Canon SL3 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very good performance for an entry-level DSLR, with much improved buffer depths over its predecessor.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.5 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Powering on and taking a shot was quite fast for an entry-level DSLR, at about 0.5 second. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was faster, at about 0.3 second.


Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single-point (center) AF-S

0.094 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-S
TTL flash enabled

0.346 second

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

Manual Focus

0.088 second

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

Prefocused

0.072 second

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

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View

Prefocused
Live View

0.086 second

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

In terms of the Canon SL3'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 faster than average for a consumer DSLR. We measured only 0.094 second for full AF lag using single point (center) AF-S mode, which is excellent. Enabling the flash added considerable delay for the pre-flash metering resulting in a capture lag of about 0.35 second, though that's still fairly quick.

Shutter lag with manual focus was excellent at 0.088 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of 0.072 second, which is good for an entry-level DSLR.

The Canon SL3's prefocused shutter lag time in Live View mode was 0.086 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

0.40 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.40 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

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.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.20 second
(5.0 fps);
Unlimited(?) frames
1.0 second to clear*

Time per shot averaged over 40 frames, with no apparent limit.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.20 second
(5.0 fps);
15 frames total;
2.8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot averaged over 15 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.37s or 2.7 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

Continuous mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.20 second
(5.0 fps);
11 frames total;
5.2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot averaged over 11 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.63s or 1.6 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

Continuous mode
C-RAW

0.20 second
(5.0 fps);
40 frames total;
2.4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot averaged over 40 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.29s or 3.4 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

Continuous mode
C-RAW + L/F JPEG

0.20 second
(5.0 fps);
20 frames total;
6.5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot averaged over 20 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.55s or 1.8 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

Flash recycling

3.6 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a 64GB Lexar Pro 2000x UHS-II SDXC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Single-shot cycle times were very fast, at 0.4 second. (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 speed was about average for the class and resolution, at a consistent 5.0 frames-per-second, no matter the file type, about the same as the SL2. Like the SL2, the SL3 also includes a Silent shooting mode, which was tested at 2.5 frames-per-second.

Continuous mode buffer depth for best quality JPEGs was excellent, essentially only limited by available capacity when using a fast card, versus 22 frames tested for the SL2. When shooting losslessly compressed RAW files, buffer depth was pretty good for its class at 15 frames, and the buffer depth increased to 40 frames when shooting compressed RAW (C-RAW) files, exceeding Canon's spec of 10 and 37 frames respectively. Buffer depths when shooting RAW + Large/Fine JPEG files were pretty good for its class as well, at 11 frames with uncompressed RAW files and 20 with C-RAW files, also exceeding Canon's spec of 9 and 17 frames respectively. This is a huge improvement over the SL2 which was limited to only 5 RAW or RAW+JPEG frames in a burst, and didn't offer a C-RAW option.

Buffer clearing times were quite good considering the class, ranging from 1 second after 40 best quality JPEGs to 6.5 seconds after a 20 C-RAW+JPEG frames. And the Canon SL3 lets you change settings and view just-shot images while the buffer is clearing.

The Canon SL3's built-in flash took an average of 3.6 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is fair.

Bottom line, the Canon SL3 exhibited very good performance for an entry-level DSLR in the lab, with fast start-up and mode switching, fast autofocus, low shutter lag, quick single-shot cycle times, and a decent 5 fps burst speed. Buffer depths are much improved over its predecessor, and raw buffer depths can be further improved by using the SL3's new compressed raw (C-RAW) option.

Battery

Battery Life
Excellent battery life for an entry-level DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
Optical Viewfinder (CIPA Standard)
1070
Still Capture,
Live View LCD (CIPA Standard)
320

The Canon SL3 uses a custom LP-E17 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated battery charger. Battery life is excellent for a compact DSLR using the optical viewfinder, CIPA-rated at 1070 shots with 50% using flash, but of course Live View mode draws more power reducing battery life considerably to 320 shots. Although this is much improved over the SL2's 650 and 260 shots respectively with the same battery, 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 SL3 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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