In this article I will compare the Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D versus Canon Rebel T5i / EOS 700D. Both are among Canon’s most popular DSLR cameras. The T3i costs around $100 less than the T5i/700D, so some of you probably wondering what do you get for that extra $100, and whether or not you should just go with the cheaper T3i/600D. In this article I will answer this question and you’ll get a good understanding of the differences between those two cameras. So without further ado, let’s begin!
Camera Design & Build Quality
- T3i/600D — Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber
- T5i/700D — Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber
Both the T3i and T5i made of the same materials and they are about the same size, with the T5i being 0.3mm taller and 0.9mm thicker. The T3i also weights 5 grams less than the T5i — so the size and weight differences are negligible.
Regarding the design and ergonomics, the T5i / 700D has slightly more grip area covered on the front-right side of the camera but nothing significant. The mono mic in the T3i front-right side was removed in favor of stereo mic with two holes at the top of the camera, near the hot-shoe connector of the T5i. Canon also dropped the display button (DISP.), added a movie mode option where the on/off switch is, the ‘Menu’ and ‘Info’ buttons are now circular instead of being more rectangular and the writing on the navigation buttons is now painted in white, so it’s clear to understand the functionality of each button.
Both cameras have the same built-in pop-up flash (13.00 mm) and a hot-shoe connector to connect and external flash, that remains the same.
The big difference is with the rear LCD display, which is now a new generation Clear View II TFT LCD instead of the first generation Clear View. This new model has anti-glare construction, a 160-degree wide angle viewing and a protective cover made of reinforced glass. The camera ambient sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen based on the ambient light around the camera. This new Clear View II display provided clearer view of the scene for easier composition and enhances the viewing experience and brings improved color reproduction and better visibility in bright daylight. The Clear View II LCD monitor is available on the Canon 1D X, 5D Mark III, 6D, 7D, 70D, Rebel T5i and Rebel SL1.
Furthermore, the Rebel T5i / EOS 700D features a touchscreen display, whether the T3i / 600D doesn’t employ one. Both displays are of 3″ in size, 1040K-dot resolution and fully articulated. The touchscreen display has multi-touch support and its of a capacitive type.
All in all, the most noticeable change was the touchscreen and improved LCD technology. Not everyone will be convinced that this is a reason to get the T5i instead of the T3i.. so let’s continue on.
Sensor & Performance
Both the Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i and EOS 700D / Rebel T5i feature a 18.0MP (effective resolution) APS-C CMOS sensor, although the T3i has 0.2MP more total pixels, but as I mentioned, the amount of effective pixels which are actually used (18.0 megapixels) is the same on both cameras.
There is an important difference though. The T5i features a Hybrid CMOS AF sensor, whether the T3i does not. This means that the sensor feature phase-detection AF points. Those phase-detect AF points allows the camera to utilize both the contrast-detect and phase-detect together in Live View (both for stills and videos) to provide superior subject tracking accuracy, backed up with the contrast-detect speed better AF performance. This Hybrid CMOS AF is also available on the EOS 650D as well.
This makes the T5i a better HDSLR for those who intend to use the autofocus in video, and provide minimizes the occurrences of unwanted shifts in focus, which result in inconsistent and sluggish focusing. For some people, especially video enthusiasts, this can be a deal-breaker. If you don’t intend to shoot many videos, this shouldn’t concern you, but remember that you can expect an improved AF performance if you compose your shots using Live View instead of the optical viewfinder.
The T5i has a ISO 100-12800 range which can be extended up to ISO 25600 (H), which is 1 stop higher than the native ISO 6400 of the T3i, which can be extended as well up to ISO 12800.
Speaking about video performance. Both the T5i and T3i can shoot Full HD videos at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second. The T5i can also record those video with stereo sound and the recording level can be manually adjusted by the photographer. Both cameras have a 3.5mm standard microphone input, so you can connect an external mic to improve the audio quality of your movies. Neither the 700D and the 650D employ a headphone out socket for monitoring the audio for your videos.
High ISO Performance – Very Small Diffference
The T5i features a new sensor than the T3i, so it’s interesting to see how the two cameras compare in high ISO tests. I headed to imaging-resource.com and used their comparometer sample image comparison tool to see if the T5i’s new sensor out performs that of the T3i.
