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Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D review

The world's lightest DSLR is packed full of features and is the perfect beginner camera.

Canon SL3/250D Product
(Image: © Tantse Walter)

Our Verdict

A winner for beginners with in-built guides to show users around the camera and image effects reachable from within the camera itself. Decent stills resolution and 4K video make it suited for photography newcomers that want to shoot a bit of everything.

For

  • Creative UI assist is ideal for beginners
  • 24.1MP stills and 4K video offer plenty of detail
  • Lightest DSLR in the world

Against

  • APS-C crop sensor means limited lens choice
  • The plastic casing feels cheap

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3, also known as the 250D outside of the US, is a beginner-friendly, entry-level DSLR camera that performs exceptionally well across the board in all kinds of photography. It’s perfect for portraits when paired with an appropriate lens and has Eye Auto Focus that helps photographers keep the focus on subjects, but is equally adept at shooting landscapes and even astrophotography when utilizing its wide 100 to 25,600 ISO range.

Key specifications

Sensor: APS-C 24.1MP

Lens mount: EF and EF-S

ISO range: 100-25,600 (expandable to 51,200)

Video: 4K 25p inter-frame

Weight: 459g

Memory card slots: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-1 compatible

It can shoot 24.1MP stills at a max burst speed of 5FPS, which is fast enough for most photography newbies and can even do pretty well at capturing basic wildlife and action images (though don't expect anything extraordinary in that area).

In-built user interface aids and creative effects set this camera apart from the rest of the Canon line-up, supporting beginner photographers every step of the way. Its vari-angle touchscreen is versatile and helpful in all shooting situations.

There's a reason this excellent APS-C crop sensor Canon appears on our best cameras list and in our best beginner cameras guide. Not sure if the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is right for you? Perhaps one of the best mirrorless cameras might take your fancy. But to find out if the EOS Rebel SL3 is the one, read on.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3: Design

  • Feels comfortable and chunky in the hand, even for kids 
  • The compact design makes it extremely portable

A rear view of the camera with the var-angle screen flipped out showing a dog

Image shows rear of the camera with vari-angle screen flipped out (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

The first and most obvious advantage of the lightest DSLR in the world is its compact design. Small and chunky, it has elegant curves which reach around the front of the camera body, which feels like it gives a nod to the higher-end cinema cameras that Canon also produces. It has a legitimate high-end DSLR feel thanks to the relatively deep hand grip and solidity of settings dials and shutter release button, though it's not too big to fit into smaller hands either, making it ideal for younger children to use.

Because of the space-saving that Canon has had to do on this small DSLR, there are some areas in which we felt the design could be improved. For instance, it seems that in a bid to drop the height of the camera the connection ports on the side of the camera have been split left and right. The external remote release port and 3.5mm microphone port on the left of the camera sit in the familiar location but the mini-HDMI and micro USB ports are over on the right, frustratingly sitting smack-bang in the middle of where we'd put our hand to hold the camera. Though, arguably this shouldn't be too much of an issue because if you're tethering or shooting to an external monitor it's likely the Rebel SL3 will be mounted on a tripod anyway.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3: Performance

  • Automatic exposure and autofocus in video mode are great 
  • Dynamic range is good but struggles in areas 
  • Shooting FPS is adequate for beginners

A view of the camera screen showing the guide mode

The guide mode is especially handy for beginners (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

For budding photographers and videographers that need something small and light the EOS Rebel SL3 (250D) is a great contender. Shooting stills photographs at 5FPS the camera can keep up with most of the action as kids whizz through the garden or hobbyist motorsports events. Of course, it'll never compete with the likes of the EOS 5D Mark IV or the EOS 1D-X Mark II, but for its demographic it's perfect. Though, we'd like the buffer a little bigger as we found the camera chokes up after eight shots.

A useable ISO range spanning from 100 to 25,600 is useful for low light shooting and particularly for astro. Though due to the inherent issues with crop-sensor cameras including high ISO noise, it may struggle to perform taking clear astrophotographs. Astro is certainly doable though, with the aid of noise reduction software.

A night sky photograph taken with the Rebel SL3 shows ursa major

Astrophotography with the SL3 is better than we thought it would be (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

The stand-out features come in the form of Guided UI and Creative Assist modes which make it simple to operate the camera without having to crack open the manual. Guided UI is actually incredibly helpful, not just for the photo uninitiated, but for anyone picking up this camera for the first time. It displays helpful diagrams and descriptions for menu items as well as camera shooting information on the rear screen.

