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
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: The Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. Should you worry?
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.