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My New Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (100D)

Updated on September 16, 2014

Canon Rebel Cameras ~ A New Wave Of Digital SLR Camera

Note to self - "You don't have to buy a new Canon Rebel camera every time Canon decides to release a new model.

I could not help myself.. I ordered one of these little cameras, and it was delivered with very little pomp and circumstance. Neither I nor the dog heard the UPS driver, so it sat on my porch for about 1/2 hour before it was discovered. So my plan is to write as much as I can about my new camera with a new user in mind. I will assume you know very little about this camera, and that you are new to the digital SLR world.

Let's go ahead and mention the one thing that every reviewer is saying about the newest Canon Rebel camera.. it's small and light. In fact, it's even lighter than it appears to be. My Rebel T4i feels like a professional camera compared to this tiny DSLR.

Others are touting this new Rebel SL1 Digital SLR camera as an advanced wave of technological innovation. I am not sure that is such an accurate statement, because it just does the things that other beginners' DSLR cameras do, only it does it with less girth (it's smaller).

In this camera review, you will discover several reasons to consider this camera as your next purchase (or not), especially if you are new to the DSLR world.

Important fact: One HUGE advantage this camera has over its competitors is that, because it is still a Digital SLR model, every Canon lens, whether EF or EFS fits on this camera. This gives you access to literally hundreds of lens options. Plus, if you already own Canon lenses, you are ahead of the game.

Image credit = my new Rebel SL1 camera in the hands of grandkids. I just love the way they play with my cameras.

First shot - canon rebel SL1
First shot - canon rebel SL1

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Review

The Canon EOS SL1 (known as 100D outside the United States) is a consumer digital SLR aimed at beginning DSLR users and camera hobbyists. It is quite obvious that it is targeting the market equal to mirror-less model cameras that are smaller than DSLR cameras.

As such, the SL1 does a good job. Canon has significantly reduced the body size of the camera while maintaining the sensor size equal to the other traditional Rebel models.

It has a resolution of 18 megapixels, equivalent to the last 4 cameras in this series. However, the sensor has been upgraded with a hybrid auto-focus system that uses phase-detect AF points which is good for those who use Live View for single shots and others who love to shoot video.

It must also be noted that, in addition to the aforementioned targeted smaller mirror-less camera market, this camera might also be considered in place of the Canon Rebel T3 (1100D) which was just released in 2011. While this move is quite a bit faster than the previous upgrade of the lowest level DSLR in the Canon lineup, the improvements make it worthy of attention to those interested in moving into the digital SLR world with a small investment.

Think about it: I took my new toy to work and showed it to a friend who is also a photographer and outdoorsman. He got very excited about the camera, and his first observation was, "This will be a great camera for backpackers!" Not being one, I had not thought about how much weight those folks have to haul across hill and valley, and this camera will save them the weight of heavier DSLRs.

What I like about the Rebel SL1

I won't bore you with the same old list of features that every other review site has on it. What I will do is let you know what I, an avid Canon Rebel Fan and user, have found that I like.

  • Size - yes, you will find this as the first "feature" on every other web page about this camera, but it really is a benefit to have such a small camera. It's easy to carry around, and you don't need a huge backpack or carrying case for this one. Just grab one extra lens and toss it into your really small camera case, and you are good to go.
  • Touch screen controls - the settings are very simple to change. Just activate the touch screen by touching it, and choose the setting you want to manipulate. It could not be simpler. I do not usually use the touch screen controls on my T4i, but I find myself really depending on it with this camera.
  • The kit lens - it's really improved over the older one. And it works very well to eliminate the focus noise of the older model.
  • Hi ISO with no noise - I have sample photos here of pictures I took at ISO 1600 and 3200. The one at 1600 has very little digital noise, and the one at 3200 has some noise, but it is not nearly as bad as older camera models.
  • Silent shooting - I just discovered this. You can set the shooting style to silent, and you don't hear the normal mirror slap. While it is not totally silent, it is much quieter than normal.
  • Image quality - I have been impressed on a daily basis at just how good the pictures are. Since the camera is so small, it still surprises me every time I view the pictures on my computer.

What I don't like about the Rebel SL1

Things that are not so great.. yes, I have found a couple of things that are not on my list of favorites.

  • Stationary LCD screen - I have really come to love the articulating LCD screen on my T3i and T4i. I use this capability all the time, especially when shooting macro.
  • Placement of the storage card. It's in the same compartment as the battery at the bottom of the camera. I prefer the side storage card slot on my other Rebels.

