Canon EOS Digital Rebel SL1 Review

Review posted 09/23/2013

Quick Take
  • Smaller size and lighter frame is definitely noticeable versus other DSLRs
  • Seems to have a sturdy feel and good build quality
  • SL1 remains easy to hold with well-sized right-hand grip, despite small camera body
  • Extremely fast performance in Viewfinder mode
  • Image quality is very good versus others in this price range in all lighting conditions
  • RAW shooting is available
  • Strong performer at high ISO settings
  • Can use built-in flash or external flash
  • Full HD video recording performance surpasses most entry-level DSLR cameras
  • High-resolution LCD includes touchscreen capabilities
  • Good price point for an entry-level DSLR camera
  • Autofocus is noticeably faster in Live View mode versus older Rebel cameras
  • Inclusion of Quick Control screen is a great feature
  • Plenty of lenses to choose from with EF mount
  • Kit lens provides a good value

  • Having an articulated LCD would have been a nice feature
  • No built-in wireless capabilities
  • AF illuminator sometimes struggles in extreme low light situations
  • Slight changes in menus between Viewfinder and Live View modes may confuse some photographers
  • Battery life is below average versus other DSLRs
  • Beginner-level automatic modes could use a few more features
  • Camera menus could have been redesigned to work better with touchscreen LCD
  • Some on-screen buttons are too small to select correctly on touchscreen LCD
  • With kit lens attached, the SL1's small size is compromised quite a bit

Bottom Line
Based on the success of previous Canon EOS Rebel DSLR cameras, you'd expect the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 to be a very nice model. And you'd be right -- the Rebel SL1 provides some excellent features and performance speed in the entry-level DSLR camera market, and its improved autofocus system is impressive. While great features and performance may be a given for a Rebel and while this camera looks a lot like other Rebel DSLR models, you may still receive a bit of a surprise the first time you pick up the SL1. It's noticeably smaller and lighter than other Rebel models and other DSLRs. When you can pack most of the best features you'd find in an entry-level DSLR in a much smaller and lighter camera, the Rebel SL1 is going to be a strong contender in this market versus similarly priced DSLR cameras. And the optical viewfinder sets it apart from ILCs. Read more in our Full Conclusion.

In March of this year (2013), Canon announced the word's smallest and lightest DSLR*, the EOS Digital Rebel SL1. Twenty five percent smaller and twenty eight percent lighter than the EOS Rebel T4i, the SL1 boasts many of the same features from the T4i (and the new T5i) save for slower speed capabilities and no vari-angle LCD display.

*The world's smallest and lightest DSLR with an APS-C sized image sensor
as of March 1, 2013

The SL1 compact DSLR includes an 18-megapixel APS-C sized image sensor, the DIGIC 5 image processor, an ISO range up to 6400, four frames-per-second continuous shooting, a 3.0-inch Touch Screen (fixed), and it works well with Canon's STM lenses (one comes in the standard kit) for virtually silent, continuous Auto or Manual Focus during Full 1080p HD video recording.

For novices worried about making the jump from a point-and-shoot digicam to a DSLR, the SL1 offers Scene Intelligent Auto Mode, "an advanced function that detects faces, colors, brightness, movement, contrast, distance and other factors and automatically adjusts and selects the exposure method needed." Effect Shot Mode is another great feature, which adds a Creative Filter to stills, but captures two separate images (one stylized, one clean) to provide users with after-the-fact flexibility.

A few new Scene Modes on this camera, including Kids, Food, and Candlelight, round out the creative effects, while Background Blur Simulation will make any photo and any lens look like an extreme telephoto shot. All filters and modes and auto focus settings can be adjusted on the fly in Live View via the touch screen LCD display.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel SL1 Features
  • 18-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor
  • DIGIC 5 image processor
  • 3.0-inch Clear View Touch Screen Display (fixed)
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 4 frames per second high speed burst shooting
  • Hybrid CMOS AF II Auto Focus Sensor
  • Live View
  • Movie Servo AF (compatible with STM lenses)
  • Full HD 1080p movie recording
  • Scene Intelligent Auto Mode
  • Effect Shot Mode
  • Creative Filters
  • Background Blur Simulation
  • In-Camera Editing and Cropping
  • Scene Modes, including the newly created:
    • Kids
    • Food
    • Candlelight
  • .6"W x 3.57"H x 2.74"D
  • 14.36 oz (body only)

Canon's EOS Digital Rebel SL1 is available in two versions:
  • MSRP $649.99 for body-only
  • MSRP $799.99 for a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

What's in the box?:

  • EOS Rebel SL1 Body
  • EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens (when purchased as a kit)
  • Eyecup Ef
  • Battery Pack LP-E12
  • Battery Charger LC-E12
  • Wide Strap EW-300D
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-130U
  • EOS Digital Solution Disc & Software Instruction Manual CD
  • Camera Instruction Manual

Additional Product Views

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