Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Review

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D
Note: The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D has been replaced by the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D.
In-Depth Review

If impressive image quality in an extreme light weight & small size but still fully-capable, full-featured DSLR camera appeals to you, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D has your name on it.

The SL1 (AKA EOS Kiss X7 in Japan and EOS 100D in Europe/Asia/Oceania) enters the world as the smallest DSLR camera ever. I knew the weight and dimensions of this camera long before it arrived, but I was unprepared for just how small and light the EOS SL1 really is. And for how cute it is. My wife thought the SL1 should be named "Mine" – as in – it would be "hers".

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Sample Picture

In case you were thinking that the smallest and lightest DSLR camera might deserve the shortest and lightest review ... it does not. This scaled down DSLR features a superset of typical DSLR capability with image quality as good as any Canon APS-C format camera I've used to date.

As you probably guessed from its record-small size, the Rebel SL1 is a brand new model – not an upgrade to an existing model. Canon has been filling in their high image quality/small size camera lineup recently.. First out was the Canon PowerShot G1 X with its near-APS-C sensor and non-interchangeable zoom lens. Next out was the EOS M, Canon's first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC). The "M" has an APS-C format imaging sensor and delivers equal-to-best-available Canon APS-C image quality as of this review date. Still, the "M" is missing some typical DSLR features including the conventional DSLR phase-detection AF and a viewfinder.

Small is a big advantage when the word is describing something you want to have with you all of the time – in your daily life – when traveling, at work, running the kids to their events, etc. But small is not the word you want describing your imaging sensor. A big sensor in small body is a big key to the attractiveness of these models. In general, a larger sensor is going to give you better image quality than a smaller sensor.

Sensor Size Comparison

The difference in sensor size between even Canon's high end point and shoot models and the APS-C format is huge. Although it is currently one of the most widely used cameras (out of convenience), the iPhone 5 shows its strong disadvantage in this comparison.

Rebel SL1 Front

Image quality is right at the top of my important camera features list. Reviewing Canon APS-C image quality has become a bit monotonous. I'm ever more challenged to come up with something unique to say about it. While this level of image quality is truly excellent, there is little to differentiate the various 18mp APS-C models in this regard.

Even though the Rebel SL1 has a brand new sensor, I think that you will still find image quality to remain on par with the other recent Rebel models in the comparisons below. Your DSLR model selection will best be determined by other differentiators.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon PowerShot G1 X1.9x18.7 x 14.0mm4.3µm4352 x 326414.3  f/6.9
Canon PowerShot G124.7x7.4 x 5.6mm2.7µm3648 x 204810.0  f/4.3
Canon PowerShot G94.7x7.6 x 5.7mm2.5µm4000 x 300012.1  f/4.0
Canon EOS M1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0  f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .87x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D1.6x22.2 x 14.7mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.0 .80x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.2 .87x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .81x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .80x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm6.4µm3456 x 23048.0 .80x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel1.6x22.7 x 15.1mm7.4µm3088 x 20566.3 .80x95%f/11.8
Canon EOS 70D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 .95x98%f/6.6
Canon EOS 60D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .95x96%f/6.9
Canon EOS 50D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.7µm4752 x 316815.1 .95x95%f/7.5
Canon EOS 40D1.6x22.2 x 14.8mm5.7µm3888 x 259210.1 .95x95%f/9.1
Canon EOS 30D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm6.4µm3504 x 23368.2 .90x95%f/10.2
Canon EOS 7D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 1.0x100%f/6.9
Canon EOS 6D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.54µm5472 x 364820.2 .71x97%f/10.5
Canon EOS 5D Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.25µm5760 x 384022.3 .71x100%f/10.1
Canon EOS 5D Mark II1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .71x98%f/10.2
Canon EOS 5D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm8.2µm4368 x 291212.8 .71x96%f/13.2
Canon EOS-1D X1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.9µm5184 x 345618.1 .76x100%f/11.0
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV1.3x27.9 x 18.6mm5.7µm4896 x 326416.1 .76x100%f/9.1
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)

Eighteen megapixels deliver a very high resolution image, suitable for printing very large. Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D 100% crop samples are available in the site's image quality comparison tool. I preloaded a comparison with the Canon EOS Rebel T4i in that link. Using the mouseover feature (or the toggle buttons), you will see with your own eyes that these two cameras deliver essentially equivalent, best-available-at-this-time Canon APS-C format results in this lab test. Same with the ISO noise comparison test presented below.

