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Operation and controls

Top of camera controls

On the top of the Rebel SL1 all controls are located on the right side of the camera. Immediately behind the shutter button is the main control dial that's used directly to change the primary exposure setting (program shift, shutter speed, or aperture), or other settings in concert with the various buttons. Next there's the ISO button, which is extremely well-placed for operation with the camera to your eye; you simply press it then spin the dial to change the value, which is displayed in the optical viewfinder.

The main power switch surrounds the mode dial. Flicking it beyond the ON position to the movie camera icon puts the camera into movie mode. The mode dial is the same as that on the Rebel SL1, but the SCN icon covers six modes rather than three (Kids, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, and HDR Backlight Control). The dial rotates 360 degrees with no hard stop, a welcome feature we saw earlier from Canon on the EOS 6D.

Rear Controls

The rest of the Rebel SL1's major shooting controls are on the back, arranged for operation by your thumb. Next to the viewfinder is a dual purpose button that initiates live view in stills shooting mode and video recording when the camera is set to movie mode.

In a break from their traditional horizontal layout, the AF point and AF/AE lock buttons are arranged vertically along the right edge of the camera body. While we understand that such a significant size reduction necessitates changes in the control layout, we do find the location of the AF/AE lock button a bit awkward to reach with your thumb when holding the camera in the shooting position. Fortunately, you can swap the functionality of these two buttons, setting the top button to AF lock, if you prefer. These buttons also do double duty as magnification controls during playback.

The dual purpose Q/SET button brings up an interactive control screen while shooting, allowing you to change camera parameters that can't necessarily be accessed directly through external buttons. It also brings overlaid option menus in Live View and Playback modes and is used to confirm settings and options in the menu system. Surrounding the Q/SET button is a 4-way controller that's used for such things as changing the focus point, navigating menus and scrolling around images in playback. Gone are the dedicated Drive mode, WB, and Picture Style buttons, but these features can be accessed very quickly via the Q menu.

Front of camera controls

The front of the Rebel SL1/100D has just two controls, both on one side of the lens throat. The flash button is used to pop-up the built-in unit, and below the lens release is the depth of field preview button that stops down the lens to show the effect of the aperture on the final image. This is particularly useful in live view, with its bright clear image.

The most immediately compelling feature of the Rebel SL1 is of course its small form factor. A redesign of internal components has allowed Canon to produce a miniaturized APS-C DSLR that is surprisingly close in size to the company's mirrorless model, the EOS M. What's equally as impressive, though, is how much the Rebel SL1 operates and behaves like any other recent generation Rebel-series camera. Indeed, it gives up very little in functionality to the co-announced Rebel T5i, which, though not an overly large camera by any stretch, is still significantly bulkier than the SL1.

The Rebel SL1/EOS 100D (center) shares much of the operational control of the co-announced Rebel T5i/EOS 700D (left) in a smaller package, while offering a deep handgrip, viewfinder and built-in flash that the EOS M (right) lacks. All three cameras use Canon's 18MP APS-C sensor and DIGIC 5 processor.

The camera's significant size reduction fortunately doesn't come at the expense of greatly reduced operability. The SL1 packs no fewer than nine external buttons on the rear of the camera, plus a 4-way controller. A reasonably bright viewfinder provides image magnification that is on par with entry-level DSLR competitors. Some compromises have to be made to size reduction, of course.

Overall, the Rebel SL1 owes much of its operational performance and behavior to previous Rebel-series cameras. This is no surprise, as Canon is typically conservative with iterations of its popular entry-level lineup. The fact that the Rebel SL1 can retain so much of the Rebel heritage at such a dramatic reduction of size and weight is a testament to some clever under-the-hood engineering. Has Canon managed to pull off an equivalent Rebel-shooting experience in a DSLR that is sized to give mirrorless models a run for their money? See our User Experience Still photography and Live View and Movie pages to find out.

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Total comments: 52
dog house riley
By dog house riley (6 days ago)

I've had my SL1 just a couple weeks, and I'm having a ball with it! I have four lenses 40 pancake, new 10 18 and kit lenses 18 55 and 55 250.
I've been a Nikon user for over 25 years, and decided its time for something lightweight? After looking at many types and brands, I decided on the SL1, I'm still sorting out the menu system and getting used to the touch screen, but since buying this camera my Nikons have stayed in their bags??
I'm not a video fan so no matter, and its useful up to ISO3200 with no complaints, now thats looking on monitor I don't print, but I'm starting to ues the Rebel, for all my photo uses, and so lightweight, Canon! where have you been for so long!!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
By syahobey (1 week ago)

I just bought this camera, but somethings wrong. I can't record video in 1280x720 and 1920x1080 size for a long duration, just 10 seconds what the?? Only 640x480 size can record for 30 minutes. Why? I just see all the setting nothing to change it.

By normski4ash (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (3 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 (3 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 (2 months 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 (3 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 (5 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 (7 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 (7 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 (7 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 months ago)

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

Phoebe Lee
By Phoebe Lee (8 months ago)

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

By SunshineSWE (8 months ago)

Yes, it's RS-60E3 compatible

1 upvote
Shelle belle
By Shelle belle (9 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 (8 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 (9 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 (9 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 (9 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 (9 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 (9 months ago)

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

X Faktor Photo
By X Faktor Photo (9 months ago)

get a body for <$500 on eBay nowadays.

By VizuaLegend (9 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 (11 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 (9 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 (11 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 (11 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 (8 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 (8 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 (Aug 27, 2013)

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 (Aug 15, 2013)

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 (10 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 (Aug 9, 2013)

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 (Aug 4, 2013)

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 (Aug 2, 2013)

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 (Aug 2, 2013)

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 (Aug 13, 2013)

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 (11 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 (8 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 (Aug 4, 2013)

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: 52