Canon EOS Rebel SL1 VS Sony a6000: Which Camera Should You Buy

Welcome to My Review of Canon EOS Rebel SL1 vs Sony a6000.

In this article, I hope to shed light on two big players in the digital camera industry to help you figure out the facts, and choose the camera that’s perfect for your needs. Canon and Sony often go head-to-head in comparison articles because of the quality of their equipment. So between these two, which is better, Canon EOS Rebel SL1 or Sony a6000? Read on to find out.

Specifications

Canon SL1

Sony a6000

Auto-focus

9 contrast points

25 contrast points

Battery life

380 shots

360 shots

Continuous shooting

4 frames per second

11 frames per second

ISO range

100 - 12,800

100 - 25,600

Video top-end capability

1080p @ 30fps

1080p @ 60fps

LCD display

Touchscreen, fixed

Non-touchscreen, tilting

Weight

407 grams

344 grams

Mount type

EF mount

E mount

Image capture system

Digital Single Lens Reflex

Mirrorless

Sensor Specifications

APS-C, ~18 megapixels

APS-C, ~24 megapixels

Rating

Price

Canon SL1

Canon is a Japanese company founded in 1934, well-known and respected in the camera, optics, and imaging industries. Since their beginning innovative days, they have pushed the market with consistently high quality products across each new industry they have entered.

You will see their products in hospitals, on movie sets, and incorporate environments alike. So an entry level camera made by Canon is sure to be of a good, quality build.

The Canon SL1 is the prosumer entry camera for those looking for a step up from their phone cameras. It offers more simplicity and affordability, in comparison to higher end models with more features, and an upgrade in customization and variable control, as compared to smartphone cameras.

The SL1 offers unparalleled lens choices available from many different lens companies on the market, seeing as the brand and its particular EF mount has been available for many years. In addition, many consumers are used to touchscreens in their daily life, and Canon takes this into account when they made their display touch-sensitive.

Specifications:

  • Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR)
  • Canon EF mount
  • 17.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Max at 1080p/30fps video
  • ISO range: 100 - 12,800
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 3.0 LCD display - 1040 pixels
  • Fixed touchscreen
  • 4 frame per second continuous shooting capacity
  • 380 shots on full battery
  • 407 gram weight

Pros:

  • More lens choices available on the market for Canon EF mount
  • Touchscreen display
  • Larger and higher resolution LCD display
  • Heavier feel, ergonomic design

Cons:

  • Cannot do 60 frames per second video in 1080p
  • Touchscreen does not telescope out
Sony a6000

Sony is yet another fascinating Japanese brand, created in 1946, that provides their handiwork to many media sectors. From televisions, to microwaves, to cinema cameras, Sony is among the most well-known brands across the world. Made popular by their high quality builds at affordable prices, Sony is a brand that many trust.

Although a relatively new brand to the digital camera market, the Sony a6000 is no exception, as their prosumer entry level photo/video camera is well regarded. With the price point it is sold at and the features it offers, the a6000 makes for a tempting choice.

The Sony a6000 camera and Sony camera sensors in general are known in the industry for their strong low light shooting capabilities. Their sensors are well-suited to darker sets with a higher sensitivity rating than most other options at this price point. Although it is not touch-sensitive, the screen’s tilting ability is highly useful to get different angles on your shots.

Specifications:

  • Mirrorless system
  • Sony E mount
  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Max at 1080p/60fps video
  • ISO range: 100 - 25,600
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 3.0 LCD display - 922 pixels
  • Tilting screen (not touchscreen)
  • 11 frame per second continuous shooting capacity
  • 360 shots on full battery
  • 344 gram weight

Pros:

  • Better low light shooting sensitivity
  • Tilting display
  • 11 frame burst capacity
  • 60 frames per second video at 1080p

Cons:

  • Display is not touch-sensitive
  • Fewer lens options available on the market

Face to Face

Image Capture System

Image Capture System

So the biggest difference between these two solid cameras is the imaging capture system that each camera is built upon. The Canon SL1 is a DSLR, or Digital Single Lens Reflex, which essentially opens the shutter for a fixed amount of time, exposing the camera's sensor to a mirror that reflects the image coming in through the lens.

