Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Summary
The Canon EOS 200D, known as the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 in the US is a DSLR camera aimed at novice photographers who want a few more creative controls than is offered by the Canon 1300D below it in the Canon SLR line-up. Like many other DSLRs it has an APS-C sized sensor but it’s the World’s smallest, lightest DSLR with that sized sensor and a vari-angle screen. It’s a great little camera with well-integrated touch control and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Small size
- Touch control implemented well
- High Image Quality
- 9 AF limits scope for subject tracking with viewfinder
- No 4K video
- High launch price
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Introduction
While the Canon 1300D (known as the Canon Rebel T6 in the US) is small and light, its feature set is a little spartan in some respects. The Canon 200D, known as the Canon Rebel SL2 in the US, which sits above it in Canon’s DSLR line-up offers a bit more to open-up the range of creative opportunities yet it’s actually smaller and lighter.
It’s worth noting here that the Canon 200D / Rebel SL2 replaces the Canon 100D / Rebel SL1, which at 116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm and 407g for the black model and 410g for the white version is actually smaller and lighter. However, one of the key distinctions between the 200D / SL2 and both the 100D / SL1 and 1300D / T6 is that it has a vari-angle screen. This makes it far easier to compose images and video footage from above or below head height, whether you’re shooting in landscape or portrait format.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Features and Specification
|Camera Name||Canon EOS 200D / EOS Rebel SL2|
|Camera type:||Camera type: DSLR|
|Date announced:||Date announced: 29th June 2017|
|Price at launch:||Price at launch: £579/$549 body only, £679/$699 with 18-55mm STM lens|
|Sensor size:||Sensor size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)|
|Effective pixel count:||Effective pixel count: 24.2 million|
|Lens/Mount:||Lens mount: Canon EF/EF-S|
|Processor:||Processor: Digic 7|
|Sensitivity range:||Sensitivity/ISO range: Stills: ISO 100-25600 expandable to H: 51200 |
Movies: 100-12800 expandable to H: 25600
|Reflex AF system:||Reflex AF system: 9 points with 1 cross-type supporting f/5.6, centre point is vertical line-sensitive at f/2.8 while other points are vertical line-sensitive or horizontal line-sensitive at f/5.6.|
|Live View AF System:||Live View AF system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF System with 49 areas|
|Max shooting rate:||Maxi shooting rate: 5fps|
|Max video resolution:||Max video resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080)|
|Storage:||Storag: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I)|
|Viewfinder:||Viewfinder: Optical with pentamirror 95% coverage|
|Screen:||Screen: Touch-sensitive 3-inch Clear View LCD II with 1,040,000 dots|
|Dimensions:||Dimensions: 122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm|
|Weight:||Weight: Black: Approx. 453g |
Silver: Approx. 454g
White: Approx. 456g (including battery and card)
Another key upgrade that the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 makes on the 100D / SL1 is the 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, that’s a 6.2Mp step-up.
With that sensor comes Canon’s DIGIC 7 processing engine – also found in the full-frame EOS 6D Mark II launched at the same time – which Canon says is 14x faster than its previous iteration and consequently it allows the camera to shoot at higher sensitivities and faster frame rates – 5fps in continuous mode. Notably the 100D / SL1 has the much older Digic 5 processing engine and can only shoot at 4fps.
Returning to the subject of sensitivity, the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 boasts a top native setting of ISO 25,600, which is expandable up to ISO 51,200.
The 200D /SL2 features Canon’s Dual Pixel AF which comes into play in Live View and Video mode, offering 49 AF points that cover 80% of the frame, vertically and horizontally. The beauty of the Dual Pixel system is that it uses phase detection for focusing, that’s generally faster than contrast detection and less prone to hunting.
As Canon pointed out, because every single megapixel is used for autofocus within this 80% area you could say that the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 has 18 million AF points, it’s just that you can only select them in groups that make up 49 areas.
When the optical viewfinder – which gives 95% coverage – is in use the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 offers a 9-point AF system with the centre point being the more sensitive cross-type at f/5.6 or larger. The Centre AF point is also vertical line-sensitive at f/2.8. Meanwhile the other AF points are vertical line-sensitive or horizontal line-sensitive AF at f/5.6.
In case you’re wondering, it’s the maximum aperture of the lens that’s the issue with the AF points, not the setting you’ve selected to shoot at.
