When you need (want) the smallest camera possible, a camera ready to go everywhere with you, but do not want to give up DSLR features, including the excellent image quality these provide, the SL3 immediately jumps to the forefront of your options list. While this camera is really small, it still has the DSLR features you have come to love including a through-the-lens (TTL) optical viewfinder, fast phase detection AF, very long battery life, a responsive shutter release and a grip that places you in control. Great image quality delivered by the latest-available Canon APS-C CMOS imaging sensor and compatibility with an extensive range of accessories is, of course, included. While Canon shrunk the DSLR, the SL-series design is such that the cameras remain (surprisingly) very usable and the SL3 is even further improved in this regard.
You may have recognized that I lifted some of that intro from the SL2 review's intro. The EOS Rebel SL3 (named EOS 250D in Europe, EOS Kiss 10 in Japan and EOS 200D II in Asia/Oceania) is a replacement for the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D, though we can expect the SL2 to remain available in Canon's EOS lineup for some time into the future. Like the Rebel SL2, the Rebel SL3 enters the world as the smallest DSLR camera ever, with one exception. That exception is the discontinued initial Rebel SL-series model, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D. While the SL2 and SL3 increased very slightly in size, the features that caused that increase are certainly worth the additional dimensions.
The SL line of cameras slots very slightly below Canon's flagship Rebel model, a position currently held by the Canon EOS Rebel T7i and nicely above the entry-level Rebel model, currently the Canon EOS Rebel T7. When I asked what the "SL" in the SL2 model name meant, Canon's official answer was: "It doesn't have a meaning". I hate to leave you disappointed, so ... consider SL to mean "Small" and "Light" as those are hallmarks of this camera.
While mirrorless camera models such as the very-similar Canon EOS M50 are now competing very strongly with this DSLR line, the SL3 remains a great option for those wanting a small, light, and affordable DSLR that is natively compatible with a huge array of lenses. This camera will be found highly attractive to families wanting great image quality from a camera that is convenient to always have with them. The SL3 is a great travel camera and those hiking long distances will also find the SL3 favorable.
Here is a summary of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 features.
The Rebel SL3 gets Canon's latest 24 MP CMOS imaging sensor, the same model found in a very large number of current Canon EOS models, including the aforementioned Canon EOS M50.
|Canon EOS M5||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS M6||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||opt||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS M50||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS M100||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||n/a||n/a||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||.87x||95%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.87x||95%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||4.30µm||5184 x 3456||18.0||.87x||95%||f/6.9|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.82x||95%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||.80x||95%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS 77D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.82x||95%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS 80D||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.95x||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS RP||1.0x||35.9 x 24.0mm||5.75µm||6240 x 4160||26.2||.70x||100%||f/9.3|
EOS SL cameras natively mount Canon's huge lineup of EF-S, EF, TS-E, and MP-E series lenses. As with all APS-C format cameras, a selected lens' focal length will provide an angle of view similar to that of a 1.6x longer focal length mounted on a full frame sensor camera (including when using EF-S series lenses).
Obviously, the APS-C format is huge relative to the size of the imaging sensors in mobile phones and point-and-shoot style cameras. Image quality, especially in low light, is a huge advantage that larger sensors bring.
As mentioned, the SL3 inherits the same imaging sensor found in ... most of Canon's other current APS-C sensor format cameras. That is a very positive feature as this is a great sensor and Canon makes use of volume production for cost efficiencies that all of us can appreciate.
You will notice that the SL3's effective MP count drops by 0.1 from the SL2. The reason for this change is that some of the pixels are taking on a supporting role, being used for other purposes, such as AF. Twenty-four megapixels has become Canon's APS-C standard issue at this time and this resolution is very high.
Resolution is a key image quality factor to evaluate and the site's image quality tool is well-suited for that. Unfortunately, that link shows the M50 results — the SL3 does not have a center hot shoe pin and therefore, we can't trigger the remote third-party strobe lights required to obtain the SL3 test results. Expect the SL3 to perform identically to the M50.
I set the apertures in that comparison to f/5.6. With APS-C 24.2/24.1 MP imaging sensors having a 3.72µm pixel pitch, diffraction begins impacting sharpness when apertures narrower than f/6.0 are selected. Results at f/8 begin to show very modest softening and at f/11, you are going to see the difference in your images. This is not to say that you should not use f/11 and narrower apertures, but you should be aware of the penalty being paid for using such and discerning with your exposure choices. Use the tool to learn how diffraction affects sharpness and you will be prepared to make a knowledgeable decision in the field.
As pixel density increases, the signal-to-noise ratio per-pixel decreases unless other technological advances are involved. Canon has been standardized on 24 MP APS-C sensors for years and this sensor has been delivering very nice results in regards to noise.
