Hands-on with Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

29 Jun

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

Canon’s latest DSLR is one of its smallest ever. The new EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D outside of North America) DSLR on the market. The SL1 was a likable, if rather limited camera in its day, and we’re pleased to see that Canon hasn’t abandoned the idea of an ultra-portable entry-level Rebel.

We had the chance recently to handle the SL2, and get a feel for what’s changed, and what remains the same.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

One thing that hasn’t changed significantly is the SL2’s size, compared to its predecessor. Although the new camera is in fact slightly bigger, the difference is very subtle (122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm compared to 117 x 91 x 69mm, if you were curious). The SL2 is bundled with the same slower 18-55mm F4-5.6 kit zoom that was introduced alongside the Rebel T7i.

A more welcome change compared to the SL1 is the SL2’s sensor. We’re told that the 24MP APS-C sensor in the new camera is essentially the same as the one used in the EOS 77D. Capable of shooting from ISO 100-25,600 there’s no reason not to expect excellent low and medium ISO image quality from the SL2.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

My hands are pretty average-sized. As you can see, the SL2 really is pretty tiny. This view shows off the minimal top-mounted controls, which include the standard Canon EOS exposure mode dial, and front control dial, just behind the shutter release. This dial has been redesigned, from the plastic ‘cog’ we’ve been used to for years, to a high-end PowerShot-style knurled metal finish. Also new is the combined movie mode / on / off toggle switch, just to the right of the exposure mode dial.

On the far left of the SL2’s top plate is a dedicated Wi-Fi button, which indicates Canon’s intended user base of smartphone and compact camera upgraders.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

As we’d expect, the rear of the SL2 is dominated by a large, 3″ touch-sensitive LCD. Despite its entry-level positioning, Canon hasn’t skimped on specifications – this appears to be the same 1040k-dot display offered on the full-frame EOS 6D Mark II. Note the indent at the upper right, so you can get your finger in there to grab the screen.

The SL2’s viewfinder is unremarkable (it’s the typical lower cost pentamirror design, with 95% frame coverage) and its conventional autofocus system is pretty basic (9-points, covering the central portion of the frame). But impressively, in live view and movie modes the SL2 offers the same excellent Dual Pixel AF system as the EOS 80D. That means fast and accurate AF for still and moving subjects, with none of the ‘hunting’ typical of more basic contrast-detection live view AF systems.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

This alone is a huge selling point over the original SL1, and made even mode useful by the fact that the Rebel SL2’s rear screen can be fully articulated for live view and movie shooting. Arguments will continue over whether a tilting screen or flip-out type is superior, but the flip-out design is certainly better when shooting vertically.

Like its close-relation the Rebel T7i, the SL2 features a simplified screen interface in PASM modes, intended to educate beginners about the effect of using certain exposure variables.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

Another view of the top of the camera, highlighting again the small, compact body of the Rebel SL2. Despite its low-end positioning, the general fit and finish of control points is of a high standard.

The SL2 is predominantly made from polycarbonate, and Canon makes no claims about environmental sealing, but there’s no creak or give in the body seams.

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

Despite its entry-level positioning, the SL2 is an impressively fast camera. Claimed startup time is a respectable 0.2 sec (which is the same as the EOS 6D Mark II), and the SL2 features a maximum continuous shooting rate of 5 fps. It’s reasonably customizable, too. Although it (obviously) can’t hold a candle to Canon’s professional DSLRs, 11 custom functions do allow for a decent amount of fine-tuning of the camera’s operation.

A small built-in flash pops up when required in fully automatic shooting, and can be activated manually in PASM modes. You can expect 650 shots per charge from the LP-E17 with 50% flash use, increasing to more than 800 with no flash (CIPA).

Hands-on with Canon’s EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

A nice deep handgrip makes the SL2 easy and comfortable to hold and use, despite its small size.

What do you make of the new Rebel SL2? Let us know in the comments.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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