Image Credit - author - one of the first images taken with my new Rebel 100d

Camera Comparison

Canon EOS Rebel SL1

Canon EOS Rebel T3

Canon EOS Rebel T4i

Canon SL1
Canon T3
Canon T4i
User Rating: 4.6 stars
User Rating: 4.7 stars
User Rating: 4.6 stars
18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
12.2 MP CMOS (APS-C) sensor
18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
DIGIC 5 Processor
DIGIC 4 Processor
DIGIC 5 Processor
Video: multiple formats as high as 1080p and 30 fps
Video: 720p at 29.97 or 25 fps
Video: multiple formats as high as 1080p and 30 fps
Dimensions: 117 x 91 x 69mm (4.61 x 3.58 x 2.72")
Dimensions: 130 x 100 x 78mm (5.12 x 3.94 x 3.07")
Dimensions: 133 x 100 x 79mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.11")
4 frames/sec continuous shooting
3 frames/sec continuous shooting
5 frames/sec continuous shooting
3" LCD fixed screen with 1,040,000 dot resolution
3" LCD fixed position screen with 230,000 dot resolution
3" LCD articulating screen with 1,040,000 dot resolution


You can see just how much smaller the SL1 is than even the traditional Rebel models.
With respect to the Canon EOS M (mirror-less), it is just a few centimeters wider and taller.

These online stores also carry the new Canon Rebel:

Adorama

Rebel SL1 Video Sample - Random bits of video

I must admit, I am more of a still photographer (lots more) than a video guy. But I am quite impressed with the video quality of the SL1, even though it has just mono sound recording rather than stereo.

The first clip is the first one I attempted.. a duck entering a lake and quietly quacking as it paddled away.

In the second clip, I was probably 30 or more yards from the birds and you can still hear the mocking birds squawking at the hawk very clearly.

The third is some children jumping into the pool. Pretty perfect conditions, and the video turned out great (IMHO).

The fourth clip was at a backyard "concert" at night. Lighting on the porch (stage) was pretty poor, but the Rebel performed well under the circumstances.

Best Canon DSLRs As Voted By Users

While the Canon Rebel SL1 is still "wet behind the ears," there are several Canon Rebel cameras that have risen to the top as "user favorites."

Rebel SL1 Image Quality Detail

100% Zoom - Rebel SL1 sample photo
100% Zoom - Rebel SL1 sample photo

This was taken the first day I used my new Rebel 100D. When I transfer images to the computer, I usually look at a section of the photo with 100% zoom.

When I did that with this and several other pictures, I was quite impressed with two things. First, the dark purple of these flowers has always given me trouble with chromatic aberration (color ghosting around the edges of the purple area), but, as you can see, this picture is pretty clean.

Second, look at the detail of the dew drops. It's very sharp.

There is actually a third point that needs to be mentioned here. The new kit lens is pretty darn good compared to the older, non-STM version. You can get close to macro closeness and still be able to focus. In this shot, I was no more than 6 inches from the flower, shooting at 40mm. The flower cluster is only about an inch and a half across, and you can see the result. I feel that it is very good image quality.

Rebel SL1/100D (Kit Lens) Portrait

Rebel SL1 Portrait
Rebel SL1 Portrait

This was taken in the shade using a fill flash, nothing more than turning on the flash and firing away. The reason you might want to do this is to compensate for the bright light behind the subject. Without the fill flash, the young man would be much darker.

  • Aperture priority was the mode with Av set at f/5.6
  • Shutter speed was 1/200 second
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • ISO: 100

I cropped this picture so that you can see the really nice detail in the eyes and water drops.

Do This with 3 Clicks - Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Barrington Hall Family Photo with Canon Rebel SL1
Barrington Hall Family Photo with Canon Rebel SL1

Took this photo at Barrington Hall here in Roswell. A gentleman with a camera that was in service around the time of the Civil War was taking and developing pictures. (that's him with his camera -->)

Using my trusty little Rebel SL1, I snapped this one and put it into Lightroom to make it look a bit more authentic. All I did was use 3 Lightroom presets.. Auto tone, Black and White, and Aged Photo.

You can also use the camera to edit your photos.. see below for some examples of in-camera processed photos.

Image credit

Front View

Canon Rebel SL1 Front View
Canon Rebel SL1 Front View

The camera is shown here with a standard Canon EF-S 18-55mm STM lens. It is the newest lens in the Canon line-up. It replaces the older Kit Lens, which had the exact same focal and aperture range. There is also a new prime lens available. It is the pancake lens.