The Kodak Color Control Patches shown in the standard ISO noise test results are generated from RAW images with (and this is key) no noise reduction (unless specifically indicated by the result set). These evenly-colored patches make any image noise readily apparent. Keep in mind that many real-world subjects are more detailed and better hide noise, meaning these samples represent a worst-case scenario. Also note that the low default sharpness setting used in the sample results slightly helps to keep noise tamed and this camera seems to be adjusting the sharpness scale downward slightly from some previous models. This is not bad as it adds some bandwidth to the bottom of the scale and the default USM strength = 4 dials in more sharpness than I want (examples to come).
The big question is, how apparent is the difference between camera models? If you can't see the difference in the color blocks, you will not likely discern it in your images either.
The SL3's ISO 100 results are very clean – this is normal for EOS cameras. As always, increasing the ISO setting increases the apparent noise. My personal tolerance for current APS-C sensor noise is about ISO 3200. Results at ISO 6400 are noisy, though they can be usable. More of a last resort is ISO 12800 and a significant percentage of the details get lost in the low signal-to-noise ratio at ISO 25600. The purposes for ISO 51200 seem strongly marketing-related.
Many SL3 test image sets in addition to the standard RAW-captured set are provided in the site's noise tool. Some additional sets explore the in-camera JPG file format. All of these use the Standard Picture Style, one with the default sharpness setting (USM strength = 4) and two using a very-lightly-sharpened USM "1" strength setting (similar to this site's default Sharpness = 1 setting). The most obvious (and only) difference I see in the JPG-captured default set is the significantly increased sharpness with noticeable over-sharpening dialed in, as evidenced by the apparent halos in the high contrast transition areas.
RAW and JPG sets with noise reduction are available for review. The RAW images had light noise reduction applied in Canon Digital Photo Professional (downloadable software included with the camera) and the JPGs were captured with the Standard in-camera high ISO noise reduction applied. The difference that noise reduction processing makes can be very noticeable. That difference can be big in some images, but the tradeoff is destruction of some image details and reduced sharpness. I typically use no noise reduction for low ISO-captured images and a low amount for higher ISO-captured images. As with the amount of sharpness selected, noise reduction can be adjusted to your personal preference, either in-camera or during post-processing.
Six sets of the SL3 noise results were captured at full stop intervals between -3 EV and +3 Ev. These RAW-format images were very significantly under and over-exposed, then adjusted to the proper brightness in Canon DPP and are useful for evaluating image quality, including the system's dynamic range.
For example, in the -3 EV captures, I see the SL3 showing similar noise levels to 0 EV-captured images captured at a 3-stop-higher ISO setting. Capturing a brighter RAW exposure than desired and reducing the brightness during post-processing typically results in lower noise levels than an image captured at the correct final brightness. This is the ETTR (Expose to the Right) concept. The problem occurs when one or more color channels get clipped with details lost. The SL# is showing some clipped channels in the +2 EV results (the colors of the blocks are losing their integrity).
While the SL3 is not showing improvements from cameras with similar generation imaging sensors, overall, this camera is delivering very nice image quality, arguably-at-least-equally-best-in-class Canon APS-C image quality, despite its tiny size.
Along with image quality being the same comes file size similarity. 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. 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 camera.
|Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:||(MP)||100||200||400||800||1600||3200||6400||12800||25600||51200||102400||204800||409600|
|Canon EOS M5||(24.2)||33.8||34.7||35.7||37.1||39.0||41.3||44.7||46.5||52.8|
|Canon EOS M6||(24.2)||34.1||34.8||35.9||37.6||39.6||42.0||45.1||46.9||53.0|
|Canon EOS M50||(24.1)||30.4||31.3||32.4||33.7||35.3||37.0||38.9||40.6||43.2||45.9|
|Canon EOS M100||(24.2)||34.0||34.8||35.7||37.2||38.9||40.7||43.5||45.5||50.9|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D||(24.1)||29.6||30.5||31.6||32.9||34.4||36.2||38.2||40.0||42.7||45.3|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL2||(24.2)||30.6||31.3||32.2||33.4||33.4||35.0||37.0||39.5||42.4||47.0||50.9|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1||(18.0)||23.7||24.2||24.8||25.8||27.1||28.7||30.8||33.4||37.2|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7i||(24.0)||30.6||31.2||32.1||33.3||34.9||37.0||39.6||42.4||47.0||51.1|
|Canon EOS 77D||(24.0)||30.6||31.2||32.1||33.3||34.9||37.0||39.6||42.4||47.0||51.1|
|Canon EOS 80D||(24.2)||31.2||31.9||32.7||34.0||35.9||37.9||40.6||43.7||47.5|
|Canon EOS RP||(26.2)||30.7||31.3||32.0||32.8||34.0||35.5||37.1||39.0||41.5||43.4||45.8|
|Canon EOS R||(30.4)||35.8||36.6||37.6||38.7||40.0||41.8||43.3||45.7||48.0||49.6*||**||**|
|Canon EOS R C_RAW||(30.4)||23.1||23.5||24.5||25.2||26.5||28.0||29.4||31.6||33.8||49.6*||35.3*||**||**|
High-resolution images create large files, especially when captured in (strongly recommended) RAW format (vs. JPG). For an ISO 100 24.1 MP EOS Rebel SL3 image, you can estimate roughly 1.3MB in RAW file size per megapixel of resolution for a file size of just under 31 MB.
