Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D Review

Canon has announced the EOS Rebel SL3 with arrival expected in Late April 2018. This review page will be updated when my Rebel SL3 arrives, but for now, here are my expectations for this camera, based on its many features seen before in other models.

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, 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, this design is such that it remains (surprisingly) very usable and the SL3 is even further improved in this regard.

You may have recognized that I lifted 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 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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Body

Summary of Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Features

  • Canon 24.1 MP APS-C CMOS imaging sensor delivering professional-grade image quality
  • 4K video (1.6x crop), 4k movie frame grab, 4k time-lapse capture
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF (not available during 4k recording) with Eye-AF including in servo and movie servo modes
  • Live view AF features 3,975 manually selectable AF points, up to 143 auto selection AF points, up to 88x100% (WxH) imaging area coverage, 0.03-second focus speed, and EV -4 (extremely dark) sensitivity
  • 9-point AF system with optical viewfinder (inherited from Rebel SL2/SL1) and EV -0.5–18 working range, includes new Spot AF
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)
  • 3" touch screen, approx. 1,040,000 dot, Vari-Angle (opens 180° to side) Clear View LCD II monitor
  • 5 fps high-speed continuous shooting using the optical viewfinder, 5 fps in Live View with one shot AF, 3.5 fps in servo mode
  • Digital IS with 5-axis image stabilization when shooting movies
  • High-quality clean HDMI output for media device support
  • HDR output to HDR-compatible device via HDMI output
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities with easier setup than any previous EOS model, including a new purple menu tab and editable pre-assigned names
  • Auto Image Transfer to compatible devices while shooting via Wi-Fi
  • New .CR3 RAW file format providing improvements including a 40% smaller file size in the new C-RAW (Compressed RAW) format
  • New Smooth Skin mode with 5 levels available
  • Guided User Interface and Creative Assist modes available
  • Improved ALO (Auto Lighting Optimizer), retaining gradations in highlights and shadows
  • Smallest and lightest DSLR camera, measuring only 4.82 x 3.65 x 2.75" (122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm) and weighing only 15.84 oz (449g) while retaining a high-grade feel and a deep grip design for better control
  • Impressive CIPA 1,630 image LP-E17 battery rating (350 shots with Live View) (73°F/23°C AE 100%)
  • Available in black or white

Sensor and Image Quality

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 Canon EOS M50.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS M51.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M61.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 opt100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M501.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.1 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M1001.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2n/an/af/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.1 .87x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 .87x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.30µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.9
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.1 .80x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS 77D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/6.0
Canon EOS 80D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.72µm6000 x 400024.2 .95x100%f/6.0
Canon EOS RP1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm5.75µm6240 x 416026.2 .70x100%f/9.3
View the full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 specifications to compare additional cameras.

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).

Sensor Size Comparison

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 an especially huge advantage they 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 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.

Having the same imaging sensor, my strong expectation is that the SL3 will share the same image quality as the M5, M6, M50, M100, T7i, 77D, 80D, etc.

Resolution is a key image quality factor to evaluate and the site's image quality tool is well-suited for that. That link shows the M50 results, but expect the SL3 to perform identically and the balance of the image quality discussion will reference the M50 until we can test the SL3.

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 should be 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.

Canon EOS M50 ISO Noise Comparison

The Kodak Color Control Patches shown in the standard ISO noise test results are generated from RAW images with (this is a key) no noise reduction (unless specifically indicated by the result set). These evenly-colored patches are brutal on sensor noise, making it readily apparent if it exists. Keep in mind that many real-world subjects are more detailed and better hide noise – these samples represent a worst-case scenario.

How apparent is the difference between camera models is the big question. If you can't see the difference in the color blocks, you will not likely discern it in your images either.

The M50'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 M50 test image sets in addition to the standard RAW-captured set are provided in the site's noise tool. One additional set explores the in-camera JPG file format. This set again utilizes the Standard Picture Style, but the default settings are used. The most obvious (and only) difference I see in the JPG-captured set is the significantly increased sharpness with noticeable over-sharpening dialed in, as evidenced by the apparent halos in the high contrast transition areas.

