISO range, but even at the highest ISO sensitivities, you can still note the separation of dark shadow details and highlights.

Click to view ISO comparison

Not long ago, lens-aberration correction was a powerful tool found solely in the priciest DSLRs. Today, you can find a Lens Aberration Correction mode nestled among the menu choices of the EOS Rebel SL1. Lens-aberration correction allows you to correct for peripheral illumination problems, or vignetting—the darkening of corners when using wide-angle lenses—and chromatic-aberration control, based on the unique characteristics of the lens you are using. By brightening the corners of the frame to reduce vignetting, and minimizing chromatic aberrations, you improve the definition and color saturation of your image files.

At first glance, I thought the EOS Rebel SL1 lacked an HDR mode, but after flipping through the owner’s manual, I found HDR control nestled among the camera’s Scene modes. In addition to HDR, other Scene modes include Handheld Night Scene, Night Portrait, Candle Light, Food and Kids modes. The same control dial allows you to set the camera to Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Scene Intelligent Auto, Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up and Sports mode.

Shooting video with the EOS SL1 is a simple, two-step operation. To the right of the camera’s mode dial is an On/Off/Video switch, and there’s a small video button to the right of the camera’s viewfinder. When the On/Off/Video switch is in the "On" position and you press the video button, you turn on the Live View Function for still capture. When the On/Off/Video switch is set to "Video" and you press the video button, it starts and stops video recording quickly and easily. In practice, switching from stills to video is an intuitive process.

The EOS Rebel SL1 can capture 1080p video at 24-, 25- or 30 fps, 720p at 50- or 60 fps, or VGA at 25- or 30 fps. Continuous video-capture durations of up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds are possible with a maximum file size of 4GB and continuous AF functionality.

Canon’s EOS SL1 gets its power from a Canon LP-E12 lithium-ion battery, which according to Canon, should deliver up 420 to 480 stills when using the camera’s optical viewing system and 150 to 160 exposures when shooting with Live View. Geo-tagging is possible with the Canon GP-E2 GPS device.

The EOS SL1 is available as a body only or with Canon’s latest internal-focusing 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, which in addition to image stabilization, features STM technologies for quieter operation when shooting video.

Stills in the form of JPEG, RAW and JPEG+RAW and MOV H.264 video are saved to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. As for burst rates in continuous shooting mode, you can expect to capture 28 Large JPEGs, 7 RAW or up to 4 Large JPEG+RAW images before filling the camera’s buffer. When shooting to UHS-1 memory cards you can expect to capture up to 1140 JPEGs, 8 RAW or up to 4 JPEG+RAW still images in continuous mode. It’s worth noting that the EOS Rebel SL1 also features a silent shooting mode which, while it slows continuous-shooting frame rates, comes in very handy when shooting in sound-sensitive environments.

Click below to see a video about the Canon EOS Rebel SL1.