New with the M50 (and now featured in the SL3) was the .CR3 RAW format that provides new features including the C-RAW format (compressed RAW with lossy compression). Instead of the not-full-featured small and medium RAW formats Canon formerly offered, C-RAW provides full RAW file support along with a 40% file size reduction. That math adds up quickly. What started as a quick evaluation of this new feature turned into a sizeable project. Check out the article: Should I Use Canon's C-RAW Image File Format?
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 writes files to an SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory card. The small-sized SD memory cards are available everywhere (I recently had to go to a local pharmacy to buy an SD card because I carried a camera with an empty card slot to an event) and they have become very inexpensive, making large file sizes a very minor problem. Buy plenty of capacity and multiple cards (and remember to put one in your camera before you leave).
Optimally, I suggest rotating memory cards to maintain a backup set until, minimally, you are able to get the images safely into your formal backup strategy (which must include off-sight storage). If your computer storage is lacking hard drive space available, simply add external storage.
Like the Rebel SL2, the Rebel SL3 gets a maximum frame rate of 5 fps. While that number is not going to have sports and action photographers clamoring to get their hands on this camera model, 5 fps is a respectable figure. My current daily-use camera, the Canon EOS 5Ds R, has a 5 fps frame rate and this model is adequate until the action gets fast.
|Model||FPS||Max JPG||Max RAW||Shutter Lag||VF Blackout|
|Canon EOS M5||7/9||26||17||n/a|
|Canon EOS M6||7/9||26||17||n/a|
|Canon EOS M50||7.4/10||33/47||10||n/a|
|Canon EOS M100||4/6.1||89/1000||21||n/a|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D||5.0||Full||10/37||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D||5.0||Full||6||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.0||28/1140||7/8||75ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D||6.0||190/Full||21/27||70ms|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D||3.0||1110||6||120ms||170ms|
|Canon EOS 77D||6.0||190/Full||21/27||70ms|
|Canon EOS 80D||7.0||77/110||20/25||60ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS RP||4||Full||50/Full||55ms||n/a|
No one is going to complain about the until-card-is-full JPG buffer capacity. The 10-frame RAW buffer capacity looks great against the SL2's 6-frame capacity, but a 2-second burst is still rather short. This camera can certainly be used for sports/action capture, but that rating makes this not the ideal camera model for that purpose. With C-RAW files being considerably smaller in size than standard RAW files, the SL3 can buffer considerably more C-RAW files with the rating increasing to 37 frames.
That 10-frame RAW continuous shooting spec? With a fast memory card, it might not be correct. To test the Canon EOS Rebel SL3's 5 fps drive mode and 10 RAW frame buffer capabilities, the camera was configured to manual mode (no AE time lag) using ISO 100, a 1/4000 shutter speed (no waiting for the shutter operation), a wide open aperture (no time lost due to aperture blades closing) and manual focus (no focus lock delay). A freshly-formatted fast memory card was loaded.
Using a fast SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC Memory Card (UHS-II), I pressed the shutter release and began counting. I got bored with counting at somewhere around 40 shots and got bored holding the shutter release down after over 120 full-speed-captured images. It seems the camera will continue at its rated speed until the card is filled.
The SL3's 0.75ms shutter lag is slower than featured in cameras designed for sports action photography, but this is a respectable spec otherwise.
An interesting new drive mode received by the SL2 was "Continuous shooting after 10 sec. self-timer," and it has been featured in other cameras since that one, including in the SL3. In this mode, the camera will wait 10 seconds and then proceed to take that selected number of images, between 2 and 10 shots. This is a nice option for placing yourself in a scene with multiple images available to choose from, hopefully garnering a shot with no eye blinks among the group in the frame.
Like the SL2, the SL3's max shutter speed remains lower-end at 1/4000. While this speed is fast enough for general-purpose use, those using extreme-wide apertures (such as f/1.4) under direct sunlight may find themselves wanting the 1/8000 option. A neutral density filter is often the answer to this situation.
Again lower-end is the 1/200 max flash sync speed. High-speed sync is required for shorter exposures.
Following are links to MP3 files capturing the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 shutter sound.
