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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. 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative 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).

Snapsort 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
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 T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
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 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
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
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

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 58 percent) than the 50D, 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. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
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 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
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
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6

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 range 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. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
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 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
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
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6

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 what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 50D or the Canon SL1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 50D:

  • Easier setting verification: Has 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).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
  • 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 (8 : 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 06:08 SL1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 50D or the SL1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
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 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
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
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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