Three sets of with-noise-reduction JPG results are included, illustrating the difference that noise reduction processing makes. That difference can be big in some images, but the tradeoff is in the destruction of 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, you can adjust noise reduction to your personal preference. Noise reduction is available in-camera or during post-processing.

Six sets of the M50 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 Digital Photo Professional (software included with the camera) and are useful for evaluating image quality, including the system's dynamic range.

In the -2 EV captures, I see the M50 showing decreased noise levels compared to the 80D, indicating that there has been some improvement made in the imaging pipeline. 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. In these results, the M50 is performing quite well, perhaps very slightly better than the 80D.

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.

Again, the image quality description above was based on the M50 results. The SL3 has the same imaging sensor and we were told to expect similar image quality.

File Size and Media

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. For now, I copied the M50 row into the SL3 row. 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)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800409600
Canon EOS M5(24.2)33.834.735.737.139.041.344.746.552.8    
Canon EOS M6(24.2)34.134.835.937.639.642.045.146.953.0    
Canon EOS M50(24.1)30.431.332.433.735.337.038.940.643.245.9   
Canon EOS M100(24.2)34.034.835.737.238.940.743.545.550.9    
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D(24.1)30.431.332.433.735.337.038.940.643.245.9   
Canon EOS Rebel SL2(24.2)30.631.332.233.433.435.037.039.542.447.050.9  
Canon EOS Rebel SL1(18.0)23.724.224.825.827.128.730.833.437.2    
Canon EOS Rebel T7i(24.0)30.631.232.133.334.937.039.642.447.051.1   
Canon EOS 77D(24.0)30.631.232.133.334.937.039.642.447.051.1   
Canon EOS 80D(24.2)31.231.932.734.035.937.940.643.747.5    
Canon EOS RP(26.2)30.731.332.032.834.035.537.139.041.543.445.8  
Canon EOS R(30.4)35.836.637.638.740.041.843.345.748.049.6***** 
Canon EOS R C_RAW(30.4)23.123.524.525.226.528.029.431.633.849.6*35.3*****
RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (more is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase) 4. Lack of compression. Memory and disk are cheap – buy more.

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 files 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.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter Sound

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.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS M57/92617 n/a
Canon EOS M67/92617 n/a
Canon EOS M507.4/1033/4710 n/a
Canon EOS M1004/6.189/100021 n/a
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D5.0Full10/3775ms 
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D5.0Full675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.028/11407/875ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D6.0190/Full21/2770ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D3.011106120ms170ms
Canon EOS 77D6.0190/Full21/2770ms 
Canon EOS 80D7.077/11020/2560msn/a
Canon EOS RP4Full50/Full55msn/a
View the full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 specifications to compare additional cameras.

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. While this camera can certainly be used for sports/action capture, it is 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.

The SL3's 0.75ms shutter lag is slower than featured in cameras designed for sports action photography, but this is a very 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 most uses, 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.

Autofocus

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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 AF Point Comparison

SL3/SL2 | T7i | 77D | 80D | 7D II

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 worked very well for me in Canon's previous implementations of this technology.

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.

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.

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.

Video

The phone conversation with Canon USA indicated that the SL3 has the same video features as the M50. Below is a cut-and-paste of the M50's video review. I'll circle back and verify this information later

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 M50's video feature set builds upon its traditional DSLR and mirrorless EOS predecessors with the inclusion of Canon's very impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF and – in a first for Canon's M-series cameras – 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.

4K vs FHD Resolution Comparison

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 M50's 4K recording is cropped vs. down-sampled.

The M50 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:

MP4:
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 M50 also supports Time-Lapse Movie creation in movie mode.

The EOS M50'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 M50 continues to support movie servo AF, but the camera relies on slower and less-precise contrast detection AF.

The M50’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 newly developed 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 M50 video capture, but more-stationary shooting delivers superb results. Overall, the EOS M50'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 M50 (and thanks to similar features, the Rebel 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 pivotal backup/second/third camera role in even serious videographers' kits.

