Canon 1D X vs SL1
The Canon EOS-1D X and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2011 and March 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1DX) and an APS-C (SL1) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 17.9 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D X and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D X and the Canon SL1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The SL1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 1DX is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL1 is considerably smaller (60 percent) than the Canon 1D X. Moreover, the SL1 is substantially lighter (74 percent) than the 1DX. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1DX is splash and dust resistant, while the SL1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 1DX) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (SL1). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1DX gets 1120 shots out of its LP-E4N battery, while the SL1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1DX has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the SL1, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on ebay).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1440 g||2850||Y||Jan 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1D C||158 mm||164 mm||83 mm||1545 g||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SL1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the 1DX, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D X features a full frame sensor and the Canon SL1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the SL1 is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the 1DX has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 17.9 megapixels. This implies that the 1DX has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.95μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SL1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the 1DX, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The SL1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS-1D X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1DX provides substantially higher image quality than the SL1, with an overall score that is 19 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.2||14.5||3248||91|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|7.||Canon 1D C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||24.3||13.0||2155||85|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|9.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|16.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|17.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1DX and the SL1 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 1DX offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the SL1 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1DX has a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.54x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D X and Canon SL1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||20.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 1D C||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|10.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|11.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the 1DX, but is missing on the SL1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 1DX writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SL1 uses SDXC cards. The 1DX features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the SL1 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D X and Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1D C||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D X (unlike the SL1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1DX and the SL1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 1DX was replaced by the Canon 1DX Mark II, while the SL1 was followed by the Canon SL2. Further information on the features and operation of the 1DX and SL1 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 1D X Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon SL1 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D X and the Canon SL1? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D X:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.54x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 4.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1120 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2011).
Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 158x168mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1144g or 74 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1DX is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D X and the Canon SL1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1DX or the SL1. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||..||+ +||5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1D C||..||..||..||..||..||..||Apr 2012||14,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|17.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 1D X vs Canon SL1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2011||March 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 6,799||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.95 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.07 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+ (Dual)||DIGIC 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.8||21.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2786||843|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||14 shutter flaps/s||4.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||400 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D X||Canon SL1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1120 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
158 x 168 x 83 mm
(6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
117 x 91 x 69 mm
(4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
|Camera Weight||1551 g (54.7 oz)||407 g (14.4 oz)|
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