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
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.