Camera sounds are recorded using a Tascam DR-07mkII (predecessor to the Tascam DR-07X) Portable Digital Audio Recorder with record levels set to 50% at -12db gain and positioned 1" behind the rear LCD.
Live view shooting can also be used to further minimalize the Rebel SL3's audibility.
The Rebel SL2 AF system, the same as featured in the SL1, was again carried over into the SL3. Why did Canon choose to re-use the SL1’s AF system in the SL2 instead of the more-advanced 45-pt system currently being put into many other models? No official Canon Inc. answer was available for this question; it was presumed that the decision was made to match the price point of this camera to its intended user as well as slotting it between the then-current T6 and T7i. I expect that reasoning being carried forward here. Still, the AF system alone has been a primary reason to upgrade to a DSLR camera from a point-and-shoot model or a smartphone, and the conventional phase detection AF system has not been sacrificed to gain the small size of this model.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D's AF system consists of 9 total AF points, featuring 8 points in a diamond pattern plus a center point. The f/5.6 max-aperture-compatible center AF point is a cross-type (sensitive to lines of contrast in two directions) with extra sensitivity enabled with an f/2.8 or wider lens in use.
Allow some room for slight error when comparing the above AF point spreads, but the viewfinder representations are at least close and are helpful in understanding the differences between the cameras. Obvious is that the full frame models give up a percentage of the viewfinder coverage to the smaller format options and the SL3 lacks the AF point density of its larger siblings. Not made obvious is that the full frame viewfinders are much larger than the APS-C models.
The SL3's center AF point working range extends down to -0.5 EV with the outer AF points rated to 0.5 EV.
Live View and Movie focusing modes include what has become the Canon standard for Dual Pixel CMOS AF: Face Detection with Tracking, Zone AF (no longer Smooth Zone AF or FlexiZone Multi), and 1-point AF (no longer FlexiZone Single). On the recent-previous models, all focus modes work very well, and the (human) face detection tracking combined with the ability to influence which face is selected is especially impressive.
New "Eye Detection AF", when enabled in the menu (requires Face Detection with Tracking mode), adds an additional layer of focus point selection within face detection. When a person's face is large in the frame, only part of their face may be rendered in focus due to inadequate depth of field. In that case, it is crucial that the eyes are in focus. Eye Detection AF locates the subject's eyes and displays a smaller AF point within the larger face detection AF point. Both of these AF point sizes change with the size of the person's head in the frame. Eye Detection AF is a logical progression of Face Detection AF and it works very well.
Live view AF features 3,975 manually selectable AF points and 143 auto selection AF points with coverage up to 88x100% (WxH) of the imaging area. More points and greater coverage mean that recomposing is needed less frequently and an AF point can be held on a subject closer to the edge of the frame for fast shutter release timing or for motion tracking in AI servo AF mode.
In Live View, AF is possible with max. apertures of f/11 or wider. Information obtained during a phone conversation with Canon USA indicated that this Live View system has EV -4 (extremely dark) sensitivity and an also-impressive 0.03-second focus speed. I like it.
The SL3's capacitive touchscreen was inherited from the M50 (and other models) allowing for Touch Focus during both Live View still photography and before/during video recording. Just tap your finger on the LCD where you want the camera to focus and it happens – smoothly. It is extremely easy and it works great.
The phone conversation with Canon USA indicated that the SL3 has the same video features as the M50. Therefore, the following is a nearly identical cut-and-paste of the M50's video review (the camera model name has been updated).
With each new camera that Canon has introduced since the ground-breaking EOS 5D Mark II, creating high-quality videos has become incrementally easier. The SL3's video feature set is very respectable for a consumer-grade DSLR camera, especially considering its very impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF and 4K video recording.
The value of being able to record 4K video cannot be understated, even if your typical output is only Full HD 1080p. The additional resolution captured in a 4K recording is substantial. The illustration below demonstrates the difference between Full HD and 4K resolutions.
If outputting to 1080p, you can easily downsample the 4K video (with very slight cropping on the right and left sides), crop the frame to provide a tighter angle of view or even pan your FHD video within the confines of the 4K captured frame. You can also mimic zooming in and out of a scene to add even more production value to your 1080p movies.
Of course, creating 4K content is the primary benefit of purchasing a 4K-capable camera. 4K video offers more than 4x the resolution of Full HD, allowing for beautifully sharp and detail-rich movies that will remain impressive on resolution-hungry devices. Note that the SL3's 4K recording is cropped vs. down-sampled.
The SL3 offers video recording in .MP4 format using the MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 codec, with audio being recorded in AAC (.MP4, stereo) via its front dual microphones or the 3.5mm stereo input jack.
