Canon SL1 Comprehensive Camera Review

stylish Canon SL1 camera

Great for travelers without a lot of professional photography experience, the Canon SL1 is the smallest and most lightweight, mirrorless camera on the market today. Designed with smaller hands in mind, women, and younger people will love the feel of this model.

Below, we will compare the positives and negatives of buying a Canon SL1, explore how this camera matches up to the competition, and help you find out if it’s right for you.

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What Is the Canon SL1 And How Does It Work?

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The Canon Rebel SL1 is a DSLR camera made with dainty hands in mind. Perfect for travel thanks to its small size, the SL1 packs in tons of awesome features and external controls into a small package. A mirrorless DSLR camera, Canon laid its cards on the table with this model.

With downsized internal parts, a smaller shutter mechanism, a thinner sensor module, and a tiny circuit board - the Rebel still offers an 18 MP resolution, a powerful DIGIC processor, and clear image quality. In fact, this camera is one of the smallest DSLR options on the market today.

Perfect for those who want to step up from a camera phone or traditional point and shoot camera, you can shoot photos in an impressive IOS range for stills and video alike. With 4 frames per second continuous shooting, the SL1 is a go-to choice for any photo type or setting, whether you’re in dim lighting or capturing action shots.

A mode dial sits on the right side of the camera that allows you to switch between manual, semimanual, and automatic modes. You also have a three-way movie switch to begin recording video, with four different shot modes – perfect for shooting at night, capturing images of kids or food, and at candlelight scenes, such as a wedding. A built-in flash and face detection help capture gorgeous images.

Choose your setting on the touchscreen and begin shooting. This camera is easy to use for beginners and novice photographers alike.

Product Specifications

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The Rebel SL1 may produce a small footprint, but it has a huge number of features and high-performance quality packed in.

With all the same features you typically find in a Canon Rebel camera, the series carries a front dial for exposure, ISO, and AF/AE lock buttons. It has a 3-inch touchscreen, CMOS autofocus system, and boasts 80% frame coverage. Weighing only 13 ounces, the SL1 is compact with everything beginner and novice photographers need to create beautiful images.

Canon offers a series of STM lenses that are designed to take the Hybrid autofocus system used in Rebel models and enhance it. Three different lenses are included in the standard zoom kit (18-55 mm, 18-1335 mm, and a fixed 40 mm pancake lens) for the SL1 and they offer a quieter shooting and autofocusing experience. This is helpful when shooting video as well.

When shooting video, you can capture 1080p Full HD quality and capture sound through a monaural microphone with a stereo input jack. It even has a video snapshot feature to capture short clips ranging from two to eight seconds and places them into one video file you can play as a highlight album or view as snapshots.

You can preview your video live on the screen or connect to a TV using the camera’s HDMI port and use a number of creative filters to play with your images and video before uploading them to your favorite social media site or sharing them with friends and family.

Although, with the SL1, you don’t need to edit after shooting.

Handling the SL1 feels the same as if you use one of the Canon’s larger siblings. A handgrip helps keep the camera slip proof while feeling like a traditional DSLR model. The large 3-inch touchscreen has an LCD monitor with smudge and glare resistant coating to reduce fingerprints and is perfect for selecting different scene modes and altering your images with creative filters on the crisp real-time display.

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This model is also GPS compatible with an optional GP-E2 receiver attached to the digital terminal to record the exact location of the photos you take and track the trajectory of movement by logging your latitude and longitude from an electric compass and GPS synching capabilities.

What Makes the Canon Rebel SL1 Unique?

  • Small and lightweight
  • Easy to use for learners
  • Upload or share images by email or online
  • Resize and crop images and videos directly on the camera
  • Better auto-focus speed and video skills

Small and lightweight, the very size and powerful options packed into this small frame make the SL1 unique. Reviewers on Amazon say that even though they “knew the size of the camera before buying,” they still couldn’t get over how tiny it is for an SLR camera.

The SL1 is easy to carry around without losing the buttons you need. It’s easy to use for learners, produced the same image quality required of any mirrorless camera on the market today, and even professionals have access to a better-than-average lens kid and the functions they need to edit, upload, or share images when they’re on the move.

You can upload and share resized images by email or online. Alter a JPEG file directly on your camera to size down your files while not touching the original image size. With this camera, professional photographers can create photobooks by altering layouts and selecting certain images to be printed in book form easily and quickly.

You can even crop images and video without a computer and print on-the-go even!

Bells and whistles aside, the SL1 is the smallest and most lightweight option out there with better autofocus speed and video skills than most DSLRs out there.

Other Reviews of The SL1

person holding the Canon SL1 camera

The Canon SL1 may have been created with small hands in mind, but reviews say the grip is comfortable on one-handed or even with moderately larger sized hands. Men with large hands may feel a bit cramped, but this model is still larger in size than many interchangeable-lens compact cameras on the market.