This new pancake prime will work on both types of Canon DSLR cameras, APS-C sensors and Full-frame sensors.

STM stands for Stepper Motor. The lens motor will focus faster and do it with less noise so the sound recording of video is not affected.

I have mentioned it already in the review, but it bears repeating. The new kit lens is really nice. I have both the older one and the new one, so I have experience with both. The folks at Canon have done something good here.

Rear View

Canon Rebel SL1 Rear View
Canon Rebel SL1 Rear View

Creative Modes - The same as the Big Boys

Creative Modes - Canon SL1
Creative Modes - Canon SL1

Top View

Canon Rebel SL1 Top View
Canon Rebel SL1 Top View

Left Side View

Canon Rebel SL1 Left Side
Canon Rebel SL1 Left Side

Kit Lens Comparison

Canon 18-55mm STM vs Sigma 105mm macro

I love my Sigma 105mm macro lens. I have had it for nearly 10 years. But I have to admit, the Canon kit lens that I got with the SL1 is pretty darn good, even when shooting close-up pictures.

Here is a photo of the inside of an Amaryllis flower.

The first image is taken with a Sigma 105mm macro lens at f/2.8 and ISO 800

Then I used the kit lens at 52mm, f/5.6, ISO 800

To be honest, I have examined these two pictures and I cannot find any appreciable difference in quality. Maybe it's time to sell my Sigma macro? I am quite impressed with the kit lens so far.

Eye Detail - Pet Portrait

eye detail - Rebel 100D with kit lens
eye detail - Rebel 100D with kit lens

As a photographer, you should always aim for the sharpest focus in the eye of your subject.

In this photo of my dog, Colby, you can see that the insert is very sharp. Couldn't ask for better than this. I am quite impressed so far with this camera and lens combination.

Original photo:

  • Camera: Canon Rebel 100D (SL1)
  • Lens: Canon EFS 18-55mm STM
  • Focal Length: 37mm
  • Aperture: f/5.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/400
  • ISO 400

In-camera Photo Editing - These effects can be easily applied using menu buttons on your Rebel 100D

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Original Confederate Soldier photoToy Camera effect with Rebel SL1Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1Family original image with Rebel SL1Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1Watercolor Painting effect with Rebel SL1Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1Toy Camera effect with Rebel SL1
Original Confederate Soldier photo
Original Confederate Soldier photo
Toy Camera effect with Rebel SL1
Toy Camera effect with Rebel SL1
Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1
Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1
Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1
Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1
Family original image with Rebel SL1
Family original image with Rebel SL1
Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1
Grainy BW effect with Rebel SL1
Watercolor Painting effect with Rebel SL1
Watercolor Painting effect with Rebel SL1
Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1
Art Bold effect with Rebel SL1
Toy Camera effect with Rebel SL1
Toy Camera effect with Rebel SL1

Sample photo with Canon eos Rebel SL1

Yellow Lily - sample photo with Canon eos Rebel SL1
Yellow Lily - sample photo with Canon eos Rebel SL1

Here is another macro-type shot taken with my new Canon Rebel camera.

For this shot, I simply held a piece of black cardstock behind the flower to mask out the bush that was crowding the flower.

Again, I am impressed with the performance of the camera and the lens.

I had the camera set to Av (aperture priority) on the mode dial. The aperture was f/11, the ISO was set to 400, and the camera chose a shutter speed of 1/40 second. There is no apparent blur, which leads me to believe that the IS (image stabilization) of the lens works well, since I can't hold my other camera very steady at that shutter speed.

Sample Photo - Canon Rebel 100D

Climatis and Mailbox taken with a Canon Rebel SL1
Climatis and Mailbox taken with a Canon Rebel SL1

Here is the data regarding this sample picture: Mode dial set to P (Program), Aperture was f/5.6, Shutter Speed was 1/80sec, ISO was 100, and the lens was at 31mm.

You can barely see the house in the top, right corner, because it is over-exposed, but the rest of the picture is pleasing and correctly exposed.

Sample Photo - American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch - Canon SL1 with 70-200 f/4.0 lens
American Goldfinch - Canon SL1 with 70-200 f/4.0 lens

Birds are one of my favorite things to photograph, especially when they are in full seasonal plumage. This American Goldfinch was!

