As one of the entry-level DSLRs in the Canon lineup, the SL2 packs a big punch for a small, lightweight camera. You’ll find it’s loaded with all the same features as other DSLRs but won’t weigh down your backpack or your wallet. If you’re considering your first DSLR, you should understand everything Canon has to offer and how it compares to other DSLRs of the same class.
What Is the Canon SL2?
You should first understand what sets a DSLR camera apart from a typical point and shoot. A DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex camera, provides you with more overall control of your photography experience so you can capture images in a variety of settings. Professional photographers typically use DSLR cameras, but more people are purchasing them to get into photography as a hobby. This is where entry-level cameras such as the Canon SL2 are beneficial— they give you the accessibility to completely control your photo experience at an affordable price.
How it Works
As a DSLR camera, the Canon SL2’s main function is to take high-quality images. There are a number of features built into the SL2 that allow you to control the overall depth of field, image sensitivity, and lighting to give you the right image no matter what environment you’re shooting in. The classic viewfinder allows you to enjoy a traditional shooting experience while the available 3.0-inch adjustable LCD monitor with Live Mode and a vari-angle design gives you the option to view your shots through a larger screen and has the ability to adjust so you can see your subject from a variety of angles.
The SL2 is loaded with all the features you need to fully enjoy the DSLR photography experience. You can count on clear, crisp images thanks to 24.2 MP, DIGIC 7 Image processor and image sensitivity ranging from 100 all the way up to 51200. The SL2 is a dual workhorse and can also shoot full HD video up to 1080p at 60fps, making this camera a great companion on all your adventures.
Despite being one of the most basic cameras in Canon’s DSLR lineup, the SL2 doesn’t lack features. It offers enough photographing flexibility to help you get the photos you need and gives you a higher-quality image than a standard smartphone or tablet.
Thanks to its intuitive design, you can easily switch between settings, allowing you to manually capture the perfect image or change over to automatic, which captures great-quality photos in all lighting conditions, so you can let the camera take over while you enjoy the moment without worrying about controlling your settings. The built-in flash is an added bonus for those slightly cloudy days or moments when you’re shooting in low light and need to capture the perfect photo.
The Canon SL2 comes standard with a 35mm lens with a focal range of 27-82.5 mm, which is a great option for most standard photography settings while allowing you minimal zoom without your image getting fuzzy. If you want to take your photography to the next level, you can buy any Canon brand lens and it will work like a charm, thanks to the standardization of the lens sizes where they attach to the body of the camera.
As with most DSLRs, the SL2 comes standard with a rechargeable LP-E17 lithium-ion battery that gives you the capability to capture up to 820 shots in between charges.
Other popular features of the Canon SL2 include:
Its compact, lightweight build make the SL2 an easy companion while for all your on-the-go adventures. It doesn’t take up much space and you won’t have to worry about it weighing you down if you like to travel light. It also boasts an improved autofocus while snapping photos in Live and Movie mode, which ensures you get the perfect shot while you’re taking action shots or don’t have a lot of time to capture the moment. It also offers up to 5fps, so you can enjoy uninterrupted, continuous shooting without missing a single shot. The Feature Assistant also comes in handy if you’re a novice photographer and aren’t sure how to navigate a DSLR. Simply use Feature Assistant to guide you through the camera’s many available modes and features. The SL2 also comes equipped with an external microphone jack, so you’ll get crisp, clear audio while shooting in video mode.
Though the SL2 comes with a great number of fun features that make this camera a great option for beginner photographers, there are a couple additional specs that may give you pause if you’re looking for a totally immersive DSLR experience. There are a modest number of AF points at best, which can be limiting if you’re interested in playing around with a wider variety of autofocus features. While the camera is compact and lightweight, it comes at the expense of feeling slightly plasticky and cheap, which isn’t something you want to feel in an investment like a DSLR camera. You’ll also find the SL2’s viewfinder isn’t as large as other standard DSLRs, which can be an inconvenience if you want to immerse yourself in the traditional photography experience. If that isn’t an issue, you can simply opt to use the Live Mode feature on the LCD display to capture your photos. If you want to dabble in video in addition to photography, don’t expect this camera to wow you. The lack of 4K video is disappointing, particularly with so many camera phones offering the ability to shoot 4K videos with on a much lighter device. If the lack of these features is a deal breaker for you, you may want to consider going one step up and getting a higher-end Canon model.
- 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) Sensor
- Fast & Accurate Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Phase-detection
- Vary-angle Touch Screen, 3.0-inch LCD
The Canon SL2 is made to be an entry-level camera, and the price reflects this with a starting price of around $599. You shouldn’t expect professional-level quality photos to come from this camera, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deliver in giving you some beautiful shots. This is a starter DSLR and for the price tag, it does great work. It has many of the features of the higher-end cameras but in a much more pared-down version. You won’t find any important features, such as ISO control, missing from the SL2; they simply won’t be as robust as they would be on an EOS-1D X Mark II, which retails at $5200. If you already have a lens that will fit the SL2, then you can opt to purchase the body-only option, which can save you some extra money. However, if you’re looking for a camera and lens bundle, most basic kits will start around $599.
How it Compares
Canon SL2 Key Specs
Nikon D5600 Key Specs
One of the oldest camera debates is which brand is king of the DSLRs. Some people are brand-loyal and swear by their Canons, while other people only use Nikons. If you’re looking to price the two brands with comparable specs, you’ll find the Nikon D5600 most closely aligns with the SL2. They retail for around the same price and have many of the same features, with a couple noticeable differences. The Nikon has a slightly larger LCD screen at 3.2 inches, while the SL2 has a slightly heavier build. If you want to stay within the Canon family but think that perhaps a higher-end model may be more your speed, you may want to look at the EOS 77D model, which is only slightly more expensive than the SL2 model and comes with a few more advanced features such as 45 focal points over the SL2’s 9 and up to 6fps of continuous shooting over 5fps with the SL2 model.
The Canon SL2 is a great entry-level camera option if you’re just getting into photography or want to upgrade your point-and-shoot without paying a hefty price tag that often comes with some DSLRs. Its easy-to-use interface makes it a good choice for users of all ages, and thanks to the built-in Feature Assistant, you’ll never be lost about how to use the camera’s settings. The more you play around with the features and settings of this compact, fun little DSLR, the more you’ll be impressed with what Canon managed to pack into one camera. While it’s not the most intuitive DSLR on the market, you likely won’t be disappointed in what you get for the price.