If you have read any of the site's other recent Canon EOS DSLR camera reviews, you will recognize the following color block test that clearly shows and compares sensor noise.

Click on the color block image below to view a pair of image comparisons between several current-at-this time DSLR cameras. This comparison was previously featured on this page, but has been moved to its own page to avoid (especially for mobile users) the large file download required.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D High ISO Noise Comparison

If you read the image quality discussion on that page, you can skip down to the file size table and discussion.

Like the EOS M and EOS Rebel T4i, the EOS Rebel SL1 has its sharpness turned up relative to the prior 18mp APS-C models including the T3i, 60D and 7D. Increasing sharpness makes noise more visible. The choice is really yours - you can adjust the sharpness and resulting noise to your preference on all of these cameras.

Just because it has the setting available doesn't mean you should use it. I'm talking about ISO 12800 and 25600. You will probably also want to avoid ISO 6400 and use ISO 3200 only when necessary. The noise is quite apparent even at these settings.

As shown by the 5D Mark III image samples, larger sensor EOS bodies are currently showing significantly less high ISO noise. Likewise, the Rebel SL1 and other APS-C DSLR cameras show far less noise than point and shoot models (as the above graphic showing the relative size of available sensor formats suggests).

In-camera noise reduction is standardly available in EOS DSLRs, and noise reduction is of course also available during post processing. The bottom row of results in the comparison above (and below) show examples of SL1 noise reduction. Noise reduction effectively reduces visible noise in images, but it is also destructive to fine details and image sharpness. I prefer to apply only light NR to my noisier images.

The SL1, like other recent Rebel DSLR models, features Multi-Shot Noise Reduction. MSNR utilizes information taken from 4 exposures captured in a full-frame-rate burst (with one shutter release press) to create a noise-reduced single JPG image file. The amount of noise reduction is noticeable – perhaps a stop or more.

Some of the downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output - I want to see this feature to be added to DPP for RAW capture - perhaps as another HDR preset? Multi-Shot Noise Reduction will not be so useful with moving subjects. Long exposure NR must be off ("Auto" is not off) to enable MSNR. The SL1 reverts to Standard NR in Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. And the camera remains "busy" for a brief period of time after the 4 shot burst - while processing the merged image.

The fine details in the fabric better-hide high ISO noise.

Again, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D has great image quality, but ... I don't see purchase differentiation from Canon's other 18mp models in this regard. The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon PowerShot G1 X(14.3)19.119.620.220.921.723.124.926.2    
Canon EOS Rebel SL1(18.0)23.724.224.825.827.128.730.833.437.2   
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / T5i(18.0)24.124.525.226.127.629.031.133.737.4   
Canon EOS Rebel T3i(18.0)25.525.926.627.528.730.332.434.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T2i(18.0)25.525.826.527.428.630.232.334.9    
Canon EOS Rebel T1i(15.1)20.621.021.522.423.425.027.129.8    
Canon EOS Rebel T5(18.0)25.425.926.627.528.830.232.535.1    
Canon EOS Rebel T3(12.2)17.818.018.318.919.720.622.0     
Canon EOS Rebel XSi(12.2)15.415.916.617.518.7       
Canon EOS Rebel XS(10.1)10.410.610.911.311.9       
Canon EOS 70D(20.2)25.125.726.527.729.331.133.335.939.5   
Canon EOS 60D(18.0)25.225.626.227.028.329.932.234.8    
Canon EOS 50D(15.1)20.320.721.322.123.224.726.729.5    
Canon EOS 7D(18.0)24.124.525.326.227.328.630.733.2    
Canon EOS 6D(20.2)25.325.626.026.727.929.230.933.135.338.642.5 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III(22.3)28.629.029.530.331.633.135.337.840.644.749.2 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II(21.1)26.927.127.728.629.731.333.636.741.2   
Canon EOS-1D X(18.1)23.723.924.324.825.726.727.929.731.834.537.441.3
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more. :)

Use the figures above to get a rough estimate of the memory card size you need. Of course, the JPG file format is significantly more storage space efficient and has selectable levels of image quality that also can adjust space requirements dramatically downward. My advice is to always shoot RAW and buy lots of memory - it is cheap and the cards are useful for temporary archiving and backup use.

