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Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1: First Look

Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1: First Look

Earlier today (that’s March 21, 2013) Canon announced two new DSLR camera bodies, along with a new EF-S standard zoom lens: The EOS Rebel SL1/100D and the EOS Rebel T5i/700D, both being sold as kits with the new EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. And a quick update for you – I’ve fully tested and reviewed the EOS 100D and 18-55mm IS STM kit – so check it out if you’re interested!

The lens, similar to the EF-M 18-55mm standard zoom I reviewed not long ago, looks pretty good on first glance, and is a much needed upgrade to the standard EF-S 18-55mm; however, there’s not much I can write about a LENS without really using it, and apart from the fact that it has got some nice features from the EF-M version, such as internal, silent focusing and so on, there’s not much more that I can tell you at this time, I’m afraid. Moving on to the DSLR bodies, the T5i/700D appears to be a complete clone of the T4i/650D with a very few added features, and is not really worth writing about – therefore, as the title states, this post here shall be a fairly in-depth look at the most interesting of these three new Canon products: the little Rebel SL1/100D!

Canon EOS 100D - Image from Canon

Canon EOS 100D – Image from Canon

Alright, so it appears then that, temporarily at least, Canon has given up on the mirrorless game, after the slow, ugly, and rather unsuccessful EOS M that was announced around June of 2012. Instead, they have decided to stick to what they do best, while at the same time trying to sneak into mirrorless market – by creating the world’s smallest APS-C DSLR. That’s right – the Rebel SL1 or 100D is the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR with an APS-C sensor. And boy, it really is quite compact! Compared with some of the new mirrorless bodies like the Sony NEX 6 and the Fuji X-E1 – check out camerasize.com – it’s only a bit bigger and slightly taller, and it’s actually lighter than some of them! Considering the fact that this is a DSLR, with the mirror mechanism, and all the goodness that DSLRs come with, that’s very impressive indeed. Priced at just $649 for the body only, or $799 with the mentioned kit lens, it’s significantly cheaper than some of the mirrorless systems out there, too and is definitely set to compete with these compact system cameras. While it doesn’t have the unique look of a NEX or the pure style of a X-series camera, if this DSLR performs as expected, at this price, I see it becoming extremely successful, and attracting a wide, wide market. Smart, Canon…very smart

Canon EOS 100D vs EOS 650D – image from camerasize.com

Pre-order the Canon EOS 100D from B&H Photo

Alright then, let’s get down to the details of the SL1, known from here on as the Canon EOS 100D (I always hated the Rebel titles), and what it should be capable of. If you’re already hooked, you can pre-order yours today at B&H Photo. As always, please use my links! Thanks!

Specifications You Want To Know

  • Body: Compact, DSLR body (polycarbonate, I believe)
  • Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-S
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-based Image Stabilization
  • Resolution: 18.0 mega pixels
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)
  • Sensor Type: CMOS
  • Shutter Speed: Max 1/4000sec, Min 30sec
  • ISO Range: 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)
  • White Balance: 8 presets, 1 custom, WB Correction, and WB Bracketing
  • Video: 1080p @30fps (and lower resolutions)
  • Video Format: MPEG-4/H.264
  • Metering Modes: Evaluative, Center-weighted, partial, spot
  • Exposure Modes: P, A, S, M, Auto, Creative Auto, Scenes, and a bunch of other scene-type auto modes
  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Forced, Off, Red-eye
  • Hot-shoe: Yes
  • Autofocus: Contrast Detect, Phase Detect, Hybrid
  • AF Modes: One Shot AF, Predictive AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF
  • AF Points: 9 (center cross-type)
  • Manual Focus: Yes
  • Screen: 3.0” LCD (1,040,000 dots)
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Articulation: None
  • Viewfinder: Optical (95% coverage, 0.87x magnification)
  • Max Drive Speed: 4fps (2.5 fps silent continuous shooting)
  • File Formats: JPEG, RAW
  • Connections: USB 2.0, HDMI Mini
  • Memory Card Type: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions: 117 x 91 x 69mm
  • Weight: 407g (with battery/memory card)

Canon EOS 100D: First Thoughts

Lately, with the increase in popularity of the mirrorless camera, the APS-C DSLR has slowly started to become irrelevant, don’t you think so? I certainly do. I mean, look at all these mirrorless systems that pack an APS-C sensor, and a whole lot of other high-end features, into a really compact body, at a very affordable price. Who wants to spend more for a larger camera that produces similar image quality, just because it’s called a DSLR? Sure, DSLRs usually have better focusing systems and can shoot faster etc. but if that’s what you’re looking for, one of the relatively affordable new full-frame DSLRs would be better for you. Where does the APS-C DSLR fit in today?