Available frame rates and compression include:
3840 x 2160 (4K): 24 fps (23.98 fps)
1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps) / 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps
1280 x 720 (HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps)
Movie recording modes are fully automatic or manual. Auto ISO with exposure compensation is available in manual mode for a balance of manual and automatic control. The SL3 also supports Time-Lapse Movie creation in movie mode.
The EOS SL3's ability to capture high-quality video is greatly aided by its Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor. Unfortunately, however, the benefits of DPAF are limited to 1080p (and lower resolution) recording. In 4K mode, the SL3 continues to support movie servo AF, but the camera relies on slower and less-precise contrast detection AF.
The SL3’s Vari-Angle LCD is a feature that videographers will greatly appreciate, making filming from low or high angles – or for filming oneself for video log purposes – a breeze.
Also designed to aid video quality is Canon's in-body 5-axis image stabilization system, combining in-lens optical stabilization with in-camera digital image stabilization. This system can be set to one of three settings (Enabled, Enhanced and Disabled) and can provide stabilization for non-stabilized lenses or increase the stabilization capabilities of lenses featuring traditional IS systems.
In my experience, in-lens IS works extremely well during video recording, while the digital IS feature has left me unimpressed. My handheld results captured with digital IS enabled are not as smooth as the in-lens-only IS produces. The in-lens IS alone is great and sufficient for my needs.
The rolling shutter/jello effect is rather noticeable when panning at medium and fast speeds during SL3 video capture, but more-stationary shooting delivers superb results. Overall, the EOS SL3's video-specific features make it a less compelling option for videographers when compared to the other cameras such as the EOS 80D, which offers more features, including .MOV recording (in addition to .MP4), user selectable compression and more time-lapse movie options. However, the EOS SL3 will deliver more than sufficient video quality for the majority of its users, and with the ability to record 4K, this camera will likely play minimally a backup/second/third camera role in even serious videographers' kits.
The SL3 receives the same metering system as the SL2 which featured a 63-zone system. Metering modes include Evaluative (linked to all AF points), Partial (center, approx. 9.0% of viewfinder), Spot (center, approx. 4.0% of viewfinder) and Center-weighted average. The optical viewfinder's metering range is EV 1–20.
Regretfully, Canon's amazing light flicker detection feature has again been omitted from this model.
If you liked the viewfinder in the SL2, you will like the viewfinder in the SL3 – they are the same. The SL3's viewfinder provides an approx. 95% view of the scene to be recorded, meaning that some additional scene beyond what is seen in the viewfinder will be present in images. This is generally not a problem, but sometimes an unintended subject shows up in the border of the frame.
This is a pentamirror (lessor to a pentaprism) viewfinder as commonly featured in Rebel models and the viewfinder magnification is approx. 0.87x. The size of the viewfinder is comfortable, making it quite useful.
This SL3 does not get Canon's intelligent viewfinder (featuring an LCD overlay) implementation, but a basic amount of information is made available. Another missing feature (that I wish was present) is the electronic level, absent from both the viewfinder and the rear LCD.
The highly-useful vari-angle LCD continues to be popular on the latest EOS models. This is a 3.0" (77mm) TFT LCD with approximately 1,040,000 dots and solid-state structure design for clarity, durability and an approximately 170° viewing angle. Anti-smudge and anti-reflection coatings are not applied to this LCD, meaning that it is not quite as easy to clean as the coated models and that reflections can sometimes affect viewing.
This LCD is found in many of Canon's current EOS models (including in the 80D, 77D, Rebel T7i, Rebel T6i, Rebel SL2, and Rebel T5i). Having the LCD able to articulate into a wide range of angles is a big asset, making the camera easily usable in a variety of positions, including directed straight up from on the ground or held high overhead.
To capture the image above, I rested the camera on my hand directly on the road surface.
Extended and forward-facing, this LCD makes self-recording easy, a great asset for vlogging.
As touch control becomes more common in DSLRs, this feature also becomes more familiar and therefore, more useful. Touch to select the focus point location in Live View or video recording. Pinch-to-zoom when reviewing images and drag to pan around a zoomed image. Jump directly from one menu tab or option to another. Touching provides quick camera setting changes. ISO, for example, can be selected simply by touching the desired value. Practically all camera setting changes can be made using touch. I realize how much I like the touch screen when I pick up an older camera and have to make the same setting changes using only dials.
Canon has designed and produced a very large number of DSLR cameras and the maturity of EOS designs has long been clear. Those who have never used an EOS camera before will especially appreciate this maturity and maturity means that many camera models share design similarities because what is good for one is often good for at least most. The shared design reduces (or eliminates) the learning curve required to switch between EOS camera models.
Especially similar are the SL3 and SL2 designs with both having basic but adequate controls.
Note that the following controls can be customized:
Also, up to six menu items and the top-tier items of Custom Functions can be registered to each My Menu tab with up to five My Menu tabs added.
