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Body & Design

Physical size notwithstanding, the Rebel SL1's design will be immediately familiar to anyone who's used an entry-level Canon SLR over the last few years. The camera's aluminum and polycarbonate resin body construction feels appropriately solid in your hands. A textured handgrip is deep enough to provide a firm hold of the camera, and there's also the familiar contoured thumb pad along the right side of the camera.

All of the key shooting controls you'd expect in an entry-level Rebel series are present: focus point selection and exposure lock, along with dedicated ISO, exposure compensation and depth-of-field preview buttons. The Q menu and SET option share a button and are surrounded by a 4-way controller. Its directional keys no longer have functions assigned to them: instead all secondary options are accessed via the on-screen 'Q' panel.

Top of camera

The controls along the top of the Rebel SL1 are almost indistinguishable from those found on the T4i/T5i. An easy to reach ISO button sits next to the camera's single adjustment dial. A three-position switch surrounding the mode dial is used to power the camera on and off and switch to video mode. You must set the camera to video mode in order for the red record button on the rear of the camera to work; in stills mode it enters and exits live view. But while you can't record movies in stills mode, you can capture stills in movie mode with a full-press of the shutter button.

The mode dial sees a couple of changes though. For starters, the number of icons has been reduced, with several scene modes now housed under a single mode icon. In addition, we're happy to note that on the SL1 you can rotate the dial a full 360 degrees, a long overdue feature we saw Canon adopt on the EOS 6D. The A+ position on the mode dial gives access to Intelligent Auto mode, and is followed by other fully automatic modes like Creative Auto and Canon's scene modes. Rotating the dial the other way gives access to the program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes.

The SCN position gives access to six modes. Three of these - Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control - are familiar from previous models, while another three are new to the SL1 (Kids, Food, and Candlelight). They're selected using an onscreen menu, which like everything almost else on the SL1 can be operated by touch.

In your hand

The SL1 feels reasonably solid in your hand and provides the external controls you'd expect in a Canon entry-level DSLR. Button shape and placement has been redesigned from earlier Rebels to accommodate the SL1's significantly reduced size. The handgrip, with its offset shutter button and lip running across to the lens throat, is surprisingly good for such a small SLR.

The Rebel SL1 is comfortable to hold - indeed unexpectedly so for a small camera. The textured grip is deep enough to provide a solid hold of the camera. Users with even medium-sized hands, however, may be taken aback initially at just how little beyond the bottom edge of the rear LCD the camera body extends. Many may find it difficult to wrap all three remaining fingers around the grip when holding the camera in a shooting position, an experience not unlike using a 'bridge' camera for example.

Make no mistake though, we find it impressive that Canon has been able to whittle away so much size and weight from a DSLR while still allowing it to operate more or less like just about any recent Rebel-class camera.

Viewfinder size and crop

One figure hidden away in every SLR's spec is the size of the viewfinder (often in a format that makes comparison between competing models impossible). The size of the viewfinder is a key factor in usability: the bigger it is, the easier it is to frame and focus your shots, and the more enjoyable and involving process it is.

Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors'.

The EOS 100D/Rebel SL1's small body size fortunately does not result in a reduced view magnification. In fact, the Rebel SL1 offers slightly higher magnifications than larger APS-C DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. It still falls well shy of the high view magnification offered by Sony SLT models, which use an electronic viewfinder.

The pentamirror viewfinder in the Rebel SL1 offers approximately 95% scene coverage, on par with optical finders in cameras of its class. As you can see in the illustration above, the camera provides a magnification view that is marginally greater than the physically larger co-announced T5i. As is standard on Canon's lower-level DSLRs, the viewfinder's focusing screen is not user-replaceable. You can set diopter adjustments between -3 and +1.

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Total comments: 50
By normski4ash (1 day ago)

ISO 100 good picture
ISO 400 starting to get grain but acceptable
ISO 800 too much grain, need photoshop to smooth out
ISO 1600 picture too grainy to look at, do not use anything near 1600
and it goes up to 25600, that's a joke...