I believe that with the EOS 100D, Canon has shown the world the future of the APS-C DSLR. Yes, the D7100 is pretty awesome, and it’s pretty cheap too – just $1100 for the body, and it’s feature-packed – but it’s still large. While the size might not be an issue to some, it’s not going to touch the mirrorless crowd; those guys are very concerned about the size. That’s what the 100D does: it basically merges the best of both these worlds, taking the low price tag and compact size of mirrorless-type systems and blends it with the classic handling and slick performance of DSLRs. And from what I can see, it does so beautifully

Unfortunately, by doing so, I think it’s already made its brand new Rebel T5i/700D rather redundant, as the specs of the 100D match it almost one-for-one: the same 18.0MP CMOS sensor, the same Digic 5 processor, similar focusing systems and burst capabilities, and overall is nearly identical to its big brother – except, course, in size and price. It’s even close in terms of spec to the pricier D7100, although the Nikon has a fancier focusing system and a few other advantages, but with that really compact body, and a price that’s nearly half of the Nikon, this Canon will sell! The only reason you’d spend a bit more for the 700D, or quite a bit more for the D7100 is if you really want some particular little feature that the 100D lacks and/or if you prefer a larger camera for better grip and handling

So yeah, my first thoughts on the 100D are all good. It’s innovative. It’s compact. It’s cheap. It’s got all the DSLR-type features that cameras in this category should have – 18MP CMOS, Digic 5 processor, the TTL optical viewfinder, hybrid AF system, and pretty rapid burst shooting. And while it doesn’t have the looks of the NEX or X-series, like I said, it’s got the Canon DSLR look – which, to me, is the best DSLR look there is! If it performs as it sounds, it’s going to be a total winner. The future of the APS-C DSLR

Canon EOS 100D: Controls

Being a DSLR, the controls and handling should be excellent. However, remember that this is much more compact than your regular low-to-mid-range DSLR. If you have large hands, and you’re used to your 650D, this might seem a bit strange, and small. If your hands are little, though, this will suit you better than most!

Controls on DSLRs are usually plenty, and while the 100D does have a quite a few buttons, the inclusion of a touchscreen means there’s little need for too many physical buttons. I’m not usually a fan of touchscreens on my cameras, but if the screen is anything like that of the EOS M, I’m definitely not complaining

Alright, so on top, you have a very typical Canon layout: The On/Off switch around the Mode dial, a dedicated ISO button, a control wheel that adjusts any setting you’re changing, and the shutter button – all on the right side of the top. In the middle of the top panel, you have the pop-up flash and the hot-shoe


Canon EOS 100D Top - Image from Canon

Canon EOS 100D Top – Image from Canon

Naturally, the back is where the rest of the controls are. On the left of the optical viewfinder are two buttons: Menu and Info. On the right of the ‘finder is a movie record button that doubles as a Live View toggle. The rest of the buttons are on the right of the large touchscreen: AF point selector, AE Lock, Exposure Compensation, Playback and Delete. Of course, there’s also a four-way directional controller that appears to be customizable, with a Q menu/select button in the middle – it doesn’t seem to double as a second control wheel

Canon EOS 100D Back - Image from Canon

Canon EOS 100D Back – Image from Canon


The front has the DOF Preview and lens release buttons, and that’s it. Typical Canon EOS stuff, as I said. If you’ve used a Canon before, you’d feel right at home with the EOS 100D

Canon EOS 100D Front

Canon EOS 100D Front – Image from Canon

I can’t call it on the controls and menu systems and all that yet, but having used Canon cameras extensively, along with their touchscreen-style EOS M, I’m expecting it to do really well in this area

Canon EOS 100D: Performance

Of course, I haven’t properly used this camera yet, so I can’t say how it actually performs; at this point, I’m just hoping it doesn’t disappoint like the EOS M did. Somehow, though, I doubt it will. It just has something right about it, for me. It simply doesn’t seem the type that would disappoint. Anyway, as usual, let me talk about the performance aspects based on what I’ve read and what I’ve heard about it, and try to get a better idea of the capabilities of the 100D this way

Let’s start with the AF system. A 9-point center cross-type AF system that is commonly found on DSLRs of this category. Compared to the 9-point all cross-type system on the 700D, or the far superior 51-point 15 cross-type system of the Nikon D7100, it doesn’t sound quite so great…but put alongside any mirrorless camera, this new Hybrid AF system should be faster, or definitely as fast. I doubt you’d notice much of a difference even if you compared it to the 700D or D7100 in normal circumstances.  But yeah, I have a lot of faith in Canon DSLR AF systems. Even my old Canon 500D DSLR rarely hunts for focus, except in rather challenging situations, and performs as well or better than many mirrorless systems I’ve used, so I’m expecting more of the same – and better – from the 100D

