Canon SL2 Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D)|
(22.3mm x 14.9mm)
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 30 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||4.0 (kit lens)|
4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7 in.
(122 x 93 x 70 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Canon SL2 specifications|
Your purchases support this site
Body Only (Black)
- Amazon for $549.00
- Adorama for $549.00
- B&H Photo for $549.00 Buy here to enter drawing this month for $500 Gift Card
Canon SL2 Review -- Now Shooting!
by Jeremy Gray, Zig Weidelich and Dave Pardue
Preview posted: 06/29/2017
Last Updated: 04/19/2018
08/31/2017: First Shots posted
09/26/2017: Performance page posted
10/20/2017: Field Test Part I posted
11/09/2017: Field Test Part II posted
04/19/2018: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality posted
In 2013, Canon released a very small, light DSLR, the Rebel SL1. In fact, at the time, it was the smallest and lightest DSLR we’d ever reviewed. In conjunction with National Camera Day 2017, Canon unveiled the Canon Rebel SL2, which retains the spirit of its predecessor, but changes almost everything else. The camera has been redesigned inside and out. Let's take a look at everything that is new and what has stayed the same.
Key Features and Specifications
- Redesigned compact and lightweight camera body
- 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen display
- 24.2-megapixel image sensor
- Native ISO range of 100 to 25,600, expandable to 51,200
- 9-point optical viewfinder autofocus system
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF during Live View and video recording
- Continuous shooting up to 5 frames per second
- DIGIC 7 image processor
- Full HD video recording at up to 60 fps
- Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
Larger than the SL1, but the SL2 is still a very compact DSLR
With a refined design, the Canon Rebel SL2 does look considerably different from the SL1, and it feels different too. The SL2 has a sleeker design than its predecessor with fewer indentations and protrusions. The shutter release has been designed to feel better too. The grip has been redesigned, it is now deeper and has a grain finish. The control dial on the top of the camera has additional knurling to give it more texture. Further changes to the top of the camera include the addition of a ’DISP’ button, a slightly different power/video mode switch and an embedded mode dial. An additional change includes the addition of a Wi-Fi button on the top left area of the SL2 body.
The SL2 continues to be a small camera with dimensions of 4.82 x 3.65 x 2.75 inches (122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8 millimeters). This is slightly wider, taller and deeper than the SL1, but not by much. The SL2 weighs 15.98 ounces (453 grams) with a battery and memory card. Interestingly, the white version of the SL2 which is a Canon Online Store exclusive weighs slightly more at 16.08 ounces (456 grams).
Part of the reason for the larger dimensions, in addition to the redesigned grip and refined design, is the addition of a vari-angle display. The 3-inch display has the same touchscreen capabilities as the SL1 and the same number of dots 1,040,000 but it now swivels and tilts. Besides the vari-angle display, the rear of the SL2 looks like the rear of the SL1. The viewfinder remains the same 0.87x magnification (0.54x 35mm equivalent) pentamirror with approximately 95% frame coverage, which is pretty typical for an entry-level DSLR.
Image sensor: SL2 ups the megapixel count with 24-megapixel sensor
One of the big new features of the Canon Rebel SL2 is its new image sensor. The SL1 used an 18-megapixel sensor and the SL2 ups its resolving power with a 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor. The CMOS sensor has been seen in many recent Canon cameras, including the Canon Rebel T7i.
The sensor has a low-pass filter and self-cleaning capabilities. For any hard to shake dust, the camera also has Dust Delete Data acquisition and appending. The sensor records JPEG and RAW images, the latter of which can be recorded at up to 14-bit depth. Images can be recorded in the sRGB and Adobe RGB color space.
In addition to offering more megapixels than its predecessor, the DIGIC 7-paired 24-megapixel sensor also has a higher native ISO setting of 25,600 compared to 12,800 on the SL1. There will be more information on shooting features and modes further down.
Autofocus and Metering: Dual Pixel CMOS AF comes to the Canon SL series
As is the case with many recent Canon cameras, the Rebel SL2 now incorporates Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The impressive autofocus system covers 80% of the width and height of the image sensor when using Live View. In other recent Canon DSLRs we’ve been impressed with the system so we expect it will also work well on the Rebel SL2. As is the case with the T7i and 77D, the Live View autofocus promises to be the world's fastest at a claimed 0.03 seconds with the kit lens.
When shooting through the viewfinder, the SL2 relies on a 9-point autofocus system, as did the SL1. The center autofocus point is an AF cross-type point supporting f/5.6. Other autofocus points are vertical line-sensitive or horizontal line-sensitive AF points supporting f/5.6. The central AF point is rated to work in light levels down to -0.5 EV whereas the other eight points are rated for 0.5 EV. Autofocus drive modes include One-Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF and AI Focus AF.
