Photographers entering the world of amateur DSLR photography now have more choice of camera bodies than ever before. Additionally, the two most well-known a prolific camera manufacturers, Canon and Nikon, put out more camera models, upgrades and innovations every year. With all this going on, it can be hard to ascertain with any effectiveness exactly what the difference might be between two camera models that, in many respects, seem highly similar.
This is the situation that we encounter in examining the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300. Both cameras sit in the middle of the entry-level range, intended as starter cameras for the more budget-flexible and technological-able that find the basic entry-level models do not offer enough. Both cameras were released in 2013 as direct competition to each other, leaving a big decision for photographers wondering which camera body, and as a result which brand, will suit them better.
Canon T5i vs Nikon D5300 Comparison Table
Click on the links to read more information, reviews, and specifications on Amazon.
The Canon T5i replaced the Canon T4i when it was released around the middle of 2013. Despite being a replacement for its predecessor, both the Canon T5i and the Canon T4i offer a range of similar features and specifications, meaning upgrades from one to the other will yield few notable differences.
That isn’t to say there aren’t any differences though, and sharp-eyed photographers will notice that the Canon T5i offers some advances compared to the Canon T4i. These include life previews of the camera’s many Creative Filters for improved shot composition, as well as ergonomic upgrades in the form of a 360-degree dial and updated texture and feel on the outer body.
Internally, The Canon T5i delivers a range of features suited for its class, including an 18-megapixel hybrid CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 5 processor, an ISO range of 100-12800 standard, with up to 25600 expanded, a 9-point autofocus system, 1080p video recording, built-in stereo mics, continuous autofocus in movie mode and a touch screen, articulated display.
The Nikon D5300 was released in 2013, replacing the Nikon D5200. In a similar situation to the Canon models, the Nikon D5300 and Nikon D5200 didn’t seem to offer many differences to the casual observer. In fact, many enthusiasts suggested that upgrading from one to the other would be an ultimately wasted activity for so few advances. However, when we look at the inside features of the Nikon D5300, we start to see where the camera really shines.
Looking at the Nikon D5300 specifications we can see that it includes a 24-megapixel DX format sensor with no OLPF, an ISO range of 100 – 12800 standard and up to 25600 expanded, an EXPEED 4 processor, 39-point autofocus system with 9 sensors cross-type, 1080p60 video with built-in stereo mic and external mic port, a 1.04m-dot 3.2-inch articulated LCD screen and built in GPS and wi-fi.
As the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 are in competition with one another, it should surprise nobody that they share a number of similar features. To try and make sense of which camera has the ultimate advantage, we’ll need to look at these features in more detail, examining where one camera falls short, and the other succeeds.
The Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 both deliver exquisite pictures on their respective, high-resolution LCD screens. Their screens are both high quality, with resolutions of 1,040k-dot display potential that showcases your images at their best. Both cameras also feature articulated, flip-out screens, a favorite of many users due to their versatility and their ability to improve the photographer’s potential when shooting at very high or low angles. Articulated screens can make it easier to compose a shot from a different angle, make taking video much simpler and allow selfies and similar shots to be taken with ease.
Where the Canon T5i succeeds is with its touch screen capacity. This feature allows users to access the camera’s menus much easier, breaking down another learning barrier for photographers starting out into DLSR. IT helps make every internal feature of the camera accessible, easing the transition into the new technology.
Although the Nikon D5300 has no touch screen capacity, it does boast a larger screen, 3.2-inches to the Canon T5i’s 3-inches. This isn’t a marked increase, but if you want to get the best look at your images, and traditional button menus do not put you off, it might make the Nikon D5300 more appealing.
Both cameras perform equally on paper when it comes to ISO. They offer a good broad ISO range, and the potential to extend that considerably. However, it is in the details and in use that users begin to see a difference in their respective performances.
Specifically, when it comes to low noise at high ISO, the Nikon D5300 performs much better than the Canon T5i. While the Canon T5i is able to produce high quality, clear and noiseless images at around 680 ISO, the Nikon D5300 almost doubled that. In user tests, the Nikon D5300 was able to produce beautifully crisp images all the way to around 1,300 ISO, a much better outcome than the Canon T5i. This feature is especially helpful for anyone who shoots indoors, or in the evenings, and tends to help in the capture of faster subjects, such as wildlife and children.
Megapixels & Sensor:
It may be true that the Nikon D5300 and the Canon T5i are not on equal footing on paper when it comes to megapixels, with the Canon T5i offering only 18-megapixels to the Nikon D5300’s 24-megapixels, but despite what you might have heard, having more megapixels does not a better camera make. In fact, when your talking about cameras like the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 you’ll find that they’ll perform about the same in terms of image quality despite the difference in numbers. The only situations in which it might come in handy to have more megapixels are if you’re cropping substantially post-production, and even then it depends on how much cropping you want to do.
