The Canon SL3 is an excellent camera for creating tutorials, online course creation for Skillshare or Teachable and making any sort of talking head video. It's also a good camera for stills, nothing to write home about but it can get the job done in the hands of a skilled photographer.
My old SL3 has made me thousands of dollars through my website tutorial channel. But for vlogging? I hated it and in this post I'm going to help you understand the pros and cons of the Canon SL3.
Birth of a casual travel vlogger
I started my casual travel vlogging channel with a video shot on a 4 mega pixel phone in landscape - yea, really terrible. But I was hooked to making videos. So I read up on what the best vlogging cameras were for YouTube at the time and everyone and their grandmother said the G7X was the best camera for YouTube.
So I got the G7X and it was pretty decent but it's limitations quickly grew on me. First the audio of the original G7X was pathetic. It is nowhere near as good as the Sony X3000 (my current vlogging camera). Second was how tight the shot was on the face. I really wanted a wider angle look.
Canon SL3 and the 10-18mm dream
While I was in Korea I ended up selling my G7X and I bought the Canon SL2. Functionally the same as the SL3. The main difference with this newer version is the ability to shoot in 4k as it's pretty ridiculous the old SL2 could not record in 4k in 2020 but an action camera from 2016 (the X3000) can.
The Canon SL3 is an overall excellent starter camera and the smallest DSLR in the world. This camera produces video quality on par with the bigger and more expensive 90D and is ideal if you’re wanting to create online courses, talking head, presentation style videos and vlogs where you’re stationary.
Next I bought Canon's 10-18mm wide angle lens so I could finally get the attractive, fun, wide angle look for vlogging. I thought I was set as I had everything I needed to create the vlogs I wanted to.
Why the Canon SL3 is not for vlogging
My main issue with the SL3 is it’s lack of stabilization. You need a gimbal to get smooth video out of this camera. Unlike the M50 which at least has digital stabilization the Sl3 has nothing. That means you’re not able to walk and talk with this camera or do point of view shots.
Well technically you can, but you’re going to be very unhappy and frustrated with how shaky and unprofessional your video clips will come out. This is why for content creators I strongly suggest getting an action camera like the GoPro, Sony X3000 or use a modern iPhone.
The SL3 is a great camera, it's just too annoying to work with when trying to create a vlog to the point where it's not fun to use.
The SL3 is the smallest DSLR in the world with big lenses EF-Mount Lenses
This is not a mirrorless camera, as such the body is a bit bigger than a mirrorless camera. Personally, it’s actually quite comfortable in the hands and light, but the lenses for the camera are the classic EF mount lenses which tend to be bigger and heaver than their mirrorless counterparts.
As such, this camera with a lens and microphone mounted on a tripod is going to be a fairly heavy setup. If you’re looking for something light with a wide angle again go with an action camera
I found it annoying and not particularly fun to vlog on a Canon SL3 simply because it was too bulky and annoying to lug around all day. Combined with super shaky video footage, I was quit disappointed with this camera for vlogging.
How good is the 4k on a Canon SL3?
The 4k is solid and quit impressive given that this is a budget camera. The issue however is that it has a 1.6X crop so when vlogging you’ll need a super wide angle lens like the 10-18mm. Otherwise, with the standard 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the Camera, it’s going to be way too tight on the face, even if you put it on a tripod and sit away from the camera.
If however you intend to use a lapel mic, are fine with having the camera being pushed back far from you, don't intend on moving the camera and don't mind manual focus then I guess you could use the 4k recording mode with the Sl3. But that sounds like such a headache to me to the point where you should probably just get the Canon 90D if you want to record in 4k.
In addition, ike a lot of budget cameras, it does tend to overheat in 4k but it’s not as bad as the infamous G7X Mark iii.
SL2 mistake is why the SL3 exists
As the SL2 came out in 2017, it noticeably lacked the ability to shoot in 4k which at the time was a weird cripple as phones and action cameras recorded in 4k. Canon has a track record of pointlessly limiting their cameras so to most experienced creators this was no surprise.
But as the SL2 was a popular camera for use with EF-Mount lenses, but the lack of 4k was going to cripple sales so Canon decided to do a quick update which is why the SL3 exists today.
Lens selection for the Canon SL3
If you do decide to get the SL3 and have no intentions of moving the camera, there are some pretty great native EF-lens you can get. Our personal favorites for this camera body are:
- 18-55mm zoom lens (this is the kit lens)
- 10-18mm super wide
- 24mm pancake lens
- Sigma 18-35
18-55 The kit lens
This lens has an aperture of 4.0 to 5.6. It’s small than the older 3.5-5.6 version but it performs worse in low light. As a standard kit lens, it comes with your purchase and is useful for getting some useful b-roll shots due to being able to zoom in and out of subjects easily.
10-18mm super wide
This wide angle lens is one of the biggest selling points for getting this budget DSLR camera. It’s not particularly expensive when compared to comparable wide angle lenses on other systems, the focus is quite and it’s ridiculously wide. You’ll love it for vlogging.
The only drawback is that you can’t get any type of subject separation from the background. Everything is in focus so if you want some bokeh in your clips, this won’t do it.
24mm pancake lens
While you can technically zoom into 24mm with the kit lens, a pancake lens will always just look better. The 24mm lens is small and pairs really well with the 250D. It provides decent bokeh and it ideal if you’re wanting to talk into the camera in a studio setting.
Sigma 18-35mm lens
This is the best lens made for this system. It has a low 1.8 aperture so you can get that nice blurry background when recording. It's a big and heavy lens however and impossible to vlog with unless you're going to be using a gimbal to balance the camera.
Vlogging specific features of the Canon SL3 / 250D
Now the Canon 250d / SL3 does have a lot of helpful features vlogging requires so let’s cover some of our favorites. First, this camera comes with a helpful flip out screen so you can frame yourself. More ideal if you’re doing some type of studio recording, a flip out screen is still helpful when walking and talking in the camera so you can see what your audience sees.
Next, this flip out screen is a touch screen. Not a big deal as touch screens are standard and expected, but it’s still something to take note of. In addition, the microphone shoe mount is on top of the camera body. This is great because the flip out screen flips out to the side and the microphone can be positioned on top.
Last, this camera comes with the ability to shot in various frame rates and comes with a lot of fun built in modes to create dynamic clips. One mode we really like is the “minature” mode which is sort of a weird looking slow motion shot.
Canon auto focus is amazing
The Canon 250D / SL3 comes with dual pixel autofocus. In short, this focus feature of the camera just works and you’ll always be in focus in your clips.
For a lot of beginner vloggers who are used to creating videos with their phone, you’ll be surprised by how poor some cameras are when it comes to focusing on you. In particular the G7X Mark iii has terrible auto focus. One second you’re in focus, then the next minute the camera is focusing on the tree behind you.
With the Canon 250D / SL3 you’ll never have to worry about being out of focus.
Canon SL3 / 250D for Vlogging Conclusion
All in all, this is a great starter camera is is perfect for anyone looking to get started creating talking head videos or online courses. As a vlogging camera, it’s just a mediocre choice. While it does have nice colors, autofocus and a fairly small body, the lack of stabilization and the fact that it uses older EF lenses (which are big and heavy) makes this a less than ideal choice for on the go vlogging.
I personally love using action cameras for vlogging due to their stabilization, light weight form factor and that wide angle look.
*Example of using the Canon SL3. I'm walking slowly and carefully and it's still super shaky.