By BrianFisher (3 weeks ago)

My son would like to purchase his first SLR camera. He is considering either the Canon EOS Rebel T3 or the Canon EOS Rebel SL1. He will be using this primarily for family, travel and sporting pictures. Do you have a recommendation of one of these vs the other. What would be the preference, please. and why.
Thank you,

By jrball125 (2 weeks ago)

My wife and I just bought the SL1 and love it. It is also our first SLR and I have no complaints whatsoever. It takes wonderful photos and is small enough to tote around when traveling. Our primary uses are travel and family pictures. We have two small children who never stop moving and which makes it hard to get clear photos. So far, we have accumulated lots "frame-worthy" photos using the SL1. We made sure to buy a couple of lenses though as the standard kit lens is good but not a catch all. We bought the 40mm f/1.8 II lens for portraits and the 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II telephoto lens as well. We are very happy with the purchase and the results. My brother-in-law and close friend are professional photographers, then both highly recommended the camera as a first SLR. It has some creative features and is very easy to learn how to use. I may not be the greatest resource as a first time SLR owner, but I've had a great time with this camera and have not been able to put it down.

By Caerolle (2 months ago)

So were the 'User Experience Still Photography' and 'Live View and Movie' pages removed after this review was written? Or were they never added? Clicking the links takes you to the menu pages, and the drop down navigation does not show these pages, either.

By aviperez (2 months ago)

I have a canon EOS rebel SL1 and I have a photoshop cs5. Whenever I try to open RAW File it says its not compatible and its really annoying because cs5 is not even that old. I wonder if there's any way for me to be able to open the RAW file in the version of the photoshop I have.


By lajsuhe (1 month ago)

You could try downloading this plug in, (this is a link for a mac but you can find/choose pc if you need to.
good luck

By grammieb14 (2 months ago)

I just bought one because I want something a lot smaller than my 5Dlll to take to theme parks with my grandchildren or anytime I want less weight. I wanted a DSLR, since that is what I am used to. It certainly isn't a 5Dlll, but it is a very capable little camera. It is so light & small that it will be no problem when I want to travel light.

By fuxicek (4 months ago)

Canon was able to make to body smaller but the lens is actually bigger, on the other side probably the greatest competitor Nikon D3300 is slightly bigger but still slightly smaller than Canon 700D and the new Nikon kit lens is collapsible, Nikon claims, the new D3300 is 30% smaller and 25% lighter body and lens combination compared with the D3200, so I assume the kit lens combo is smaller than Canon 100D....

side by side:

By MikeFairbanks (6 months ago)

It's annoying how cameras and cars are often lacking a price tag ("too low to display"). Yes, I realize the manufacturer is causing this. So annoying. Some sites have you sign in and put it in your cart before knowing the price. This is a ridiculous practice that needs to end yesterday.

By neurotic1too (6 months ago)

I hope you can assist, as I am having difficulty finding this information elsewhere. I am looking at purchasing a non-canon flash for my rebel sl1/100D, as the canon flashes are rather pricey for my budget. I see that you state the internal flash does not accommodate a wireless flash, yet canon makes one for this camera. I am looking at a Yongnuo YN-560 III Wireless Flash Speedlite on Ebay.

Thank you,

Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (6 months ago)

Hi Diane. The reviewer was referring to the ability to trigger "off camera" speedlights using the built-in flash (wireless) not that wireless flash units themselves wouldn't work with the camera. The Yongnuo flash you are looking at will work with this camera. I would encourage you to investigate working with the flash OFF the camera as much as possible though. I have the Yongnuo RF-603 C1 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Trigger/Wireless Shutter Release Transceiver Kit for Canon Rebel for this purpose. You can get it for about $30 on Amazon or eBay. It has worked great for me so far (1 year).

By IHarel (7 months ago)

My Q is simple: Doe's the SL1 is compatible with the Canon EF 28-135mmf/3.5-5.6 IS USM lense ? Most times I need a swift focus, less on the video's. Wonder if it would be comfortable to handle with this lense?
Thanks in advance.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Just Ed
By Just Ed (7 months ago)

I picked one up for general carry around use. Some of my photography is done outdoors in areas of Sacramento where carrying my three thousand dollar ff makes me nervous.

The SL1 looks less intimidating to people on the street and hopefully is less attractive to would be thugs.

Haven't had it long, but no major disappointments yet.

By jcburke (7 months ago)

Does the SL1 use the non-STM line of Canon APS-C lenses? I shoot with a 7D and have several very expensive Canon "L" USM lenses, and I'm not going to buy a Canon camera that requires I buy another set of glass.

