Pros Cons
  • Most compact DSLR currently on the market
  • JPEGs have pleasing, saturated color
  • Lots of detail captured in Raw
  • Excellent Dual Pixel AF system
  • Reliable subject tracking in live view & movie mode
  • Fully articulating LCD has good touch features
  • Feature Assistant makes camera very accessible to beginners
  • Solid wireless implementation includes NFC and always-connected Bluetooth
  • External mic input
  • Unsophisticated sharpening in JPEGs
  • Dynamic range not best-in-class
  • 9-point autofocus system (when shooting with viewfinder) is showing its age
  • Small optical viewfinder
  • No in-camera Raw conversion
  • USB charging would be nice

Overall Conclusion

The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is currently the most compact DSLR on the market. While not a pocket camera by any means, it's very portable, especially with a 'pancake' lens attached, such as the EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM. Aside from its size, the SL2 doesn't stand out in any one area. Think of it as a Toyota Camry: it's reliable and gets you from Point A to Point B.

1/500 sec | F7.1 | ISO 100 | Canon EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM @ 24mm equiv. | Photo by Carey Rose

Body & Handling

Despite the SL2's small body, Canon hasn't compromised usability. The grip is comfortable given the size of the camera, though those with large hands might wish for something more substantial. The camera's sole control dial is exactly where it needs to be. The body is made of composite materials, though it doesn't feel cheap. The SL2 has a small but usable optical viewfinder as well as a very nice fully articulating touch-enabled LCD. Naturally there's a Selfie mode, which can blur the background for you by adjusting the aperture.

Canon's new Feature Assistant makes the SL2 very easy to use. If you're in Scene Intelligent Auto mode, the camera offers just two settings on its touchscreen display: drive (how you access continuous shooting and the self-timer) and flash mode. Switch into P/A/S mode and the camera gives you visual representations of how exposure, aperture and shutter speed effect your photos. The Feature Assistant teaches you what buttons you'll need to press when using the traditional Canon interface, so you'll be ready to go when you want more control over the camera.

1/160 sec | F2.8 | ISO 100 | Canon EF-S 35mm F2.8 Macro IS STM @ 35mm equiv. | Photo by Carey Rose

Sharing photos over Wi-fi is very easy, with quick pairing with Android devices using NFC and Bluetooth maintaining a constant connection between camera and smartphone, which means no more selecting the camera's Wi-Fi network every time you want to transfer an image.

Autofocus and Performance

How well the SL2 focuses depends largely on whether you're using the viewfinder or LCD. If using the viewfinder, you're working with a years-old 9-point system. It's responsive enough and can keep subjects in focus as they approach the camera fairly well, but if your subject is moving randomly around the scene, it just can't keep up. If you're using live view (for stills or movies) then you can take advantage of Canon's excellent Dual Pixel AF. It's almost as quick as a similarly priced mirrorless camera and can keep up with moving subjects well, though more expensive Canon models (such as the T7i) perform better in that regard.

1/160 sec | F8 | ISO 200 | Canon EF 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM @ 24mm equiv. | Photo by Jeff Keller

The SL2 starts up quickly and its user interface is fairly snappy. It can shoot bursts at up to 5 frames/second, but that drops to 3.5 fps when using continuous (Canon calls it Servo) AF. As far as battery life goes, you can get through a day if you mostly use the viewfinder, but you'll want a spare LP-E17 handy if you're using live view full-time. It's a bummer that the camera doesn't support charging over USB, which allows you to top off the battery with an external battery pack or car adapter.

Image and Video Quality

Overall, the photos produced by the SL2 are what we expect to see from a Canon camera. That means pleasing color and good (but not great) detail capture and high ISO noise performance. Looking at Raw images tells us that the SL2 would retain more fine detail if its JPEG sharpening and noise reduction systems were a bit smarter. While the SL2's Raw files don't have as much dynamic range as the best APS-C cameras, it's competitive with the models in its class, as are noise levels.

1/320 sec | F5.6 | ISO 250 | Canon EF 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM @ 81mm equiv. | Photo by Jeff Keller

As for video, the SL2 does the job but is light on controls. It captures 1080/60p video with manual exposure controls, and Auto ISO can be used with exposure compensation. The touchscreen makes focusing ridiculously easy, and Dual Pixel AF means that it's responsive as well. The quality of its 1080p video is typical for a camera in this price range: just fine.

The Final Word

For those who want a small camera with the traditional controls and viewfinder of a DSLR, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is easy to recommend. It's not spectacular in any one area, but it's easy to use and performs well in most situations. The SL2 isn't for those taking a lot of photos of moving subjects, nor is it wondrous at video, but for everyday life, it'll do the job.

Canon-lovers who want better performance – especially autofocus – should strongly consider spending the extra $200 for the Rebel T7i (EOS 800D).

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D / Kiss X9)
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is an entry-level digital SLR that packs a lot of Canon's latest tech into a compact, portable body. It has solid image quality, an easy-to-use interface and good wireless connectivity. It has a mix of old and new autofocus technology, with the latter (Dual Pixel) being responsive and accurate. The SL2 is not well-suited for fast action, as it cannot keep up with moving subjects. Overall, the SL2 is not best-in-class, but you can rely on it to get the job in most situations.
Good for
Those seeking a portable and easy-to-use interchangeable lens camera with an optical viewfinder. Travelers who want to effortlessly share their photos with friends on social media.
Not so good for
Those taking photos of subjects moving quickly or unpredictably. Moviemakers who want a decent set of video capture tools.
Overall score

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