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Canon SL1 vs T3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (called Canon 100D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T3 (labelled Canon 1100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2013 and February 2011. 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 T3 provides 12.2 MP.

As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and the Canon EOS Rebel T3 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 T3. 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 T3
Canon SL1 Canon T3
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.9 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
380 shots per battery charge700 shots per battery charge
117 x 91 x 69 mm, 407 g 130 x 100 x 78 mm, 495 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 T3? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SL1 and the Canon T3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The SL1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the T3 is only available in black.

Size Canon SL1 vs Canon T3
Compare SL1 versus T3 top
Comparison SL1 or T3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T3 is notably larger (22 percent) than the Canon SL1. Moreover, the T3 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the SL1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL1 nor the T3 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 T3 can take 700 images on a single charge of its LP-E10 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549 i
2.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
3.
 
Canon T100 129 mm 102 mm 77 mm 436 g 500 n Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SL2 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i
5.
 
Canon T6 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449 i
6.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499 i
7.
 
Canon T5 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449 i
8.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649 i
10.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799 i
11.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599 i
12.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
13.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599 i
14.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449 i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the SL1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the T3 is 3 percent smaller. 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.

In terms of chip-set technology, the SL1 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the T3 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SL1 and Canon T3 sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the SL1 offers a higher resolution than the T3 (12.2MP), but the SL1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 5.15μm for the T3). However, the SL1 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 1 month) than the T3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SL1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SL1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon T3 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The SL1 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

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 T3 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SL1 versus T3 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 imaging performance. 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
1.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.3843 63
2.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
3.
 
Canon T100 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.4695 63
4.
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.41041 79
5.
 
Canon T6 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p...... ..
6.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.4753 65
7.
 
Canon T5 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.3724 63
8.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.7230 54
9.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2681 61
10.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.8644 60
11.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.2827 65
12.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
13.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.5793 65
14.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none...... ..

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SL1 provides a higher video resolution than the T3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the T3 is limited to 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL1 and the T3 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%), but the viewfinder of the SL1 has a higher magnification than the one of the T3 (0.54x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SL1 and Canon T3 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
1.
 
Canon SL1optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9 Y n
2.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon T100optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
5.
 
Canon T6optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon M10none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n
7.
 
Canon T5optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
9.
 
Canon T5ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
11.
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
12.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Canon T3ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
14.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The SL1 has a touchscreen, while the T3 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SL1 and the T3 write their files to SDXC cards. The SL1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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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 T3 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
1.
 
Canon SL1YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon T100Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
5.
 
Canon T6Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon M10-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon T5Ymonomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
9.
 
Canon T5iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon T3iYmonomonoY-mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---

It is notable that the SL1 has a microphone port, which is missing on the T3. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Both the SL1 and the T3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3 was replaced by the Canon T5, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL1 or the Canon T3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.2MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.50x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 130x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 88g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the T3 launch.


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T3:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (700 versus 380) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL1 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 3 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 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.

SL1 14:03 T3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SL1 and the Canon T3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SL1 or the T3 perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SL14/5+78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549 i
2.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
3.
 
Canon T100..o..3.5/53.5/5 Feb 2018 399 i
4.
 
Canon SL24/5+ +78/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i
5.
 
Canon T64/5o73/1004/54/5 Mar 2016 449 i
6.
 
Canon M10........4/5 Oct 2015 499 i
7.
 
Canon T53/5+..4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449 i
8.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
9.
 
Canon T5i....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649 i
10.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799 i
11.
 
Canon M3/5+..4/54/5 Jul 2012 599 i
12.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
13.
 
Canon T3i3/5o77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599 i
14.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SL1:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T3:
Check Ebay offers

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. 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 T3

    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 T3
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2013 February 2011
    Launch Price USD 549 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Canon SL1 Canon T3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.0 x 14.7 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 323.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 26.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 5.15 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 3.76 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.8 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 11.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 843 755
    Screen Specs Canon SL1 Canon T3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.50x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SL1 Canon T3
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.9 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SL1 Canon T3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SL1 Canon T3
    Battery Type LP-E12 LP-E10
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge700 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 91 x 69 mm
    (4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    130 x 100 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 407 g (14.4 oz) 495 g (17.5 oz)

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