The Canon EOS SL2 (also known as the 200D and Kiss X9) is one of the company’s most best-selling DSLRs. And it’s not surprising, as the SL2 was a low-priced, competent camera that you could slip into a purse or small bag.
The new SL3 (250D, Kiss X10) isn’t a dramatic departure from the SL2: it’s still small. inexpensive and mostly up-to-date in terms of features. It borrows many features from Canon’s EOS M50 mirrorless camera, including the DIGIC 8 processor and rather disappointing 4K video capabilities. But more on that later.
The Rebel SL3 will be available at the end of April for $599 body-only or $749 bundled with the EF-S 18-55mm F4-5.6mm IS STM lens. We’re featuring the white version in this article, because we think it looks snazzy.
Just a bit lighter
The SL3 is the same size and nearly the same weight as the SL2 (above right). Canon managed to shave 4 grams off of the weight (though only 2g off of the black one), so you won’t have to buy a new camera bag.
As you can see, changes to the design are very subtle. There’s a bit of an indent under the Canon logo on the SL3, and the often-irritating redeye reduction lamp (which also serves as a visual countdown for the self-timer) has been removed. Unlike its predecessor, the SL3 can’t use its flash as an AF-assist lamp, though it can use the infrared target if you buy an external flash.
The SL3 uses the same 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor and elderly 9-point autofocus system as the SL2 (when shooting through the viewfinder). In live view, the SL3 also has Dual Pixel AF, covering 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% vertically. The SL3 is Canon’s first DSLR to feature Eye AF in live view, as well.
There are a couple of cosmetic and feature differences between the SL3 and its predecessor on its top plate. The main differences are the removal of the Wi-Fi button and a reduction in the number of items on the mode dial.
Like the EOS M50, the SL3 has a Scene Intelligent Auto mode that will pick a scene mode for you, and provide easy-to-understand visual guides to adjusting things like aperture (‘background blur’), exposure compensation (‘brightness’) and white balance (‘color tone’). A feature guide offers brief description of each and every menu item when it’s selected.
No need to show the SL3 and SL2 side-by-side here, as they look exactly the same.
The SL3 has a fully articulating touchscreen display with 1.04 million dots and a well-designed UI. The optical viewfinder is, as you’d expect, quite small, with an unremarkable magnification of 0.54x (in 35mm terms). You can see about 95% of the scene when looking through it, which isn’t ideal for precise composition.
For those wondering, that’s not a dial around the Q/Set button – it’s just a 4-way directional pad. The SL3 has one control dial and it’s on the top.
Selfies, of course
Sure, the SL3’s fully articulating LCD is great for video and waist-level/overhead shooting, but let’s face it: on the SL3, it’s mostly for selfies. If you need further evidence, look no further than the new ‘Smooth Skin’ setting, which gives you five levels of skin smoothness to choose from.
On the port side…
First, isn’t that silver kit lens a nice match for the white SL3? It’s worth pointing out that this is the F4-5.6 version of the 18-55mm lens, not the F3.5-5.6, so you’re losing about 1/3-stop of light compared to Canon’s older, larger kit zoom.
Under the gray plastic cover are sockets for a 3.5mm external mic – a nice touch on a cheaper camera – and the RC-6 wired remote. The SL3 is also compatible with the BR-E1 wireless Bluetooth remote.
And on your right…
On the opposite side of the SL3 are the other two ports, for HDMI and USB 2.0. As far as we know, the camera cannot be charged over USB, but we’ll double-check that as soon as we can.
The gray patch at the bottom is a rubber cover. It conceals a channel through which you feed the cable for the optional DR-E18 DC coupler which, when attached to the required AC adapter, will set you back $150. (Much cheaper third-party options exist if you want to operate the camera using wall power.)
Speaking of batteries, Canon pulled off some tricks to increase the CIPA-rated battery life from 650 shots on the SL2 to 1070 on the SL3. Live view battery life is in the middling 300 shot-per-charge range.
4K, with a catch
The good news is that the EOS Rebel SL3 can capture 4K video at 23.98p (or 25p in PAL regions) with a maximum bit rate of 120Mbps.
The bad news is that, like the EOS M50 with which it shares so much, the SL3 has an enormous 2.64x crop, relative to full frame, so the wide end of your 18-55mm is equivalent to 47mm in full-frame terms. So much for wide-angle shooting! In addition, Dual Pixel AF is not available in movie mode, leaving you with regular contrast detection.
Both of these limitations are a shame, given that the small body and fully articulating LCD on the SL3 should make a nice camera for vlogging.
That’s all for our brief tour of the EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D / Kiss X10. We should be getting our hands on one soon, so look for sample photos and impressions in the not-too-distant future.