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Canon SL1 versus Canon 7D II

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (called Canon 100D in some regions) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and September 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The SL1 has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the 7D Mark II provides 20 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 SL1 vs Canon 7D II

The physical size and weight of the Canon SL1 and the Canon 7D II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 – the SL1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon SL1 vs Canon 7D II
SL1 versus 7D Mark II top view
SL1 and 7D Mark II rear side
Body view (SL1 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D II is considerably larger (57 percent) than the Canon SL1. Moreover, the 7D Mark II is substantially heavier (124 percent) than the SL1. It is noteworthy in this context that the 7D Mark II is splash and dust-proof, 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 SL1 gets 380 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the 7D Mark II can take 670 images on a single charge of its LP-E6N 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 Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 no 2013 549discont. check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft) 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 YES 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 no 2017 549 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 YES 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 no 2014 449discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 no 2013 649discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 no 2012 849discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 no 2011 599discont. check
Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt) 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 YES 2009 1,699discont. check
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 no 2009 799discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check

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 69 percent) than the 7D Mark II, 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 SL1 vs Canon 7D II

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 7D Mark II is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon SL1 and Canon 7D II sensor measures
Sensor size

With 20MP, the 7D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the SL1 (17.9MP), but the 7D Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.10μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1). Yet, the 7D Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the SL1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

SL1 versus 7D Mark II MP
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 7D Mark II has a markedly higher DXO score than the SL1 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.8 11.3 843 63
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 11.8 1082 70
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.4 1041 79
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.2 1135 79
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.9 11.3 724 63
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.7 11.2 681 61
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/30p 22.5 11.6 926 68
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.2 827 65
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.7 11.2 722 62
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.5 793 65
Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.0 11.7 854 66
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 15.1 4752 3168 1080/20p 21.7 11.5 663 63
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 7D Mark II provides a faster frame rate than the SL1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the SL1 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison: Canon SL1 vs Canon 7D II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SL1 and the 7D Mark II 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 SL1, the Canon 7D II, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.9 9.4 no
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft) optical YES 3.0 1040 fixed no 8000 10.0 11 no
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 9.8 no
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 9.2 no
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 13 no
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 YES
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 13 no
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel no 4000 3.7 13 no
Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 920 fixed no 8000 8.0 12 no
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 920 fixed no 4000 3.4 13 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no

The 7D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the SL1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SL1 was succeeded by the Canon SL2.

Review summary: Canon SL1 vs Canon 7D II

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SL1 better than the Canon 7D II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 149x112mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 503g or 55 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (69 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2013).

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 6%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (670 versus 380) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • 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 7D Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 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.

SL1 05:10 7D Mark II

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SL1 or the 7D Mark II handle or perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon SL1 (⇒ rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 549discont. check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft) Rec 84/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4/5 - 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 449discont. check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 649discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 849discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2011 599discont. check
Canon 7D (⇒ lft | rgt) 93/100 HiRec 84/100 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,699discont. check
Canon T1i (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 74/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 799discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.


Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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