For more information about the Canon EOS Rebel SL1, speak with a B&H sales professional in our New York SuperStore, over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1
Camera Type Interchangeable lens digital SLR camera
Image Processor DIGIC 5 Image Processor
Image Sensor Type CMOS sensor
Image Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9mm (APS-C)
Effective Pixels 18MP
Total Pixels 18.5MP
Pixel Unit 4.3 µm square
Aspect Ratio 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1
Color Filter System RGB primary color filters
File Size (3:2) L/RAW: 5184 x 3456 (17.9MP)
M: 3456 x 2304 (8MP)
S1: 2592 x 1728 (4.5MP)
S2: 1920 x 1280 (2.5MP)
S3: 720 x 480 (0.35MP)
Still Image File Format JPEG, RAW
Color Space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Style Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined 1-3
White Balance Settings Auto, Preset (Daylight; Shade; Cloudy, Twilight, Sunset; Tungsten light; White Fluorescent Light; Flash), Custom (Approx. 2,000° - 10,000°K), White Balance Correction, and White Balance Bracketing
Viewfinder Type Eye-level SLR with fixed pentamirror
Viewfinder Coverage Approx. 95%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.87x / 24.5°
Eye Point Approx. 19mm
Dioptric Adjustment Correction -3.0 or +1.0
Autofocus Type TTL secondary image-forming, phase-difference detection
AF Points 9 points (center AF point is AF cross-type at f/5.6, center AF point is vertical line-sensitive at f/2.8)
AF Working Range Center AF point: EV -0.5-18
Other AF points: EV 0.5-18
Focusing Modes One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual Focus
AF Point Selection Manual or Auto
AF Assist Beam Range 13.1' / 4m at center, 11.5' / 3.5m at periphery
Exposure Metering Modes TTL maximum aperture metering with 63-zone metering sensor: Evaluative metering, partial metering (approx. 9% of finder), spot metering (approx. 4% of finder), center-weighted average
Exposure Metering Range EV 1.0-20.0 (at 73°F / 23°C with 50mm f/1.8 II lens, ISO 100)
Exposure Control Modes Program AE (shiftable), Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual (incl. bulb)
Exposure Control Systems Scene Intelligent Auto (Program AE, non-shiftable), Flash Off, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Kids, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control mode
Sensitivity Range Auto, ISO 100 - 12800 (expanded to 25600)
Exposure Compensation +/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps (manual)
Shutter Type Vertical-travel, mechanical, focal-plane shutter with all speeds electronically-controlled
Shutter Speed Range 30 - 1/4000 sec, bulb
Shutter Release Soft-touch electromagnetic release
Self Timer 2 or 10 sec.
Shutter Lag Time Approx. 0.075 to 0.150 sec.
Built-In Flash Type Auto pop-up, retractable, built-in flash in the pentamirror
Flash Metering System E-TTL II autoflash (evaluative and average flash metering), FE lock
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps
Drive Modes Single, Continuous, Silent Single, Silent Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Speed Up to 4fps
Maximum Burst (UHS-I Memory Card) JPEG (L): Approx. 1140 frames
RAW: Approx. 8 frames
RAW + JPEG (L): Approx. 4 frames
Video File Format MOV (H.264, Linear PCM)
Video File Size HD: 330MB/min.
SD: 82.5MB/min.
Frame Rates 1920 x 1080: 30p (29.97), 24p (23.976), 25p
1280 x 720: 60p (59.94), 50p
640 x 480: 30p (29.97), 25p
Continuous Shooting Time (8GB Memory Card) HD: Approx. 22 min.
SD: Approx. 1 hr. 32 min.
Video Focusing Modes One-shot AF, Servo AF, Manual Focus, Face Detection plus Tracking AF, FlexiZone Multi, FlexiZone Single
Video Sensitivity Range Auto, ISO 100 - 6400 (expanded to 12800)
Range 8-bit, 0-255
Video Exposure Control Program AE (P, Av, Tv) with shutter speed from 1/4000 to 1/30 sec., Manual
Video Exposure Compensation +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
Monitor Type TFT-LCD with Touch Panel LCD (capacitive type) and anti-smudge coating
Monitor Size 3.0" / 7.6cm
Monitor Resolution Approx. 1,040K-dot
Monitor Coverage Approx. 100%
Monitor Brightness Control Auto, Manual (7 selectable levels)
Interface USB 2.0, HDMI mini (type C)
Video Out NTSC/PAL selectable
Power Source LP-E12 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
Battery Life (at 73°F/ 23°C) Viewfinder:
AE 100%: Approx. 480 frames
AE 50%, FA 50%: Approx. 340 frames
Live View:
AE 100%: Approx. 160 frames
AE 50%, FA 50%: 150 frames
Startup Time Approx. 0.1 sec.
Recording Media SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card
Lens Mount Canon EF
Operating Temperature 32-104°F / 0-40°C
Operating Humidity 85% or less
Dimensions 4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7" / 116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm
Weight (Body Only) 13.1oz / 370g
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Focal Length 18-55mm
35mm-Equivalent Focal Length 28.8-88mm
Maximum Aperture f/3.5-5.6
Camera Mount Type Canon EF-S
Format Compatibility APS-C
Diagonal Angle of View 74° 20' - 27° 50'
Lens Construction 13 elements in 11 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 9.8" / 25cm
Focus Adjustment Inner focusing system
Filter Size 58mm
Dimensions 2.7 x 3.0" / 69 x 75.2mm
Weight 7.2oz / 205g

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I think photography means knowledge and creativity. You can take excellent photo if you have knowledge about the technique and if you are creative. Professional photographer never tell their all secrets to you. If you want to take breathtaking photographs and amaze people with your skills, you need to learn and practice a lot.

