Canon SL1 vs T3I: Which Camera to Use?

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Getting a DSLR is a huge investment and a personal one especially for the photography geeks out there. Canon’s Rebel series include the Canon SL1 and T31. This article will help you decide between the Canon SL1 vs T31. 

Canon SL1 vs T31 General Overview

A part of Canon’s appreciated Rebel series, the Canon T31 and the Canon SL1 are two of the finest cameras out there. Purchasing either of the two is bound to make you love the Canon series. Their popularity stems from the fact that they inherited sensors and shooting technology from older professional DSLRs while being affordable at the same time.

Man holding a Canon camera

Before getting into the specifics, you might like an overview of both cameras to get a hint of what you might be getting into.

Canon SL1 Overview    

When the Canon SL1 came out in March 2013, Canon dubbed it as ‘the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market’.  Although an eight-year-old camera, Canon SL1 has the design and features to compete with the DSLR cameras that are still out there. 


Even though the Canon SL1 is smaller than many of its predecessors, it has managed to retain most of the functions and controls. A dedicated ISO, a front dial, and exposure compensation are all found on this camera like the others have. 

Although a fixed screen, instead of an articulating one, the Canon Sl1, comes with a touch screen which makes it easy for you to navigate around it.

Image Quality

An 18 MP resolution and a full HD 1080 video capture, the SL1 has it all. Not only can you capture images, but it also allows you to shoot videos at your leisure. Its exceptional burst rate, built-in autofocus and shutter speed shoot the highest quality pictures.

Canon T31 Overview

The Canon T31 came out in March 2011. Although it has been more than 10 years since its release, the Canon T31 is considered one of the best entry level cameras out there. Its features and image quality puts its competitors to shame.


The right shoulder of the T31 holds a mode dial with loads of settings for your ease. It takes advantage of its size by including all the essential buttons including the ISO, Q button, horizontal scroll etc. 

The Canon T31 was the first of the rebel series to host an articulated screen. It can flip 180 degrees and is wonderful for shooting videos. If you want to take selfies in HD, this camera should be your go to!

Image Quality

This camera does not only have an 18 Mega pixels camera and video mode (which has the ability to capture videos in 1080 HD), but it has dedicated mode for shooting movies too. The camera shows outstanding results when shooting still images. 

Canon SL1 vs T31 Comparison

We understand if you still have not made up your mind, both the cameras have excellent features, and it is difficult to just choose one. A comparison will allow you to look at their features side by side and make it easy to come to a decision.

Canon T3i


A part of Canon’s revered Rebel series, these cameras have several similarities in their features, design, etc. Some of these similarities are listed below. 

Built-in Flash

If you are a photographer who loves taking photos during nighttime or plan to photograph in studios, you are bound to need a flash in order to enlighten the object. 

Both the Canon SL1 and T31 have built-in flash capabilities which ensure that you capture images of the highest quality, no matter what the lighting of the place is. 

Shutter Speed

Both these cameras have relatively faster shutter speeds. The speeds range from 1/4000 to 30 seconds in both these cameras. This means that you can capture photographs of almost anything. Though it is not fast enough for sports photographers, the speed is sufficient for most of the other photographers.


An autofocus functionality is essential when you are trying to capture objects that appear far off. The Canon SL1 and T31 have an inbuilt autofocus feature which is both silent and fast. These cameras have nine autofocus points which are spread evenly throughout their viewfinders. 

Thanks to its viewfinder, you can capture pictures accurately. This feature is inbuilt and thus, it allows you to zoom in and out on objects which appear far off even without using any lens.


These cameras are part of the Rebel series which means that they share a lot of qualities regarding sensors. They have the same sensor (CMOS), and hence the specifications regarding the size, resolution (5196 x 3464), etc. are also the same. 

The size (surface area) of their sensors is 332.27 mm2.  The size is generally seen as an indication of the quality of the camera. Bigger the sensor size, the better the quality of the pictures

Their lenses, thus also have the same focal length too. Neither of them has a full frame sensor, hence, you get something known as the crop factor. This simply means that the camera size impacts the focal length with a multiplier.

Pixel Area and Pitch

Both the Canon SL1 and T31 have a pixel area of 18.4 and a pixel pitch of 4.29. So, what do these imply? The pixel pitch is an indicator of how close the pixels are to one another. In essence, the larger the pixel pitch, the bigger each pixel is and the further apart they are from one another. 

On the contrary, the pixel area impacts how much light per pixel can be gathered. This means the bigger the pixel, the more light can be collected by it. Larger pixels, in general, can collect more photons, which gives pictures a more dynamic range, while smaller pixels have the ability to provide you with higher resolution.

Canon T3i

Moreover, their resolutions in these cameras are the same too (18 Megapixels).


