The SL2 signified a large change in my Youtube channel. Features like dual pixel auto-focus, the fully articulating vari-angle screen, and the solid phone application have made a huge difference to my effectiveness and efficiency when producing online videos at 1080p. This camera is low cost and simply works for my intended uses with very few quirks. Now that it’s older, it’s an even better deal!
I used to struggle a lot with video production tasks on old cameras like pre-focusing for clips where I needed to talk to the camera. Other filming styles like vlogging were nearly impossible for me to manage without the solid auto-focus system this camera has in video and liveview photo mode. It’s all possible to do with manual focus, but you need to built up specific skills that I didn’t have at the time.
Sample Photos and videos:
Here are a few kits I assembled with this camera as the keystone…
- The camera is pretty small considering it is a traditional DSLR. Probably one of the smallest DSLRs ever made, yet handling is good.
- The grip is above average considering how small the camera is. My index finger and thumb have good positioning. The video/live view button is in a good spot. The two dials have a strong click and are easy to chance with the right thumb.
- I’m not a big fan of the battery door. It feels a bit flimsy. It can sometimes open on accident when I’m using an AC adapter accessory. In that case I’ve been using no residue tape to make sure it stays closed.
- The camera comes with a rubber cover for the viewfinder when you want to close that off. Not ideal because it doesn’t lock-down on the viewfinder that well due to it being a supple rubber material.
- The touch-screen is responsive and works throughout the menu system as well as to change the focal point or on-screen settings while in live view mode. The screen is fully articulating. That allows the screen to face forward in selfie situations. It also allows easy viewing when doing vertical photos
The camera in practice…
- It has a 24 mega-pixel sensor that’s one of the better sensors for that generation of Canon camera. (Edit: They offer newer sensors now that have better high ISO performance and dynamic range). It isn’t the best sensor out there in low light situations, but certainly usable. Anything over 1600 ISO is probably going to start looking grainy. I used the camera mostly for video, but you can get nice still-photo results too.
- Live view stills mode and video mode auto-focus is one of the best features of this camera. It uses Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS based system that’s fast and accurate. This is one of the key features of this camera.
- The still photo side of this camera is somewhat lackluster. It has a 9-point phase detection auto-focus system with only the center point being “cross-type”. The working range of the AF system is -0.5 EV to 18 EV and 0.5 EV to 18 EV for the rest. I’d suggest going up market if you are focused on still photos. Maybe consider a high-spec used camera.
- Video resolution is a maximum of 1080p 60 fps. In the land of casual videography, that’s sufficient. If you want 4k, 8k, or more you obviously have to look at other options.
- The traditional viewfinder is a pentamirror-type and has 95% coverage at 0.87x magnification. The focusing screen is fixed, so you can’t exchange it. This is a very entry-level type of viewfinder. Don’t expect much with that.
- It has WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity with their Canon Camera Connect phone application. The application is one of the best I’ve used due to the amount of control it offers both in photo and video situations. Though, it can be a bit difficult to get the camera connected sometimes.
- Ports wise, the camera includes usual ports like HDMI and USB, but also includes the microphone port as well.
- Canon’s line of STM lenses work very well with this camera for video. I had the kit lens and the 10-18mm STM lens. They were extremely quite, yet quick to focus. Those STM lenses and this camera are a great combination.
I wouldn’t consider the SL3…
While the SL3 does add firmware based features, I can’t suggest that camera due to other features they subtracted from the camera. Of course, the changes will depend on what you need. I’d suggest looking over the SL3’s manual you can find on Canon’s website to see if it has something specific that you need. Otherwise, know that the SL3 does not have a center pin in the hotshoe. That adds compatibility issues with 3rd party flash. It is also missing 24 fps video in 1080p. The 4k mode has a severe crop and doesn’t do dual-pixel autofocus in that mode.
Overall, this a great little lower-cost camera. Especially if you want to do vlogging or other types of video filming where you need to record yourself. I did eventually switch to Canon’s EF-M system due to the even smaller size, but this camera is more cost effective than the Canon EOS M50 I picked up (at the time of this article).
If you don’t mind the slightly larger size and traditional DSLR nature of this camera, it’s a great option for hybrid photographers and videographers that are just starting out.
Though, I’d suggest considering the Canon EOS M50 if you can spend a bit more, due to it being a mirrorless camera without the lackluster traditional DSLR bits and pieces the SL2 was saddled with. Either way, the dual-pixel AF and fully articulating screen of the SL2/M50 are very useful features to have in a camera.