My Final Review of the Canon SL1 (100D)

SL1 Compared to Canon T5i/T4i | First Thoughts and Feature Tour of the Canon SL1

Canon SL1(100D) World’s Smallest DSLR

Worlds Smallest DSLR mounted on a not so small lens
Worlds Smallest DSLR mounted on a not so small lens

Canon SL1 (100D) Pros

  • Great image and video quality – same sensor as other recent Rebels.
  • Performance is good, the camera is quick to start up, the touchscreen is excellent and general operation including focus are responsive.
  • Focus tracking during video seems to be improved especially at the outer edges but the focus speed is still the same.
  • Physical buttons are excellent and camera feels nice in hand despite it’s small size, generally nice ergonomics.
  • External stereo mic port and non-proprietary flash hot shoe(allows for a range of mic and lighting accessories that you don’t have the option of using with many of the smaller 4/3 cameras.
  • Additional scene modes including miniature movie mode

Canon SL1 (100D) Cons

  • It isn’t that small and as soon as you attach any lens other than the 40mm you have a pretty bulky system that really doesn’t offer much difference in size or weight from the t4i/t5i crowd.
  • No articulated screen
  • No wireless flash control and slower burst/smaller buffer.
  • Battery life is shorter than t4i/t5i – really only noticeable if you are doing lots of video.

My Thoughts on the Canon SL1 (100D):

I think this camera is right for people who have a collection of Canon lenses and are willing to sacrifice a little performance for minor weight savings,  I know those people are out there, I have heard from them.  I also think this is a powerful little video recording device- interviewers, using the 40mm, stick an external mic on the hot shoe or wire in a lav and you are going to get gorgeous HD video and low light capabilities that still can’t be matched by most of the mirror-less or micro 4/3 crowd.

But that target audience is pretty small and the rest of us looking for a small camera with better than P&S quality have a fair number of options including the excellent Olympus Pens, the Panasonic GF series and the Sony NEX all of which offer smaller packages, many packed full of fun features and small lens systems that keep the size of the entire package smaller and lighter.

Despite everything I wrote I like this camera and would consider owning it as I am one of those with a collection of EF lenses and at time would like to travel light. I also think it will sell fairly well with the Canon name attached.

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 Sample Canon SL1 Images

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  1. Basically you are stating to go with the T5I as there is no significant difference and you like the articulating screen and higher burst rate..Correct?

    • Yes. Unless you plan to walk around with the 40mm most of the time the smaller size isn’t a large enough benefit for me to give up the articulated screen. And the burst rate is nice too.

  2. I was looking around and put together the below comparison and I think it is pretty interesting:
    For $750 or less which do you think is the best combination? The goal is to put together a lens/body combination that gives the best walk around camera. I think one of the 3 below is probably the best. If you can find a 4th I would be interested in hearing it.
    (Yes, I know I only looked at Canon. My family uses Canon so I am biased for no reason other than family doctrine)

    The T3i combination:
    Body: new @ $500
    Lens: 18-55 stm bought separately new @ $250
    Total: $750.00

    Newer STM kit lens
    Vari-angle screen

    Older sensor
    No touch screen

    The SL1 combination:
    Body + 18-55 STM bought as a package new @ $750

    STM Lens
    Newer sensor
    Touch Screen

    No “Vari-angle” screen

    The T4i combination
    Body + 18-55 IS II (NON-STM) bought as a package new @ $750

    Newer sensor
    Touch screen
    “Vari-angle” screen

    Older kit lens

    Each has more pros and cons than what I listed but I think where it counts the SL1 is the winner. I think for people looking to spend 750 or less the SL1 becomes very compelling without even considering body size. What do you think? If there are Nikon packages you think are better or maybe with a 3rd party lens instead of a canon lens, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    (Prices for everything came from quick Amazon searches.)


  3. This is my first DSLR and the reason why I bought it was because after getting a rebate and selling extra stuff I got with the bundle (zoom lens, photo paper, printer), it turned out to be the cheapest entry level DSLR that would give me better quality than the alternatives within $100-$150 price range (of the amount I paid). I think it ended up costing me a little over $300 (new) including the 18-55 STM lens and a bag. I’d not say it’s perfect, but for the price, I don’t think I could get anything better. I’m quite satisfied with it. Even my wife started to make half-decent photos with this one. So, you’re totally right about insignificance of the size/weight when you add a lens (other than pancake), but in addition to the two groups of people you mentioned, cheapskates like me would be another group interested in this model.

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