Cameras

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Review

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The successor to the Canon EOS Rebel SL2, the Canon EOS SL3 ($650 with an 18-55millimeter lens) offers a few improvements, such as a faster processor that delivers better battery lifestyle and 4K video. Continuous eye-detection autofocus has also been added, but there are some changes that are questionable, including a sizzling shoe that doesn’t work with third-party flashes. Still, the SL3 is an excellent value, especially for beginners.

More: Best Lenses for Canon Rebel SL3

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Price

First-time DSLR owners, families and picture-taking enthusiasts in a limited budget will appreciate the Canon EOS Rebel SL3’s price, ease of use, and built-in guidance. There are plenty of features to allow those interested to explore all facets of photography – while learning about fundamentals such as shutter swiftness, aperture and depth-of-field via the onboard help system. But you can just as easily use it as a point-and-shoot camera.

Vloggers will likely make this their go-to camera thanks to its side-hinged, fully articulated touchscreen. And there’s a 3.5-mm microphone jack to ensure higher quality audio for videos.

Features and Specifications

Canon is pitching the EOS Rebel SL3/ 250D as the world’s lightest DSLR with a movable screen. There are mirrorless cameras smaller than this one, to be sure, but as far as DSLRs go, Canon is quite correct.

If size matters more than the actual camera design, however, you might want to take a look at the new mirrorless Fujifilm X-T200.

Despite the debate around DSLRs vs mirrorless cameras, the DSLR design still has a lot going for it. DSLRs are chunkier and easier to grip than most beginner-orientated mirrorless cameras, they have clear optical viewfinders which many still prefer over digital versions, and the batteries last a lot longer because they’re not continually powering a digital display.

Canon is going for the entry-level market, with a combination of point-and-shoot simplicity, the Guided UI (user interface) to walk new users through the basics of photography, and a Creative Assist mode for more adventurous photographic effects. Underlying all this is all the manual control you’d expect in a DSLR so that when you’re ready to move on to more manual techniques, the EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D can stay right with you.
Inside is a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor of a type we see in lots of Canon cameras and similar in size and resolution to those used by competing Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm cameras, like the Nikon D5600, Sony A6400, Fujifilm X-T200 and even Canon’s own mirrorless EOS M50. Here, it’s matched up with Canon’s latest DIGIC 8 processor, which gives the brand new camera better image quality at high ISO settings than the older EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D, more advanced live view autofocus and 4K video, for the first time in a DSLR at this price.

If you’re using the viewfinder, the Canon offers a basic but effective 9-point autofocus system. That’s not much by today’s standards, but the focus points are spread evenly across more than half the width and height of the frame, they’re clearly marked and it’s a simple setup for novices to get used to.

The Live View autofocus is much more sophisticated. It uses Canon’s own Dual Pixel sensor technology, which splits each photosite on the sensor in two in order to check distance utilizing the same phase-detection autofocus principle utilized by DSLRs. It’s faster compared to the conventional ‘contrast AF’ used by numerous sensors in live see. In the Rebel SL3 / 250D, there are no fewer than 3,975 user-selectable AF points covering up to 88% of the framework width and 100% of the elevation, depending on the lens used.

  • 24MP APS-C sensor with Dual Pixel on-sensor Autofocus
  • Optical viewfinder with the secondary 9-point autofocus system
  • 4K video recording (with 1.7x crop)
  • The fully articulating rear touchscreen
  • Excellent ‘guide’ mode for beginners
  • Wi-Fi with Bluetooth for image transfer and remote camera control
  • Impressive 1,070 shot battery life (CIPA rating) using the optical viewfinder
  • Passable 320-shot battery life (CIPA rating) in live view with Dual Pixel AF

Compact and lightweight

The smallest and lightest DSLR out there (as of April 2019), the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 measures 4.82 x 3.65 x 2.75 inches and weighs 15.84 ounces with battery and card. Although it’s light, there’s more than enough heft to the body that it feels well balanced, even when the kit lens is fully extended. The SL3 is available in black or white and features a deep grip that’s comfortable for both smaller and larger hands.