When looking at metering, the SL2 relies on a 63-zone metering sensor, the same as the SL1. The metering range is 1-20 EV and the SL2 offers evaluative (linked to all autofocus points), partial metering (the central 9% of the frame), spot metering (the central 4% of the frame) and center-weighted average metering. In Live View, the camera uses a 316-zone metering system which utilizes the image sensor in real-time and has a working range of 0-20 EV.
All in all, the introduction of Dual Pixel CMOS AF to the Canon SL2 is the highlight in this section. Otherwise, users should expect much of the same in terms of autofocus and metering performance, particularly when shooting still images through the viewfinder.
Processor and Performance: DIGIC 7 processor promises faster shooting speeds
With its new DIGIC 7 image processor, the Canon Rebel SL2 is poised to offer improved performance over its predecessor. Continuous shooting speeds are specified to top out at 5 frames per second with One-Shot and AI Servo AF modes. Silent continuous shooting speeds top out at half that, at 2.5 fps. According to Canon, when shooting highest-quality JPEG images, the SL2 is said to be capable of shooting at 5 fps until the card fills up. Recording RAW or RAW+JPEG cuts that number dramatically with the buffer filling up after six frames. In our lab tests, the Canon easily met the 5 fps spec, but the buffer depth was lower. When shooting best quality JPEGs, the buffer depth was 22 frames with a fast UHS-I, and when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG, the buffer depth was only five frames. See our Performance page for details.
By comparison, the SL1 was able to continuously record images at just under 4 fps in our lab tests, so there is a definite speed improvement for the SL2. However, the buffer depth for RAW images tested at a more generous eight frames but only four for RAW+JPEG.
The Canon SL2 has a variety of Picture Styles, including an automatic Picture Style which adjusts image parameters depending on your subject. Other Picture Styles include Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome and three customizable user defined Picture Styles. The camera includes Special Scene shooting modes as well, such as: Portrait, Group Photo, Landscape, Sports, Kids, Close-up, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control. There is also an assortment of creative shooting effects, including: Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect, HDR art standard, HDR art vivid, HDR art bold and HDR art embossed.
Regarding exposure, the SL2’s fastest shutter speed is 1/4000s. Further, it offers exposure compensation of +/- 5 EV in 1/2 and 1/3 stops.
To help budding photographers, particularly those for whom the SL2 is their first camera, the new Feature Assistant user interface is designed to ease the transition. Feature Assistant shows on the vari-angle touchscreen how different camera settings such as aperture and exposure compensation will affect the image you are preparing to capture. This helps photographers determine which settings they need to freeze or blur a subject or have a shallow depth of field.
Video: Still only Full HD video recording, but the frame rate is improved
The Canon Rebel SL2 can record Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at up to 60 frames per second. Video is recorded as .MP4 files using H.264 codec. The bit rate when recording 1080/60p video is 60 Mbps. The maximum clip length is 29 minutes and 59 seconds. The camera also includes a time-lapse recording mode, which creates a final Full HD video that plays back at up to 30 fps. Like its predecessor, the SL2 has an external microphone input but no headphone jack.
Given that the SL2 includes Dual Pixel CMOS AF, video autofocus performance is impressive. That alone will provide a substantial upgrade for its video features over the SL1, in addition to the faster frame rate.
Connectivity and Power
With built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth -- none of which the SL1 had -- the SL2 has more connectivity than its predecessor. You can connect the Rebel SL2 to your smartphone through Canon’s app and transfer images through a continuous low-power Bluetooth connection in addition to being able to transfer images and control the camera over Wi-Fi. The Canon SL2 did however lose the SL1's infra-red remote receiver, but it is compatible with Canon's BR-E1 Bluetooth remote control.
Further connections include a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack, as mentioned above, a wired remote jack, a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port, and a Mini HDMI Type-C video output. Composite A/V out has been dropped. The SL2 writes media to SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and is UHS-I compatible.
The Rebel SL2 uses the same lithium-ion battery pack and charger as the Canon T7i and 77D cameras, an LP-E17 ( 7.2v 1040mAh) battery and LC-E17 charger. Battery life is substantially improved over the SL1 as the SL2 is CIPA-rated for up to 650 shots versus the 380 shots the SL1 offered via its lower capacity 875mAh LP-E12 battery.
What is new with the Canon Rebel SL2?
There are many new features in the Canon Rebel SL2 compared to the SL1. We have discussed many of them throughout this overview, but let’s take a moment to recap the biggest changes in Canon’s new compact DSLR camera.