The Rebel SL1 utilizes the SD/SDHC/SDXC card format for storage. Included is support for the UHS-I (Ultra High Speed) standard. The dual Max number specs in the performance chart below represent without and with a UHS-I (or UDMA) memory card installed.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.028/11407/875ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.022/306/675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.030675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D3.734690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D3.4170990ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D3.0696  
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D3 / 28305110ms150ms
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D3.553690ms130ms
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D3 / 1.5n/a590ms
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D3.02710100ms170ms
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D3.0144100ms170ms
Canon EOS 70D7.040/6515/1665ms97ms
Canon EOS 60D5.3581659ms100ms
Canon EOS 50D6.3901659ms100ms
Canon EOS 40D6.5751759ms100ms
Canon EOS 30D5.0301165ms110ms
Canon EOS 20D5.023665ms115ms
Canon EOS 7D8.0110/13023/2559ms100ms
Canon EOS 6D4.573/125014/17<60ms 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.065/16k13/1859ms125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark II3.978/31013/1473ms145ms
Canon EOS 5D3.0601775ms145ms
Canon EOS-1D X12/141803836-55ms60ms
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV10.01212840-55ms80ms
Canon EOS-1D Mark III10.01103040-55ms80ms
Canon EOS-1D Mark II N8.5482240-55ms87ms
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III5.0561240-55ms80ms
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II4.0321140-55ms87ms

Slightly more of a differentiator than image quality is the SL1's frame rate. The SL1 loses 1 frame per second to the T4i and T5i, but remains the third fastest frame rate Rebel model to date. If you are not shooting fast action, 4 fps can be completely usable.

To test burst rate, I shoot in M mode (wide open aperture, fastest-available 1/4000 shutter speed), ISO 100, MF, IS off, lens cap on, and all noise reduction off. With a fast UHS-I SDHC card installed, the SL1 captured 10 RAW frames in a 2.28 second burst for a rate very close to the 4 fps spec rate. The 10 shots captured at rated speed of course supersedes the SL1 spec – and the SL1 spec already exceeds the max RAW spec for all Rebel models since the T1i. Still, 10 frames happen quickly. Time the start of your burst to capture the peak of the action in those 10 frames.

The Rebel SL1 captures these images quietly - like the other Rebel models. The SL1 includes "Silent" and "Silent Continuous" shooting modes that are even modestly quieter than normal quiet shooting modes. Listen to the shutter release sound recordings:

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D One Shot Mode (.MP3)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Burst Mode (.MP3)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Silent Mode (.MP3)

The SL1 sample picture below was captured with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens at f/1.4 from a short focus distance. DSLRs have the ability to create a great background blur.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Sample Picture 2

The AF system is reason-alone to upgrade to a DSLR camera. The SL1's size reduction process has not sacrificed its conventional phase detection AF system. The Canon EOS Rebel Series DSLRs typically get Canon's entry-level AF systems (a sacrifice made to achieve the low price), but even entry-level Canon DSLR AF is still very good.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D has received nine AF points, 8 in the usual Rebel diamond pattern plus a center point. The f/5.6 max-aperture-compatible center AF point is a cross-type (with extra sensitivity at f/2.8). The cross-type AF points are sensitive to lines of contrast in two directions instead of one. These points sometimes lock onto a subject better/faster. The Rebel T5i and T4i have an advantage with all 9 of their AF points being cross-type.

The SL1 AF system focuses quickly and accurately. Your special moment will not pass before the SL1 catches the shot. I use the center AF-point only most of the time with this camera as it is the most accurate and generally the fastest.

The SL1's conventional phase detection AF system may have been modestly downgraded, but its on-the-sensor AF capabilities received an upgrade. Canon is calling it "Hybrid CMOS AF II" and it appears to be the main reason that the SL1 received a new sensor. The recently-developed first Hybrid CMOS AF system used the CMOS imaging sensor for contrast AF and phase-difference AF. Driven by a DIGIC 5 image processor, the second version expands the phase-difference AF coverage from only the center portion of the frame out to 80% of the frame for fast Live View and continuous video AF over a much wider area of the frame.

