TODO alt text

Canon EOS 200D (Rebel SL2) review

Canon’s new baby DSLR punches well above its weight

Our Verdict

If compactness matters most and you’re willing to pay a premium for it, the 200D is certainly a more powerful and desirable camera than its predecessor. It would be ideal for beginners and for travel photography.

For

  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Excellent Dual Pixel live view AF
  • New 18-55mm STM lens

Against

  • Only 9 AF points for viewfinder shooting
  • You're paying for compactness
  • Size advantage reduced

Canon designed the existing EOS 100D to be as small as an APS-C format DSLR could possibly be, and it’s blessed with such petite proportions that you could almost have called it cute. But size isn’t everything. The EOS 100D’s tech now looks dated, so Canon has injected four years of technological advancement into the new EOS 200D.

At its heart is a new 24.2MP sensor and cutting-edge DIGIC 7 image processor, upping the maximum sensitivity to ISO 51,200 in expanded mode and boosting burst capture from 4fps to 5fps, though video recording still maxes out at full HD 1080p. It comes with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth built in, and photographers new to DSLR shooting will appreciate Canon’s guided shooting mode.

The EOS 200D/Rebel SL2 gets a vari-angle screen, though this does bump up the bulk slightly.

Canon's new 18-55mm STM lens is neat, fast to focus and delivers good performance.

Don't fancy it in black? The EOS 200D/Rebel SL2 also comes in white and a two-tone tan and silver.

Build & handling

One of the 200D’s most obvious new features is its articulating screen, but tech like this adds bulk, so it’s not surprising that the 200D is fractionally larger than its predecessor and 46g heavier. It’s still noticeably more compact than Canon’s other new entry-level beginners camera, the 800D, though, if a little less ergonomic. The 200D’s grip is relatively cramped if your paws are on the large side, and there isn’t much space to rest your thumb.

A deeper grip gives you more to grab hold of, but the EOS 200D/Rebel SL2's size does have an impact on its handling.

Your thumb is ideally positioned to operate the redesigned power switch though, while pleasantly responsive touch-screen controls help compensate for the relatively fiddly rear directional pad. The display itself is also a pleasure to view, with excellent viewing angles, brightness and colour accuracy.

Performance

The combination of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF and the stepping motor in Canon’s new 18-55mm STM kit lens provides near-instantaneous focussing in good light, with only a half-second pause and no focus hunting in dimmer conditions. Focussing is also impressively rapid in Live View, and the STM kit lens delivers silent focus transitions during video capture, albeit with around a two-second lag when refocusing between near and far focal points.

Unfortunately, in regular viewfinder shoting, having just 9 phase-detect AF points that cover a limited frame area makes it tricky to lock onto specific points in a composition, though you do get 49 contrast-detect focus points if you switch to Live View.

Image 1 of 4

With only 9 focus points, it was tough to ensure the topmost point of this flower was in focus.

Autofocus

Image 2 of 4

Punchy colour reproduction and accurate exposure metering help bring this shot to life.

Colour

Image 3 of 4

Snapped at ISO 1600, there’s very little sign of image degradation and dynamic range is good.

ISO and noise

Image 4 of 4

In Live View mode, the 49 autofocus points cover a much wider area, making it much easier to focus on off-centre subjects.

Live view

Canon’s 24.2MP sensor produces attractive images with good colours and dynamic range at lower sensitivities. Go past ISO 3200, though, and highlights are prone to burning out, but noise is very well controlled, and images taken at ISO 12800 are very usable, providing you accept some fine detail loss. The 18-55mm IS STM kit lens also puts in a solid performance, being sharp right into the corners of frame, while the 200D’s built-in lens aberration correction successfully eliminates fringing in JPEG images.

Verdict

The 100D’s stunning compactness secured it a distinct niche. The 200D is only marginally larger, but that’s unfortunately enough to bring it close to the dimensions of competing cameras, diminishing any novelty factor. Fortunately the 200D is also a very capable all-round entry-level DSLR that’s easy to use, well featured and performs superbly.

It’s certainly a much more compelling camera than Canon’s bargain basement EOS 1300D, especially when paired with Canon’s excellent IS STM kit lens. However, the EOS 200D will cost you nearly double a 1300D IS II kit. Canon has a lot of new and older cameras on the market at the same time, and the EOS 200D is also pricier than the EOS 750D with 18-55mm IS STM lens, which is a more complete camera than the 200D and is still widely available.