Overall, the camera's performance is up to its intended tasks -- photographing kids, pets, and vacations -- albeit with some caveats. The autofocus works relatively quickly and accurately in both still and Live View/Video, as long as you don't rely on the camera to choose the AF points (no camera chooses the correct subject). Using the touch focus in Live View is a big help. Like the rest of the Rebels, though, the viewfinder has tiny little focus points that are almost impossible to center over your subject while shooting burst. You pretty much have to rely on happy accidents to get sharp, correctly framed action shots.
The only problem is the LCD. On one hand, it has the same great touch screen and interface as the T5i's, which is really nice for navigating the settings and shooting video. But it's nearly impossible to see in direct sunlight, and since it doesn't articulate like the T5i's, you're stuck. It's not much of a problem for shooting stills, since you can see most of the relevant settings you need to change in the viewfinder, but shooting video outdoors can get really frustrating.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Raw shot-to-shot time||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim light)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Design and features
Smaller and lighter than its dSLR competitors, SL1 in design sacrifices surprisingly little to shave some size off the T5i. Most of the difference is in the grip, which is shallower and lower than the bigger camera's, and the LCD, which is fixed rather than articulated.
On the right shoulder of the camera sits the mode dial, which has, plus a three-way on/off/movie switch. In addition to the three multishot modes offered by the T5i -- HDR Backlight Control (which automatically combines four image exposures to retain detail in shadow and highlight areas for backlit subjects), a four-shot Handheld Night Scene mode, and Night Portrait -- the SL1 includes kids, food, and candlelight scene modes. The mode dial itself is smaller than on the T5i but still manageable.
The controls on the back are smaller and flatter than those on the T5i, though the layout is roughly the same. The big difference here is the lack of functions attached to the navigation buttons -- you've got to use the touch screen to choose autofocus mode, drive mode, white balance, and Picture Styles, though I didn't find it much of an inconvenience (except in direct sunlight, when I couldn't see the screen).
The touch screen is responsive and has an intelligent user interface, including the usual capabilities, like touch focus, that streamline Live View shooting. You don't have to use it if you don't want to, though operations like selecting ISO sensitivity go much faster when you can directly select rather than having to cycle through them. Overall, I find Canon's interface straightforward and easy to use.
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1||Canon EOS Rebel T5i||Pentax K-50||Sony Alpha NEX-6|
|Sensor effective resolution||18MP Hybrid CMOS II||18MP hybrid CMOS||24.2MP CMOS||16.3MP CMOS |
|16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS |
|20.1MP Exmor HD CMOS|
|22.3mm x 14.9mm||22.3mm x 14.9mm||23.2mm x 15.4mm||23.7mm x 15.7mm||23.5mm x 15.6mm||23.2mm x 15.4mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 12800||ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 (exp)/ |
200 - ISO 6400/ 12800 (exp)
|ISO 100 - ISO 51200||ISO 100 - ISO 25600||ISO 100 - ISO 16000|
|Burst shooting||4fps |
8 raw/ unlimited JPEG
6 raw/22 JPEG
8 raw/30 JPEG
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
6 raw/7 JPEG
|Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag)||95% coverage |
|95% coverage |
|OLED EVF |
2.4 million dots
|Electronic OLED |
0.5 inch/ 480,000 dots
|Autofocus||9-pt AF |
31-point contrast AF
|9-pt AF all cross-type; center cross to f2.8||11-pt AF |
|11-pt AF |
|99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF||15-pt phase-detection |
|AF sensitivity||-0.5 to 18 EV||-0.5 to 18 EV||-1 to 19 EV||-1 to 18 EV||0 to 20 EV||-1 to 18 EV|
|Shutter speed||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync||1/6,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/180 sec x-sync||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 seconds; bulb; 1/160 x-sync|
|Metering||63-zone iFCL||63-zone iFCL||420-pixel 3D color matrix metering II||77-segment||1,200-zone||1,200-zone|
|Metering sensitivity||1 to 20 EV||1 to 20 EV||0 to 20 EV||0 to 22 EV||0 - 20 EV||n/a|
|Best video||H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/ 25p/24p; 720/60p/ 50p||H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/ 25p/24p; 720/60p/ 50p||1080/30p/ 25p/24p; 720/60p/ 50p H.264 QuickTime MOV||H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/ |
24p/25p; 720/50p/ 60p
|AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/ 24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1440 x 1080/30p @ 12Mbps||AVCHD 1080/60i/ 50i/25p/24p @ 24Mbps|
|Audio||Mono; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Mono; mic input||Mono||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input|
|Manual aperture and shutter in video||Yes||Yes||Yes||n/a||Yes||n/a|
|IS||Optical||Optical||Optical||Sensor shift||Optical||Sensor shift|
|LCD size||3-inch fixed touch screen |
|3-inch articulated, touch screen |
|3-inch fixed |
|3-inch fixed |
|3-inch tilting touch screen |
|2.7-inch tilting |
|Memory slots||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||380 shots||440 shots||540 shots||710 (AA lithium); 410 (lithium ion)||270 shots |
|Size (WHD, inches)||4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1||5 x 3.8 x 3.1||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8||4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1||5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||14.9||20.8||17.6||22.9 (est)||12.3||17.4 (est)|
|Mfr. price||$649.99 (body only)||$749.99 (body only)||n/a||$699.95 (body only)||$649.99 (body only)||n/a|
|$799.99 (with 18-55mm STM lens)||$899.99 (with 18-55mm STM lens)||$699.95 (with 18-55mm lens)||$779.95 (with 18-55mm WR lens)||$799.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)||$599.99 (with 18-55mm lens)|
|n/a||$1,099.99 (with 18-135mm STM lens)||n/a||$879.95 (with 18-55mm WR and 50-200 WR lenses)||n/a||n/a|
|Release date||April 2013 ||April 2013||April 2012||July 2013||October 2012||April 2013|
But without even an articulated display, the camera disappoints even more than the T5i on its features. It's got the basics you'd expect from a $700 body, but lacks a lot of modern options, like GPS or wireless, as well as interesting traditional features, such as time-lapse, multiple exposure, and intervalometer. It's got the same handful of "meh" special effects as the T5i. I also miss peaking for manual focus in Live View; it would make focusing with every lens besides the STM model so much easier. It does include the Video Snapshot mode carried over from the camcorders and PowerShots for shooting quick clips.
The SL1 is a fine dSLR, and I enjoyed shooting with it. But from a buying-advice perspective, its only real advantage over dSLR alternatives is its size, and in that respect it's simply not small enough -- especially compared with a mirrorless interchangeable-lens model equipped with a power zoom lens. Its optical viewfinder isn't significantly superior to the electronic viewfinder, either, which would be one of the main reasons to opt for a dSLR. And there are that deliver similar performance and photo quality, with better feature sets, especially if you're willing to forgo the viewfinder. If you already have a selection of Canon EF or EF-S lenses, or want to be able to share lenses with bigger Canon bodies, it's a reasonable purchase, but otherwise you might want to check out the competition.