PW

Canon T3 versus Canon SL1

The Canon EOS Rebel T3 (called Canon 1100D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2011 and March 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The T3 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the SL1 provides 17.9 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon T3 and the Canon SL1. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 side – the T3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Canon T3 vs Canon SL1 front
T3 versus SL1 top view
T3 and SL1 rear side
Body view (T3 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 SL1 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Canon T3. Moreover, the SL1 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the T3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3 nor the SL1 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 find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the T3 gets 700 shots out of its LP-E10 battery, while the SL1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 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 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 T3 (⇒ rgt) 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 no 2011 449discont. check
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft) 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 no 2013 549discont. check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 no 2017 549 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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 no 2012 799discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 no 2012 849discont. check
Canon SX50 (⇒ lft | rgt) 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 no 2012 429discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 no 2011 599discont. check
Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 no 2010 699discont. check
Canon XS (⇒ lft | rgt) 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 no 2008 449discont. check
Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 no 2008 799discont. check
Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt) 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 no 2006 799discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check

The listed 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 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 SL1 is 3 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 T3 and Canon SL1 sensor measures
Sensor size

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). Yet, 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 pixel-units.

T3 versus SL1 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon T3 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 12.2 4272 2848 720/30p 21.9 11.0 755 62
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.8 11.3 843 63
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.4 1041 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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 3264 1080/24p 21.7 10.8 644 60
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.7 11.2 722 62
Canon SX50 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 20.3 11.2 179 47
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.5 793 65
Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.5 784 66
Canon XS (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 10.1 3888 2592 no - - - -
Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 12.2 4272 2848 no 21.9 10.8 692 61
Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 10.1 3888 2592 no 22.1 11.0 664 62
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SL1 provides a better video resolution than the T3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the T3 is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The T3 and the SL1 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T3 and Canon SL1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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 T3 (⇒ rgt) optical no 2.7 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 9.2 no
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.9 9.4 no
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 9.8 no
Canon T5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 460 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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 YES
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 Swivel no 4000 1.9 7 YES
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 13 no
Canon SX50 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 461 swivel no 2000 2.2 5.5 YES
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3 1040 swivel no 4000 3.7 13 no
Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 3.7 13 no
Canon XS (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 13 no
Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 3.5 13 no
Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 13 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no

Both the T3 and the SL1 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.

Summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon T3 or the Canon SL1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3:

  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).

Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 21%.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
  • 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: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • 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 will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 88g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the T3 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL1 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 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.

T3 03:09 SL1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the T3 and the SL1 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon T3 (⇒ rgt) 80/100 69/100 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2011 449discont. check
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft) Rec 78/100 Gold 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 549discont. check
Canon SL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2017 549 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 G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 79/100 Rec 76/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 799discont. check
Canon T4i (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 849discont. check
Canon SX50 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 72/100 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2012 429discont. check
Canon T3i (⇒ lft | rgt) reviewed 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2011 599discont. check
Canon T2i (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 77/100 Gold 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2010 699discont. check
Canon XS (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 HiRec 3.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2008 449discont. check
Canon XSi (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec HiRec 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2008 799discont. check
Canon XTi (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 HiRec HiRec reviewed 4.5/5 4/5 2006 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 are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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 comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

vs