By gatorowl (7 months ago)

The SL1 is compatible with an EF (which includes "L" lenses) and EF-S lenses.

Thus, unless you have some very old lenses (30+ years or more), the SL1 can use it.

1 upvote
Phoebe Lee
By Phoebe Lee (7 months ago)

I think this camera is compatiblw with Canon RS-60E3 remote switch, but not so sure.

Phoebe Lee
By Phoebe Lee (7 months ago)

Does this camera compatiblw with a wired remote switch´╝č

By SunshineSWE (7 months ago)

Yes, it's RS-60E3 compatible

1 upvote
Shelle belle
By Shelle belle (8 months ago)

Hi, I just borrowed mt friends' sl1, but I can't open the raw files in my version of dpp, which came with my old 1000d. It also won't open in photoshop. So annoying. She said it didn't come with any editing software. Is that right? Which version of dpp do I need?

Rob Bernhard
By Rob Bernhard (7 months ago)

Just get the latest version from Canon's website and install. You'll have no problem with any previous RAW files.

By Vfdtyler (8 months ago)

Solid review. Should I go for this over the T3i? I've been seriously considering that camera based off some things I read on
Which camera is better?

DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (8 months ago)

I own a T3i, and I like the SL1/100D a little better, primarily for the Hybrid AF II, the quieter shutter sound, and the extreme portability, especially with the 40mm STM lens. You'll probably be happy with either, though.

By Muzzammil13 (8 months ago)

should i care whether its a Rebel sl1 or a 100D? i mean in terms of what is written in front of the camera? or i just skip the fact and get a rebel sl1?

By PDBreach (8 months ago)

Yes. If you live in the UK and purchase a "Rebel SL1" (the American version) then you won't be entitled to cash back. I think it also has implications on the warranty/repairs. If you live in the UK then buying the UK version (100D) is your best bet.

By Muzzammil13 (8 months ago)

Check out ebay deals, you get one with a lens too :)

X Faktor Photo
By X Faktor Photo (8 months ago)

get a body for <$500 on eBay nowadays.

By VizuaLegend (8 months ago)

Im Looking Between The SL1 &The T3i When It Comes To Movie Making ... The T3i Seems To Lag A Bit When Panning And The SL1 Creates A Littlebit Of Moire...

By destritt (10 months ago)

This looks like a great camera but I have Canon EOS Rebel T31 and absolutely love it. Alright, call me old fashion or old school but all those attachments associated with digital cameras scare me to death so a neighbor recommended the Canon EOS Rebel T3i as a good choice for a beginner photographer like me. There are so many brands and types of digital cameras in the market today that it is stressful for me to even think about buying one.
I did buy the Canon EOS Rebel T3i but not without a lot of stress.

By VizuaLegend (8 months ago)

Soo Tell Me W/ The T3i., Did You Experience Alot Of The Lagging IN The Video Recording As Stated In The Review!? How Is Video Recording Overall W/ Your T3i... Im Trying To Compare The SL1 W/ Your T3i Before Purchase...

By dweberphotography (10 months ago)

This camera really is tiny. Compared to Sony's a230, which was the smallest of its time, it is about the same size, but he SL1 can shoot 4fps compared to 2.5, and has a much bigger buffer, and has 18mp instead of 10.2, and has a touhscreen, etc.

I think this is a great camera for the size and pice.

Dr Aref
By Dr Aref (10 months ago)

40mm 2.8 STM is a full frame lens and it become 64mm equivalent if we use it with EOS 100D. So you really cant use for street photography. It is really perplexing to me why Canon is not making any pancake lens for EFS, like M22mm F2 (equvalent to 35mm full frame) they made for EOS M. They can easily modify that lens to be used with 100D. The combined small form factor with any 24, 28 or 35mm equivalen pancake lens EFS will be a big selling boost for 100D and other Canon APC SLRs.

I think Canon should rethink in their lens line up strategy.

By LA1951 (7 months ago)

I strongly agree. I hold off buying SL1 because the 40mm pancake lens is just not very useful. I'd use SL1 with my wideroom lens but would like to take advantage of the small body with a small but good quality lens. A 24mm pancake would be ideal.

Hope other lens manufacturers take note of this as well.

Just Ed
By Just Ed (7 months ago)

I think you answered you own question. The 40mm was designed as a compact lens alternative for full frame photographers.

