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Canon M vs SL1

The Canon EOS M and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and March 2013. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SL1 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon M   Canon SL1
Canon M Canon SL1
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12800 (100-25600) ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
4.3 shutter flaps per second 4.9 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 117 x 91 x 69 mm, 407 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Canon SL1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, white).

Size Canon M vs Canon SL1
Compare Canon M versus SL1 top
Comparison Canon M or 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 larger (48 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the SL1 is substantially heavier (37 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the SL1 are weather-sealed.

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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 M» 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
 
Canon SL1« 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T100« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 15.4 oz 500 n Feb 2018 399 i i Canon T100
 
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
 
Canon M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 4.1 in 2.4 in 1.6 in 10.7 oz 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
 
Canon T3i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
 
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SL1 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the Canon M at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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.

Canon M and Canon SL1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 17.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the Canon M and the SL1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SL1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the Canon M, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Canon M versus SL1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 M» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
 
Canon SL1« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
 
Canon T100« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563Canon T100
 
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
 
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
 
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
 
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
 
Canon T3i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon T3i
 
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
 
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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).

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SL1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M and Canon SL1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon M»- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n Canon M
 
Canon SL1«optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
 
Canon T100« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T100
 
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1 Y n Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
 
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T5
 
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
 
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
 
Canon T3i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n Canon T3i
 
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
 
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The SL1 has one, while the Canon M does not. While the built-in flash of the SL1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon M and the SL1 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison

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 M and Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 M»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
 
Canon SL1«YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon SL1
 
Canon T100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T100
 
Canon M100« »-stereomono--mini2.0YYYCanon M100
 
Canon SL2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon SL2
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon T5« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T5
 
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
 
Canon T5i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T5i
 
Canon T3i« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon T3i
 
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
 
Sony NEX-3N« »-stereomono--micro2.0---Sony NEX-3N

Both the Canon M and the SL1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Canon M was replaced by the Canon EOS M3, while the SL1 was followed by the Canon SL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M and the Canon SL1? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon EOS M:

  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 117x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 109g or 27 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2012).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.9 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (7 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL1 comes out slightly ahead of the Canon M (5 : 4 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 04:05 SL1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Canon SL1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon M and the SL1 in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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 M»+-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
 
Canon SL1«+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
 
Canon T100« »o-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i i Canon T100
 
Canon M100« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i Canon M100
 
Canon SL2« »+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
 
Canon M10« »---o4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon G7 X« »+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon T5« »+-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
 
Canon G16« »+-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
 
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
 
Canon T3i« »o77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
 
Panasonic GF6« »+ +-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G3« »+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SL1:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon M 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M Canon SL1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 March 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Canon M Canon SL1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC V DIGIC 5
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 63
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 843
    Screen Specs Canon M Canon SL1
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Canon SL1
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 4.9 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Canon SL1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    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 M Canon SL1
    Battery Type LP-E12 LP-E12
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    117 x 91 x 69 mm
    (4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 407 g (14.4 oz)

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