I didn't quite start in the 70's, but more recently and I can totally see how much photography has evolved. Given the advent of photoshop and other means to digitally alter photos, I sometimes wonder if it's even worth it to buy the best new canon. After reading a bunch of canon rebel dslr reviews, I feel like the camera itself is a significant improvement upon previous generations, but still can't justify buying a new one...

Neither could I until my original Rebel Canon needed repaired and Canon no longer serviced it so gave me an upgrade at a great discount. Since getting my new camera I am amazed at the difference. Don't know what you are missing until you get the new one.

you say "...the EOS Rebel SL1 accepts almost every Canon EF and EF-S lens made".
Which ones won't it accept?

The SL1 is compatible with ALL EF & EF-S lenses.

Picked up this little guy from the B&H store on Sunday with the kit lens. I'm using it as a small and light camera to compliment my 5D mk III. It's surprisingly responsive, and the touch-screen interface is more intuitive and in-line with Canon's standard interface ques than I expected. I also have the 40mm EF STM pancake lens, and both STM lenses are okay at AF during video shooting, though they both seem to hunt pretty noticeably in moderate and lower light situations, and the STM is clearly audible with the built-in mic. (there is an external mic jack which should be used for any serious work anyway). I've confirmed that AF, at least with the center point is pretty responsive and accurate with bulky lenses like my EF 70-200 IS II, but I can't yet speak to battery usage as I haven't punished the battery much yet.
Note that you will have to update to Lightroom 4.4, or Adobe RAW 7.4 in order to process the RAW images from this camera with the Adobe workflow. Once that is accomplished the RAW image quality seems to be very good. While I don't have a 7D available for head-to-head testing my perception is that it is perhaps even slightly better (as you'd hope from a sensor that is significantly newer at the same resolution).
I primarily got this camera to provide a more... subtle alternative to my 5D mkIII and this is does in spades. I can almost palm this camera with the 40mm pancake, while obtaining very satisfying image quality and maintaining very satisfying levels of creative control and intuitive usage. While the silent shooting mode is only about as quiet, and less responsive than that of the MkIII it is still impressively quiet. I think this little gem will get me some exciting pictures that the Mk III would distract to much to capture, while saving my back when ultimate image quality is not required. The kit lens, while not fantastic, is compact, light, flexible, and suitable for video with continuous auto-focus and IS. It's worth noting that the SL1 has built in lens correction to mitigate some of the flaws in this lens. All in all I'm very satisfied and would encourage other photogs with similar requirements to add this to their kit. it's so small that you'll hardly notice it.

does the sl1 has a vary angle lcd screen ?

No, it does not. The Canon Digital Rebel SL1 DSLR camera has a fixed 3" LCD screen. It does not have a fully articulating Vari-Angle LCD screen.

Bought this camera as a backup to my 5D MkII and as my go-to travel camera when I don't want to pack a big kit. So far, I've put about 1,500 images though it and have the following observations:

1- image quality is great. On par or better than a 7D I tested it against. Didn't compare it to the 5D yet, but will. I'll shoot some test RAW files and run them through Adobe Bridge at equal resolutions.

2- Shot my son's soccer match. After about 300 shots, the small size really started bothering my palm. It's much lighter than the 5D, but for extended shooting or on a serious shoot, I'd much rather use the bigger camera body. Again, this isn't why I bought it. I wanted something that I could use professionally in a pinch as a backup that wouldn't take up much room, and I'm confident this'll work out great. I'm kind of wanting to see what battery grips come out for this. I know it defeats some of the efforts in having a small body, but if one is to use it extensively, it'll be worth it for comfort's sake.

3- The ability to focus in mixed lighting is equal to or better than the 5D. I didn't find it hunting for focus. I kept it center weighted on the action stuff. Very pleased. And the speed at 4fps seemed faster than the listed 4.5fps for my MkII.

Overall, very happy with this camera. With the new 18-55 lens on (which is very quiet), I can throw it in a small space or a corner of my bag and have a great backup or travel camera. I'm now waiting to get the 40MM pancake to make the camera even smaller. Good job Canon.

Can someone clarify this statement for me?

" the EOS Rebel SL1 accepts almost every Canon EF and EF-S lens made."

Which lenses do not work?