Creative Assist mode is essentially a treasure chest of in-camera image manipulation tools that affect shots in different ways. Some examples include Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, Miniature effect, and HDR art. This is particularly handy for those that don't wish to spend much, if any, time processing their photos in image-editing software. Though anyone wishing to edit their photos in the future may want to refrain from this as images are saved as JPEG only in Creative Assist mode which means effects cannot be undone. To shoot RAW users have to switch to another mode like manual or aperture value.

A close-up photograph of a poppy flower with detail around the stamen

Close up of a poppy showing the detail the SL3 can pick out (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

Canon EOS Rebel SL3: Functionality

  •  The lift-up pop-up flash is elegantly simple 
  •  The vari-angle screen is helpful for awkward shooting positions 
  •  Touchscreen controls make it easy to change settings

Sample image of a white dog taken with the Canon SL3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 meters well in daylight with the bright white highlights of this dog rendered perfectly (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

Day-to-day the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a remarkably easy-to-use camera that doesn't disappoint when it comes to image quality. The vari-angle touchscreen makes it easy to shoot in awkward positions, whether trying to capture images from above the heads of a crowd or down low at the flowers in the park. Camera settings can be controlled on the rear screen or via the buttons on the body.

The pop-up flash functions elegantly with a simple lip on either side of the front and raises with a simple flick up with a finger. We prefer this over other pop-up flash designs which depend on a more complicated button and release catch mechanism.

Image showing the result of the in-camera fish eye effect

The in-camera fish eye effect gives a distorted, close-up view of this lupin flower (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

Dials are suitably textured for easy control in all weathers and the rubber grip around the hand grip feels safe in the hand, but we do wish there was some kind of texturized rubber on the other side of the body, instead replaced with more of the smooth plastic.

Capturing portraits in focus is now a doddle thanks to the upgraded autofocusing system that features Eye Auto Focus, taking the onus off the photographer and putting it squarely in control of the camera. Autofocusing, while not blisteringly fast, impresses across the board in areas with plenty of natural light and operates competently during video recording as well.

Should you buy the Canon EOS Rebel SL3?

Day-to-day, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a remarkably easy-to-use camera that doesn't disappoint when it comes to image quality. The vari-angle touchscreen makes it easy to shoot in awkward positions, whether trying to capture images from above the heads of a crowd or down low at the flowers in the park. Camera settings can be controlled on the rear screen or via the buttons on the body.

The pop-up flash functions elegantly with a simple lip on either side of the front and raises with a simple flick up with a finger. We prefer this over other pop-up flash designs which depend on a more complicated button and release catch mechanism.

A close-up photograph of daisies shining in the midday sun

The vari-angle touchscreen allows for easy set up of interesting compositions (Image credit: Tantse Walter)

Dials are suitably textured for easy control in all weathers and the rubber grip around the hand grip feels safe in the hand, but we do wish there was some kind of texturized rubber on the other side of the body, instead replaced with more of the smooth plastic.

Capturing portraits in focus is now a doddle thanks to the upgraded autofocusing system that features Eye Auto Focus, taking the onus off the photographer and putting it squarely in control of the camera. Autofocusing, while not blisteringly fast, impresses across the board in areas with plenty of natural light and operates competently during video recording as well.

If this product isn’t for you

Aimed at the beginner market, this entry-level DSLR isn’t suitable for everyone, especially for the more experienced or those needing to push their camera harder.

For intermediate photographers and videographers, we'd recommend taking a look at the Canon EOS 6D Mark II which is a full-frame (rather than crop-sensor) camera and pushes shooting stills up to 6.5FPS.

However, for professionals or those wanting to go even further with their photography the ultimate has to be either the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (opens in new tab) or the Canon EOS 1D-X Mark III (opens in new tab) which have high FPS burst speeds, excellent speedy autofocusing, and are ruggedly built with full weather sealing so that you can keep shooting in all weathers.  

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Tantse Walter
Tantse Walter

Tantse Walter is a photographer and adventurer that's spent seven years facilitating global adventurous expeditions. She loves getting into the nitty-gritty of sourcing and planning trips. Whether that be for astrophotography location scouting, or just for the love of exploration. Tantse enjoys taking creative, bright and bold photos of people, places, animals and the night sky. Tantse’s photos have been purchased by notable companies such as Ford and Cross Country Trains as well as an upcoming book about the songs, rituals and musical history of Capoeira.