Hybrid CMOS AF II is especially appreciated for video recording or Movie Servo AF. While I don't expect production houses to be using this feature regularly, it works well for casual video recording. Any EF or EF-S lens can be using for Movie Servo AF, but Canon recommends STM lenses (omitting the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens for noise reasons) as they will provide the smoother video autofocusing experience desired for video recording.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens and the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens are the review-time-current STM options. Both of these lenses have near-silent image stabilization. And both complement the size and weight of the SL1 very nicely.

Let's now take a closer look at the physical camera, starting with a visual comparison of the back of many Canon Digital SLR bodies:

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Back View Comparison

60D | SL1 | T5i | T4i | T3i | T3 | M | G1 X | G12

For many more comparisons, go to the Camera Back View Comparison page.

This is a very attractive, neatly packaged, camera body.

The LCD is of course the largest back-of-the-camera feature. Canon gave the SL1 their current-best 3.0" (7.7cm) 3:2 aspect ratio Clear View II TFT Touch screen with approx. 1040K dots. Though not a Vari-angle implementation of this LCD, it is superb to use. Most camera settings can be controlled by touch using the capacitive LCD. Many of us long-time DSLR users find the buttons easier and faster to use, but those coming from smartphones and other touch devices will find the touch screen very familiar and easy to use. The choice of setting adjustment methods to use is yours. Or, take a hybrid approach – use both methods.

Notice the round dial-like ring (it's not a dial) around the set button? This ring implements the cross keys as seen on the previous Rebel models. Simply press it up, down or to either side. While the SL1's new cross keys act the same as the previous Rebel models' cross keys, I like the new one-piece ring implementation much better. My thumb is nicely cradled into this ring, making it easier to use.

The SL1 saves space by moving the "Q" (Quick settings) button to a shared position with the set button. I like this arrangement as my thumb is already in position to use the cross keys to navigate the quick settings display.

All of the other rear buttons remain available and in their usual Rebel positions save the focus point select (+) and exposure lock (-) buttons that have been stacked. Stacked works great for me. The entire camera back is very well laid out and all of the buttons are very usable. I like this design better than the rest of the Rebel models to date.

Let's talk about the viewfinder. The PowerShot G1 X has a viewfinder, but it is mostly a waste of space. A viewfinder is perhaps the EOS M's most-missed feature. The Rebel SL1 gets a very usable true optical viewfinder.

While this viewfinder is not big when compared to a camera such as the EOS 5D Mark III, it is adequately sized and easy to use. Like the rest of the Rebel models, the SL1 features a pentamirror (vs. pentaprism in higher end models) viewfinder with a 95% view. The 95% view is not a big deal most of the time, but you occasionally end up with something unwanted in a frame border as shown in the lower left of this sample picture:

The perils of a 95% viewfinder

The solution to this issue is to crop away the portion of that 5% with a problem in it (in-camera cropping is now possible in the SL1) or to clone stamp the infringing subject away during post processing.

Since the Rebel models do not have a top LCD to show the camera settings, the rear LCD is used for this function. A sensor located just above the viewfinder turns off the LCD display when the camera is positioned for viewfinder use.

The LCD is of course also used for the camera's menu system. All current Canon DSLRs, the SL1 included, have great tabbed menus that are easy to navigate and easy to use. And recently, the menus became easier to use with touch capabilities. A "Feature Guide" explains the various camera modes, functions and options right on the LCD (the proficient can disable the guide).

As you saw in the comparison above, the EOS M remains the smallest option from a back perspective. The G1 X and G12 models are next up in scale and the SL1 slides in right behind them with slightly more height. The SL1 is also slightly deeper than these non-DSLR models as can be seen from a top perspective:

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Top View Comparison

60D | SL1 | T5i | T4i | T3i | T3 | M | G1 X

For many more comparisons, go to the Camera Top View Comparison page.

There is essentially no difference in top buttons and mode dial options between the T5i and the SL1. Nothing is omitted in the compacted design. The SL1's mode dial even rotates 360 degrees like the T5i's.

Options on the mode dial cover all photography needs for the complete beginner to the seasoned pro. The Scene Intelligent Auto Mode (the green square+) instructs the camera to analyze the scene and do whatever it takes to get the ultimate image. No thinking required.

