Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
    T5i 275 pixels wide.jpg
  • 18-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor
  • DIGIC 5 image processor
  • ISO 100-12800
  • Full 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Built-in Stereo Microphone
  • Manual Audio Level Adjustment
  • 3.0-inch Vari-Angle Touch Screen LCD display
  • 5 frames per second high speed burst shooting
  • Hybrid CMOS Auto Focus (AF) System
  • Stepping Motor Technology (STM)
  • Live Mode
  • Known as 700D in some parts of the world
Pros
  • Image quality is very high
  • Extremely fast performance in Viewfinder mode
  • Very fast start-up
  • Articulated, high-resolution LCD is nice feature for shooting with a tripod
  • Touchscreen LCD makes it easy to control camera for beginners
  • Ports included for both HDMI and microphone
  • Full HD video output is good
  • When paired with STM Canon lens, autofocus is quiet when shooting video
  • Noise is minimal in JPEG up to ISO levels as high as 3200
  • Both RAW and JPEG options available
  • Strong kit lens included with T5i
  • Right handgrip is a good size and camera is easy to hold and use
  • Very sturdy build quality
  • Offered at a lower introductory price than the T4i was last year
Cons
  • Not enough improvements from Rebel T4i
  • Autofocus works too slowly in Live View mode, creating significant shutter lag
  • Although autofocus in video mode is improved from past Rebels, it's still slow
  • Autofocus illuminator lamp only works when the flash is engaged
  • Camera's on-screen menus should have been reworked to take advantage of touchscreen
  • No Wi-Fi capability
  • Battery life could be better, especially in Live View mode
  • Battery will drain quickly when shooting movies
  • Large and heavy camera body may not appeal to everyone
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.7 seconds 
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus in Viewfinder mode = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus in Live View mode = 1.6 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay in Viewfinder mode without flash = 0.6 seconds between frames
  • Shot to shot delay in Viewfinder mode with flash = 0.7 seconds between frames
  • Shot to shot delay in Live View mode without flash = 5.0 seconds with minimum review time On; 4.1 seconds with minimum review time Off
  • Shot to shot delay in Live View mode with flash = 6.1 seconds with minimum review time On; 5.1 seconds with minimum review time Off
  • Continuous Shot Mode = 10 frames in 2.3 seconds @ 18M
  • All tests were taken using a PNY Class 10, 4 GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, Flash off, Review on, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Rebel T5i is called the upgrade to Canon's Rebel T4i DSLR camera from last year, but it's more like a very close sibling. Canon only made a few changes to the T5i versus the T4i. This fact makes it unlikely that Rebel T4i owners will want to consider the T5i. Anyone else looking for an entry-level DSLR camera, though, will want to give the Rebel T5i a close look as it is a strong contender versus others in its price range. If you plan on using the optical viewfinder most of the time, the T5i's performance is going to be outstanding. For movies and shooting still images in Live View mode, though, the T5i's delays and fast battery drain are a bit frustrating. If you can live with these drawbacks and if you don't mind a large and heavy camera body, the Rebel T5i will serve you well ... as long as you don't already own the Rebel T4i.
Pick This Up If...
You don't already own the very similar Rebel T4i, you want a strong entry-level DSLR, and you're not looking for a smaller DSLR camera body, such as is found with the Rebel SL1. 
Canon's well-known EOS Rebel line of cameras consistently has been among the leaders in the entry-level DSLR market, as the Rebel's mix of user-friendly options and high-quality photography features work well for those who are looking for a beginner-level DSLR camera.

And Canon's Rebel cameras have been strong contenders for several years, offering quite a few different models, ranging from the original Digital Rebel back in 2003 to the Rebel T1i in 2009 to last year's Rebel T4i.

Now Canon has released the EOS Rebel T5i, purportedly as an upgrade to the T4i. However, it doesn't appear as though the Rebel T5i offers a significant number of advantages over what the T4i offered, which makes it difficult to recommend the new model to those who already own the T4i.

Both cameras feature Canon's DIGIC 5 processor, which is an upgrade to the DIGIC 4 processor used in the Rebel T3i. Both the T4i and T5i offer an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, an articulated touchscreen LCD, 9-point AF, and ISOs up to 12800. The two cameras almost look identical too, from the placement of the buttons on the back of the camera to the location of the screws on the front of the camera. The two models are almost an identical size and weight. The labels on the two cameras' mode dials are a bit different ... and, of course, the labels signifying the model name on the front of the cameras are different.

While there are a few subtle differences between the T4i and T5i (called the 700D in some parts of the world), they shouldn't be enough to entice most T4i owners to make the switch. Those with older Rebel cameras, however, undoubtedly will find a lot to like about the T5i, which is a really strong camera.

Even though the APS-C CMOS image sensor in the T5i is the same one as its predecessor, that's not a bad thing. The EOS Rebel T5i creates impressive images that are sharp, and you can record 18MP images in RAW, JPEG, or RAW + JPEG mode. 

The Rebel T5i works well in low light, offering good quality images at high ISO levels. You will begin to notice noise in images in RAW at ISO 6400 and a little earlier in JPEG, which are very good performance levels. There's a built-in popup flash with this camera, but you also can add an external flash through the hot shoe. Either will help you reduce the ISO setting in low-light situations, while still supplying ample illumination for most shots.