As I mentioned earlier, the 3-inch screen is mounted on the back of the camera via a vari-angle hinge. The screen is also touch-sensitive and by default displays the new Guided interface that we saw on the Canon 800D and 77D. It’s designed to encourage people to lose their inhibitions and come out of automatic mode. If you prefer, however, you can switch to the Standard mode via the Display Level option in the menu.
The Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 can also record Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at 23.98, 25 or 50fps. It’s not really a surprise that there’s no 4K video capability given Canon’s reticence to provide it in cameras further up the line.
To summarise the 200D /SL2’s feature set, compared to the 100D / SL1, it makes one of the more substantial upgrades of recent times, bringing a significant increase in pixel count, a much newer processing engine and an articulating touch-screen.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Build & Handling
One the complaints you often hear about about Canon’s older entry-level DSLRs, from the 1000D through to the 1300D, including the 100D / SL1, is that they have a plasticky, toy-camera feel to some of them. Of course, as entry-level models with comparatively low prices it’s unrealistic to expect the type of build you get with a model like the Canon 5D Mark IV, but when you’re paying in excessive of £500/$500 you anticipate decent quality. Thankfully the 200D / SL2 doesn’t disappoint.
While the camera body is made of plastic, it feels rigid. And when you squeeze the grip tight, it doesn’t creek in complaint. It’s a curvaceous number that lacks sharp edges and the contoured, rubberised grip fits your hand well. Despite the camera’s small size, it feels natural in your hands.
On the right side of the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 top plate is the standard mode dial, power switch, ISO and DISP buttons, shutter button and a wheel for scrolling through exposure settings or menu options. On the right side of the top plate is a WiFi button.
On the back of the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 are Menu, Info and Live View buttons along the top. Down the right side, behind the grip, are AF and AE Lock buttons. Moving down the camera back is an Exposure Compensation button, followed by the standard four-way controller, then Playback and Trash buttons.
It’s a fairly streamlined button layout and was a deliberate move by Canon to appeal to photographers making the leap from smartphone photography and who are used to fewer controls. While I appreciate the efforts to de-clutter, I think there are still a few obstacles that may put-off young smartphone users. For example, unless you’ve had previous experience with a DSLR or even Canon’s system, you might not know, for instance, what that button with the asterisk does (it’s AE Lock).
Nevertheless, the camera doesn’t seem intimidating like its more sophisticated siblings might be to those with no DSLR experience, and that’s the real point.
As you’d expect, the touchscreen occupies most of the back of the camera, and it feels as robust as the rest of the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2. There’s little wobble to it, and I didn’t hesitate to pull it out and flip it all the way around. In short, it doesn’t feel fragile or like it will snap of easily.
The screen is also responsive to touch whether you’re selecting a menu (Quick or main) option, adjusting settings, setting an AF point, swiping through images or double-tapping to zoom in to check sharpness.
On the latter point, with 1,040,000 dots the screen is capable of showing plenty of detail so it’s easy to tell if you’ve got the subject sharp or not when you zoom in during manual focusing or when you’re reviewing shots. It’s not one of those screens that leaves you focusing backwards and forwards trying to find the sharpest point.
The Guided interface is friendly and easy to use with graphics that help explain some of the settings. In aperture priority mode, for instance, it shows that as you adjust from a small f/number to a large f/number the background becomes sharper. Meanwhile in shutter priority mode it shows a blurred moving subject being frozen as shutter speed is increased.
If you switch to a Scene mode you’re given appropriate adjustment options, in Portrait mode, for example, you’re given the option to adjust brightness, set the drive mode or use the flash. You just need to tap the Q icon or press the Q/Set button to access the options either by tapping on the screen or using the navigation controls.
As it’s a DSLR the Canon 200D / Rebel SL2 has an optical viewfinder rather than an electronic device. This means it can’t show the impact of setting adjustments such as white balance, Picture Style or exposure. However, like most modern optical finders, it’s bright and pleasant to use.
One thing to be alert to is that like many SLRs at this level, it only shows 95% of the scene and you may find objects creeping into the edges of your image without you being aware at the shooting stage.
On the sides of the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 are the HDMI, USB, mic and remote control inputs, which are housed by rubber doors. These are simple to open and felt chunky and substantial enough to provide protection to the elements within.
There’s also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. Connecting the camera to a smartphone for the first time is simple and because the Bluetooth is always on, once you’ve paired your camera and phone it’s easy to reconnect it whether that’s to share images or take remote control.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Performance
The 200D / SL2 is designed for use by novice photographers who want to learn about photography as well as experienced photographers who want a small, light camera. It’s important for the first group that the camera is capable of producing high quality results with little intervention from the user. Happily the 200D / SL2 can do just that. Equally more experienced photographers will find they have a good level of control over their images when they want it.
