CNET First Look
A dSLR for dainty handsWhile the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is a perfectly reasonable entry-level dSLR, you can get the same photo and video quality in a smaller body for the same money (or less) by opting for a mirrorless interchangeable-lens model.
The EOS Rebel SL1 represents Canon's attempt to make a DSLR to attract folks who are abandoning DSLRs because they're too big. The camera as a few inches shaved off fit compared to the T5i but the most notable change is the grip, which is shorter and shallower. And the camera is definitely a smaller, lighter version that feels quite at home in my femaley, relatively small hands. Aside from the size though, there's nothing that particularly stands out. In fact, because of the smaller size, it loses the articulated display of the T5i. It gains 3 extra scene modes: Kids, Food and Candlelight, on top of the 3 other multishot modes. But otherwise, its feature set is really subpar for the money. It lacks built-in wireless and GPS, it doesn't have any interesting options like special effects and intervalometer, extra bracketing modes or any of that. It does have a soft shutter mode but I found that a necessity more than an option. Not just because of the loud shutter slap, but because there's a bit of camera shake, shutter speed is under about 1/100 of a second. The soft shutter fixes that. The camera the same image and video quality as the T5i, though not too as high ISO sensitivities. JPEGs look okay through ISO 1600 and they're clean YSO 800. But the T5i seemed to do it better, stop better with the same lenses. Videos are fine for personal use. They show the same aliasing and moire problems though. Performance is also very good. While it can't sustain the T5i's burst rate, it's comparable to others in its class and fast enough for catching kids and pets and action. My bigger problem with continue a shooting is the view finder. Like all the Rebels, it has these tiny little dots that are hard to spot until after you focused and they lit up. That makes keeping a moving subject in focus difficult. Unlike most consumer DSLRs, the automatic focus point selection, several auto focus aren't accurate enough. Live view auto focus works well especially with touch auto focus and I really like the responsiveness of the touchscreen and its interface. But the LCD is really reflective and hard to see in direct sunlight, so you can't use it as much. The SL1 is a nice basic DSLR that should probably be a little cheaper and a little smaller. A through-the-lens optical viewfinder is the primary reason left for consumers to buy a DSLR and the SL1 simple isn't that good, especially compared to the newer electronic viewfinders on mirrorless interchangeable-lens models. You can get so much more with an ILC for the same money and they tend to be more compact with smaller lenses. I don't think people will be really disappointed with the SL1 but it's just not the best option at its current kit price of around $750. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Canon EOS Rebel SL1.