A continuous mode that offers 4fps is very acceptable, considering some higher-end cameras only go as faster as 5fps, and should be fine for most people. Shot-to-shot speed, while I can’t give you specs on that, should be pretty quick too – and with the Digic 5 processor and all that, I’m not expecting any sluggishness

What else? General operation should be slick, as all Canon cameras that I’ve used have been. As long as the touchscreen interface is as good as that of the EOS M, this area should be excellent. I know, a lot of ‘shoulds’ but I can’t give you anything more solid at this point

Yeah, so I’m pretty much going by the other basic Canon DSLRs (650D etc.) I’ve used, along with the EOS M, combining my experience with these cameras together with the 100D spec sheet and predicting the performance in my head – and my verdict: it’s a solid performer! Let’s hope I’m right

EF/EF-S Lenses

Yes, I know…this is a Canon DSLR, and we all know what lenses those use. But I keep thinking of this as the camera that replaces the EOS M, meaning I think of it sort of like a mirrorless system, and with these systems, you always think of the lens selection that is available, right? Yeah. If you think like me, and you’re seeing the 100D as a mirrorless camera, remember this: the 100D works with ALL of Canon’s existing EF and EF-S lenses. No adapters, or anything necessary. Just stop for a moment to realize that. That’s fantastic – and could be a huge factor if someone’s deciding between the Fuji X-E1, and it’s 4 available lenses, and the Canon 100D, with its 60+ lens selection


Well, after the complete disappointment of the EOS M, and the slightly less but still disappointing EOS 6D, I’m happy to finally praise a new Canon camera body. I know it’s still very early days, and I haven’t had one for fully reviewing yet, so I have no idea how it actually handles and performs – maybe I would’ve been impressed with the EOS M spec before I reviewed it too – but like I said earlier, I’m really liking what I see here, and I just have a good feeling about it

Until today, I felt the APS-C DSLR camera was moving out. Yes, the entry-level Canons/Nikons/Sonys, and others the Nikon D7100 are extremely capable cameras, and are affordable for those who want to go for a DSLR without spending too much on a full-frame, but with so many cheaper mirrorless options out there, I felt the entry-level DSLR category to be fading away into redundancy, except for those who really needed the features and handling that only DSLRs have, or those who simply wanted a DSLR to appear cool and professional, without having to spend on a 5D or D800. However, with the 100D, Canon is taking this sort of camera in a new direction, one that I really like. Granted, other APS-C DSLRs have come down in price– the D7100 for $1100 is superb value, really – but the 100D’s price of just $649, along with its super compact size and light weight, and the fact that it IS a DSLR, with DSLR features and handling, makes it a fascinating new product

For me, the perfect camera market would be: Full-frame DSLRs, at their rather ridiculous to almost affordable prices; mirrorless (compact system) cameras, small and compact and powerful and affordable; compact DSLRs, similar in price and size to the mirrorless systems but which gives the user the goodies such as handling and performance that are special to DSLRs; and lastly, of course, the advanced compact camera, an area of the market that we’re absolutely spoiled for choice at the moment

Pre-order the Canon EOS 100D from B&H Photo

And yeah, as you can see, my definition of the non-full-frame DSLR is basically the 100D. I like the concept that much. Anyway, I’ll leave it there for now. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of comments on this, probably a lot of them ranting against my opinion, so just know that this is my opinion and my idealization of the camera market. Don’t hate! If I’ve convinced you, or if Canon’s convinced you, the links are open to get your Canon EOS 100D. Please use them, for me! Until next time

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By Heshan Jayakody
All content is my own - all images from Canon
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15 Responses to “Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1: First Look”

  1. I agree with you. The new Canon 100D is a homerun for Canon. I believe it will be a cash cow for Canon and a completely new trend in Cameras in the DSLR market. Many of the low entry buyers of DSLR cameras cares a lot about size and weight.

    Posted by Torben Christiansen | March 22, 2013, 17:18
    • Thanks for the comment, Torben 🙂 Yes, exactly – the people who going in for DSLRs at this price definitely value size and weight. Price too. That’s why the market for mirrorless cameras is so large, and is pushing down the low-end DSLR. That’s what makes the 100D special. I mean, sure…it’s quite a bit bigger (thicker and taller) than a NEX or the OM-D…but it’s a DSLR, and it’s cheap, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t perform very, very well. It definitely makes the low-end DSLR relevant again

      Posted by pixelogist | March 22, 2013, 21:51
  2. Excellently written – I get exactly what you mean. It’s a new direction for a dying breed of camera. Canon’s definitely (and finally) got it right with a compact camera system. Yes, it is a DSLR, but it is also a a compact camera system – and it’s the EOS system, with all the EF/EF-S lenses – what a system it will be!