Sorry for the explanation, but considering that DSLR technology is tried and true, and has been an established image capturing system for a while now, it gives it an older technology compared to the Sony a6000.

The a6000 is a mirrorless capturing system, which gives the camera body an overall lighter weight, similar optic strength, and a more compact design. Additionally, with fewer mechanisms inside, there is less to break too potentially.

For the new technology and its successful implementation, we have to give the edge here to the Sony a6000, by a slim margin.

Winner: Sony a6000

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Lens Mount

Lens Mount

Any camera geek will gush endlessly about lenses and how important they are to your "look."  They aren't wrong, but when you're getting started, there are so many lenses to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming. There are some pitfalls to avoid, and one of them is the proper lens for your camera's specific lens mount.

The Canon SL1 has Canon’s standard EF mount.  Seeing as the DSLR is established technology at this point, many years of EF dedicated lenses have been manufactured from many brands worldwide. That means with the Canon SL1, you have your pick of so many different EF mount lenses out there.  What a huge creative bonus that is!

The Sony a6000, on the other hand, utilizes a newer E mount.  Unfortunately, due to its very recent birth, there are far fewer lens choices available on the market for the E mount. Meaning, you will have fewer creative choices, though the ones available should work for just about any of your needs with this camera.

It’s hard to take out the option with the most options, so we have to give the edge to the Canon SL1 on this one.

Winner: Canon SL1

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Sensor Specifications

Sensor Specifications

The camera’s sensor is the part of the camera that all of its processing and energy is used to help. The sensor is the digital receptor that processes all of the light coming in through the lens.

Both the Canon SL1 and the Sony a6000 use an APS-C sized sensor, as well as CMOS processing to deliver the information to the camera’s computer. Since both use the same size crop sensor, the big difference here is the megapixel content.

The Canon SL1 clocks in at around 18 megapixels, while the Sony a6000 comes in around 24 megapixels. The megapixels relate to the amount of digital information the sensor can process, so without getting too nerdy into it, more is better in this regard.

We give the edge to the Sony a6000 for its high megapixel APS-C sensor.

Winner: Sony a6000

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Video Abilities

Video Abilities

Many photographers are also videographers, and vice versa.  So having the proper video capabilities in a digital camera you need is a must for some.

When we say 1080p, the prefers to progressive, which, once again to avoid unnecessary nerdiness, is better than interlaced. And when we say 60fps, the fps stands for "frames per second," where the number is the highest amount the camera is capable of - the higher the better.

The Canon SL1 comes in with a maximum video capability of 1080p at 30fps, while the Sony a6000 maxes out at 1080p at 60fps.  The ability of the Sony to capture at a higher frame rate gives it a big edge.

For this reason, we give the edge to the Sony a6000.

Winner: Sony a6000

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Sensor Sensitivity

Sensor Sensitivity

Sensor sensitivity refers to the cameras ability to handle low-light situations without altering the image too heavily.

In this category, we look at ISO, which the unit of measurement within a camera to make the sensor more sensitive to light. The higher the ISO, the more help you give the camera to process the darker image, but in doing so you also introduce more grain to the captured image.

The Canon SL1 has an ISO range of 100 - 12,800, while the Sony has an ISO range of 100 - 25,600. The Sony also has a higher threshold of graininess, meaning you can push the ISO higher before you introduce more grain.

Due to these factors, we have to give a clear edge to Sony for its low-light sensor sensitivity.

Winner: Sony a6000

Auto-focus

Auto-focus

Auto-focus is usually judged on a couple items:

How quickly the auto-focus engages (i.e. the lag time)

How many points of focus the auto-focus uses to understand the focal point of the image

The Canon SL1 offers 9 points of autofocus, with a response time a bit on the slower side when a subject is moving. The Sony a6000 gives us 25 points of autofocus, and a response time geared well for subjects in motion.

Depending on your usual photo situations, each camera can get the job done if put in the right position.

That said, we still have to give the edge to the Sony a6000 for its versatility in this category.