The SL1 also disappoints when it comes to shooting outside in the bright sunlight, as it seems to have been better designed for indoor and night use. Overall, most people say they would buy this model again in a heartbeat, but you may consider purchasing another camera later as your photography skills grow.

You may also want to be aware that the European version of the SL1 is often called the EOS100D. While the functions of the two cameras are the same, this may affect some warranties depending on where you live and buy your SL1 from. All Canon Rebel cameras are also often compared because they often carry a lot of the same functions.

In terms of DSLR cameras, the SL1 is easy enough for beginners but not too easy for novice learners.

Pros and Cons of The Rebel SL1 Camera

Tiny cameras can often lose a lot of the functionality you need to alter your shots and upload straight from your device, but the SL1 does not hold anything back.

While the biggest pro for the SL1 is its compact size, it still performs well. The autofocus is quick and reliable, even with live video as long as you choose the focal point yourself, and the touch focus option in live viewing is a huge help.

And, with tons of editing and uploading abilities, you can share your images with family when you’re out of town or at home without the need to sync to another device and another before you can upload it online, which saves you time and effort when editing.


  • Compact style, but performs well
  • Functional despite small size
  • Quick and reliable autofocus
  • Comes with editing and uploading abilities
  • Sharing abilities


  • 3" touchscreen only
  • you can't move the screen
  • nearly impossible to see the screen in bright light
  • has less features

When it comes to cons, the screen is really the downside. The 3” touchscreen may have a glare and smudge proof design. However, it would be nice if the camera offered vari-angle or side-swiveling capabilities to allow you to shoot from different perspectives. You also can’t move the screen at all. The resolution is amazing, but the ability to move the screen gives you more versatility to shoot in various settings without being too hard on your body or eyes.

The LCD screen could also use an update. Even though the touchscreen interface is the same as the T5i model, reviewers say it’s nearly impossible to see well in bright light, especially direct sunlight. If you’re shooting stills, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. But shooting videos outdoors can be more difficult since you can’t see most of the settings you may need in the viewfinder without squinting and moving the screen around.

For a professional camera, this model is also slim on features. It doesn’t come with GPS or wireless functionality, such as time-lapse, multiple exposures, and more you can find in other models.

The Canon takes less time to start up and has a slightly longer battery life as well, for nearly the same price.

The SL1 was designed to be an entry-level DSLR camera whereas pros may opt for a mirrorless interchangeable-lens type of camera if you need more functionality. Overall, the SL1 packs in a lot for a small beginner DSLR camera.


Canon offers one-year warranty for this product. They also offer maintenance services to its customers, whether you are a casual photographer or simply take photos as a hobby, to regularly clean your camera and provide a variety of coverage plans at an additional price that covers varying years of service and support if an accident occurs or an unforeseen repair surprises you.

How Canon Compares to the Competition

The Rebel SL1 is smaller than its competitors, but there are other SLR-style mirrorless models like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and Nikon D3400.

Generally, the Rebel models are compared to other entry-level DSLR competitors. Where the Rebel shines over the competition is in terms of the screen resolution, which is 1.040k dots versus the usual 921k dots that comes with both the Panasonic and Nikon models.

With a focus that continuously updates even while recording movies and an external mic jack, the SL1 has more than either competitor.

Nikon D3400

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The Nikon, for example, has a higher frame rate when it comes to video, longer battery life, and a 24 MP true resolution, but no mic jack or touch screen abilities along with the lower screen resolution. Panasonic also doesn’t come with a mic jack or high screen resolution.


Nikon D3400 can come with varying levels of warranty cards. A two-year warrant can be bought in some states. Usually, the D3400’s Nikkor lens will at least have a four-year extended warranty if you live in the United States, which covers five total years of protection as long as you have proof of purchase.

​Panasonic Lumix

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Although Canon’s STM focus motor is quiet and fast when you use the optical viewfinder, the live view autofocus system in the SL1 lags behind the competition. Canon added a movie servo autofocus used for continuous focus tracking on moving subjects, but it may not perform as well as the image stabilization lens of the Panasonic Lu​​mix, which also has a faster frame per second rate of 20 and a flip-out screen that’s perfect for recording.


The Panasonic Lumix, on the other hand, offers a one-year limited warranty for defects.

Is the SL1 Right for You?

While no camera is perfect, the SL1 performs great at capturing shots of the family, pets, vacations, and more. Perfect for traveling on holiday, casual photographers will enjoy carrying around this lightweight model.

Pros may find they need more functions, but the compactness and fun editing feature this model carries is perfect for people who want to play around or need a powerful option that is super small and lightweight.

Although, if you want to spend the same amount of money and require a more equipped power zoom lens, the ability to connect to WiFi, or an advanced viewfinder, an interchangeable-lens camera may be right for you.

However, if you just need a small device with good photo quality on the go, Canon Sl1 is a reasonable purchase among the competition.


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