Canon SL2 Performance

Timing and Performance

Generally good to very good performance for an entry-level DSLR, though shallow buffer when shooting RAW files.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.6 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.4 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Powering on and taking a shot was quite fast for an entry-level DSLR, at about 0.6 second. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was faster, at about 0.4 second.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single-point (center) AF

0.079 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All timing tested with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens.)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
TTL flash enabled

0.292 second

Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Preflash metering pulses from flash often slow shutter response.

Manual Focus

0.069 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".


0.061 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View

Live View

0.094 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Canon SL2's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times using the optical viewfinder with our 50mm f/1.8 STM lens, its full autofocus shutter response was very fast for a consumer DSLR. We measured only 0.079 second for full AF lag using single point (center) AF, which is close to pro DSLR speeds. Enabling the flash added considerable delay for the pre-flash metering resulting in a capture lag of about 0.29 second, though that's still quite fast.

Shutter lag with manual focus was excellent at 0.069 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.061 second, also excellent for a consumer DSLR.

The Canon SL2's prefocused shutter lag time in Live View mode was 0.094 second, which is excellent. Note that we no longer test full AF lag in Live View mode for DSLRs, because the lens used makes such a huge difference that comparing is pointless. We'll try to comment on real-world Live View AF performance in our field tests.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Single Shot mode

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Early shutter


Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer. (The SL2 does not penalize an early press of the shutter release, but it doesn't always recognize the shutter release being pressed when it is buffering.)

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.20 second
(5.03 fps);
22 frames total;
2.7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 22 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.31s or 3.26 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous mode

0.20 second
(5.06 fps);
5 frames total;
5.7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 1.07s or 0.93 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine

0.20 second
(5.00 fps);
5 frames total;
6.2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 1.11s or 0.90 fps when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

2.4 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were so fast that they were difficult to accurately measure as they depend on the tester's nimbleness and ability to maintain an optimum rhythm. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG modes.)

Full-resolution continuous mode speeds were about average for the class and resolution, at about 5.0 frames-per-second, no matter the file type.

Buffer depth for best quality JPEGs was good at 22 frames before the camera slowed, and the buffer-full rate was still a decent 3.3 frames-per-second with a fast UHS-I card. However when shooting RAW files, buffer depths were quite shallow at only 5 frames with or without JPEGs. Very shallow buffers when shooting RAW files isn't uncommon for the class, though. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers for compressed files: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects. Canon claims no limit other than card space for large/fine JPEGs, 6 RAW or 6 RAW+JPEG files using their test methods.)

Buffer clearing times were quite good considering the resolution, ranging from 2.7 seconds after 22 best quality JPEGs, to 6.2 seconds after a burst of RAW+JPEG frames. The Canon SL2 does let you change settings and view just-shot JPEGs while the buffer is clearing, but you can't review RAW images until after the buffer clears.

The Canon SL2's flash took an average of 2.4 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is quite fast.

Bottom line, the Canon SL2 generally offers good to very good performance for an entry-level DSLR, with fast start-up and mode switching, very fast autofocus, low shutter lag, quick single-shot cycle times, and a decent burst speed. Buffer depths when shooting RAW files were however very shallow at only 5 frames, which is a little disappointing but not unheard of for the class.


Battery Life
Average battery life for a consumer DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
Optical Viewfinder (CIPA Standard)
Still Capture,
Live View LCD (CIPA Standard)

The Canon SL2 uses a custom LP-E17 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated battery charger. Battery life is about average for a compact DSLR using the optical viewfinder, CIPA-rated at 650 shots with 50% using flash, but of course Live View mode draws more power reducing battery life considerably to 260 shots. Although this is much improved over the SL1's 380 and 150 shots respectively, we still recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon SL2 is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))


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