    Posted by Carl | March 23, 2013, 16:23
  3. Well, I think there is more to come from APS-C DSLR cameras, and that they are still very much in the game. The D7100, and even Canon’s 7D and 60D, old as they are, are still superb cameras, and are worth the price – and I’m still sure Canon’s going to replace the 7D with a Mk ii version soon. However, I like what Canon has done with the SL1. While I don’t think the entire low-end/APS-C DSLR category will go this way, this is a very cool sub-category, as I see it. It’ll probably be extremely successful.

    Posted by Luis | March 23, 2013, 16:56
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Luis! I’m sure there is still a market for low-to-mid-range DSLRs, but you have to admit it’s diminishing!

      Posted by pixelogist | March 23, 2013, 21:43
  4. Absolutely…mirrorless cameras have almost completely replaced low-end DSLRs…and I don’t think even the rather cool EOS 100D can change that. But for those who simply have to have (or need) a DSLR over a CSC (for which reasons I cannot fathom), the entry-level or mid-level APS-C digital DSLR is obsolete!

    Posted by B.W.L | March 23, 2013, 17:40
    • Well, yes – mirrorless systems are, to an extent, making obsolete the APS-C DSLR. But I must say I believe this sort of compact APS-C DSLR like the 100D might be here to stay. I mean, there are some features of DSLRs, like speed and the TTL optical viewfinder, that are not found on mirrorless systems yet, and some people really want these, without wanting to spend TOO much. And if the market offers them a $1500 APS-C DSLR like a 7D and a $2000 full-frame DSLR like a 6D, then I believe that difference is close enough to make the APS-C obsolete, sending low budget shoppers towards the sub-$1000 mirrorless stuff. But bring in DSLR-type performance and features with the 100D at $649, cheaper than some mirrorless cameras even, and that looks a very attractive package. Boom, APS-C DSLRs are relevant again! Sure, mirrorless systems are fast improving and some day soon will match mid-level DSLRs in terms of performance and basically all features too, I’m sure – but at least until then, the 100D and other similar products that will surely follow, are going to sell!

      Posted by pixelogist | March 23, 2013, 21:59
  5. Great preview post on this very interesting new DSLR! I can’t quite make up my mind, really. I never looked at mirrorless camera systems as such a strong competitor to DX DSLRs, and now that I think about it, you’re right. I hope Canon and Nikon can keep up the DX market going, as I really like my DSLR and my DX lenses, and I don’t think I can afford an FX one yet

    Posted by Eugene | March 23, 2013, 18:58
    • Thanks, Eugene! Well, if you have a collection of DX-only lenses, I’m sure you’re hoping DX systems last a while longer. However, if you sell ’em off, and you can’t afford to go FX yet, why not go mirrorless? Systems like the Fuji X-E1/X-Pro1 take pictures that are better than many DX cameras I’ve used…and although overall speed might be slower than what you’re used to with a DSLR, for pure image quality these new compact systems are really right up there. This is the reason why I’ve been thinking the DX concept is going to die – mirrorless cameras take as good/better pictures than DX DSLRs, are smaller, and are cheaper – but the 100D is something that could definitely put these back on track and keep the DX stuff going for a while longer

      Posted by pixelogist | March 23, 2013, 22:06
  6. We had the chance to try out the EOS 100D yesterday at the Milan Photoshow. It has a nice feel to it, though the body is rather roly-poly to say the least. We figure it’s been designed for amateurs who want to venture into the world of DSLRs without the weight of a proper DSLR body. We’ve posted a few sample images on our website if you’re interested: http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com/2013/03/24/photoshow-2013-hands-on-with-the-new-canon-eos-100drebel-sl1-is-it-a-mirrorless-killer/ Cheers! Mat

    Posted by Mat - MirrorLessons (@MirrorLessons) | March 24, 2013, 19:40
    • Thanks for stopping by with this useful info, Mat! 🙂 I knew it was really compact, and by looking at your pictures, you get an even better idea of how small it really is. The EOS M was really tiny (even though it was super ugly!) and the 100D doesn’t seem that chunky even compared to the EOS M! Compact DSLR indeed! No surprise it’s the smallest and lightest APS-C DSLR ever made

      Posted by pixelogist | March 24, 2013, 21:46
  7. I’m not sure I like this trend of making everything smaller all the while. I like the feeling of a solid piece of kit in my hands. I shoot on a 5D II so maybe it’s just habit, but with my old 350D as my back-up (I love the in-camera black and white – so sue me!), it just feels flimsy in comparison.

    Posted by Erika Tanith | April 16, 2013, 17:10
    • Sure, but for those of you who want a chunky DSLR with solid grip, there are quite a few options, right? The Canon 6D or the Nikon D600, or some of the Sony Alphas are very nicely sized and gives great grip, among others like the D7100, and the 7D/60D and so on. But I think for the entry-level market, having a smaller one like this 100D would do just fine. Besides, even the entry-level has the 700D and that sort of size.

      Posted by pixelogist | April 16, 2013, 18:24


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