More specific modes (such as sports, portrait and landscape) allow you to provide more input into the camera's shot setting decisions. In the SCN (Special Scene) mode, the new Kids, Food, and Candlelight shooting modes join the as-seen-before Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control modes. Special Scene modes are selected on the LCD. "The Kids mode keeps always-in-motion kids in focus and renders photos with healthy skin tones. The Food mode creates photos with bright, mouth-watering colors. And the Candlelight mode turns out photos with hues that recreate the ambience of candlelight." [Canon]

HDR Backlight Control mode instructs the SL1 to take three differently-exposed images to capture a wider dynamic range than possible with one image. The three images are combined in-camera with image brightness adjusted for no loss of detail in highlights or shadows within a single JPG (only) image. Handheld Night Scene mode instructs the SL1 to take four similarly-underexposed images using an easier to handhold shutter speed. The four images are then combined to a normal-brightness single JPG (only) image.

The camera retains full exposure and image setting control in these modes.

The CA (Creative Auto) mode is once again available. This mode allows you to change camera settings based on easy-to-understand LCD options such as "Background: Blurred <-> Sharp". "A new Creative Auto function, Extra Effect Shot lets the user select various creative effects. Five creative filters, four picture styles, and one ambient-based setting can be selected for the Extra Effect Shot." [Canon]

Seven still-image creative filters are available for applying after the shot. The Art bold effect and Water painter effect have joined the previously available Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect.

As mentioned above, in-camera cropping of JPG images is also now available. "Users can select the aspect ratio (3:2, 16:9, 4:3, or 1:1) and the cropped size (in 40 steps) as well as rotate and shift the crop frame. The cropped image is saved as a separate file from the original." [Canon]

Cameras have come a long way over the years and the auto settings are quite good in many situations. Those who have taken time to understand aperture, shutter and ISO settings have a range of options up to and including fully manual settings (the Creative Zone modes). I use manual mode at least 90% of the time (with Auto ISO some of that time) and use Av mode most of the balance of the time with Tv seeing a small amount of use.

From the top perspective, the difference in grip shape and shutter release position can be seen. Minimizing the camera size required a change in the grip size. Knowing how reduced the grip size was going to be left me nervous about how usable it would be. While it is not as easy to hang onto as a full-size Rebel (which is still a small DSLR), the grip is surprisingly well done. The new placement of the shutter release works well in conjunction with the grip design. And the textured rubber grip surface is nice.

Are bigger lenses as easy to handle with the smaller camera grip? No. But it can be done. The left hand takes charge of the overall camera handling in this case. I used lenses sized up to the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II IS USM Lens handheld with the SL1 with no problems.

The DSLRs shown below are aligned approximately on their hot shoes.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Side View Comparison

60D | SL1 | T5i | T4i | T3i | T3 | M

For many more comparisons, go to the Camera Side View Comparison page.

How do you make a Rebel T4i seem like a big DSLR? Put an SL1 next to it.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Size Comparison

The M, of course, remains smaller. Here is a chart of sizes and weights:

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon PowerShot G1 X4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)18.8 oz (534g)
Canon PowerShot G124.4 x 3.0 x 1.9"(112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3mm)13.7 oz (389g)
Canon PowerShot G94.2 x 2.8 x 1.7"(106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5mm)12.9 oz (365g)
Canon EOS M4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)10.5 oz (298g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)14.4 oz (407g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.5 oz (580g)
Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm)20.3 oz (575g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1"(133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7mm)20.1 oz (570g)
Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.7 oz (530g)
Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.6 oz (527g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.6 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm)16.9 oz (480g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)17.5 oz (495g)
Canon EOS Rebel XSi / 450D5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4"(128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)18.4 oz (522g)
Canon EOS Rebel XS / 1000D5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"(126.1 x 97.5 x 61.9mm)17.5 oz (497g)
Canon EOS Rebel XTi / 400D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 65mm)19.9 oz (564g)
Canon EOS Rebel XT / 350D5.0 x 3.7 x 2.6"(127 x 94 x 64mm)19.0 oz (539g)
Canon EOS 70D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5mm)26.7 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 60D5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1"(144.5 x 105.8 x 78.6mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 50D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)29.1 oz (826g)
Canon EOS 40D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"(145.5 x 112 x 73.5mm)29.5 oz (836g)
Canon EOS 30D5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9"(144 x 105.5 x 73.5mm)28.1 oz (796g)
Canon EOS 20D5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8"(144 x 106 x 72mm)27.5 oz (781g)
Canon EOS 7D5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9"(148.2 x 110.7 x 73.5mm)32.2 oz (914g)
Canon EOS 6D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)33.5 oz (950g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)31.9 oz (904g)
Canon EOS 5D6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0"(152 x 113 x 75mm)32.0 oz (906g)
Canon EOS-1D X6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)54.0 oz (1530g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)48.5 oz (1374g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark III6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)47.6 oz (1349g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark II N6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.5 oz (1574g)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)49.5 oz (1404g)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.2 oz (1564g)