These cameras allow you to capture high-definition (HD) videos at various speeds and sizes. You can capture these videos in MOV format.  Hence, you can use these cameras for taking pictures and videos alike. The only thing holding you back is the storage capacity.

Some other similarities include:

  • The availability of a single memory card slot in both. You can use SDXC, SDHC, SD memory cards in these cameras.
  • They have a live view and a 3-inch display. You have the option to choose from several traditional and scenic modes to capture images. 


The constantly changing technology, and the fact that these cameras were released in different years means that they ought to have slight differences. The differences would allow you to weigh the features in a better way. Though slight, the differences are listed below. 

ISO Range

The ISO ranges in the Canon SL1 and T31 are 100-12800 (expandable to 25600) and 100-6400 (expandable to 2800) respectively. A large ISO increases the noise of the image taken and thus results in a poor-quality image. You would get a chunky-looking image by using a high ISO.


Released two years after its competitor, the SL1 has an advanced DIGIC 5 processor compared to the slightly older T31’s DIGIC 4. This difference means that the SL1 can capture up to four pictures per second while the T31 can shoot 3.7 pictures per second. 

The difference might seem slight but can mean a lot for someone who loves wildlife photography and wants to take advantage of a moment.

Dimensions and Weight

These cameras have significant differences when it comes to dimension and weight. The SL1 has dimensions measuring 4.6 x 3.57 x 2.74 whereas the SL1 measures 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1. Although these might not seem significant in numbers, when compared side by side, the SL1 looks quite smaller.

Similarly, the SL1 is lighter in weight too. It weighs 13.06 ounces which is significantly lighter compared to the T31’s 18.2 ounces. 

This all is noteworthy because a smaller size and light weight make the SL1 convenient to use and handle. However, some users might find these dimensions too small for their hands. 

Movie Recording  

Although both these cameras have the ability to record videos, the T31 has a dedicated movie recording function. This allows you to capture videos in cinema-quality. Additionally, you have the option to turn a sequence of shots in your camera into a short role. 

On the other hand, the SL1 comes without this feature. Although you can capture videos, it does not allow you to capture full-length films like its competitor. 

Woman holding a Canon SL1

Major Distinguishing Feature

The one major difference between the Canon SL1 and T31 is their screens. Although the SL1 has a fixed screen, it more than makes up for this by its ability to navigate the screen through touch. The touch screen allows you to access the camera’s features easily by simply clicking on the screen.

On the contrary, the Canon T31 comes with an articulating screen. This means that the screen can be rotated with ease according to the photographer’s preference. Hence, they can capture images in complicated angles, without having to place their bodies in those angles. 

When to Use the Canon SL1

Although the camera can be used any time of the day, the countless features outlined above make the Canon SL1 perfect for use in several circumstances.  


The compact size of the Canon SL1, while not compromising on the quality makes it almost perfect for people who love to travel. Packing bags is a great hassle when preparing to travel, and the weight restriction on airplanes limits you even more. You just need to wrap this camera in a t-shirt, and you are good to go. Happy travels!

Wildlife Photography

The fast and silent autofocus of the Canon SL1 and its ability to capture more pictures per second makes it a great camera for wildlife photography. The compact size is a cherry on top because it allows the photographer to be agile. So, if you love taking pictures of animals, the Canon T31 is the camera for you!

When to Use the Canon T31

Even though the Canon T31 came out earlier and is thought of as the relatively less technologically advanced, it is impeccable for use in the events outlined below.


The Canon T31 has an exclusive movie recording feature. If you are looking to capture a short film or shoot a movie for a project or YouTube channel, this camera is made for you. The articulating screen just adds to the fun. It allows you to capture videos from all sorts of angles. So, shoot away!


The fact that the Canon T31 came out earlier, means that it is priced lower than its competitor. Hence, if you are a photographer who is just starting out, or are on a tight budget, this camera might be the one for you. While priced lower, it does not compromise when it comes to features and is hence a great choice.

Which Camera Is Better?

Now that you have gone through the overview, comparisons, and features, you might have a slight idea of which camera suits you. If not, you need to look at what you need the camera for. 

Yes, the Canon SL1 has a slightly better burst rate and yes, it has a touch screen, but do these impact you in any way? If not, the Canon T31 is clearly the better choice. Not only does it allow you to shoot movies, but it also has an articulating screen which is an asset when it comes to shooting in difficult angles, and comes with a lower price tag too! 

However, it again depends on you. The slightly better burst rate might come into handy when you plan to shoot in nature.  Hence, sort out your objectives and go for the best!


Getting a DSLR might be a bit of a hassle when you are not sure what to buy. Sometimes going through the internet results in an overload of information which confuses you even more. We hope this article helps you in making your decision. Just pick the right one, and shoot away!