Canon EOS 200D (SL2) Review

Introduction

The Canon SL2, also known as the EOS 200D, is a unique offering from Canon that’s considered a “miniature” digital SLR. It replaces the previously released Canon 100D, which was Canon’s smallest and lightest SLR to date. It’s a camera that inherits features from high-end Canon cameras, namely the 80D and T7i, into a smaller and more compact body which weighs less than a pound. In size and dimensions, this camera is similar to that of a mirrorless camera. However, in features, not so much. 

Initially released in June of 2017, it came with a 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and updated Digic 7 image processor. In theory, this is an entry-level camera that resides in Canon’s Rebel series lineup. However, in performance, the camera was aimed to be competitive to both the 80D and 6D Mark II, all the while being more compact in size. Reviewers shouted that this was Canon’s best hybrid camera that perfectly melded the small size of a mirrorless camera into an SLR.

With the installment of the updated sensor and processor as well, many have also claimed this as being Canon’s best budget camera to date. Are those rumors true? It was initially marketed to compete with Nikon’s D5600 and Fujifilm’s X-T20. While additionally aimed to sway first time SLR buyers or professionals looking for a second body. Today we discuss and demystify the rumors surrounding its capabilities and whether or not the 200D still makes sense in 2019.

Canon-EOS-Rebel-SL2-specs

What are some of the goods, bads, and the uglies of the Canon EOS 200D?

Pros:

Image Quality

The image quality is superb. Images are sharp, even in low light. Although this is an “entry-level” camera, Canon did opt to include the identical sensor found in the 80D and T7i. This addition means this camera can hold steadfast when it comes to delivering sharp images. In many ways, this camera outperforms the 80D, primarily because of the updated Digic 7 image processor which provides almost identical images to the T7i but at a lower price point. 

Video Quality

For video, this camera shoots 1080p up to 60 FPS. Having 60 FPS, as opposed to 30 FPS, means that the camera can record both smoother pans and tilts during filming. 60 FPS also means users can slow down the video in post-processing to create a slow-motion video, albeit not super slow motion caused by shooting at 120 FPS. In video performance, this camera is identical to the Canon 80D and 77D. Overall, the video quality is excellent. One thing to note, with the addition of Dual Pixel Autofocus (DPAF) and a touch LCD, changing focusing or focus pulling during filming is both intuitive and straightforward. 

Low Light Performance

Low light performance is superb and, no questions asked is still adequate to today’s standards, especially considering this is an “entry-level” camera. The camera has a native ISO range from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600. As a result of the updated Digic 7 processor, images are noise-free from ISO 100 to ISO 1,600. From that point onwards, only noise residing in the shadows and deep mid-tones is present. Photos are found to be reasonably sharp even at ISO 6,400. Overall, the low light performance delivered by this camera is nearly identical to the Canon T7i, making this a bargain considering this camera is much cheaper. 

Focusing Performance

Focusing ability and prowess is the primary strength of this camera. Canon opted to include DPAF in this camera, which is an enormous victory on their part. DPAF is a focusing system renowned for its superior ability while tracking subjects and also its smooth cinematic transitions between focus points. Overall, its addition has made this camera excellent at focusing in both photo and video modes. DPAF is particularly remarkable when filming alone, as it tracks normal human movement incredibly well. Bar none, DPAF is the most organic-looking AF system to date and makes this camera very competitive, considering its “entry-level” classification. During Live View mode, the camera supplies nearly edge to edge autofocus detection as well. Since DPAF is a phase-detection AF system, it almost entirely removes the sharp changes in focus that otherwise happen when using contrast-detection AF alone. The results are faster, quieter, and more precise AF performance with surprisingly little hunting while focusing, even in low light. This level of performance is an incredible feat considering this camera has the same AF points when using the viewfinder as the T5i. However, when combined with DPAF, it far outperforms anything below the T7 series when shot in Live View mode. Overall, AF performance is superb and more than adequate for everyday needs. Finally, users can have confidence knowing their AF system is dependable and maintains focus, allowing them to rest easy and prioritize their composition.

Display & Viewfinder

Canon has opted to include a variable angle touch LCD on this model, an enormous improvement over the predecessor which had a fixed non-touch screen. The addition of a swivel screen makes filming, vlogs, and shooting at extreme angles all incredibly simple. The LCD also supports touch focus and touch to shoot as well. Overall, the addition of these features is a huge advantage both in photography but also in videography as well. 

