DPReview Gear of the Year: Canon Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D
18MP sensor | Hybrid CMOS AF II system | 3.0-inch touchscreen
I'm afraid I didn't even hesitate. Though I've reviewed some fine cameras this year, when we started discussing our choices for Gear of the Year, I immediately chose the little camera then nestled in my bag: The Canon Rebel SL1, also known as the 100D and Kiss X7 elsewhere in the world. As a longtime reviewer, my choice is partly about the achievement the camera represents for end users, but also how I use the camera in my own life.
Canon SL1 - What I love:
- Small body is easier than ever to bring along, so I do.
- Snappy yet subtle shutter sound doesn't disturb subjects and sounds cool rather than cheap.
- Touchscreen interface works better than most, making the quick menu truly quick.
- Usable live view autofocus system offers more options for creative shots.
- Low light performance is excellent for indoor and night shots, where family activities are common.
- Focus tracking in video mode is effective, making movie mode that much more useful.
As I mentioned, other cameras I used this year also earned my admiration, including the Fujifilm X-E1, Olympus E-M1, Sony A7R, and Canon's own 70D, whose autofocus surpasses the performance of the little SL1. But it's getting SLR performance in a small package that's significant about the SL1. With the 40mm STM attached, that goes to extremes, at least for the SLR category, fitting into the same space I usually reserve for medium zoom lenses in my bag.
While I sometimes use longer zoom lenses for shooting outdoor events, I usually have either the 40mm STM mounted, which is not much thicker than a body cap, or the excellent 50mm F1.4. The 40mm is equivalent to a 64mm lens, and the 50mm is like an 80mm lens on this APS-C camera. Short telephotos are actually great for the type of shooting I like to do, which is portraits, but that's not all I like to do.
What's missing to make the Canon SL1 the perfect 'street shooter' is a reasonably fast 22mm lens, which would equate to a 35mm lens. A 31mm lens would also come close to a 50mm lens on a full frame camera. These have too long been missing from Canon's lineup, so here's hoping they do something about this soon.
For more general-purpose photography, the 18-55mm kit lens focuses fast, is reasonably small and image-stabilized, and I'd recommend it for most shooters. My wife picked up the camera for the first time and used the SL1 to grab this shot of my kid showing off her sandy hands over the summer. She liked its small size and how easy it was to quickly frame and fire through the viewfinder.
Controls on the Canon SL1 are small, but still usable, such that when the battery of my other camera died on a recent portrait shoot, it wasn't hard to quickly adapt to the SL1 and keep shooting: All the control I needed was there, and though I had to go into the menu to make a few changes, and of course change lenses, it went quickly and the camera worked like a charm.
I also use Micro Four Thirds cameras for my on-the-go family photography, but since I've had the SL1 around, my mirrorless camera has been sitting unused. I have more lenses that work with the SL1, which is the main reason, not any shortcoming of the MFT cameras. If I have a larger SLR along, the SL1 makes a great second camera, reducing lens swaps and taking up little space.
And because Canon hasn't changed the resolution of its APS-C lineup significantly (much to the chagrin of some fans), the little SL1 still performs as well as we'd expect in terms of image quality, delivering good detail in low light settings common to family events.
Where the SL1 excels, though, is in its live view and movie autofocus. The SL1 handled live view shooting better than other SLRs I'd used previous to the 70D, and as I demonstrated in my review, the SL1 can also track focus admirably thanks to its Hybrid AF II autofocus system. That alone makes having video on an SLR valuable: Working autofocus allows you to stop thinking about focus and instead focus on following your subject.
I'm not one who has trouble framing with cameras that only feature an LCD, but I have to admit it's nice to have an optical viewfinder in such a small camera, one that works with my modest set of SLR lenses, yet fits in a small space. As such, I have no problem recommending the Canon SL1/100D to family photographers. Its simplified feature set is nevertheless quite complete, having just what I need in a body I can keep handy without too much fuss. Good stuff.
This is part 5 in a series of articles where DPReview staff will be highlighting their personal standout products of the year.
Canon Rebel SL1/100D sample gallery
Feb 28, 2016
Dec 30, 2015
Dec 28, 2015
Dec 23, 2015
|2014_1211_140657AA by old shutter bugger|
from The Bride
|Overloaded by NZ Scott|
from Your City - Delivery Boy
|Barley by Will B Milner|
|APPLE & ROACH by TX Photo Doc|
from Delicious - Unpalatable
Cloud backup service CrashPlan has announced that it will permanently shutter it's "for home" service by the end of October. If you use CrashPlan to back up your photos, you'll want to find an alternative ASAP.
Equivalence is much-discussed, but still often misunderstood. Here's a simplified explanation of the concept of equivalent apertures, which is just another way of talking about light received by your camera.
Try your hand at this blind portrait shootout between the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5 and Sony a9. With all bias removed, you might just rank your favorite camera brand worst.
Photo sharing site 500px has just added support for wide-gamut color profiles such as AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB, even allowing users to filter their searches by color profile.
DJI just released a mandatory firmware update for the DJI Spark. If you own a Spark and don't update your firmware by September 1st, DJI will remotely ground your drone.
Affordable flash manufacturer Godox has updated its smartphone app so that it can be used to control all of its wireless X flash units, not just the A1 smartphone flash.
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system offers up to 20TB of storage capacity, and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the Sony a6500 firmware can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.