Until ISO1600, both cameras performs very well with very small amount of noise and I personally wasn’t able to tell the difference at all. At ISO 3200 it looks like the T5i has a slight edge, with slightly less chrome noise, but nothing that will convince me to prefer one over the other. The T5i might have around 1/3EV stop advantage, but as I said, I wouldn’t based my buying decision on this very tiny difference, all in all, both perform very well up to ISO 1600, even ISO 3200 is usable for medium prints after some NR treatment (I personally use NeatImage, highly recommended noise reduction software).
Before we continue further, let’s take a look at two sample video footage, one taken with the T5i 700D, the second with the T3i 600D.
Canon Rebel T5i / EOS 700D sample video using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens (by Robert MacDonald)
Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D sample video using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens (by Benny Kaz)
The video quality is just amazing! in my opinion, and really shows the creative possibilities of both cameras and what unique and creative footage you can achieve with a bright prime lens. I really like the color reproduction, the blues, yellows, reds, greens — everything looks so colorful yet not oversaturated, just as I like it. I was shooting with both Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and out-of-the-box, I love the more natural color tone of the Canon, whether with my Nikon’s I always get a warmer tone (my personal preference, you might prefer the other).
Another thing I wanted to mention is that the T5i has 60 fps frame rate for Live View, compared to only 30 fps with the T3i. So you get smoother view of the scene, which might be important when panning the camera from side to side in fast speed, and when shooting fast moving subjects. The T5i also features more metering and focus modes (e.g. Face detection and Tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-single).
Autofocus System and Burst Shooting
The Canon T3i features a 9 AF point (f/5.6 cross type at center, extra sensitivity at f/2.8) autofocus system with EV -0.5-18 working range and predictive AF up to 10m. There isn’t any option for AF microadjustment with the T3i. The T3i utilizes contrast-detect AF only.
The T5i on the other hand features a 9 AF point contrast-detect AF system (f/2.8 at center), but all the AF points are cross-type, which provides better accuracy because they can detect both horizontal and vertical planes, compared to non cross-type points which are less sensitive in the horizontal plane. If you plan to shoot fast moving subjects (e.g. surfing, sports, running kids, car racing, etc..), buying a camera with more AF points and most of its points cross-type is the best way to go, as you get better AF locking at those points.
Furthermore and as I mentioned in the previous section, the T5i also uses on-sensor phase-detection points to further improve the AF performance in Live View and in movie mode.
In terms of burst shooting speed, the T5i shoots at faster speed at approximately 5 fps (up to 22 JPEGS or 6 RAW, slows down after that), whether the T3i shoost at approx. 3.7 fps (up to 34 JPEGS or 6 RAW). This is not a big difference though.
Both cameras have the same shutter speed range from 30 seconds to 1/4000 sec.
- The T5i is compatible with the GP-E2 GPS receiver, which is not compatible with the T3i
compatibility list: 1D X, 5D Mark III, 7D, 70D, 6D, T4i, T5i, EOS M, SL1
- T5i has HDR mode, the T3i does not
- T5i has added SCN Handheld Night Scene mode
- The T5i has two Grid overlay options and Multi aspect ratio options
- T3i has 3 more custom functions and 10 more settings in total
- T5i has more slide show playback time options (10, 20 seconds included) and background music options (on/off) and transition effect settings
- T5i has support for UHS-I memory card
- T3i won the TIP Awards 2011 for best entry-level DSLR camera
- T5i received dpreview’s Silver Award
- T5i has fastest start-up time
- The T3i is cheaper than the T5i
As you can see, both the Canon Rebel T5i and T3i have their differences. The T3i is Amazon.com #1 best seller for quite a long time now (as of the time of writing). It costs approx. $100 less than the T5i (body only). For many photographers, the T3i offers everything they need in their next DSLR camera. If you can live with the T3i shortcomings, you might invest that extra $100 in a lens or extra accessory for your camera.
The T5i main advantages are the touchscreen and touch UI which is intuitive and responsive, better AF system for both stills and videos and slightly faster burst. If I had to pick one, I would probably had chosen the T3i and spend that $100 on the 50mm f/1.8 II lens, which costs around $110 on amazon.com the last time I check. If you love the extra features of the T5i, by all means, get it! — both are excellent DSLR camera that will make you love photography and convince you to wake up from bed early at the weekend and go out shooting great photos. Both cameras enjoy excellent image quality, very good performance, good ergonomics and battery life.
Spending more on a better camera body doesn’t mean that it will give you more in return. I think that the T3i is still is the best selling DSLR camera on Amazon.com because it’s relatively cheap, and offers an excellent range of basic functions that most photographers need. A great camera even for beginners and enthusiasts on a tight budget. Highly recommended cameras, you won’t be disappointed.
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