Really small and light. 24MP APS-C image sensor. Dual Pixel AF in Live View. Vari-angle touch LCD. Wi-Fi.
Dated 9-point focus system. Video limited to 1080p.
- Bottom Line
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is the smallest SLR in the company's lineup. It boasts a modern 24MP image sensor, but its autofocus system isn't as good as the larger T7i.
By Jim Fisher
Canon's smallest SLR has just received a big update. The EOS Rebel SL2 ($549.99, body only) replaces the aging SL1 in the lineup, dropping an aging 18MP image sensor in favor of a modern 24MP APS-C imager and adding Wi-Fi and a vari-angle touch LCD. Its autofocus system isn't as capable as our favorite entry-level model, Canon's own EOS Rebel T7i, but it's an appealing option for photographers who aren't shooting sports or wildlife, and are looking for a small camera with support for Canon glass.
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The SL2's marquee feature is its size. It measures just 3.7 by 4.8 by 2.8 inches (HWD) without a lens, and weighs about a pound with the battery and memory card installed. The optical viewfinder is a pentamirror design, similar to other Rebel models, with 95 percent frame coverage and 0.58x magnification. The SL2 is offered in black at most retail outlets, but you can buy it in white from Canon's online store.
Canon is offering a $699.99 kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM zoom. It's smaller than the older 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 design, but I do have to wonder why there isn't an option to buy the SL2 bundled with Canon's low-cost pancake prime, the $150 EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM. They're a perfect match.
The depth of field preview button, lens release, and flash release all sit to the left of the lens mount. Canon has managed to squeeze a small button to activate the Wi-Fi system to the left of the pop-up flash and hot shoe on the top plate. To the right you'll find the Mode dial, a three-position power switch with settings for off, on, and video recording, ISO and Display buttons, the top control dial, and the shutter release.
Menu and Info buttons are on the rear, to the the left of the eyecup. The Record button is directly to the right of the viewfinder, but the camera will need to be in Movie mode for it to work. There's a thumb rest further to the right, finished in textured rubber. Focus Select and AE Lock buttons sit between the rest and the top right edge, with EV compensation, Play, and Delete buttons below it, along with a directional control pad with center Q/Set button.
The SL2 uses Canon's Q menu, which puts settings at your fingertips by displaying them on the LCD. The screen itself is 3 inches in size, sharp at 1,040k dots, and sensitive to touch. It's mounted on a hinge, so you can tilt it up, down, or swing it all the way forward for selfies.
The SL2 has integrated wireless connectivity, a feature missing from the SL1. It uses Bluetooth and NFC to connect with your Android or iOS device, and Wi-Fi for file transfer and remote control.
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There's a single UHS-I SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot, along with 3.5mm microphone, HDMI, remote control, and USB connections. The SL2 uses the same battery as the Rebel T7i and recent Canon mirrorless models. In-camera charging isn't supported, so Canon includes a dedicated charger for the battery.
Performance, Imaging, and Video
The SL2 uses the same 9-point focus system as the SL1. It's not the best choice for tracking fast-moving action, but will get the job done for less demanding photographic applications. The camera can rattle off shots at 5fps, a fine capture rate, thanks in part to its use of Canon's latest Digic 7 image processor.
While you won't get more robust focusing when using the viewfinder, the SL2's Live View system is a big upgrade. It supports Dual Pixel AF, which delivers smooth autofocus when shooting stills or video in Live View. For a long time SLRs were not a good option for autofocus when shooting video, but Dual Pixel has changed that.
Image quality should be solid. The SL2 uses the same 24MP sensor we've seen in other recent Canon models. It has delivered crisp images, much better than what the SL1 can manage. It doesn't deliver best-in-class photos at extreme ISO settings, but it doesn't lag that far behind some of the best models we've tested, like the Nikon D5600 and Sony Alpha 6300.
Despite how good the video autofocus promises to be, quality is limited to 1080p. The camera supports 24, 30, or 60fps frame rates with 30 or 60Mbps IPB compression. We're seeing more and more models with 4K support, but Canon isn't blazing the trail.
Mirrorless cameras have ruled the photography world when it comes to small size, but not every photographer is going to be satisfied with an electronic viewfinder, and others may simply have a library of Canon EF or EF-S lenses. If you're in that demographic, and want something that's as small and light as you can get, the EOS Rebel SL2 is an appealing camera. We'll follow up with a proper review when the SL2 ships in late July.
Other Canon Digital Cameras
By Jim Fisher Senior Analyst, Digital Cameras
Senior digital camera analyst for the PCMag consumer electronics reviews team, Jim Fisher is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he concentrated on documentary video production. Jim's interest in photography really took off when he borrowed his father's Hasselblad 500C and light meter in 2007. He honed his writing skills at retailer B&H Photo, where he wrote thousands upon thousands of product descriptions, blog posts, and reviews. Since then he's shot with hundreds of camera models, ranging from pocket point-and-shoots to medium format… More »
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