I used my Canon Rebel SL1 with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L lens. That lens actually looks a little ridiculous attached to such a small camera. After all, the lens is physically larger and weighs more than the camera, but it just proves that any Canon lens will work on this camera.

Photo data:

*Focal length: 200mm

*ISO 800

*F/13

*1/100sec (taken with camera set on Tv - shutter priority)

Love Birds?

Cardinal couple taken with Rebel 100D
Cardinal couple taken with Rebel 100D

This just proves you should always have your camera ready.

I was standing at the kitchen window, waiting for my coffee to finish brewing, camera on the counter, and the female landed on the branch near the feeder. I grabbed the camera to take her picture, and just then the male came along, and what you see happened just as I snapped the shot.

Dumb luck? Nope. I believe one should always be ready for the unexpected.

The picture is not perfectly sharp, but the birds were moving. So, I think it's acceptable quality for this type of shot.

I did crop the picture just a bit, but that is totally possible with an 18-megapixel image. There is plenty of information to work with.

The geeky stuff:

*18-55mm Kit Lens

*55mm focal length

*ISO 400

*f/5.6

*1/60 sec

Night Photography Made Easy - Just bump up the ISO

Mudcat Band at night with Canon Rebel SL1
Mudcat Band at night with Canon Rebel SL1

You can leave the ISO on Auto, and the camera will select the proper setting to keep your shutter speed high enough to get a sharp shot.

However, I chose to bump the ISO myself while at a backyard concert of the Mudcat band. (I recommend going to see this group if they are in your area - great fun and good music.)

So here are the particulars:

  • Camera: Canon Rebel SL1
  • Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM kit lens
  • Aperture Priority: f/5.0
  • Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec
  • ISO: 3200

The band was on a wooden porch with some very shabby lights that kept changing color, which is why the drummers look so different. I think the camera and lens did a good job considering the amount of light available (the kit lens has a really good IS - image stabilization - system).

Is Bigger Always Better - You've seen the commercials? Bigger is better? Is it really?

When it comes to cameras, is bigger or smaller better?

Bigger is always better!

Bigger is always better!

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    I like smaller!

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      • Tenchman7 15 months ago

        Intesting read! Got the 450D or xsi as you call it. Not sure whether i need the 18 mega pixel sensor or an "L" series lens or 2 but i would like the 100D [SL1] Always looking to better the quality of my photo's but often wonder why?

      • wiseriverman 4 years ago

        I like smaller cameras. Thanks for all of this great information. I'm bookmarking this lens so that when I buy a new camera I can review all of the info that you have here.

      New Canon Rebel 100D at Amazon - Buy online and save!

      If you find the information on this web page useful, please use the links below once you make your decision to buy.

      Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens - Fixed
      Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens - Fixed

      This additional STM lens has been getting fantastic reviews as an add-on for video with the Rebel cameras.

       
      Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
      Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

      Already have lenses? The body only might be your best bet.

       

      Comments Always Welcome

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        • LisaDH profile image

          LisaDH 3 years ago

          I picked one of these up in a store the other day and was surprised at the size. It's MUCH smaller and lighter than my Canon 7D and appreciably smaller and lighter than my Rebel T1i. I kind of enjoy the heft of my 7D, but I do sometimes love the ease of using a camera I can easily hold in one hand. Even the kit lens on this camera is smaller than the 18-55mm kit lens on the T1i. But like you, I need to remind myself, "You don't have to buy a new Canon DSLR every time they release one!" I'm saving up for a 5D, so I need to resist the temptation to get one of these!

        • Wayne Rasku profile image
          Author

          Wayne Rasku 3 years ago

          @LisaDH: You have the 7D and headed toward the 5D? These are awesome cameras. Hey, maybe I can sell a couple of my Rebels and do that too :-)

          Hmmm..

        • lapetitefrog profile image

          lapetitefrog 3 years ago

          I have a Rebel XS and was thinking about upgrading to the Rebel SL1. Are there noticeable differences in picture quality between these two?

          And are there any features on the SL1 that may have been simplified or removed? I would prefer that the features are not too simplified, since I want more control over my photos.

        • Wayne Rasku profile image
          Author

          Wayne Rasku 3 years ago

          @lapetitefrog: lapetitefrog (love that name), I do not have experience with the Rebel XS, but I can tell you that you will not be disappointed if you do purchase the SL1. The quality is much better than on my Canon 30D (which is a more professional model than the XS), the ability to shoot in lower light has improved greatly, and features have been added (not removed). You will be able to totally control the outcome of you photos.

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