With the white balance and Picture Style both set to auto and the metering to Evaluative the 200D / SL2 produces attractive images in many situations. In some cases landscapes can tip towards over saturation and under shaded conditions images can become rather insipid, but in many instances the results look great.
Furthermore, with 24 million pixels on the sensor the 200D / SL2 captures plenty of detail, even with the 18-55mm kit lens.
As is often the case, the results captured at the sensitivity expansion setting (ISO 51,200) are really only suitable for use at small sizes. If you zoom in to check the jpegs you’ll spot that fine details have been lost and there’s some smearing to conceal noise. Meanwhile the raw files are marred by luminance noise.
Stepping down to the uppermost native sensitivity settings, ISO 25,600 improves things but I would aim to keep to a maximum of ISO 12,800 if possible.
As I mentioned earlier, the 200D / SL2’s automatic white balance system generally performs well although images can become rather warm looking under artificial light and you may need to use one of the preset options or better still set a custom value. Sometimes in shaded conditions it produces a slightly warmer and more pleasing than those taken using the Daylight setting, but there’s not a huge amount in it.
The general-purpose Evaluative metering system also performs well and delivers well exposed images on most occasions. As usual it give some emphasis to the subject under the active AF point but in most cases it gives a good balance across the frame and isn’t overly distracted by bright or dark objects in the background.
I found it performed extremely well when shooting from the photographers’ pit at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival. It coped with black backgrounds and bright lights superbly and delivered high quality results on almost every occasion.
While there are only 9 AF points available for use when images are composed in the viewfinder, they give good service. I found the 200D / SL2 got subjects sharp very quickly even in low light. What’s more, when it’s paired with a top-quality optic like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM you’ll be hard-pressed to distinguish its speed from that of a camera higher up Canon SLRs line.
However, with just 9 points it’s hard for the camera to track subjects that roam around the frame and you may have the odd out of focus image purely because the active point isn’t over the target.
Switch to Live View mode and you have 49 points at your disposal, giving you greater coverage across the frame. While you’re better off using the viewfinder when you want to shoot sport or action, the Live View and video autofocus (AF) system can track moving subjects reasonably well.
Also, thanks to the fact that it use phase detection rather than contrast detection, in video mode the focus adjusts smoothly with little sign of hunting. You can’t adjust the speed of the focus transition but it strikes a nice balance, making the transition swiftly but not seeming to jerk so footage looks good.
Furthermore, you can change focus point with a tap of your finger and the 18-55mm STM lens adjusts quietly making it usable during recording.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Verdict
The Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 is a significant step up in specifications from its predecessor, the EOS 100D / SL1, and looks and feels nicely designed. Canon’s new Guided interface is also very good and should encourage novice photographers to move beyond Auto mode. If you want, however, you can swap to the Standard interface if you prefer it.
Canon really seems to understand touch-control and it’s great to be able to use the screen or the physical controls to change settings etc.
Provided that you don’t stray above ISO 12,800 the Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 produces high quality images with a good level of detail and well-controlled noise. Colour, exposure and white balance are also good in the most commonly encountered shooting conditions and the 9-point AF system is fastest enough for most subjects.
Should I buy the Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2?
The EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 is aimed squarely at the beginner photographer, and with its ease-of-use and high specification it should really appeal to this market in a big way. The 100D / SL1 has been a popular model for Canon over the years, and the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 looks not only like it will follow in those footsteps, but will blaze new paths into other markets if the company can reach the Millennials it is now focused on.
While the 200D /SL2 is likely to see strong competition from mirrorless cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II and Panasonic GX80, its nearest SLR competitor is the Nikon D3400.
The D3400 offers an APS-C format 24.2-megapixel sensor, native ISO up to 25,600, Full HD video recording at 60fps and 5fps shooting. However, it lacks the vari-angle touchscreen found on the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2, as well as WiFi connectivity (although it does have Nikon’s SnapBridge system). And it’s smaller. So that’s…nearly the same specs for quite a bit less money.
The price difference diminish over time, but will it be enough? I think it probably will as the EOS 200D / Rebel SL2’s guided interface is really good, better even than the D3400’s Guide mode. I also think it’s worth paying a bit more for a camera that offers WiFi connectivity and an articulated touchscreen.
Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 Sample images
Here’s a small selection of sample images from the Canon 200D / SL2, if you’d like to see more or download full-resolution samples head over to our Canon 200D / SL2 Flickr Album.