Rebel Rebel – The Canon EOS SL1

First of all, Amazon Prime membership is a beast, y’all. I ordered the Canon SL1 Saturday night, I think, and even though it was a holiday weekend this thing arrived at the post office this morning. BOOM! Well worth the ninety-whatever dollars they’re going to charge me for my membership next year – any and everything I can order through Amazon Prime and get delivered to my doorstep in two days for “free” is worth it for me. Moving on.

It’s like my 7D had a baybeeee

This camera is small, y’all. I squealed like a silly girl who just found the baby shoe aisle at Nordstrom. It’s just so cute! And light as a feather compared to my 7D. It makes me happy.

Sorry for the crappy pictures, I’m pressed for time tonight

I’m not going to get to into the details of this camera, because anyone who’s really interested in it can read the loads of reviews that have already been written, and mostly I just want to share my first impressions. Although it’s almost half the width of my 7D (totally not mathematically provable) the LCD screen is the same size, which is awesome – and it’s also a touchscreen, which is a very nice added feature. I can shoot in RAW and in shutter-priority mode and set most of the manual controls just the way I want, but I do need to spend a lot more time playing around with it to get the most of what I want out of it. Color in particular was crappy in my test pics, and the focus was pretty slow. But I can work those issues out. It’s so small and light and is exactly what I was looking for to add to my gear collection right now. Did I mention that I am thrilled?! Because I am.

Test photo #1:


After charging  up the battery and panicking to find an SD card (one did not come with the camera – thank goodness I found a spare one that fit) I tossed on the new 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens I also bought to go with it – I also bought this off Amazon Saturday night and got it today. There’s a telephoto lens coming that is recommended for use with the camera too, but it came off eBay and isn’t moving through the delivery system quite as quickly (it has shipped though). The pancake lens is very compact (hence it’s name) which is probably going to be the only reason I keep it; it focused slowly, and while the photos it took were fine and I got some nice bokeh out of it, it wasn’t significantly lighter in weight than my 50mm f/1.4 which took better pictures. Plus, it’s a prime lens and to get this close to Simon at that focal length, I had to get right up on him – I prefer a little more zoom. Still, it can easily fit into a pocket and is incredibly unobtrusive on the camera, and since it was only $160 I’m going to keep it for those reasons,

The 40mm compared to the 50mm, which isn’t a long lens by any stretch of the imagination either. 

The 50mm definitely takes a better photo though – plus it’s so much faster and gets so much more light into the shots. After comparing the two, I started the process of filling out a return request to Amazon for the 40mm, but then I thought about the compact factor and the convenience of the small size and decided what the hell, I’ll keep it around. It practically disappears onto the camera body (too lazy to take more phone pics, so I’ll share some other’s photos of it now – links to photos in captions):

The SL1 with the pancake lens

The SL1 with a 50mm lens

However, the color was off even with the 50mm, and was pretty drab. I think I can play with the settings to improve vibrancy, and I am guessing the auto white balance on the SL1 just isn’t as good as it is on the 7D (I found white balance to be a problem with my last Canon Rebel, too). I’ll have to remember to use my ExpoDisc and custom white balance when I can, because the tones were pretty awful with both lenses. Here’s Simon again, this time taken with the 50mm on the SL1:

More depth and light, still crummy color

I am pleased that I took both photos without the Speedlite, as putting that on this camera would sorely defeat the purpose of owning it. The 50mm wins again in this regard, as it’s so dang fast I can shoot in some pretty low light without having to up the exposure compensation too much. I guess if I ever decide to spend $1600 on a lens, I should probably consider upgrading my mid-level 50mm I now own,  but I digress.

Overall I am freaking thrilled with this little thing. I am sure the shorter battery life is going to upset me, and I’m going to find more flaws as I work with it more (I barely had time tonight to get it out of the box, charge up the battery, and snap about 15 photos – much more time will be spent with this once the weekend arrives) but knowing Canons the way I do by now, and having the amount of compatible gear I do, I can slip this little baby into the rotation easily and am going to love having it around. The SL1 is not the best choice for everyone, but it’s perfect for me as someone who just wanted to add something light and portable while retaining the benefits of a DSLR. I don’t think it would be a bad little first DSLR either – I’d just get the cheap 50mm lens you can pick up for about a hundred bucks and forgo the kit lens.

Can’t wait to see how the telephoto fits into all this. I know it’s gonna add weight, and it won’t be as sharp as the L-series telephoto I’m used to, but I think it’s going to be another good addition to this little baby, and one I can use at school. It’s an f/4, so that might hold me back in low light (although that is still considered a fast lens), but it’ll be great for outdoor shots which is usually where I use telephoto lenses anyway. More to come!

11 thoughts on “Rebel Rebel – The Canon EOS SL1

  1. I like the idea of a smaller frame for popping into one’s purse. While I have taken decent photos with my smallest camera, it is frustrating to take something unexpectedly cool and later wish it had come out better, with a better camera. My next major upgrade may be to a full frame camera but for now the idea of lugging something huge around when we go out shooting, isn’t appealing, especially since it is so hot here. For family pictures, small and on the down low is best. For my “real” hobby photography, I like getting out and around. After a few hours of carrying a lot of gear, I feel wiped out. [As for Prime, I cannot say enough about that and Amazon in general.]

    • I tried a Canon G-12 several years ago because it was supposed to be a great camera for people who wanted the features of a DSLR and the convenience of a P&S, but I could NOT get into it at all. It cost me almost $400 and I used it twice. This one, though, I know I will use. I took a little time at today to snap photos and play around with it; it’s much more fun to try and use than the G12 was, which was just disappointing and felt like a demotion to use. The small form factor really entertains me, even if the quality is going to be lower, although I still think I can get a lot out of this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s