Hands-On Review: the Canon EOS Rebel SL1
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.
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)|
|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.
|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)|
|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
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|
|35mm-Equivalent Focal Length||28.8-88mm|
|Camera Mount Type||Canon EF-S|
|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|
|Dimensions||2.7 x 3.0" / 69 x 75.2mm|
|Weight||7.2oz / 205g|