Canon SL1 Conclusion
Canon SL1 Review Conclusion
In many ways, the Canon SL1 provides the best of both worlds, pairing the compact, lightweight body of a mirrorless camera and the performance and image quality of a DSLR. You could almost call it a miniaturized version of Canon's Rebel T4i/T5i DSLRs. And that's a good thing; both standard-size interchangeable lens cameras are solid, full-featured consumer models. It's somewhat amazing that Canon can pack so much DSLR into a tiny body.
However, the SL1 does have one important advantage over its bigger siblings -- its new Hybrid CMOS II AF system for shooting in Live View and Movie modes. The previous version of the technology proved to be fairly sluggish in the T4i, but we were relatively impressed with the improved AF speed of Rebel SL1. What's more, the Hybrid CMOS II AF of the SL1 uses a whopping 80% of both the width and height of the LCD monitor, offering a lot more framing and shooting flexibility than the T4i/T5i.
The image quality of the Canon SL1 is almost identical to that of the T4i/T5i; if you look at the comparison crops against the T5i (the replacement for the T4i that was introduced at the same time as the SL1), it's outright uncanny. Photos taken with the SL1 at low ISOs in particular are excellent, but there is noticeable drop-off as ISO rises above 1600 -- the Canon Rebels could still stand some IQ and processing improvements to make high-ISO results more competitive. The SL1 also doesn't exhibit the dynamic range we've seen recently from other consumer DSLRs in its class.
One last nitpick with the SL1: Though its by far the smallest and lightest DSLR we've ever reviewed, it's still bulkier than most mirrorless compact system cameras. That's certainly not a deal-breaker, unless you're a photographer looking for the ultimate in ILC portability.
Add in the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens -- which is relatively sharp and very smooth and silent when recording movies -- and some serious video recording skills, and the Canon SL1 is much more than a cute, tiny Rebel. It's a camera that needs to be taken seriously, and should appeal to a wide range of photographers, beginners and enthusiasts, who want a small body but the benefits of a DSLR. It's a bona fide Dave's Pick.
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