The Canon T3i, released in February of 2011, and the Canon T5, released in Febrary of 2014, are unusual in a few ways. Although they were released several years apart, a perusal of their particular specifications reveals little into the reasons behind the release of the Canon T5. Indeed, the two cameras are so similar, that there have been a number of debates as to the reasons Canon released the newer model at all. Some, arguing that Canon is simply feeding the entry-level DSLR machine, see no reasons for it at all, while others find the difference between the two cameras enough to motivate their respective existences.
In this article, we’re going straight back to the source of the debates: the cameras. Taking each one apart by its specifications, we’ll be looking at whether one might have the advantage over the other, and which one is best suited for your individual needs as a photographer.
Canon Rebel T5 – Read Customer Reviews
Replacing the Canon EOS 1100D, a favorite entry-level camera body during its heyday, the Canon T5 is Canon’s latest offering to the growing community of amateur hobbyists and beginner DSLR photographers. The Canon T5 is an ideal starter’s camera, it’s small and lightweight, with a simple interface that encourages learning and understanding of the camera’s specifics. It has improved considerably on its predecessor in terms of camera body build, with the Canon T5 featuring a stainless steel chassis and all-aluminum exterior, compared to the entirely plastic body of the EOS 1100D.
Looking at the other specific features of the camera the Canon T5 also offers an 18-megapixel sensor, an ISO range of 100-6400 as standard with 12800 extended, a 9-point autofocus system, a 460k dot LCD screen, 1080p video capabilities with continuous autofocus during movie shooting, a built-in mono microphone and a DIGIC 4 processor as well as a companion learning app that we’ll discuss in more detail later.
Canon T3i – Read Customer Reviews
The Canon T3i might have been released several years before the Canon T5, but it delivers equally, if not more impressively, on a number of fronts. At the time of its release it was located somewhere at the top end of Canon’s entry-level camera series, but with some features that really stood out. These included additions in the camera’s software, adding more automated modes, as well as changes to the style of the camera body.
The Canon T3i also boasted a wide range of impressive features including an 18-megapixel sensor, a DIGIC 4 processor, an ISO range of 100-6400 standard with up to 12800 extended, contrast-detect autofocus, 1080p video recording with built-in mono mics, and a 1,040k articulated LCD display.
T5 vs T3i Comparison Table
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The thing to remember when looking at both the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i is that both cameras are very similar. As such, they feature a number of very similar specifications that may make them almost indistinguishable from each other. That being said, the two cameras are certainly not the same and there are a few different features that not only allow us to distinguish between them, but also permit us to see which camera has the advantage.
In the screen we start to get an idea of why Canon users weren’t too sure about the Canon T5. Its 460k-dot LCD screen seemed outdated to many upon its release, and never looked more outdated in comparison to the Canon T3i. The Canon T3i features a 1,040k-dot screen, which also happens to be articulated. The articulated screen is a blessing for many photographers, particularly when they start out. It allows a wider range of experimentation with varying angles of photography, as well as offering more flexibility during either the shooting of photographs or film. For the fun-at-heart, the articulated screen is also perfect for taking the perfect selfie, allowing the photographers to revolve it fully to face themselves.
Now, while we understand that the Canon T5 is offered at a more entry-level audience, there seems to be no reasons for such an inferior screen, likely enough to turn many beginners away.
Both the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i offers a 9-point autofocus system with contrast-detect only, a fully capable system for most photographers, especially at an entry-level. This particular system makes it easier to focus, and gives the photographer more choice when it comes to the point of focus in their photographs.
What the Canon T5 offers that the Canon T3i does not is continuous focus in filming, a more recent technological advancement to the Canon line. This means that the camera is more effective in focusing, and tracking a subject, during filming providing higher-quality footage with fewer focus flaws. That being said, the Canon T5 has been noted to have quite high levels of motor sound during the auto-focusing, not surprising at this level. This sound is especially true on the kit lenses, and is something to keep in mind for any amateur videographers.
When it comes to video, we see a lot of similarities again between the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i. Both cameras have the ability to shoot 1080p footage at 30fps, and record sound on built-in mono microphones. With both cameras, and as seems to be a normal characteristic of entry-level DSLR video performance, focus in video mode tends to result in reasonable levels of noise.