Much ado about "little". The small size and accompanying small weight are really the big deal about this camera. The Canon-produced image below illustrates the SL1's size and weight reductions.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Size Reduction Illustration

The top left images show CMOS sensor package reduction and the top right images show the shutter size reduction.

A feature not sacrificed on the SL1 was the pop-up flash. Well, not completely sacrificed. The flash lost some power relative to the Rebel T5i – now rated Guide No 9.4 vs. 13. And 1mm of wide angle focal length coverage has been lost – now 18mm vs. 17mm. While the pop-up flash is generally not going to provide the most flattering light, it can be useful for fill or for snapshot-grade pictures.

Rebel SL1 Flash Up

Unfortunately missing is the Integrated Speedlite Transmitter that we have seen on recent Canon DSLR models.

Like all of the other modern Canon EOS DSLRs - and now obvious from the AF discussion above, the SL1 supports video capture. Video image quality, especially with the shallow DOF (Depth of Field) capabilities of compatible lenses, is very impressive for a camera at this price point. Far beyond what we would have dreamed of not many years ago.

The SL1's video feature set is very similar to the other recent models with Hybrid CMOS AF II driving Movie Servo AF being a first-available video feature.

Here are some additional video recording features and specs: Movie exposures are either Program AE or manual exposure. The ISO speeds up to ISO 12800 can be used for manual exposures. The movie file size is now unlimited (or limited by the card being used) – continuous HD recordings can be as long as approximately 29:59 minutes utilizing 4GB clips. .MOV files are created (H.264-encoded).

Available resolutions and frame rates are:
1080p: 1920x1080px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps, 24fps (23.976fps)
720p: 1280x720px at 60fps (59.94fps), 50fps
SD: 640x480px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps

The built-in mic is mono-only, but a 3.5mm miniphone jack allows use of an external stereo mic. Output ports include HDMI and USB.

Movies can now be recorded using the miniature effect.

Rebel SL1 Side

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D uses the Battery Pack LP-E12 for its power requirements. This is the same tiny battery (with the same small direct-plug-in charger) utilized by the EOS M. I have not tested the number of shots available in a fully charged battery (I had too much battery swapping and charging going on), but Canon's 480 shot rating seems in line. Battery life will vary significantly depending on feature usage, but with viewfinder use, the SL1 can far surpass the EOS M's Live View-only 230 shot rating. The T5i, with its larger battery, has a higher shot rating (550).

A battery grip is not available for the Rebel SL1, but it would not be hard to carry a few spare LP-E12s to increase your shot count potential.

As a Canon EOS DSLR camera, the SL1 becomes part of an incredible system of lenses, flashes and accessories.

All DSLR cameras need at least one lens. As the lens is often the limiting factor to great image quality, it is helpful that Canon makes some of the best lenses available. The Canon general purpose lens recommendations page is a great starting point for your lens selection.

For Rebel SL1 lens selection, you need to know that you have an APS-C format camera with a 1.6x Field of View Crop Factor (FOVCF). This essentially means that your angle of view is similar to what a 1.6x longer focal length is like with a full frame DSLR (or 35mm film SLR) camera (an 18-55mm lens on an APS-C body has a full frame angle of view equivalent of 28.8-88mm lens). The 35mm equivalent focal length range is often listed in point and shoot camera model specs.

