Canon SL3 vs T1i
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i (labelled Canon 500D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2019 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The SL3 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the T1i provides 15.1 MP.
As their names suggest, both the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i 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 SL3 and Canon T1i. Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SL3 and the Canon T1i. 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.
The SL3 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the T1i is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T1i is notably larger (11 percent) than the Canon SL3. Moreover, the T1i is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the SL3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL3 nor the T1i 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.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon SL3||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|2.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon T8i||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|5.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|12.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|13.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|16.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 SL3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the T1i, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the SL3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the T1i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the T1i. This megapixels advantage translates into a 26 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 4.69μm for the T1i). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the SL3 is much more recent (by 10 years) than the T1i, 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 T1i are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The SL3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T1i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||24.0||13.6||1939||83|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SL3 provides a higher video resolution than the T1i. It can shoot video footage at 4K/25p, while the T1i is limited to 1080/20p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SL3 and the T1i 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SL3, the Canon T1i, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|3.||Canon T8i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n|
|13.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|15.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n|
|16.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The SL3 has a touchscreen, while the T1i has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The SL3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the T1i 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.
The SL3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the T1i uses SDHC cards. The SL3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T1i cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 SL3 and Canon EOS Rebel T1i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SL3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon T8i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon T3i||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SL3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the T1i. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the T1i has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T1i was succeeded by the Canon T2i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SL3 or the Canon T1i – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.1MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/25p vs 1080/20p).
- 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.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 71g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1070 versus 400) on 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years of technical progress since the T1i launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2009).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL3 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SL3 and the Canon T1i 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SL3 or the T1i. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Canon SL3||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|2.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|3.||Canon T8i||4.5/5||+||3/5||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599|
|5.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|9.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|10.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|12.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|13.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|16.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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.
Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Canon T1i
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 Model||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2019||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||15.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4752 x 3168 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.69 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||4.53 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/25p Video||1080/20p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||663|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL3||Canon T1i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1070 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
122 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||449 g (15.8 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)|
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