Canon makes the smallest DSLR

Canon's Smallest DSLR Camera

The World's smallest DSLR? Is it just a marketing ploy by Canon or is the Canon SL1, proclaimed to be the World's smallest digital SLR a worthy consideration for you?

The quick answer is easily yes for many reasons. Now that there is a 2nd and 3rd version of the smallest DSLR in Canon's compact DSLR lineup you've got even more options. Here's a table showing your the release dates for the original diminutive SL! and it's upgrades:

New Canon SMall camera prices

At the time of this update, these are the prices for brand new Canon SL# cameras. You can see what a bargain the original smallest DSLR is now.


Canon EOS SL1 March-2013 $217 (BODY ONLY)
Canon EOS SL2 June-2017 $449 (BODY ONLY)
Canon EOS SL3 April-2019 $499 (BODY ONLY)

As I mentioned in a previous article on the Canon Camera Reviews website, one of the most important things to consider when looking for your next camera is overall size.

Are you one of those photographers who purchased a full-sized DSLR camera but haven't used it on several occasions because you simply did not want to lug "that heavy camera" along with you?

Now that cell phone camera sensors, lenses and software have improved dramatically over the last two years, it's tempting to leave your regular camera at home and just use your cell phone camera for that occasional snapshot or video clip.

Ugly version of the Canon Rebel SL1 CameraUgly "White" version
Canon Rebel SL1 Camera

Cell phone cameras still don't measure up in terms of features and quality and there are still many times when you want DSLR quality.

The Canon EOS M is a smaller alternative, but I am not a big fan of this as a good choice. The Canon SL1 DSLR keeps all of the functions, quality and features of the Canon Rebel cameras and compacts them down into a smaller camera.   

The "SL" in the Canon SL1 stands for Super Lightweight.  It only weighs 14 ounces, but still takes all of the EOS lenses.  Some photographers might NOT want to use one of the standard zoom lenses and go with a smaller prime lens to keep the overall camera-lens combination small.

Specs for canon's original Smallest DSLR, the sl1


LCD SCREEN 1 Million Pixel 3 Inch Touch
FOCUSING 9 Point Auto Contrast and Phase
VIDEO 1080p (30 24 fps) 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
ISO Min. 100 Max. 25,600

Specs for canon's updated Smallest DSLR, the sl2


LCD SCREEN 1 Million Pixel 3 Inch Touch
FOCUSING 9 Point Auto Contrast and Phase
VIDEO 1920 x 1080 @ 60p 1920 x 1080 @ 30p
ISO Min. 100 Max. 51,200

Specs for canon's most recent Smallest DSLR, the sl3


LCD SCREEN 1 Million Pixel 3 Inch Touch
FOCUSING 3975 Focus Points Contrast and Phase
VIDEO 3840 x 2160 @ 25p 1920 x 1080 @ 60p
ISO Min. 100 Max. 51,200

video comparison of Canon SL1 vs. SL2

Another consideration is a slightly different format known as premium compact cameras.  These are a good step over the point and shoot cameras.  

I purchased a Canon g11 a few years ago and it has served me well when I am not shooting professionally but when I still want more than what a cell phone camera or point and shoot camera can give me.

I often use my g11 combined with a 270EX-II Speedlite because I can literally fit them both in separate pants pockets.  The g12 was only a mild improvement on the g11, but the g1x and g15 are really nice cameras.

I like this format because these cameras have built in, non-changeable lenses  AND hot shoes for using an external flash.

Author Bruce Lovelace
Bruce Lovelace Signature

Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Watch him on YouTube. Visit the Canon Geek FaceBook Group. Bruce runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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