To visually compare the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool. Opening that link in a separate tab or window will be helpful for following along with the product tour.
In the back view, we see that the SL3 is a repeat of the SL2 and most of the features are self-explanatory. As usual, the LCD consumes the largest amount of real estate.
The cross-key controller is 4-way only. I prefer 8-way controllers and especially like Canon's models that have a small dial around the controller such as found on the EOS M5. No joystick is provided, but with only 9 AF points, that feature is not especially important to this camera.
Mostly, the top of the SL3 again matches the SL2 and most of the features are again obvious.
The top comparison shows the SL2's Wi-Fi button being removed along with the Creative Auto and no-flash modes from the mode dial. Some minor aesthetic improvements were made.
The recessed mode dial is nice to use with seemingly only basic options. That is until the multi-scene SCN mode is explored. Then it becomes obvious that this camera is loaded with options, especially options to make life easier for beginners.
Don't want to put any thought into your camera setup? The SL3's "A+" mode, referencing "Auto" combined with DIGIC 8 processor-powered artificial intelligence, makes all of the decisions for you. While it could be referred to as the "Mindless" mode, that doesn't seem to give it the credit it deserves. There are times when even a seasoned photographer needs to pick up the camera and take a picture fast, without hesitating to check settings. This mode is ready for that.
The SCN (Special Scene) mode is where a large number of options are stored, allowing the photographer to give the camera's AI a stronger hint to what is being photographed. Turn the mode dial to SCN, press "Q" and choose between Portrait, Smooth Skin, Group Photo, Landscape, Sports, Kids, Close-up, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, and HDR Backlight Control (the SL2's Panning mode has gone missing). The setting selected will influence the camera to choose the exposure settings it thinks are ideal for your situation. How often will some of these modes be used? I'm guessing that the Candlelight option will not be called upon regularly by most not living in areas with frequent electricity outages. As I mentioned in the prior reviews, pulling a camera out during a romantic candlelight dinner *may* sour the mood. There is no harm in having all of the modes available and they likely add only a minuscule amount to the cost of the camera.
Creative Filters mode provides special effects including Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect, HDR art standard, HDR art vivid, HDR art bold, and HDR art embossed.
The full set of creative mode options (P, Av, Tv, M and B) are provided for photographers to take as much control over their exposure settings as desired.
The SL2 has CA (Creative Auto) mode to guide those with some basic photography knowledge to make camera settings adjustments using easily-understandable words instead of numbers. The SL3's replacement features are the Guided User Interface and the Creative Assist mode that are optionally available for beginners (and for those with trouble remembering what individual camera settings do).
The SL3 continues to incorporate the seemingly-unrelated movie mode on the power switch. Powering on the camera using this switch design is easy enough and with a secure click into the on position, inadvertently turning the switch too far has not been an issue. The switch lever becoming less-protruding behind the thumb rest avoids inadvertent power on scenarios. With the camera placed on a counter or other surface creating from-the-top access, this switch is especially easy to use.
A display button resides next to the ISO button and the orientation of these buttons along with the shutter release and top dial was modified with the SL2, taking advantage of the deeper hand grip (it was a very nice feature improvement). The rear display is not proximity-detecting and requires a shutter release half-press or the display button to turn off. Note that the shutter release half-press requires very slightly too much pressure on the review camera (a copy-specific issue?).
At first glance, the left side of the SL3 looks exactly like the left side of the SL2. Upon closer examination, differences begin to show.
The flash button is gone with a slightly-raised flash edge being the manual replacement. This design works very easily and likely involves fewer moving parts.
Another gone-missing feature is the Depth of Field (DOF) Preview button. To use the DOF preview function with this camera, the DISP button (on top) must be customized to this function. Likely not many photographers buying a camera at this level require DOF preview.
The red-eye reduction, self-timer lamp is also gone.
The left side of the camera provides ports for a remote release (E3 type) and microphone input (3.5mm stereo mini jack). The right side of the camera provides ports for USB (2.0) and HDMI connections. High-quality clean HDMI output is provided for media device support and HDR output to HDR-compatible device is also supported via HDMI output.
The SD memory card slot is located in the battery compartment under the camera. While this location works, I prefer the common side location for convenience. Expect non-model-specific camera quick-release plates to block the access door, requiring plate removal to remove the memory card or battery.