User Interface

The user menu and overall navigation on this camera are both fantastic. Navigating the user menu can be done directly through touch, and it’s menus are well optimized for touch input as well. The capacitive touch screen is responsive and accurate. For those preferring to use physical buttons, navigating the user interface with the physical buttons is also found to be smooth and responsive. Overall, the layout and menus on this camera are logical, well organized, and simple to navigate. If you’re a previous Canon user, you’ll feel right at home with this camera. 

Physical layout and ergonomics

Let’s first talk about how compact and light this camera is, seriously this camera comes in at 453 grams, which is lighter than the Fujifilm X-T2 and similar to the Sony a6500. That’s ridiculous considering this is a digital SLR, not a mirrorless camera. Even though this camera is compact, it doesn’t compromise on ergonomics. It includes a deeper grip over the predecessor, and the user’s thumb finally fits naturally on the grip now. All the significant contact points have suitable gripping surfaces. The buttons, while there are few, are well placed and altogether remove the possibility of accidental changes. It has both dedicated ISO and Wi-Fi buttons, keeping these adjustments immediately accessible. Overall, the camera is easy to hold and comfortable during prolonged use. Moreover, the design and button layouts are logical and straightforward. 

Niche features offered

It has built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. As a result, both remote shooting, when connected to a smartphone device, and automatic transfer of images is possible. Once connected to Canon’s Camera to Connect app, users now can control the camera’s functionality and wirelessly transfer images remotely. Full manual controls in both photo and video modes are available. The addition of low powered Bluetooth also means the camera continuously maintains a connection to the paired device, regardless of whether or not the camera itself is on. This addition removes the annoying need to re-establish the connection between devices entirely. Not only that, Bluetooth significantly reduces the delay and latency experienced when using remote camera functionality compared to Wi-Fi alone. Moreover, users can both remotely start the camera if turned off and transfer images so long as the camera is in Bluetooth range. The culmination of these features, coupled with the usability of the app itself is a particular strength of this camera. 

It has in-camera timelapse, where users can customize both the interval and duration of the lapse. The inclusion of this feature removes the need to do this in post-production entirely. 

It has a built-in microphone jack.

It has a feature assist mode, which helps guide users through the critical settings in both photo and video modes to obtain the desired result. During the process, it also overlays what the final result will be before shooting. This mode functions as a how-to-photography book built directly into the camera itself and quite literally spells out every decision the user must make along with explanations. Overall, the guided user interface is intuitive and works well at helping beginning photographers achieve the creative options available to them. 

It has a continuous shooting burst rate of 5 FPS, which is an improvement of 1 FPS over the predecessor. 

It supports charging via USB. 

It supports both EF and EF-S lenses. Keep in mind, though, when using EF lenses, they will have a 1.6x magnification as this is an APS-C camera. Nonetheless, using the standard canon lens mount is a serious advantage as it dramatically increases the breadth of lenses available for use with this camera. 

Cons:

Video Quality

It lacks 4K video altogether. If shooting at this resolution is essential to you, look elsewhere as this camera will not suffice for your needs. Truthfully, 4K is an excellent addition, but the reality is that most viewers do not have the equipment necessary to view the videos in this format. So, it’s still not a necessity, more of a luxury at this point. 

Focusing Performance

It only has 9 AF points, only one is cross-type too, which limits its abilities during subject tracking when using the optical viewfinder alone. Thankfully, if you opt to use the LCD in Live View instead, you can take advantage of DPAF which covers the entirety of the screen and makes focusing incredibly responsive. Do bear in mind, however; this is still a Rebel series camera. So, in the end, it won’t win any awards when it comes to wildlife or sports photography regardless, as it still lacks the necessary capabilities. While the AF system is responsive, it still will not suffice when it comes to complex action. 

It only has a burst rate of 5 FPS. While this is not a deal-breaker for most, it does mean this camera will not be adequate when shooting fast-moving subjects, sports or action. In these situations, every single frame captured makes a difference, and 5 FPS is slow compared to what’s now abundantly available on the market in this regard. However, for those not shooting this medium, the continuous burst rate will be ample for everyday needs, so have no fear. 

Layout and ergonomics

Build quality is definitely on par with the price point of this camera, meaning it will feel rather cheap and plasticky overall. Don’t expect the build to be comparable to Canon’s higher-end lines, for example, the 80D, in this regard. 

The viewfinder only covers 95% of the sensor, which is expected in this price point but is still a drawback to a certain extent nonetheless. 