Exposure/Metering System

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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 LCD Open Front

Viewfinder and LCD

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, 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 an adequate amount of information is made available. Another missing feature (that I wish was present) is the electronic level.

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. Extended and forward-facing, this LCD makes self-recording easy, including 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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 LCD Open

Tour of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3

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:

  • Shutter button (halfway pressing)
  • AE lock button
  • SET button
  • DISP button
  • During still photo shooting or movie recording: [AF point selection / Magnify button] and [AE Lock / Reduce / Index button] can be switched
  • During movie recording: Shutter button functions during movie recording can be set.

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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Back

Back of the Camera

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 very important to this camera.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Top

Top of the Camera

Mostly, the top of the SL3 again matches the SL2 and most of the features are again obvious.

This 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 (on the SL2 at least) 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 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 be used? I'm guessing that the Candlelight option will not be called upon regularly by most. 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 nothing 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 the new switch was very easy and inadvertently turning it too far was not an issue with the SL2 as the switch lever becomes less-protruding behind the thumb rest. For the same reason, it was not as easy to power off the SL2 while it was being held. Placed on a counter or other surface creating the from-the-top access, this switch became very easy.

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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Left Side

Side of the Camera

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. I don't see any harm with this change but will hold my final opinion for hands-on use.

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. I'm guessing that the pop-up flash will take care of the red-eye reduction.

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 pull the memory card or battery.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Right Side

Size of the Camera

For a DSLR, it doesn't get any smaller or lighter than this.

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 EOS M54.6 x 3.5 x 2.4"(115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm)15.1 oz (427g)
Canon EOS M64.4 x 2.7 x 1.8"(112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5mm)13.8 oz (390g)
Canon EOS M504.6 x 3.5 x 2.3"(116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm)13.7 oz (387g)
Canon EOS M1004.3 x 2.6 x 1.4"(108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm)11.3 oz (320g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)15.8 oz (449g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)16.0 oz (453g)
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 T7i / 800D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)18.8 oz (532g)
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1"(129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm)16.8 oz (475g)
Canon EOS 77D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)19.0 oz (540g)
Canon EOS 80D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm)25.8 oz (730g)
Canon EOS RP5.2 x 3.36 x 2.76"(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm) 17.3 oz (485g)
View the full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 specifications to compare additional cameras.

Add 0.07 oz (2g) for the white version. I didn't ask why. Apparently, the white paint weighs more.

Mirrorless 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 SL2 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.

Ergonomics, Build Quality and Durability

Though it is very small and light, do not expect the SL3 to be a low-quality product. The SL2 predecessor was nicely-built. Though it is not the most-robust camera in Canon's lineup and light weight tends not to produce a rock-solid feel, the SL2, especially for the price, has a very nice construction quality and the rubberized grip surface helps to avoid the plastic feel. The SL2's buttons and dials provide positive feedback when pressed and turned.

Similarly, don't expect the SL3's ergonomics to be sacrificed. The SL2 was 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.

Additional Features

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has built-in Wi-Fi, 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.

Canon USA has indicated that 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.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Flash Up

Flash

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 SL2'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.

Battery

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.

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.

Which Lens Should I Get for the Canon EOS Rebel SL3

I say it in each Canon EOS DSLR 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 on, a lens is the next essential piece of kit and a high-quality lens will make a big difference in image quality. The Rebel SL3 is compatible with Canon 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.

Review the Canon general purpose lens recommendations page to find the most up-to-date list of best lens options. Then add, minimally, a telephoto zoom lens and a wide angle zoom lens to your kit.

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).

The Rebel SL3 is also compatible with Canon's E3 wired remote releases and, with an adapter, the Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3.

Browse the reviews section of the site to find many more compatible accessories including flash systems, tripods & heads, cases and much more.

Price and Value

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 lot of value.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Front

Summary

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.

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.

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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My Recommended Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my purchases. Get your Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
eBay (Choose trustworthy sellers only)
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
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