Canon Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D vs T4i 650D vs Nikon D3200 – Comparison

March 24, 2013

Canon EOS Rebel 100D SL1

Canon has announced the EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 DSLR camera, and it brought up many discussions about its size. The Canon EOS 100D is the smallest DSLR camera in the world at the moment, and also the lightest. In this article I will compare the 100D vs Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D and Nikon D3200. I’m sure that it’s compact size will grab the attention of amateur photographers, however there are many questions that need an answer, especially considering the fact that this camera is still larger than many Compact System Cameras on the market.

Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1

With the 100D Canon wanted to fit its new DSLR camera in a good position where their is a huge growth in demand for compact system cameras.  Some will call this innovation, some a gimmick, but the EOS Rebel S1 is indeed a small camera. It’s not amazingly small, it seems that most of the space was saved by reducing the size of the grip, which on cameras like the T4i / EOS 650D takes a large part of the camera’s size

Canon Rebel SL1 vs T4i size comparison

Canon Rebel SL1 vs T4i size comparison (via camerasize.com)

Although the 100D is smaller than all other DSLR cameras on the market, we can deny the fact that it has the same mount and sensor size as the others. This means that you’ll still need to use EF / EF-S lenses which most of them are of course not compact in side. So some of you might actually prefer a bit larger camera when using larger lenses, and the grip will be much better on the T4i for example.  So whether this body small size factor convinces you that’s up to you to decide, I kind of have mixed feelings about it.

 

Other than the size, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D utilizes a brand new APS-C CMOS sensor with Digic 5 image processor and support ISO range of 100-12800  (H: 25600) for stills and max ISO of 6400 for videos (H: 12800).

Canon also implemented a new Hybrid CMOS AF II sensor for its Autofocus system, with improved and wider focus area for both stills and videos. You get a snappier camera with excellent low-light characteristics.

Talking about videos, Canon also released a brand new lens the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which is also available as a Kit lens for the SL1/100D. This lens was optimized for video shooting and utilizes a stepping motor for smooth and quite AF. The New AF system supports for live AF tracking during video shooting.

Te SL1 also features 4 fps burst, has 3:2 aspect ratio 3-inch ClearView II rear touch screen, 9-point AF system, Full HD video recording and 63 dual-layer metering.

As for the price, as for the time of writing this article, the EOS Rebel SL1 costs $649.00 body only and $799 with the new 18-55mm IS STM lens on Amazon.com. In comparison, the Rebel T3 / 1100D costs ~$400 and Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D costs $648. The Nikon D3200 $394 and D5200 costs $796 – All for body only, without lenses. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i costs $749 (body only).

From the feature and by comparing the prices, we can see that the EOS Rebel SL1 is not replacing any other model, and by its unique name we can see that Canon just squeezed another model into its EOS Rebel DSLR camera’s lineup.

So as for the price, many people might compare the 100D / SL1 vs the T4i due to its lower price tag, let’s remember that the 650D was announced on June 8 2012. It’s around $200 reduction in price since from the release MSRP price ($849.99).

 

Who is the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 For?

The EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D is aimed for advanced and enthusiast photographers. It was designed impress photographers who care about more advanced specs (compare to the most basic entry-level models) but also care about portability. In the days where many people choose a mirrorless camera over a DSLR, size is certainly a factor in many people’s buying decision.

Canon EOS M vs Rebel Sl1 - size comparison

Canon EOS M vs Rebel Sl1 - size comparison (via camerasize.com)

The question that remains is whether people will be convinced by it.  Canon already got the EOS M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. So in some way you might think that photographers who search for a smaller-size camera will prefer to pick up the EOS M instead.  However, the SL1 is a DSLR camera, it has a reflex mirror and an optical viewfinder. For some people this is enough to convince them to get a DSLR camera.

I’m pretty sure that when Canon start expanding its mirrorless camera’s range and improving its features, less people will get the entry-level DSLRs and switch to Compact System Cameras. As for now, those who enjoy shooting with a DSLR will find the Rebel SL1 an attractive camera for both its size and features. If you intend to use a small lens on this camera (ie. 40mm, 50mm primes), you will better enjoy this camera’s portability. For larger lenses, many will prefer a larger body that will better stabilized the weight of the lens and give a better grip.

