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T3i or SL1? Please help.

heathrli
Contributor

Hi all,

 

I am a COMPLETE beginning at DSLR's meaning I've spent most of my life shooting on my Sony Cybershot P&S and my iPhone. But I am an avid photographer and would like to enhance my photography skills as well as be able to take higher quality photos (please omit any responses about "the photographer makes a difference" in terms of photo quality, I know this).

 

I would REALLY appreciate any input and/or some direction as to which entry level DSLR I should invest in to kick off my life as an amateur photographer. 

 

I've narrowed down between the SL1 and T3i. I've also considered the Nikon D5200 (I know this is a Canon forum), but just wanted to put that out there.

 

My top priorities in what I'm looking for are:

a) ability to capture fast motion (e.g. sports, people dancing)
b) ability to take pictures at night (e.g. the moon)
c) focus efficiency (i.e. ability to control where to focus, as well as AUTO focus during video, macro focus)
d) lightweight and portability (this is very important to me since I am a tiny girl who does not like to carry around heavy things. I don't even own a purse).
e) Still photo quality (more than video quality)
f) user friendly/ergonomic/intuitive controls 
 
My main use for my new camera will be leisure photo taking (i.e. vacations, travel, events, friends, close ups of flowers, birds, etc). I am not looking into professional photos or selling my captures, and I also do not edit/photoshop my pictures to enhance them. 
 
I hope this has given a good idea of what I'm looking for and how basic of a photographer I am. 🙂 
 
I compared the two cameras in-store (very briefly, didn't get to test the T3i) and was really impressed with the SL1. But the T3i seems to be better reviewed online, although it has been out 2 years longer than the SL1. I would like a better understanding of the ability of these two cameras.... 
 
Any input would be appreciated! Thank you soo much. 🙂
Also sorry if anything I said is "stupid". I'm just learning photography jargon as well. 🙂 
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Skirball
Authority

The SL1's claim to fame is the size.  So if that's a factor for you (d), then you kind of have your answer.  Performance wise they are very similar.  The T3i doesn't have continuous autofocus for video, which you also want.  The T3i actually is highly regarded for its video (compared to Canon dSLRs), however you need to install a 3rd party software called Magic Lantern.  I'm going to assume you don't want to mess with that.  I'd say the SL1 is your camera.

View solution in original post

4 REPLIES 4

Skirball
Authority

The SL1's claim to fame is the size.  So if that's a factor for you (d), then you kind of have your answer.  Performance wise they are very similar.  The T3i doesn't have continuous autofocus for video, which you also want.  The T3i actually is highly regarded for its video (compared to Canon dSLRs), however you need to install a 3rd party software called Magic Lantern.  I'm going to assume you don't want to mess with that.  I'd say the SL1 is your camera.

All very helpful, thanks so much for your response! I got the SL1, and I'm in love. 😄

Skirball
Authority

I don’t know anything about the Nikon 5200, and last I looked at entry level SLRs from Canon and Nikon they were essentially the same.  However, personally I believe that Nikon has better mid-level offering at the moment.  Unfortunately you don’t know how the situation will be in the future if you’re looking to upgrade.  Canon is a great company, and has really good lenses, but they’re showing their corporate side when it comes to camera development.  Some of the new guys like Sony have models that just smash what Canon is offering for a similar price.

 

All that said, I'm just nitpicking details.  Both companies make great cameras.

gah80
Apprentice

 

We filmed 2 videos using a Canon t3i with Magic Lantern firmware and were able to get some stunning results!

 

The first video was filmed in the souk of Beirut:

 

The second is a stop-motion shot at night with at least 4 seconds of open exposure and heavy laser play:

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