Articulated touchscreen

Canon is one of the few companies that seems to realize the importance of a fully articulated monitor and, despite being an entry-level model, the SL3 includes a side-hinged touch screen LCD, as its predecessors have. Since the monitor can be altered to any angle needed, it’s perfect for capturing overhead or low-to-the-ground shots, along with selfies. Vloggers will especially love this feature.

Easy to use

External buttons are clearly labelled, and the menu system is definitely well organized and easy to navigate. Better yet, users have a choice of a standard menu or Canon’s guided display; the latter uses text and visuals to show what each setting does. For example, when the camera is set to TV on the mode dial (Time Value or shutter-speed priority), the monitor displays a slider to adjust the shutter speed, showing an icon of a blurry person operating at the lower end of the shutter quickness and a sharpened, “frozen” working person at the various other ends. This visual communication on how shutter speed affects a moving subject is very clear, concise and quickly understood.

More: Check Out Sony Alpha a6400 Review

Good image quality

I actually tested the camera with the kit EF-S 18-55mm IS STM kit zoom lens. Images were colourful, with just the right amount of saturation and vividness. I shot test images with the Standard Picture Style settings, but optional Picture Styles (Auto, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape and more) settings can be tweaked to change parameters such as for example saturation, sharpness, contrast, etc.

Video shortcomings

The SL3 is among the first budget DSLRs that can shoot video in 4K, but the resolution isn’t everything. Sure, the videos look good, with pleasing shades and generally accurate AF. But, for some reason, Canon decided to drop the 24p (24 frames per second) for full HD (1920 x 1080) video, so you’re left with 30p and 60p. While this may not be a huge deal for a lot of people shooting home movies, it’s one of those odd omissions, since 24p is virtually the standard for cinema, delivering great, smooth footage. At 30p, footage – particularly of fast-moving subjects – is likely to be a little jerky. Switch to 60p, which is certainly available for full HD, if you’re filming sports.

Perhaps the biggest video disappointment is that, unlike with the Full HD and standard HD settings, you can’t use Canon’s Dual Pixel AF when shooting in 4K. AF isn’t bad, but if one of the alleged selling points of a camera is normally its 4K video, then one expects more than just contrast-based autofocus.

The SL3 has a digital-stabilization option for video, but it crops the image and isn’t terribly effective when you’re walking with the camera in your hands.

Verdict

While mirrorless cameras have become increasingly popular, there’s still a market for affordable, entry-level DSLRs. With the Canon ELS Rebel SL3, photographers get the basics in a tried-and-true form aspect with a solid – if not overly sophisticated – set of features. And, because of its guided menu and built-in help, the SL3 is an excellent learning tool.

If 4K video isn’t a necessity, the Nikon D3500 ($396 with an 18-55mm lens) presents great picture quality, intensive in-camera retouching. Battery life is excellent at 1,550 shots-per-charge, and beginners will make good usage of its built-in help program. Unlike the SL3, however, the Nikon D3500’s LCD is fixed and doesn’t give any touch capabilities.

More: Check Out Sony Alpha a6600 Review

Among mirrorless cameras, the speedy Sony A6300 ($498 with a 16-50mm lens) isn’t much bigger or heavier than the Canon SL3. And while the Sony includes a tiltable LCD, it doesn’t fully articulate like the SL3; nor is it touchscreen capable. Given Sony’s dense menu system, you’ll need a little endurance to navigate configurations. And the Canon SL3 outperforms the A6300 when it comes to low light/high ISO shooting.

Despite a few drawbacks, like a proprietary hot shoe and a flash that must be manually activated, the Canon Rebel SL3 is a very good beginner camera – and one of the few that records video in 4K.

Check Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Price and Bundles 

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