Beginners will appreciate the addition of Creative Filters with the T5i/700D, something that wasn't available in the T4i. With this feature you can apply special effects -- such as grainy black and white, fish-eye, or miniature -- to your images as you shoot them. Additionally, several scene modes are available through the mode dial, which may ease the transition for beginners to this more advanced camera. The large mode dial is good for making quick changes to the camera's shooting modes, and it gives beginner-level photographers easy access to settings they may be familiar with from their point-n-shoot cameras. 

Beginners also will like the touchscreen capabilities found with this camera. The Rebel T5i's touchscreen has a few different options that make it work a little like a smartphone or tablet, which should help those new to this type of camera have an easier time trying to learn how to use it. For example, you can pick the focus point by simply touching the screen. And in Playback mode you can magnify the image on the screen by dragging your fingers in a widening pinching mode across the screen, much like how tablets and smartphones work. 

This is a high-resolution LCD screen offering more than 1 million pixels of resolution, which is very impressive. It's also an articulated LCD, giving you the option of twisting and flipping the LCD in almost any direction and at any angle.

It would have been nice if Canon had chosen to take full advantage of the touchscreen by redesigning the camera's traditional menu structure a bit to make it easier to select commands and buttons. The menu entries are a little too small to be easily touched, and I found myself using the four-way and Set buttons quite often to work through the menus. This is just a minor hassle, though, as the menus are well organized.

Canon did create a Quick Control screen that allows you to make changes to the camera's settings, and this feature works very well with the touchscreen, as the on-screen buttons are a good size. The Quick Control screen works well in both Viewfinder and Live View modes, although it has a different look in each mode, which can be a little confusing. Still this feature is great to see and really adds to the usability of this camera, especially for beginners who will appreciate having a one-stop location to make changes to all of the camera settings through the touchscreen.

The overall performance level of the Rebel T5i/700D is outstanding too. If this is your first advanced interchangeable lens camera, you're going to be very impressed with its capabilities over even an expensive point-n-shoot model. You can shoot at a burst mode up to 5 frames per second at full resolution. It has a fast start-up, fast autofocus, and minimal shutter lag and shot-to-shot delays ... as long as you're using Viewfinder mode that is. If you're using Live View mode with this camera, though, you're going to notice significant delays especially with shutter lag.

Those who are a bit more advanced in their photography skills will appreciate the variety of manual control features and options. You can shoot in full manual mode or in a semi-automatic mode. 

The kit lens included with this camera really adds to the value of the overall camera package and to its video capabilities. Some kit lenses are pretty cheaply made, but the 18-55mm STM lens included with the T5i has a good build quality, and the STM (Stepping Motor) technology allows for silent autofocus while shooting movies. Unfortunately the autofocus still works a bit too slowly at times when shooting movies, and you may end up with a bit of a blur while the AF zeroes in on the subject. 

As with past Rebels, the T5i is a good looking camera that's only available in black. Even though it's a large camera compared to some other entry-level DSLRs, it fits well in the hand and is pretty easy to hold and operate with good placement of the buttons and dials. Canon improved the Rebel T5i's coating, which makes it slightly easier to grip than the T4i and fixes the initial problem the T4i's handgrip coating had with occasionally turning white. 

Even though the T5i is an entry-level DSLR camera, it has a very sturdy build and feel. It doesn't feel as though Canon skimped in constructing any portion of this camera.

One area that's a little disappointing with this camera is its battery life. If you shoot primarily in Viewfinder mode, you shouldn't have too many problems with battery life. However once you begin using Live View mode for still images or movies, you'll quickly notice the battery drain. Even if you plan to use Viewfinder mode the majority of the time, chances are good that you'll find yourself using the LCD quite a bit to change settings or review photos because of the ease of using touchscreen and because of the sharp high-resolution LCD. And if you're going to shoot movies quite often with the EOS Rebel T5i, you will notice a fast battery drain because you must use Live View to shoot movies.

Canon did include a separate battery charger with the Rebel T5i kit, which is great for those people who would like to purchase a second battery, allowing them to charge one battery while shooting with the other one.

Bottom Line - When the biggest complaint about a camera is that it doesn't offer enough improvements over its predecessor -- in this case going from the Canon EOS Rebel T4i to the Rebel T5i -- that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the predecessor was an outstanding camera. That's definitely the case with the Rebel T4i, which means the Rebel T5i is a strong camera too. Image quality is great with the T5i and the camera operates extremely quickly in Viewfinder mode. You can even find the Canon EOS Rebel T5i with a better kit lens at an MSRP about $100 less than the T4i's initial MSRP. Still I can't recommend that an upgrade from the Rebel T4i to the T5i is worth the money because of the similarities. Canon has removed the Rebel T4i from its list of currently available EOS cameras on the Canon Web site, and it's not much of a stretch to surmise that even Canon believes the similarities between the two cameras are so strong that it is trying to steer new customers to forget about the T4i and purchase the T5i. Although T4i owners may not want to upgrade, those with older Rebels will want to give the T5i a strong look, as it does have quite a few improvements from those older Rebel models. It has always been tough to go wrong with a DSLR Rebel camera, and the T5i follows through on that tradition with a really good camera and kit lens at a reasonable price. It's a good choice and value for anyone looking for an entry-level DSLR camera, outside of T4i owners anyway.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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