 

vs Nikon D3200 and Canon Rebel EOS 650D / T4i

Many of you might compare the Rebel SL1 vs the 650D / T4i and the Nikon D3200. Price wise they are closely related and they are well-worthy competitors in my opinion. Of course size-wise, no on as as small as the 100D. The size difference is not huge, and as I mentioned earlier, you loose that larger grip that people with large hands will certainly appreciate.  I can tell you from my own experience that I always but a grip when I purchase a DSLR. I have big hands so it feels much more comfortable shooting with a battery grip attached to the camera. And that’s even more useful when I attach my 70-200mm F4L IS lens to it.

Let’s take a look at a side by side specs comparison table for a better view of the differences between those three cameras and continue our review from that point.

Canon EOS 100D / SL1Canon EOS 650D / T4iNikon D3200
AnnouncedMarch 21, 2013June 8, 2012April 19, 2012
Body constructionAluminium alloy and polycarbonate resin with carbon and glass fiberStainless steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fibrePolycarbonate
Sensor18MP
APS-C
CMOS
18MP
APS-C
CMOS
24.2MP
APS-C
CMOS
Image ProcessorDIGIC 5DIGIC 5EXPEED 3
ISO100-12800 (25600)100-12800 (25600)100-6400 (12800)
AF Points9911
AF SystemHybrid AF System (contrast & phase detection)Hybrid AF System (contrast & phase detection)Multi-CAM 1000 AF sensor module
LCD3-inch
Fixed
1,040K-dots
Touch Screen
3-inch
Fully Articulated
1,040K-dots
Touch Screen
3-inch
Fixed
921K-dots
Not Touch Screen
ViewfinderOptical pentamirror
95%
0.87x
Optical pentamirror
95%
0.85x
Optical pentamirror
95%
0.8x
Shutter Speed30-1/4000 sec30-1/4000 sec30-1/4000 sec
Pop-up FlashYes (9.4m)Yes (13m)Yes (12m)
External Flashvia hot-shoevia hot-shoe + sync connectorvia hot-shoe + sync connector
Flash X Sync1/200 sec1/200 sec1/200 sec
Continuous Shooting4 fps5 fps4 fps
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)N/A
Built-in MicMonoSterepMono
Video (max res)1080p30,25,241080p30,25,241080p30,25,24
Battery Life380440540
Dimensions117 x 91 x 69 mm (4.61 x 3.58 x 2.72″)133 x 100 x 79 mm (5.24 x 3.94 x 3.11″)125 x 96 x 77 mm (4.92 x 3.78 x 3.03″)
Weight407 g (0.90 lb / 14.36 oz)
575 g (1.27 lb / 20.28 oz)505 g (1.11 lb / 17.81 oz)
Price



Summary:

  • Both the T4i and SL1 have better build quality than the D3200
  • SL1 is the smallest camera among the three, D3200 in second place
  • D3200 features higher resolution
  • Both Canon’s has higher ISO limit than the Nikon
  • D3200 features more AF points (11 vs 9)
  • Nikon utilizes the Multi-CAM 1000 AF system that was first released in the Nikon D200. The CAM 1000 is a great AF sensor for subjcet tracking, however the Canon’s have the Hybrid AF system with phase-detection as pixels on the sensor. This should provide faster and more accurate focusing when shooting in live view and when recording videos. All cameras including the D3200 offer automatic focusing in video
  • T4i has a faster burst (1 fps faster)
  • The D3200 doesn’t offer Automatic exposure bracketing
  • The T4i/650D has a built-in stereo mic
  • The 100D/SL1 has the lowest battery life, the Nikon has the best
  • 100D / SL1 weights the least, T4i the most
  • Both Canons have a touch-sensitive rear LCD screen, the T4i is articulated. The D3200 featuring a fixed screen, not a touch sensitive one and also the lowest resolution among the three (1040K vs 920K)

 

The Canon EOS SLi has features that are very similar to the 550D / T2i.  Some articles I’ve read by various editors have suggested that Canon is might stuck in terms of technology innovation.  The EOS Rebel SL1 is certainly not a revolution product, but evolutionary without a doubt.  I know that for some of you that might seem irrelevant, but the size is an important factor for first-time buyers and amateurs. I remember the first time I saw my father’s Nikon D70 DSLR camera, it was HUGE. Of course after buying one myself and shooting with it for some time, I realized that it’s not huge at all. People who come from P&S find DSLR cameras intimidating when it comes to the camera body size, and lets not forget the lenses.

