Canon SL3 vs Sony A5100
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (called Canon 250D in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2019 and August 2014. The SL3 is a DSLR, while the A5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
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 Sony Alpha A5100? 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 Sony A5100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Canon SL3. Moreover, the A5100 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the SL3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SL3 nor the A5100 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (SL3) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A5100). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A5100, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
Concerning battery life, the SL3 gets 1070 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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||amazon.com|
|2.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T8i||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A5100 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.
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. 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 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 A5100 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (SL3) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A5100 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A5100 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the SL3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SL3 is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 months) than the A5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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 Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 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|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|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 also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the SL3 provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/25p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SL3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SL3, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon T8i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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 A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Sony Alpha A5100 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.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|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 SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon T2i||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SL3 has a hotshoe, while the A5100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The SL3 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the A5100 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the A5100 from Sony. Further information on the features and operation of the SL3 and A5100 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SL3 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A5100 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SL3 and the Sony A5100? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL3:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/25p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1070 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the A5100 launch.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A5100:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 122x93mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 166g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL3 emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SL3 or the A5100 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.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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||amazon.com|
|2.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon T8i||4.5/5||+||3/5||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon T7||..||o||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 50D vs Canon SL3
- Canon SL3 vs Fujifilm X10
- Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon SL3 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon SL3 vs Samsung NX1
- Canon SL3 vs Sony H200
- Canon SX50 vs Sony A5100
- Canon SX70 vs Sony A5100
- Olympus E-M1 II vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic GH3 vs Sony A5100
- Sony A5100 vs Sony A9
- Sony A5100 vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Canon SL3 vs Sony A5100
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||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2019||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SL3||Sony A5100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/25p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1347|
|Screen Specs||Canon SL3||Sony A5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SL3||Sony A5100|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SL3||Sony A5100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon SL3||Sony A5100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1070 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
122 x 93 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||449 g (15.8 oz)||283 g (10.0 oz)|
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