Winner: Sony a6000

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Display

Display

When you are out and about on shoots, there are some features that just make your life a little bit easier. You wouldn’t say they are deal-breakers, but when you have it, it’s just clutch.

The LCD display on the back of the camera has that kind of sway.

The Canon SL1 comes equipped with a 3.0 LCD touchscreen display with a size of 1040p. Meanwhile, the Sony a6000 comes handy with a tilting 3.0 LCD non-touch sensitive display at a 922p size.

It would appear that Canon targeted the convenience of a touch screen, and its relationship to the smartphone we virtually all have as a selling point. On the other hand, Sony went with a bit of a creative photographer's touch by including the tilting screen. The tilting screen comes in clutch when trying to get photo angles higher or lower than eye height.

This is a bit of a toss up, so we will award a tie to both cameras in this category.

Winner: Tie

Battery Life

Most photographers who are serious about their craft, know they will have to buy many spare batteries for their cameras. After all, you don’t want to find yourself at the right location at the right time - with a dying battery.

That said, battery life can be an important aspect of the camera’s design to take into account.

The Canon SL1 offers 380 shots per full charge, while the Sony a6000 offers 360 shots per full charge. Not a big gap, but enough to give the SL1 the win here.

Winner: Canon SL1

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Form and Fit

Form and Fit

If you do indeed end up loving photography, or videography, and you bring your camera around with you everywhere. The way it feels in your hand and up to your eye is going to become more and more pronounced. So while a new photographer may not notice the weight or fit too much, a more experienced one most definitely will.

The Canon SL1 comes in with a weight of 407 grams, while the Sony a6000 weighs in at 344 grams. Much of this has to do with the DSLR vs mirrorless form that we discussed earlier, but considering the SL1 is a DSLR, 407g is not bad.

The Canon takes on a slightly more ergonomic, rounded fit. With a minorly larger handhold and thumb grip, the SL1 gives a little more meat. The Sony a6000 has a slender, minimalist look and fit.  With just enough handhold and thumb grip to offer stability, it does not get high marks for this aspect.

Despite the Sony being lighter overall, the ergonomics of the Canon SL1 get the edge from us.

Winner: Canon SL1

Stand Out Features

The Canon SL1 and the Sony a6000 are both great entry level prosumer cameras. For a novice photographer, you can't really go wrong with either. But in case you want to dig a little deeper to find something specific that you know you will need, here is a comparison of the stand out features of each camera.

The Canon SL1:

  • Has a touchscreen LCD display
  • This is ideal for choosing focus points by touch, instead of by joystick
  • Is more similar to existing smartphone technology
  • Has the EF mount with its plethora of lens options
  • EF mount an established mount type for many years, with a robust build
  • Many legacy lenses available from many companies
  • Will help with cost of lenses due to high supply

The Sony a6000:

  • Mirrorless image capture system
  • Reduces the weight of both the body and the lenses
  • Newer technology that has swept the industry, is the future of cameras at present
  • Fewer moving parts means less to break and fix
  • Has a robust auto-focus
  • With 25 points of contrast auto-focus, is industry-leading at this price point
  • Best in price range for subject tracking in both photo and video
  • Great for single-shooting situations
  • Better low-light sensor sensitivity
  • Wider ISO range: 100 - 25,600
  • Lower sensor noise threshold: Up to ISO 800
  • Less light needed to get a clearer image

The way that each of these cameras compare to one another is interesting because it sets itself up for pretty clear preferences. Both are good ways to go about it, so long as you understand what you want.

In Conclusion

Go for the Canon SL1 if:

  • You have EF mount lenses or know you want a wide variety of lenses to choose from
  • You want a more ergonomic, comfortable camera body
  • You want a touchscreen display
  • You want to stick with tried and true DSLR technology
  • Try out the Canon SL1 if you prefer convenience and established technology.

Go for the Sony a6000 if:

  • You want to try new mirrorless technology
  • You want an overall lighter camera setup
  • You want a tilting display for more diverse shooting angles
  • You want to shoot in low-light situations with better results
  • You need subject-tracking auto-focus as a requirement
  • You want a more robust auto-focus system overall
  • You need a higher video frame rate (i.e. 60fps)
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