I think that by reducing the size of the camera,  it will be more accessible for beginners and those who are new to DSLR photography, and those who prefer to go the DSLR path than the CSC one.

I also think that the 100D will be a great companion to the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens. My brother has this lens, I have time to shoot with it and it’s an incredible lens!

If you consider the Nikon D3200 price point, it looks very attractive compare to the EOS SL1, of course it’s not as compact as the SL1.  The image quality of the SL1 is excellent from what I”ve seen so far. My brother has the 650D and the image quality even at low light is just superb – and I expect the SL1 to be the same.

The Canon 100D SL1 is also an amazing video camera. It features a 3.5mm microphone and HDMI ports, but has a mono built-in microphone probably due to tis small size.  Both the D3200 and the T4i/650D has a 3.5mm mic jack as well.

With the introduction of the new 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, Canon hope to attract more amateur videographers into its circle.

Canon 18-55mm STM IS lens

Canon 18-55mm STM IS lens

The new STM lens features Canon’s Stepping Motor technology for smooth and quite focus operation. Nikon has it in its 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm and 30-110mm, 10mm and 10-100mm lenses. It’s super useful when shooting videos and this gives an advantage to Canon when it comes to its APS-C DSLR cameras.

Canon is not the first to use a (quite) stepping motor in its lenses, Sigma has done it with its DN (Digital Neo) lenses.  In that regard, we need to give a credit for Canon for utilizing this technology.

So in summary, I think that the EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 will also be favorite among video enthusiasts as well.  I also assume that this camera will also be favorite among woman amateur photographers as well due to its smaller size factor and lighter size.

 

Conclusion

Canon certainly brought a unique camera to the market. It packed it with very attractive features and in that regard it put an advance model rather made it a basic model that compete against the 1100D.  It’s main selling point will be its size, but in this case, size doesn’t mean cheap and with less features, and that what I really like about the Rebel SL1.  If you look at other companies, when you pick up a small DSLR, you know straight away that it’s stripped from advanced features, that how it works. Entry-level models are smaller in size. Canon changed that and put a more advanced camera but made it smaller.

The 100D is filled with customization options, sheer fun JPEG shooting modes, HDR video mode, video snapshot mode and many nice features that makes it a very attractive DSLR / HDSLR camera.   On the other hand, it’s not the recommended body to use with a long telephoto-zoom lens. That’s why I also think that for enthusiasts the shoot a lot with long telephot-zoom lenses, the 100D just won’t cut it. If you really after a small camera, you might also consider the Canon EOS M instead.

If the size of the 100D / SL1 didn’t convince you, the D3200 certainly offer a better value in my opinion.  The T4i is also sold in a very attractive price since the 700D / T5i was announced and you get to enjoy a flip-out screen, better build-quality, a bit faster burst, longer battery life, built-in stereo mic, more buttons for fast access to your favorite functions and a body that will better fit longer and heavier lenses.

From what I’ve read there isn’t an option for a battery grip, and with the T4i you have this option. Even if there was, those who buy the SL1 would probably prefer shooting without it, it will ruin the whole idea of buying a small DSLR in the first place.

I personally liked the SL1. I know that many people will love enjoying using an advanced camera with a smaller size factor.   I love the fact that there the selection is larger and people can choose what camera fits better for their shooting style. Having a new model is not a bad thing at all.  You should consider the other options as well. If you can afford it an really like the SL1 (relatively) small size, it’s a great camera and now you have an option to get buy it with the 18-5mm STM IS lens that will help you shoot even better videos. I also think it’s an excellent DSLR for beginners as well — Recommended!

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