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Canon SL1 vs SL3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (called Canon 100D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (labelled Canon 250D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2013 and April 2019. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The SL1 has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the SL3 provides 24 MP.

As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 belong to Canon's Rebel line of DSLR cameras. This range of APS-C cameras, which started out with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel in 2003, has been a big commercial success and the backbone of Canon's dominance in the digital camera market. The popularity of the Rebel cameras is the result of them inheriting much of the sensor and shooting technology from earlier released professional DSLRs, while being sold at a much more budget-friendly price point. The strong brand reputation of Canon and the comprehensive EOS system of compatible lenses and accessories further contributes to the appeal of the Rebel cams, including the Canon SL1 and Canon SL3. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SL1 versus Canon SL3
Canon SL1 Canon SL3
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 4K/25p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-25,600 (100 - 51,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
4.9 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
380 shots per battery charge1070 shots per battery charge
117 x 91 x 69 mm, 407 g 122 x 93 x 70 mm, 449 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL3? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SL1 and the Canon SL3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

Size Canon SL1 vs Canon SL3
Compare SL1 versus SL3 top
Comparison SL1 or SL3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL3 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Canon SL1. Moreover, the SL3 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the SL1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL1 nor the SL3 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SL1 gets 380 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the SL3 can take 1070 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon SL3 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 449 g 1070 n Apr 2019 599 i
 
Canon T8i 131 mm 103 mm 76 mm 515 g 800 n Feb 2020 749 i
 
Canon M50 Mark II 116 mm 88 mm 59 mm 387 g 305 n Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon T7 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon 77D 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision 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 somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the SL3 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.

Sensor comparison

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 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 tend to be more expensive and 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.

Technology-wise, the SL3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the SL1 (DIGIC 5), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SL1 and Canon SL3 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the SL1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SL3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1). However, it should be noted that the SL3 is much more recent (by 6 years) than the SL1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SL3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SL1 are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

SL1 versus SL3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
 
Canon SL3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/25p........
 
Canon T8i APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon M50 Mark II APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/24p........
 
Canon T7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p........
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.469563
 
Canon 77D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p........
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365

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, but the SL3 provides a better video resolution than the SL1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/25p, while the SL1 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The SL1 and the SL3 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.54x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL1 and Canon SL3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
 
Canon SL3optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T8ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.5 Y n
 
Canon M50 Mark II2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 Y n
 
Canon T7optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon 77Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
The SL3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SL1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Canon SL3 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL1 and the SL3 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 Rebel SL1 and Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon SL3YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Canon T8iYstereomonoY-mini2.0Y-Y
 
Canon M50 Mark IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon T7Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon 77DYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the SL3 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the SL1 does not provide wifi capability.

The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the SL1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the SL1 was succeeded 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL1 or the Canon SL3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2013).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 5).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/25p vs 1080/30p).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1070 versus 380) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the SL1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL3 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 1 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SL1 01:10 SL3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SL1 and the Canon SL3 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 SL1 or the SL3. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SL1+78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
 
Canon SL3o79/1004/5..4/5 Apr 2019 599 i
 
Canon T8i+......3.5/5 Feb 2020 749 i
 
Canon M50 Mark II.......... Oct 2020 599 i
 
Canon T7o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i
 
Canon T100o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
 
Canon 77D..82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549i
 
Canon T6o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449i
 
Canon M10......o4/5 Oct 2015 499i
 
Canon T5+..4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon T5i..76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon T4i+ +77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
 
Canon T3io77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon SL1:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SL3:
Check Amazon price

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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SL1 vs Canon SL3

    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 SL1 Canon SL3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2013 April 2019
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon SL1 Canon SL3
    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 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 3.72 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 7.22 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 4K/25p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 DIGIC 8
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 843 ..
    Screen Specs Canon SL1 Canon SL3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SL1 Canon SL3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.9 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in 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 SL1 Canon SL3
    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 Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Canon SL1 Canon SL3
    Battery Type LP-E12 LP-E17
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge1070 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 91 x 69 mm
    (4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    122 x 93 x 70 mm
    (4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 407 g (14.4 oz) 449 g (15.8 oz)

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