Where the Canon T3i succeeds over the Canon T5 is in the fact that as well as the built-in mono microphone, there is also a standard external microphone jack. This means that passionate videographers can choose to purchase and attach additional sound equipment to better their sound quality, likely one of the first upgrades a hobby videographer might make.
We are far from being prejudicial against older camera models. In fact, history has shown that when a camera manufacturer comes out with a favorite model, its popularity can outlast even the bodies that replace it. However, there are always benefits to be found in a newer camera in terms of technological advancements. Although the basic specs of the camera might be the same, the newer camera often performs better simply because refined technology has allowed it to do so.
In comparing the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i we can see this in the details. Reviews have noted that the Canon T5 starts faster than the T3i (.50 seconds compared to 1.50 seconds), is lighter and yet is able to take around 60 shots more on average.
The Canon T5 also comes with another interestingly advanced addition: a bundled app. The EOS Companion app, an official Canon release, aims to educate users on how best to use their Canon T5 cameras covering everything from the camera’s controls to the basics of photography, with step-by-step exercises and challenges included. This is the kind of software that really helps in unlocking the Canon T5 for a beginner audience, while users of the Canon T3i may find that they need to search for that information by themselves.
Both the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i are widely compatible with Canon’s expansive range of lenses, offering more than enough choice for the long-term photographer. Of course, this article aims only to look at the basics, and as such we’ll be reviewing in short the lenses that each camera was bundled with in their kit.
Not that surprisingly considering that both cameras are firmly fitted in the entry-level market, both the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i were marketed with the same lens. The lens in question was the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, a more updated version of the versatile kit lenses that have helped photographers understand the basics since the beginning.
The Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is a useful and adaptable lens that is ideal as a kit and perfect for beginners. It offers a little at both ends of the spectrum, from the wide-angle perspective to the world of partial zoom. As both the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i are cropped frame lenses, the crop factor being 1.6x, the lens isn’t true to its lens measurement. Instead it operates around the 29-88mm mark, still great for a wide range of uses.
This upgrade has seen the addition of image stabilization technology, likely a very welcome advance for many beginners who might struggle with clear images as they start using their camera. This lens is also particularly light, another useful feature for beginners not yet accustomed to the extra weight a lens might add to their camera bodies.
That being said, anyone looking to purchase a DSLR should not limit themselves to the kit lenses. This is especially true for anyone looking to get a Canon T3i second-hand. Many of the older Canon T3i’s may be bundled with their original kit lenses, far inferior to the ones they come with today. Instead of settling for this aged lens, it is more worthwhile to simply purchase the body and then choose an appropriate lens from Canon’s wide range of branded lenses, or from the compatible collections of Tamron and Sigma.
A Final Comparison of the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i
There is no doubt that the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i are well-placed camera bodies for entry-level photographers. Both are feature rich at a beginners level, and offer a range of potentials for photographers to extend their knowledge and artistic abilities. Certainly, they are the perfect camera with which to dive into the world of DSLR photography.
That being said, they are not by any means equal. Surprisingly, and going against what many might think considering the respective release dates of each camera, the Canon T3i is in many ways the superior model. It offers more for the user in terms of interaction and on-the-go improvement, with a higher resolution articulated screen that makes it easy to photograph any subject at any angle, and then review with ease. It also offers a self-cleaning sensor and an external microphone jack. These are small differences, but for many, particularly those planning on using their DSLR to get more involved in video, they make all the difference.
That isn’t to say that the Canon T5 might not be the perfect camera for your needs. What it lacks in screen resolution and technology, it makes up for with some technological refining that allows for more photographs on a battery charge, as well as faster start-up for capturing memorable moments in a second. It also offers the unique learning companion app, likely an immeasurably helpful tool for those just getting started, which both teaches and motives them to use and learn more from their camera. If you’re a photographer who isn’t that technologically confident, an app like this might be very helpful, although its medium might make it more difficult to access than a printed manual, especially for older photographers.
Of course, cost is a substantial consideration when it comes to the choice between two camera models, but again in this case it doesn’t make many decisions. Although the Canon T5 is listed as being cheaper than the Canon T3i in most online retailers, the difference in price is negligible when considering the difference in features between the two.
Ultimately, the Canon T5 and the Canon T3i are very similar cameras, and although their differences are in the details any one detail might be enough to sway a photographer one way or another. The best thing to do if you’re trying to decide between the two is to consider your own specific style, what you want your DSLR camera for, and the sorts of features that might benefit you most.