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The EOS Rebel SL2 (known as the EOS 200D outside of North America) is Canon’s second-generation ultra-compact digital SLR. It’s largely packed with Canon’s latest tech, including Dual Pixel AF, a DIGIC 7 processor, Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, and a new user interface for beginners.

While its small size may lead one to believe that it’s an entry-level model, similar to Nikon’s D3400, the SL2 actually sits above the bottom-end Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D), which costs $150 less.

The SL2’s main competitor is the aforementioned Nikon D3400, which is just a tad larger and heavier. The SL2s’ other peers are all mirrorless and include (in our opinion) the Canon EOS M5, Panasonic DMC-GX85 and the Sony a6000 which, after 3+ years on the market, is still competitive.

Key Features

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel autofocus (for live view and video)
  • 9-point autofocus (through the viewfinder)
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 3″ fully articulating touchscreen LCD
  • 5 fps burst shooting (3.5 fps with continuous AF)
  • 1080/60p video
  • External mic input
  • Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth
  • Available ‘Feature Assistant’ user interface

Just about everything in that list is Canon’s latest and greatest, and the external microphone input is a nice extra. The one feature that’s not new is the 9-point autofocus system that you’ll use when shooting through the viewfinder – it’s identical to what’s found the original SL1, which is over four years old. You’ll get a much better focusing experience by shooting in live view, which uses Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel AF technology.

Compared to…

The SL2 (left) is the mini-me to the still-small Rebel T7i.

First, let’s take a look at how the SL2/200D compares to the step-up model, the Rebel T7i (EOS 800D). Here’s what you get for another $200 (with kit lenses for both models):

  • 45-point AF versus 9-pt AF
  • 7500-segment RGB+IR metering versus 63-segment (from which we’d expect better subject tracking)
  • 6 fps versus 5 fps bursts with S-AF
  • 4.5 fps versus 3.5 fps bursts with C-AF
  • Significantly larger buffer
  • Color tracking for AF in Single AF as well as Continuous AF
  • Semi-transparent LCD in viewfinder that can overlay grids, different AF points, an electronic level, and more
  • Built-in flash can trigger wireless strobes

Does the average point-and-shoot user need any of that? Probably not. If you plan on gaining more experience in the world of digital photography or want a more robust autofocus system, though, the extra $200 might be worth it.

Now, let’s take a look at how the specs compare between the the SL2 and the peers mentioned a few paragraphs earlier.

Canon SL2Nikon D3400Canon M5Panasonic GX85Sony a6000
Resolution24MP24MP24MP16MP24MP
Sensor sizeAPS-CAPS-CAPS-CFour ThirdsAPS-C
Lens mountEFFEF-MMicro 4/3E
Image stab.Lens-basedLens-basedLens-basedIn-cameraLens-based
AF system (live view)Dual PixelContrast-detectHybrid
(Dual Pixel)
Contrast-detectHybrid
AF system (viewfinder)9-point11-pointN/AN/AN/A
LCD3″ fully articulating3″ fixed3.2″ tilting3″ tilting3″ tilting
TouchscreenYesNoYesYesNo
Viewfinder type/mag.OVF / 0.54xOVF / 0.57xEVF / N/AEVF / 0.7xEVF / 0.7x
# control dials11222
Video1080/60p1080/60p1080/60pUHD 4K/30p1080/60p
WirelessWi-Fi + NFC + BTBTWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFCWi-Fi + NFC
Battery life650 (OVF)
260 (LV)
1200 (OVF)
N/A (LV)
295 (LV)290 (LV)360 (LV)
Dimensions (mm)122x93x70124x98x76116x89x61122x71x44120x67x45
Weight453 g445 g427 g426 g344 g

Strictly comparing the SL2 and D3400 you’ll see that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. While there are ‘little things’ like the type of LCD, viewfinder size and wireless functionality, live view autofocus is the main differentiator. It’s simply no contest there with the SL2’s AF system blowing away the D3400 in live view and movie mode.

With the exception of the Sony a6000, the SL2 is close in weight, and not far off in size, to the three mirrorless cameras in the group. All three of the mirrorless cameras have an additional control dial, making exposure adjustment quick, and their EVFs are larger than the optical viewfinders on both DSLRs. None of the mirrorless models can compare to the DSLRs in terms of battery life, but only when you’re using the latter with their optical viewfinders.

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