Canon challenges CSCs with new Rebel SL1 DSLR, introduces Rebel T5i and PowerShot SX280 HS


posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST

Today Canon announced two new Rebel DSLRs -- including the EOS Rebel SL1 which the company calls the "the world's smallest and lightest DSLR camera" -- and a new PowerShot 20x travel zoom, and together the trio represents a major upgrade of Canon's consumer-geared offerings. IR was fortunate to get some time with working prototypes of all three models, and you can find out more about each by reading our full, hands-on previews (links below).

Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights of the Canon SL1, Canon T5i and Canon SX280 HS, all of which will be available in April 2013.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1


When we got a hands-on sneak peek of the new 18-megapixel Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR last month, we were told that the "SL" in the model name stood for "super lightweight." And that it is. The new Lilliputian Rebel SL1 feels as light as most compact system cameras -- and nearly as small -- especially with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens attached to the front of it. Clearly, the burgeoning, mirrorless CSC market is what Canon is aiming to take on with the fully mirrored SL1.

While Canon has its own CSC, the EOS M, that mirrorless model's HD video skills have been touted more by Canon than its still photography chops. With the Rebel SL1, Canon is trying to offer the best of both worlds: a compact camera that's small and light enough to take with you anywhere, combined with the fast picture-taking skills and high image quality of a DSLR.

While we can't vouch for the image quality yet -- since we only got to shoot with a prototype Rebel SL1 and could not inspect the images -- it is certainly a fast and highly portable picture taking machine that could change the entry-level DSLR landscape.

The Canon Rebel SL1 will cost an estimated retail price of US$650 for body only, or US$800 kitted with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. You can pre-order the SL1 from Adorama body-only or with the kit lens.

Read our full, hands-on Canon SL1 preview here.

Canon EOS Rebel T5i


The 18-megapixel Canon Rebel T5i is essentially the same DSLR camera as its predecessor -- the Rebel T4i that was launched early last summer -- but with a few key changes, including a new kit lens, real-time viewing of creative filter effects, an improved Mode dial and a revamped rubber grip. That all might not sound like enough upgrades to warrant a brand new model -- especially the rubber grip part -- but it's evident that Canon wanted to deal with an issue that plagued the T4i and effectively replace it with a new flagship Rebel model.

You might remember that the T4i had a strange issue where the handgrips on both sides of the camera could become discolored even after brief use and could potentially even cause an allergic reaction in very sensitive individuals. Evidently, zinc deposits left by an overuse of a rubber accelerator during production of the DSLR caused its grips to turn white. Canon issued a repair recall for T4i cameras that experienced the problem. During a pre-launch briefing with Canon where we got to try out a Rebel T5i prototype, we were assured the new grip would not have the same issue.

The Canon Rebel T5i will cost an estimated retail price of US$750 for body only, US$900 kitted with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, and US$1,100 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. You can pre-order the T5i from Adorama body-only, with the 18-55mm kit lens, or with the 18-135mm kit lens.

Read our full, hands-on Canon T5i preview here.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS


The Canon PowerShot SX280 HS doesn't look radically different from its pocket-sized, travel zoom predecessor, the SX260 HS which we rated as a Dave's Pick. And it uses the same 12.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS image sensor. However, there's much under the hood of the SX280 HS that's been turbocharged.

For one, the Canon SX280 HS is the first in its line to offer built-in WiFi, which is identified by the silver WiFi badge on the front of the camera. And the SX280 HS can now record Full 1080p HD movie files in the .MP4 format vs. the .MOV format used for earlier PowerShot videos, as well as capture 1080p videos at both 30 and 60 frames per second versus just 24fps in the previous model.

But these two upgrades are just the beginning. The Canon SX280 HS comes powered by an all-new DIGIC 6 image processing chip which Canon says is its most advanced processor to date and gives the SX280 better low-light capabilities with an increased ISO range of ISO 80 to 6,400.

The Canon SX280 HS will be available in black or (slightly orangish) red for an estimated price of US$330. You can pre-order the SX280 HS from Adorama in black or red.

Read our full, hands-on Canon SX280 HS preview here.