C M Greene
By C M Greene (11 months ago)

Despite what the review says the 40mm 2.8 STM (pancake) lens is an EF lens, not an EF-S lens. (at least when I last looked at mine)

Now as a result of Canon just announcing the 55-250 IS STM lens, Canon will have three EF-S STM lenses. But it did not when this review was written.

By CameraLabTester (11 months ago)

The Multi Shot Noise Reduction is a real killer of a feature.

4 super fast frames merged into one image for a clean (noiseless) low light photo.

This feature is on the Fuji X series (the X10 has it) and now here on the 100D.


1 upvote
By stews (9 months ago)

Multi Shot Noise Reduction sounds great, but even after setting the Quality to Large JPEG, that option is still greyed out. How the heck can you use it? Not that I usually shoot JPEG, but I'd be willing to try it out.

By Rmano (11 months ago)

The size is quite similar to my sony alpha 55. I was quite deceived when they decided to grow up the 57 and further models. Really don't know why. It's a great positive point in my opinion for this camera...,238

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
By MnTony (11 months ago)

I rented one of these in May to take on a short vacation rather than drag my much heavier camera along. I debated renting one of the mirrorless models, but this had just been announced and seemed like an interesting choice. I used it almost entirely with the 40mm pancake lens. It was terrific. Barely noticed it hanging around my neck. I owned an original Digital Rebel way back when - this kit is noticeably smaller and lighter. The touch screen really helps when you're used to a camera with lots of dedicated buttons.

There's more on my blog about it with a few shots. This was from the point of view of a photographer who shoots Manual or Av, so there's nothing about the picture modes. It's here:

For geeky info about size and weight, I did a follow-up post here:


By Wimlex (11 months ago)

Hi Yonsarh, I've been thinking the same! Back to film....But I don't think this will happen. The camera companies have spent so much in digital photgraphy. Even the "super-cameras" like Hasselblad did it. Although you still can buy Hasselblad cameras which use film....So, I don't know. I alwys loved to work in the dark room, developing my own films and print the pics myself. My tool; a Hasselblad EL/M, build in 1973, with a 100 mm Zeiss-lens. Big fun!!!!! We'll wait and see.. :-)

By yonsarh (11 months ago)

No, in the future, the sensor price will so cheap that it will cost less than a dollar and camera image sensor will be used on everywhere. So we could expect end of digital photography and people will eventuallly come back to film again.

1 upvote
By Pyrros (Jul 30, 2013)

I wonder how it is that the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 has a DPreview Gold Award (an overall score of 78%), whereas the more sophisticated 60D has only managed a Silver Award in your Review (with an overall score of 79%)??!!

By Zmkis (Jul 30, 2013)

If you haven't noticed 100D is entry level while 60D is mid level. DPreview warns that different categories scores are not directly comperable.

By Bill3R (Jul 30, 2013)

I have noticed this too with other cameras and it doesn't make sense to me. Why don't you standardize your rating system.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
By ArturoGars (11 months ago)

What is the meaning of the percentile and gold award anyway? I am trying to find the legend on the percentile and award but the explanations is nowhere.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By GeminiH (Jul 30, 2013)

Its funny how this is considered a radical, minaturised design, yet its the same size as the 450D/500D was 4-5 years ago. The internal functions, pentaprism, sensor size have been similar all along.

The biggest change has been the flip screen. Who uses that regularly?

Nichlas H
By Nichlas H (10 months ago)

I just upgraded from an EOS 400D to the 100D. The 100D *is* definitely a smaller camera.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By Keos (7 months ago)

I agree with Nichlass is about of difference of about one and third grams.

But I didn't get it about focusing on low light. It seems problematic that it focus when flashing. Don't you think so ?

1 upvote
By GeminiH (Jul 30, 2013)

I'm trawling through to find out what AF points this has, apart from the hybrid sensor...

Any takers?

By bandkj7 (11 months ago)

Same as Rebel T5i, T4i, T3i - 9-points.

Count Biscotti
By Count Biscotti (Jul 30, 2013)

>>>>>>Autofocusing with a USM or other lens in either mode is still difficult, however, and fraught with cumbersome seeking during video and long autofocus lag for stills <<<< Does that mean a Sigma 18-->200 zoom, for example??

Total comments: 50