Features removed

It lacks a headphone input jack, which to be fair isn’t expected on a camera in this price point. 

It is not dust or weather sealed. 

It lacks in-camera image stabilization.

It only has a single adjustment wheel, which defaults to changing Shutter Speed. To change either Aperture or ISO, you must press a secondary button (the AV or ISO button) then use the adjustment dial to alter its functionality. By no means, is a deal-breaker, but it does increase the complexity of making rapid changes, especially for the beginning photographer. 

ISO adjustments only occur in full-stop increments, not 1/3 stop, which means that it’ll be more challenging to nail exact exposure by changing ISO alone. 

Battery life is only rated at 620 shots when using the Optical viewfinder alone and 260 when using Live View. You will need an extra battery during all-day shooting. 

Is the Canon EOS 200D a good starting camera?

Yes, even in 2019. It is an excellent hybrid camera that offers competitive performance in both photo and video modes. It provides performance that rivals higher-end cameras while remaining compact in size and giving users the freedom to use Canon’s best EF lenses. At its core, it is still entry-level camera though. With this, it’s an excellent option for those starting out desiring a camera to develop with long term. It’s also a contender for the video content creator, namely those who are Youtubers or VLOG. Yes, it does lack several features found amongst its competition, namely 4K video, 1080p at 120 FPS, more AF points, and in-camera stabilization. We cannot dispute the fact that, for this price, this camera is fantastic and the features offered are sufficient for both pros looking for a second body and the hobbyist or beginner. It has a very respectable feature set, considering the price and is a compelling hybrid camera that melds the best from the digital SLR into a compact, usable form factor. For you video content creators out there, as the rumors have suggested, we also agree that this is still one of the top cameras to date. The addition of a fully articulating touchscreen and DPAF will make filming incredibly easy for you, no questions asked. Outside of those looking to create professional-level B roll and cinematic content, the Canon 200D is a no brainer to consider.

What are the best lenses for the Canon EOS 200D? 

General Photography: 

Canon EF S 55-250mm-F4
Canon EF S 18-55mm
Canon 18-135mm

Specifically for Macro Photography:

sl3 bundle

Specifically for Landscape Photography:

Canon EFS 24mm-2-8

Specifically for Portrait Photography:

Canon-50mm

Best bundles for the Canon EOS 200D

best sl2 bundles

Is the Canon EOS 200D a good camera for you?

Yes, especially for those of you desiring a camera that’s easy to use and operate but still offers enough performance. It’s a camera that provides a phenomenal basis to upgrade later. Though, as this is an entry-level camera, it is most useful for beginning or hobbyist photographers looking for their first entry-level digital SLR. However, no question, the feature set offered here makes this an excellent choice for the video content creator as well, namely because of the compact size coupled with an articulating touchscreen and DPAF. The only minor gripe, in all seriousness, is the lack of a headphone jack and 4K video support. Otherwise, this is the perfect camera at its price point. We view this camera like Canon’s lowkey hybrid, a mirrorless camera with an optical viewfinder slapped on top. Canon has created a fun, unique, and competitive camera that’s difficult to find elsewhere. And it is one of the cheapest SLRs available with this kind of feature set.

Moreover, it’s one we believe that’s worth the money and allows buyers to transition the savings from this camera over to purchasing lenses or gear instead. Initially, it was just aimed at those wanting an upgrade from smartphones and not wanting something obtrusive to carry around with them. However, Cannon made a camera that sways both amateurs and professionals alike without compromising too much functionality or abilities in the process. While it does have a few limitations as mentioned previously, none of them are real deal-breakers. Reviewers touted this as the miniature Canon 80D and the best budget VLOGging camera, we agree on both. If you’re a first time digital SLR buyer, consider the Canon 200D.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
3.8

Summary

Though the Canon SL2 is considered an entry-level camera, the feature set offered makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals alike. It’s also an excellent choice for the video content creator as well, namely because of the compact size coupled with an articulating touchscreen and DPAF. It’s only real gripes are the lack of a headphone jack and 4K video support. Otherwise, this is the perfect camera at its price point. Canon has created a fun, unique, and competitive camera that’s difficult to find elsewhere. And it is one of the cheapest SLRs available with this kind of feature set available today. It is an excellent hybrid camera that offers competitive performance in both photo and video modes that rivals high-end cameras. Overall, it remains a compelling hybrid camera that melds the best from the digital SLR into a small, usable form factor, and still one to watch.