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Canon 50D versus Canon SL1

The Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2008 and March 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 50D has a resolution of 15.1 megapixel, whereas the SL1 provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 50D vs Canon SL1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 50D and the Canon SL1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 50D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 50D vs Canon SL1
Compare 50D versus SL1 top
Compare 50D and SL1 rear

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 (32 percent) than the Canon 50D. Moreover, the SL1 is substantially lighter (50 percent) than the 50D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 50D 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 50D gets 800 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the SL1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 50D» 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon SL1« 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon T6« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 17.1 oz 500 n Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SL1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 58 percent) than the 50D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 50D vs Canon SL1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the SL1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the 50D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 50D and Canon SL1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL1 offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixel, compared with 15.1 MP of the 50D. This megapixel advantage translates into a 9 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SL1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.69μm for the 50D). However, it should be noted that the SL1 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the 50D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

50D versus SL1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 50D» APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663Canon 50D
Canon SL1« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon T6« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p----Canon T6
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
Canon 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659Canon 30D
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162Canon 20D

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The SL1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 50D does not. The highest resolution format that the SL1 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 50D vs Canon SL1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 50D 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 50D, the Canon SL1, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 50D»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n Canon 50D
Canon SL1«optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon T6« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T6
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Canon 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Canon 20D

One feature that is present on the 50D, 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 50D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SL1 uses SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 50D»Y----mini2.0---Canon 50D
Canon SL1«YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon SL2
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
Canon T6« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T6
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon T5i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
Canon 30D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 30D
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
Canon 20D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 20D

Both the 50D and the SL1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 50D was replaced by the Canon 60D, while the SL1 was followed by the Canon SL2.

Review summary: Canon 50D vs Canon SL1

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 50D better than the Canon SL1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 50D:

  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 4.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 415g or 50 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 50D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SL1 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

50D 06:09 SL1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 50D 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 table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 50D»HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Canon 50D
Canon SL1«Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon T6« »rev73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon 40D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Canon 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i Canon 30D
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i Canon 20D

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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