With the recent expansion of its Canon EOS-M mirrorless system, and with its compacts getting steadily more powerful, it seems that Canon has already catered well for those who are after a camera that’s small and unintimidating, but still powerful enough to take excellent shots. Nevertheless, it’s great to see the brand refreshing the entry route to its well-respected Canon EOS DSLR system with the Canon EOS 200D (Known as EOS Rebel SL2 in the US), and the fact that the new camera replaces a four-year-old model – the Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1 – means a fair bit has changed. We got some hands-on time with a sample of the new model prior to its official announcement.
Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 Features
In place of the outgoing Canon EOS 100D’s 18MP APS-C sensor and DIGIC 5 processor, we now have a 24.2MP sensor and DIGIC 7 engine. Canon says the sensor has been used before, although the engine is the latest generation version that also appears in the new full-frame Canon EOS 6D Mark II, also reviewed this issue. Check our Canon EOS 6D Mark II review.
It comes as no surprise that Canon’s Guided UI, which popped up in the recent Canon EOS 800D / Canon EOS Rebel T7i, has also been included here. This allows the user to switch the interface to one that makes better use of graphics to explain how to achieve certain things, although you can opt for the more standard system if you feel confident enough.
Canon cites the EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 as “the perfect replacement for the avid Smartphone photographer looking to step up to their first camera”. And, to tempt them in it has included a new selfie mode, together with skin smoothing and background blurring controls. Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth are also on hand to further ease the transition.
There’s no 4K capture, unfortunately, but video can be recorded in Full HD up to an impressive 60p. Overall, there are no obvious holes in the spec sheet, and those just getting started should find everything they need here.
Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 Build and Handling
Aimed at the style conscious as well as the selfie conscious, the Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 is available in three finishes. There’s a white version and a silver/tan option, although most people will likely prefer the soberer black version. This has a pleasingly matte finish that’s particularly fetching against the silver-toned controls on the top plate. Overall, it looks far smarter than it ought to for such an entry-level model.
Design-wise, the most significant changes include the grip, which is now pleasingly deep, as well as on the top plate, where pretty much everything has been restyled. Canon has opted to have the mode dial recessed into the top plate itself and has also gone with a new power control that allows immediate access to movie recording. There are also dedicated buttons for connectivity and display, in addition to the previous ISO button.
This setup places a little more direct control in the user’s hands, and with the new grip, the overall result is generally positive. While this is a small camera, the redesigned grip means there’s a good deal of it to get hold of comfortably, and both the mode and command dials are really pleasing to use.
The ISO/Disp buttons feel somewhat spongy, however, while the shutter release button has the certain hollowness to it in operation. There’s no issue with the controls on the back, however, all of which travel smoothly.
Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 Autofocus
The new model sports a 9-point AF system, just like the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D did. While several may have liked to see Canon ramp things up with something a little more higher, the structure itself is an impressive performer. It proved its worth in both good light and darker indoor conditions and found focus against low-contrast subjects better than expected.
Overall focusing performance is boosted by two key additional factors over the EOS 100d. First, there’s the introduction of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which allows the hands-on review Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 camera to use phase-detect AF when you’re shooting stills in live view mode and during movie recording. Canon even goes as far as claiming this is the world’s fastest system of its kind (among APS-C-based, interchangeable-lens cameras with phase-detect AF pixels incorporated into their sensors).
Furthermore, as the camera now offers a large touchscreen, you can set focus exactly where you want with your finger and leave the camera to capture the image. This characteristic was not present on the Canon EOS 100D and combined with the vari-angle LCD that means you can capture certain images far more easily than you otherwise might be able to.
Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 Performance
The fact that the Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 makes use of the same DIGIC 7 engine as pricier models in Canon’s line-up is an encouraging sign, and the preproduction Sample that we got our hands on was certainly responsive in use.
In fact, a side-by-side comparison with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, which uses the same processor, showed the Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 to bring up the menu, Q menu and so on with a little less delay. There’s also little to complain about with the camera’s touchscreen. In use, it shows excellent sensitivity to touch, while its 1.04 million dots are great to see at this level, considering this is one area where manufacturers sometimes make concessions.
Many of the features we’ve seen on much pricier Canon EOS models have also made the cut, such as the various lens aberration corrections and the time-lapse movie mode. Impressively you even get in-camera raw processing, which is great for those who want to share their creations immediately. Overall, there seems to be plenty of space for the user to grow into as they become better acquainted with what their camera offers.
Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 Specification
Model Name Canon EOS 200D Review Resolution 24.2 Megapixels Sensor Size APS-C
(22.3 mm x 14.9 mm)
Kit Lens N/A Viewfinder Optical Native ISO 100 - 25,600 Extended ISO 100 - 51,200 Shutter 1/4000 - 30 Seconds Dimensions 4.8 x 3.66 x 2.76 inch.
(122 x 93 x 70 mm)
Weight 453 gm ( 1.00 lb / 15.98 oz)
Availability 06/2017 Manufacturer Canon
Although the Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 is clearly designed for those taking their first steps into the world of DSLR photography, it’s encouraging to see that Canon hasn’t skimped on providing a positive user experience. From the Guided UI and revised exterior design to the fast AF system and responsive touchscreen, this is a camera that feels great to use, and which, based on our brief hands-on time, appears to perform as well as we’d expect it to.
Do we have any concerns? Canon’s main hurdle may be price and competition. Even if we just look at Nikon DSLR offerings at around the same price or less, you’ve got three capable options: the D3400, D5300, and D5600. And that’s before you consider mirrorless alternatives. Still, Canon deserves praise for making the Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2 such an easy camera to warm to, and it’s unlikely that anyone who’s looking to take their first steps in DSLR photography is going be disappointed. It’s small, light, easy to use and very responsive – if the image quality proves to be up to the same standard, Canon will have another smasher on its hands.
- World’s lightest DSLR with a vari-angle screen.
- Intuitive layout of buttons and dials.
- Guided user interface helps beginners learn the key controls and settings.
- The basic arrangement of 9 AF points.
- Single scroll dial on the top plate.