I am only interested in the EF lenses.

Thank you!!! I'm excited to get my hands on one of these very soon!

I am sorry about the confusion. The choice to use the term “almost every” by the author in this instance was less than appropriate. The Canon EOS SL1 camera has an EF mount and is compatible with the entire line of Canon EOS “EF” and “EF-S” series lenses.

I am trying to help convince my mother to get me one of these (actually, just help me pay for it, as I already have $400 towards it.) I need reasons to help convince her that this is the best camera to get. She currently has an old, cheap, lumix "camera" which is very bad.

Ideas?

Hi,
I am planning to buy a DSLR. Primary usage will be wildlife, nature and bird photography. I had shortlisted 7D. But now that SL1 is out, I would like to know if SL1 can serve my purpose without compromise to photo quality in different challenging environments. If experts can share their thoughts then it will help. Thanks in advance!
-Prasad

Does the Canon SL1 have provisions for a remote trip device? If so, please provide the catalog number for said item.

I bought this camera for a photography / hiking trip in the Grand Canyon as an alternative to bringing my 7D. Although I initially had some concerns that much of the 'button' functionality on my 7D was hidden behind menus, a few weekends of experimentation put my fears to rest. The camera took amazing quality shots and the weight difference allowed me to carry my L series lenses in my daypack. Fifty seven miles of hiking later I am still going through the 1100 images that I took and very pleased with what I see. I plan to pair this with my 18-200 mm lens and use it going forward as my walk around camera.

Would you recommend this camera for astrophotography (to be attached to a refractor telescope or to shoot through a telescope eyepiece)?

I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT, does this camera use the same batteries as the SL1?

How does this compare to EOS Rebel T5I?

Are all Rebel camera lenses interchangeable? I have an old Rebel film camera and 2 lenses, one short and one long (dont remember exact diameter). Will these fit this camera housing?

I volunteer for an Animal Shelter, and we need a camera that can take pictures of our dogs and cats at the second the pose is perfect...not 1/2 second afterwards when they have moved...Would this Rebel SL1 DSLR work or should I look at the T5i version...so many times I miss the perfect shot due to the 'processing' ? delay in my Kodak Z981.
Diane

This may be a ridiculous question but I had a rebel 300d and it was stolen. I bought another canon, the EOS 7 d and my old rebel pictures came out almost better. Maybe I am just not a tech person but loved the ease and functionality of the 300. Can someone tell me which camera is more closely related to my old 300? I miss it! Please help! My newer camera just frustrates me and I love taking photos!!!

I can't find anything in the manual of the SL1 about the number 9 that is visible at the top left of the touch screen just to the left of the battery level. It never seems to change whether in video or still photo mode. Does anyone know what it stands for???

super camera but need more infomation about is it is also a full hd camera with much more lenes
 

The Canon Rebel SL1 is compatible with any Canon EF or EF-S lens, and any lens made for Canon EOS cameras by other manufacturers.  It can shoot 1080 HD video at 30, 25, and 24 fps.

I have a remote that I use to take pictures, can I use the remote to record videos in the AV Video mode? 

If you have the Canon RC-6, you can use that remote to start and stop video with the SL1.

I own this camera, and think I have the auto iso set by accident. Can you tell me how to turn it off so that I can manually select the iso?

Thank you!  Wendy

"Auto ISO" is one of the ISO speeds within the ISO feature on the camera.  On the top of the camera is a button labled "ISO".  Press that button and turn the wheel next to it to toggle through the various ISO settings, doing so will allow you to vacate the Auto-ISO setting and manually set whatever ISO you then prefer.  Below is a link to the camera's instruction manual in PDF format for you to reference if needed.  Page 98 details how to adjust the ISO.

http://cdn2.bhphotovideo.com/lit_files/79891.pdf

I have a Canon Rebel Sl1 and would like a zoom/telephoto lens. What would be a reasonable price lens that fits my camera?

Canon offers an EF-S type telephoto lens for the camera with a focal range of 55-250mm which also includes Image Stabilization (IS) to it.  They also offer an EF version in the event you want to purchase a lens for future use on a full-frame model.  See the links below for the two recommendations, and a similar third option from Tamron brand to also consider:

http://bhpho.to/1qideoj

http://bhpho.to/18ofTWf

http://bhpho.to/1g34cpr