PW

Canon T3i versus Canon SL2

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 650D in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (labelled Canon 200D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2011 and June 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The T3i has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the SL2 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon T3i vs Canon SL2

The physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Canon SL2 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. You can also use the toggle button 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 – the T3i – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon T3i vs Canon SL2
Compare T3i versus SL2 top
Compare T3i and SL2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL2 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Canon T3i. Moreover, the SL2 is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the T3i. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T3i nor the SL2 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 T3i gets 440 shots out of its LP-E8 battery, while the SL2 can take 650 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 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 camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon T3i» 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
Canon SL2« 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon T7« » 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 475 g 500 n Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon T7i« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 532 g 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T5« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon T5i« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SL1« » 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon M« » 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon T4i« » 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T2i« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
Canon T1i« » 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SL2 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the T3i 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: Canon T3i vs Canon SL2

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.

Canon T3i and Canon SL2 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SL2 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 17.9 MP of the T3i. This megapixel advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SL2 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 T3i). However, it should be noted that the SL2 is much more recent (by 6 years and 4 months) than the T3i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

T3i versus SL2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the SL2 offers substantially better image quality than the T3i (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon T3i» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365Canon T3i
Canon SL2« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
Canon T7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p----Canon T7
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon T7i
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262Canon T4i
Canon T3« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562Canon T3
Canon T2i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466Canon T2i
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SL2 provides a faster frame rate than the T3i. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the T3i is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon T3i vs Canon SL2

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The T3i and the SL2 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon T3i and Canon SL2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon T3i»optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon T3i
Canon SL2«optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
Canon T7« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T7
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon T7i
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T4i
Canon T3« »optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T3
Canon T2i« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n Canon T2i
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400

The SL2 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the T3i has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T3i was succeeded by the Canon T4i.

Review summary: Canon T3i vs Canon SL2

So how do things add up? Is the Canon T3i better than the Canon SL2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2011).


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x93mm vs 133x100mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 117g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 440) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 4 months of technical progress since the T3i launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SL2 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 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.

T3i 01:12 SL2

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the T3i or the SL2. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon T3i»rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i Canon T3i
Canon SL2«HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon T7« »rev-3.5/5-3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon T4i« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i Canon T4i
Canon T3« »80/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449- i Canon T3
Canon T2i« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i Canon T2i
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400

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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

vs

    You are here  »   »