Perhaps easier to understand is that, as an APS-C format DSLR, the SL1 is compatible with "EF-S" lenses in addition to the EF, TS-E and MP-E lenses that all EOS models are compatible with. While the better quality lenses tend to be larger and heavier, using a large lens on the SL1 defeats some of the purpose of its small size. If you are looking for a tiny camera, you probably want a relatively compact lens.

At review time, the SL1 is available as a body-only or in a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. The 18-55 STM IS lens is very well priced in the kit and performs well for the price at its wider focal lengths. I usually encourage use of better lenses, but these better lenses are often larger and heavier than low end options. The need to keep the overall size and weight down raises my 18-55mm STM satisfaction level with this camera.

Another good choice is the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. This lens has excellent optics, Ring USM AF and image stabilization at a reasonable price. It is larger than the kit lens (most lenses are), but not big or heavy. Want a really compact SL1 lens? Get the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens.

Another SL1 accessory you want to get is the tiny Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote.

You also want a case. The SL1 is too small for my normal DSLR cases, though I've been getting by with a Lowepro Toploader Pro 65 AW. When asked for a case suggestion, Maury Cohen at Lowepro said "I’d go with our Toploader Zoom 50 AW." Sounds like a good choice to me.

Rebel SL1 Top

When you buy a camera, you are also buying into the company behind it. I have been very satisfied with the support Canon's USA division has provided to me. When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is. Repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable.

For a full understanding of the capabilities of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D, refer to the owner's manual linked at the beginning of this review. It is 388 pages long and omits very little. As I indicated in the beginning of this review, the SL1 lacks little. The basic version of the manual is still 116 pages (linked below).

The manual will tell you all about features such as Auto Lighting Optimizer, Chromatic Aberration Correction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, remote control via a USB-connected computer, the Self-cleaning Sensor, the built-in flash, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority ... and many, many other topics.

If you are looking at the SL1, you are most likely also-considering the Canon EOS Rebel T5i. Here is a list of SL1 vs. T5i (respectively) differences:

  • 9 AF points with 1 cross-type vs. 9 cross-type
  • Hybrid CMOS AF II covering approx. 80 x 80 percent vs. Hybrid CMOS AF covering approx. 38 x 26 percent
  • 4fps continuous shooting speed vs. 5fps
  • Silent Single & Silent Continuous shooting modes available vs. No
  • Basic Zone Modes: 13 vs. 10
  • Built-in flash Guide No of 9.4 vs. 13
  • Built-in flash coverage down to 18mm vs. 17mm
  • Integrated Speedlite Transmitter: No vs. Yes
  • Built-in mic is mono vs. stereo
  • Miniature effect movie and Extra Effect Shot included in SL1
  • SL1 LCD is not Vari-Angle
  • No SL1 battery grip available
  • Battery life of approx. 480 vs. 550
  • In-camera JPG cropping vs. no
  • T5i has a dedicated "Q" (and print) button vs. Set button serving dual roles
  • Did I mention that the SL1 was smaller/lighter?
  • The T5i has a larger grip for better control of camera – making the T5i a better choice if big lenses are on your planned use list

Take a more in-depth look at the Rebel SL1 vs. T5i comparison and/or compare the SL1 with other recent EOS DSLR models using the site's camera comparison tool. There are features and capabilities listed on that page that are not included in this review.

At review time, the SL1 is priced $100 USD below the T5i. If the above feature differences favoring the T5i are not important to you, the SL1 may be your better choice.

I've been carrying the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D all over the place for two months. The opening sample image is of the Pennsylvania capital building in Harrisburg, PA. The SL1 went with me to my daughter's state track meet in Shippensburg, PA. It has been out on the boat with us. The SL1 has been stored in a cabinet for near instant access to whatever is going on around home, such as baking:

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Sample Picture 3

The SL1 is a great travel camera. It is handy to have available at home. It is great for kid use or for adults with small hands. It is sized to take with you wherever your daily life takes you – or for backup to your primary camera(s).

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D delivers pro-grade image quality from a tiny and light package that looks as great as it performs. If impressive image quality in an extreme light weight & small size but still fully-capable, full-featured DSLR camera appeals to you, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D has your name on it. Start preparing wall space for your impressive poster-sized SL1 prints that will take you back to great memories.

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D
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