- Redesigned and refined camera body, including a new grip and new button design
- A new user interface with Feature Assistant
- Higher resolution 24-megapixel image sensor, compared to the 18-megapixel sensor found in the SL1
- Higher native ISO 25,600 versus 12,800
- Faster DIGIC 7 image processor
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF for Live View shooting and video recording
- Promised faster continuous shooting performance
- Specifications state a slightly larger RAW and RAW+JPEG buffer depth
- Vari-angle display
- Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
- No IR receiver (but supports BR-E1 Bluetooth remote control)
- Improved battery life with bigger battery
- Slightly more powerful flash (GN=9.8 vs 9.4 meters at ISO 100)
- Full HD video recording at 60 frames per second versus the 30 fps limit on the SL1
- New kit lens
What has stayed the same?
While there are a lot of new features, there are some aspects of the camera which have not been changed for the new SL2.
- Optical viewfinder with 95% frame coverage and 0.54x (35mm equivalent) magnification
- Same limited 9-point autofocus system when shooting through the viewfinder
- The SL2 still uses a 63-zone metering system when shooting through the viewfinder
- There is no headphone jack, which is pretty standard for this price point
- Video resolution continues to top out at 1920 x 1080, but the higher frame rate on the SL2 is a welcome improvement nonetheless
Canon SL2 Pricing and Availability
The Canon Rebel SL2 started shipping in late July 2017 at a retail price of just under US$550 for the body only. The SL2 is also available in a kit with the new EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens for about US$700. When purchased as a kit, a white body and lens combination is also available in addition to all black.
Our Thoughts: A lot of features in a compact DSLR body
When the Canon Rebel SL1 launched a few years ago, it entered a much different camera market than the Canon Rebel SL2 did. Mirrorless cameras have continued to grab market share and DSLRs cannot be as small as compact mirrorless cameras given the physical differences in how the through-the-lens optical viewfinder works. With that said, for a consumer looking for a compact DSLR, there is a lot to like with the Canon Rebel SL2. It offers an impressive array of shooting features and looks to offer great performance for its price. Stay tuned for our full review and final verdict.
Canon SL2 Field Test Part I
New SL2 offers a user-friendly experience & good all-around performance
The Canon SL1 was released in 2013 and at the time was the smallest and lightest DSLR camera available. This summer, Canon released the successor, the Rebel SL2, and while the SL2 is slightly larger than the SL1, it is still the smallest current generation DSLR available. Despite the similarly compact shape, the Canon SL2 has essentially been redesigned from the ground up. The compact entry-level spirit lives on, but the SL2 is a very different camera from its predecessor.
We will be tackling the SL2 in a two-part Field Test to see how its new features work in the real-world. The highlights include a redesigned camera body, new sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF and DIGIC 7 image processor.
Canon SL2 Field Test Part II
Good stills shooting features but underwhelming video
On the exposure metering side of things, the SL2 performs quite well. It is not as adept at handling complex scenes as a higher-end Canon DSLR, but it does a good job with most scenes and doesn't often miss the mark. With that said, in lower light, the SL2's metering accuracy drops off, particularly with respect to white balance, which often trends on the cooler side as it is and especially so when working in lower light. This is not unusual performance and is not a large concern. It is important that a camera meters consistently, such that you can adjust as needed once you're familiar with how the automatic exposure metering behaves, and the SL2 does well in that regard.
Canon SL2 Image Quality Comparison
See how the SL2's IQ compares to competing ILCs
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...
Canon SL2 Print Quality Analysis
Found out how large you can print at each ISO!
The Canon SL2 bests its predecessor, the popular Canon SL1, at every ISO by a print size or more. The higher resolution combined with improved noise reduction processing is evident, and anyone looking to upgrade for larger prints will be pleased in that regard. In addition, the camera matches stride in the print quality department with the larger and pricier Canon 77D, giving interested buyers more than one reason to choose this little gem based on image and print quality.
In the Box
The Canon SL2 retail kit as tested ships with the following items in the box:
- Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera body
- EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens (if in a kit)
- E-58 II 58mm Lens cap
- E Lens dust cap
- LP-E17 Lithium-ion battery pack
- LC-E17 Battery charger
- Ef Eye cup
- R-F-3 Camera body cap
- EW-400D Wide camera strap
- Camera instruction manual
- Warranty card
Buy the Canon SL2
Your purchases support this site
Body Only (Black)
- Buy from Amazon for $549.00
- Buy from Adorama for $549.00
- Buy from B&H Photo for $549.00 Purchase from this link to enter a monthly drawing for a $500 B&H Gift Card
1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate
2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate
3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate