SL2: A great addition to any Canon kit

Started Jul 23, 2017 | User reviews thread
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ck_WTB Regular Member • Posts: 363
SL2: A great addition to any Canon kit
7

I picked up a SL2 body on Friday from my local neighborhood camera store, Pro Photo Supply in Portland. I purchased the SL2 because it is the smallest native EF mount for use with my compact EF primes (EF 28mm f/2.8 IS, EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, and EF 50 f/1.8 STM), and to compliment my existing bodies (6D and M).

We already know the sensor is one of Canon’s best and more than good enough for just about any task. Adding an updated swivel touch screen and wireless connectivity help make the SL2 a compelling offering for $550, and a great camera for anyone’s kit, especially when your kit includes the $125 EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. That lens is a perfect companion to the SL2, pretty much a match made in heaven. The body and lens have the same finish and same remarkably feather weight. Every time I pick up the SL2 with 50/1.8 STM, I am blown away with what it can do, yet weigh next to nothing.

I wish Canon would have launched this body with a new EF 20mm f/1.8 STM similar to the 50 STM, and offered a 20 + 50 lens kit. This kit could have gone to press, along with a marketing campaign about a revival of the compact SLR + prime lens era. This could be the ultimate kit for those looking to step up from their smartphone to shoot in low-light with shallow depth-of-field, and to experiment and discover the photographer’s eye.

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Photographer’s kit:

- EF 20mm f/1.8 STM

- EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

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Pancake kit:

- EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

- EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

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Traveler’s kit:

- EF-S 10-18mm IS STM

- EF-S 18-55mm IS STM

- EF-S 55-250mm IS STM

- EF-S 35mm f/2.8 IS STM macro

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Video kit:

- EF-S 18-135 IS Nano USM

- EF 70-300 IS Nano USM

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Compared to the SL1

I was a huge fan of the SL1 and thought it was Canon’s best counter argument to mirrorless, so I am glad to see the SL2 arrive with so many new features and refinements. That said, based on my initial use, there are a few aspects that went in the wrong direction from the original SL1:

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Eye Proximity Sensor & Related Touch Screen Issues

The SL1 has an eye proximity sensor, but it has been removed from the SL2, much to my disappointment. There’s a new “DISP” button located near the shutter that is easily and quickly pressed. This is apparently Canon’s solution, but here’s the problem, the SL2 has a small optical viewfinder (OVF) and lack a top info display screen, so that means the main rear screen needs to be used to check setting and to change settings.

Canon’s default configuration is for the rear display to show information, but since the it’s a touch screen my nose activates the screen when shooting through the OVF, prompting the camera to remind you to use the Q button to change settings. To avoid this situation I went custom function settings and change C.FnIV: Operation/Others LCD display when power on to 1: Previous display status. This creates a different problem in which the new DISP button needs to be pressed to activate the rear screen for settings, and then press it again to disable as you bring it to your eye, and then repeat as required. Not so great.

The other option is to disable touch control. This will allow the rear display to act as info display, but it means that battery life will be reduced and that the display stays active when looking through the OVF, which I find distracting. Adding touch control and touch shutter to the My Menu helps make this less of an annoyance. However, even with that work around, I am reluctant to disable touch screen, which make the camera operation so much faster and so much more powerful when using LiveView.

And there it is, LiveView. This camera works very well in LiveView, but if I were planning to use LiveView for most shooting then the M6 would be a more compelling option. The problem with the M6 and all other M bodies is that the lens selection is very limited, and adding the EF adapter makes for a camera body that is as large and notable heavier than the SL2. The T7i / 800D is Canon’s next smallest and lightest Canon DSLR. It also lacks a top info screen and eye proximity sensor, so this usability issue seems to be unavoidable with Canon at the moment.

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Grip Issues

I am found of the SL2’s revised top layout with new button over the SL1, however, this new layout required the grip to be extend out further. The SL2’s grip feels even tighter and sharper than the already tight and sharp SL1. The grip’s long protrusion and sharp angle cause my hand to cramp when holding tightly with my lower three fingers. If I hold the camera loosely then it isn’t a problem, and since the camera + lens is usually has a low weight, then a light hold is all that is required. So it is workable, but I believe the grip could be more comfortable for a wider range of hand sizes if the gap was filled in and the grip protrusion was then made smaller while also being a bit wider and more round.

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Increased Size and Weight

The SL2 is a bit larger and heavier than the SL1. While the SL2 is still small, it has grown just enough that when placed side-by-side with a 6D the size difference is no longer as striking. The weight has increased, but it’s still strikingly light compared to the 6D. Resolving the above two issues would have increased the weight further, but I think it would have been worth the extra weight.

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Conclusion

Considering the above issues have a fairly significant impact on usability, I would say that Canon’s 77D / 9000D is the lowest cost, smallest and lightest DSLR with full usability. The problem is that $900 for body only is a lot more than $500, 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 is notably larger than 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8, and 540g is a lot heavier than 453g. So despite the SL2’s flaws, I still think it is a worthy addition to anyone’s Canon kit.

 ck_WTB's gear list:ck_WTB's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS M6 Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM +6 more
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D / Kiss X9)
24 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Jun 29, 2017
ck_WTB's score
4.0
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= community average
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