However, where the Nikon D5300 does shine is in its sensor. The Nikon D5300 lacks an optical low pass filter, which might seem like a bad thing but is actually now. In fact, not having this particular hardware has allowed the Nikon D5300 to capture much sharper and clearer images, with more quality and detail.
The situation with autofocus on these two cameras might appear on the outside similarly to megapixels: a numbers game. However, this again isn’t really the case. While the Nikon D5300 does boast a 39-point autofocus system compared to the Canon T5i’s 9-point autofocus system, both cameras have the same number of cross-type focus points (nine). This means that although the Nikon D5300 certainly doesn’t fall short with the extra focus points, and can deliver sharp, quality images, the same is true of the Canon T5i.
When it comes to video we can see that, again, the Nikon D5300 and the Canon T5i are evenly matched. Both offer full HD shooting modes at 24 and 25 or 30fps, with built-in stereo mics and sockets for external microphone additions. The both perform well in terms of focusing during movie shooting, offering continuous focus that makes it easy on photographers at all levels.
In terms of which camera offers more it seems something of a tie. Yes, the Nikon D5300 does have the ability to shoot at up to 50 and 60fps in HD quality, an enviable feature for aspiring videographers. But, the Canon T5i has the unique feature of touch screen autofocus, a characteristic that some love and some hate, but which cannot be ignored.
One spot the Nikon D5300 really pulls out all the stops is with the included technology that comes as standard in the model. Not only does the Nikon D5300 offer built-in wi-fi, which along with a companion app allows photographers to transfer and share photographs on the go, it also provides GPS tagging technology. The GPS geo-tagging is a new addition for Nikon, and a welcome one for photographic social sharing enthusiasts looking to get more accurate image maps of their photography journey’s. However, it is worth noting that although both wi-fi and GPS work effectively and are very useful on the Nikon D5300, they can work against its battery life.
The Canon T5i’s kit lens was the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, a substantial upgrade on the kit lenses bundled with earlier Canon models in the entry-level range. This newer lens features much more advanced optical performance as well as STM or Stepping Motor Technology. This results in much quieter lens noise, which is especially helpful for those photographers planning on shooting a lot of video, as the noise of the camera focusing can be detracting from the action on screen.
Quite similar technology can be found on versatile, long-range Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, another kit lens choice that ran with the Canon T5i in a higher price bracket. This lens is certainly more flexible, and ideal as an all-rounder for photographers wanting not to have to swap lenses as well as to give them an even balance between wide-angle photography and zoom.
As a kit, the Nikon D5300 was bundled with the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, a common choice for Nikon’s kit lenses at the time. There was also a choice to bundle it with the more upgraded Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, Nikon’s new and more standard kit lens. Both lenses are very dependable and versatile kit lenses, although the upgraded model stands out as the first we’ve seen that is retractable. This makes it look a little like a zoom lens, make it easier to carry. These features, paired with the Vibration Reduction (VR) technology – available on both – and the Silent Wave Motor technology on the second make this lens an easy favorite.
As always, it’s worth remembering that like most entry-level cameras, both the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 are cropped-frame sensors, which means that lenses do not measure true to their focal length.
A Final Comparison of the Canon T5i and Nikon D5300
The Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 are both fine examples of solid mid-range entry-level cameras, likely to suit a wide range of photographers either starting out or upgrading from a lower-range entry-level model. That being said, the Nikon D5300 is definitely the camera body that performs better based on specifications and features.
There are a number of reasons to invest in the Nikon D5300 over the Canon T5i, but the specifics that are most persuasive to each individual will depend on the needs of each photographer. In looking at where the Nikon D5300 shines over the Canon T5i we can see that it offers much better noise performance at a lower ISO, more megapixels, a larger screen, more focus points, additional GPS and wi-fi technology as well as the ability to film at 60fps in full HD mode. The Nikon D5300 also boasts a longer battery life under testing (600 shots to the Canon T5i’s 440). It also happens to be slightly smaller, thinner and lighter than the Canon T5i, something worth mentioning for the beginner not yet used to the heavy burden of a DSLR camera.
However, there are still a number of areas in which the Canon T5i shows potential as the perfect camera. Its touch screen technology, including the ability to focus during video with the touch screen, is a unique and memorable feature. It also happens to be a much cheaper camera model, with many retail outlets marketing it at a price around 20% cheaper than the D5300. All of these are equally important things to consider before investing.
Of course, the final decision between the Canon T5i and the Nikon D5300 will depend on the specific needs of the photographer, and whether they might be already invested in a particular brand in terms of their lens collection, or interface knowledge.