For a DSLR, it doesn't get any smaller or lighter than this.
|Model||Body Dimensions||CIPA Weight|
|Canon PowerShot G1 X||4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"||(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)||18.8 oz (534g)|
|Canon EOS M5||4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4"||(115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm)||15.1 oz (427g)|
|Canon EOS M6||4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8"||(112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5mm)||13.8 oz (390g)|
|Canon EOS M50||4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3"||(116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm)||13.7 oz (387g)|
|Canon EOS M100||4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4"||(108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm)||11.3 oz (320g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D||4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"||(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)||15.8 oz (449g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D||4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"||(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)||16.0 oz (453g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D||4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"||(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)||14.4 oz (407g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"||(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)||18.8 oz (532g)|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D||5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1"||(129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm)||16.8 oz (475g)|
|Canon EOS 77D||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"||(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)||19.0 oz (540g)|
|Canon EOS 80D||5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"||(139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm)||25.8 oz (730g)|
|Canon EOS RP||5.2 x 3.36 x 2.76"||(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm)||17.3 oz (485g)|
Add 0.07 oz (2g) for the white version. I didn't ask why. Apparently, the white paint weighs more.
Mirrorless (especially APS-C) models, eliminating the mirror box and phase detection AF system, remain the smaller and lighter options.
Keep in mind that the SL3 keeps its tiny dimensions even with the vari-angle LCD and the increased (from SL1) grip depth. The SL3 grip is just large enough to be comfortable with the pinky curled under the camera and no fingers pressing into the lens when solidly grasping the camera.
Though it is very small and light, the SL3 is not a low-quality product. Though it is not the most-robust camera in Canon's lineup and light weight tends not to produce a rock-solid feel, the SL3, especially for the price, has nice construction quality and the rubberized grip surface helps to avoid the plastic feel.
The SL3's buttons and dials provide positive feedback when pressed and turned. An aluminum alloy and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber chassis is matched with a polycarbonate resin with glass fiber and special conductive fiber exterior.
Also not sacrificed for the size are the SL3's ergonomics. The SL3 is very comfortable to hold and use, even all day long.
While nearly all consumer electronics made today feature some level of moisture control, the SL3 is not specified as having weather sealing. Care should be taken to avoid moisture and dust; use a cover during those encounters.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has built-in Wi-Fi (but not NFC), providing easy transfer of images and movies to compatible mobile devices using Canon's free Camera Connect app (iOS | Android). With lots of potential awaiting development, this app provides some remote control of the camera's settings and shutter when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via Wi-Fi.
The SL3 has easier Wi-Fi setup than any previous EOS model with a new (purple) menu tab and editable pre-assigned names.
The Rebel SL3 has a self-cleaning sensor unit. I strongly dislike (to be kind) sensor dust and the improvements seen in this area have been considerable since the early days of DSLR cameras. I've had no sensor dust issues with the SL3.
As with all of Canon's other recent DSLR cameras, flash settings can be controlled from the menu which includes an extensive range of controls for built-in, hot-shoe-mounted and remote flashes. The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is also fully compatible with Canon's incredible RF remote flash system including the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT Flash and Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter.
Note that the SL3's built-in flash does not function as an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter for optical (not RF) wireless control of multiple off-camera EOS Speedlites. Many higher-end models offer this feature which can be a differentiator for those wanting this function.
Also note that, unlike most other EOS cameras, the SL3 does not have a center contact in the hot shoe. This can be problematic, especially with some third-party accessories.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 utilizes the same small LP-E17 Battery Pack found in the Rebel T7i, the Rebel SL2, and many other recent EOS camera models. Having the same battery shared among many cameras is convenient and efficient in many regards, including from manufacturing and inventory perspectives. That multiple cameras can potentially share the same charger and supply of backup batteries is great and especially helpful when traveling.
Small batteries typically produce small shot ratings and I thought I misheard what Canon USA's Drew McCallum said during a phone call prior to the SL3's announcement. A CIPA 1,630 shot battery life rating (at 73°F/23°C, AE 100% — no flash) from the tiny Canon Battery Pack LP-E17? That is a HUGE increase from the already very reasonable 840 shot rating of the SL2. When the official specifications document arrived with Drew's number confirmed, my skepticism turned to enthusiasm. Most could shoot for days or even weeks on a single battery charge and that is super-convenient.
So, my question was then: "How is the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 getting so many shots from the little LP-E17 Battery Pack?" Whenever I have a Canon camera-related question, Canon USA's Rudy Winston can be counted on for an accurate answer.
First, Rudy assured me that no changes have been made to the LP-E17 battery pack, ending any speculation in that regard.
My own first guess at this answer was that the DIGIC 8 processor could be credited for the significant performance improvement. Rudy's response in this regard was that "While the new DIGIC 8 processor most assuredly adds some features and performance, the engineers did not list improved battery life as a benefit of the latest Canon processor." "Obviously, there were some efficiencies achieved in this updated [camera] model, but our engineers haven't shed light on which ones are responsible for its very good battery performance."
Thus, the full secret formula has not been disclosed and though we may never know the complete set of reasons why the performance is so great, we can still enjoy the great performance.
As always, battery life can vary greatly depending on how the camera is being used with flash, Live View, video recording, temperature and other factors coming into play. With 50% flash use, that number drops to a still-very-respectable 1,070 shots. The battery level indicator provides 4 steps of range. That the battery is not keyed to prevent improper insertion (it goes in 4 different ways) is annoying.
The LP-E17 is charged with the included Canon LC-E17 Battery Charger. This is a great compact charger that plugs directly into the wall. Optional is powering the camera directly from the wall using the AC Adapter AC-E6N paired with the DC Coupler DR-E18.
A battery grip is not available for this model.
I say it in each Canon EOS camera review, but the statement remains timeless. When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses, flashes, and other accessories. The camera body (or multiple bodies, as is more frequently the case today) is the base your system is built upon and a lens is the next essential piece of kit. A high-quality lens will make a big difference in image quality. The Rebel SL3 is compatible with Canon EF-S, EF, TS-E and MP-E lenses (EF-M models are not compatible).
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is available as a body-only (black) or in a kit (black or white) with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens (the white body comes with a silver lens). This lens, shown mounted on many of the product images on this page, is a decent value with a useful general-purpose focal length range and good support for video recording.
For a moderately better lens with a longer focal length range (and larger size), consider the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. For a lens that accentuates the small size, light weight and affordability of this camera, consider getting the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens or the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens.
Utilizing this camera's Bluetooth capability is the Canon BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote. Want to be part of your own family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord when using a tripod? This is an accessory you may want. In addition to being able to provide non-line-of-sight remote release functionality, this little device is also able to independently control AF and focal length zooming on compatible cameras and lenses (very limited at this time).
Affordability is another of the SL3's strong features. Along with a small size, this camera has a relatively small price tag, and for the price, the camera has a great amount of value.
There is enough Rebel SL3 information available to fill books. Keeping a review of the incredibly-feature-laden Rebel SL3 concise but complete is a difficult balance to find and this review is not a complete description of every Rebel SL3 feature available. Canon has published an intimidatingly-huge 493-page owner's manual (a link to the manual is provided with this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera and explains their use. Read the manual, go use your camera, repeat.
Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support and the support I have been provided by Canon's USA division has been excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (let's just say I challenge them sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable. Those residing in the USA with a Rebel SL3 in their kit along with a nice lens or two will qualify Canon professional services membership and the additional support benefits this membership provides.
The Rebel SL3 used for this review was sourced online/retail.
Whatever camera I am reviewing usually stands in as my general purpose, around-the-house, capture whatever needs show up option. This camera is a great choice for capturing family moments, for travel, for hiking and even as a compact backup or second camera to a higher-end model. I've been using it for a wide variety of general purpose uses.
Come across a bear trap that has proved its capability? This bear was causing problems and its relocation became necessary. The downside of course was that there was one less subject to pursue in this area. The SL3 captured that memory for me.
Hiking up over a rock scramble? The SL3 might be the right choice to have along.
Want to capture a memorably beautiful sunset? The SL3 has that covered.
Whether you want one fern blade to stand out or all of the ferns in the woods to be sharp, the SL3 can do that, even with an inexpensive lens.
Is the Rebel SL3 the right camera for you? The answer to this question is going to be yes for a considerable volume of people. For someone considering the Rebel SL3 purchase, the other current EOS models that should be considered include the EOS Rebel T7i, Rebel EOS T7, and EOS Rebel SL2.
The Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D is slotted above the SL3 in Canon's lineup. Check out the Rebel SL3 vs. T7i specification comparison to fully compare these cameras, but here are some of the Rebel SL3 vs. T7i differentiators:
While the Rebel T7i is the overall better option, it awaits a model refresh to gain some solid SL3 feature advantages including 4k video.
Slotted below the Rebel SL3 is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D. Check out the Rebel SL3 vs. T7 specification comparison to fully compare these cameras, but here are some of the Rebel SL3 vs. T7 differentiators:
If you can get past that last bullet, I recommend getting the SL3.
What about an upgrade from this model's predecessor, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D ? Is it worth upgrading from the SL2 to the SL3? Check out the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 vs. SL2 specification comparison, but here are some of the standout Rebel SL3 vs. SL2 differentiators:
We are photographing in a great time. We have a huge number of great camera choices available to us and selecting one is not usually an easy decision. This one is perhaps easier to differentiate than most.
You, of course, want great image quality. Do you like an optical through-the-lens viewfinder and a very long battery life? Looking for a very-easy-to-use, compact, lightweight, easy-to-take-with-you camera that is comfortable to use and doesn't cost a lot yet performs well and has many great features including 4k video and Dual-Pixel AF? The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 might have your name on it.The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a great starter camera, especially for kids and it is equally at home in a pro kit as a backup camera or even in a use that places the camera in high likelyhood of being damaged in a shoot.
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