The Canon T5i and the Canon 70D have both become very popular cameras in the Canon DSLR line up due to their impressive range of features and reasonably affordable price. For photographers, the decision between the two is a challenging one, because although the Canon 70D is certainly the more feature rich of the two, it is also much more expensive.
In this article we’re going to look at the relevant, and notable, features of both of these Canon DSLRs to assist photographers figure out which of the two camera bodies is best suited to them.
The Canon T5i was released in 2013 and replaced the Canon T4i, although both cameras offer a range of the same features and specifications. This means that if you’re already a Canon T4i owner, looking for an upgrade in the Canon T5i will not yield much difference from your existing model.
That being said, some of the more dedicated and eagle-eyed will notice some small advances present on the Canon T5i that might be tempting to photographers. These included live previews of the Creative Filters available on camera, to allow for improved shot composition, as well as some hands-on upgrades via a 360-degree dial and holding textures on the body of the camera.
In terms of specifications, 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.
One of the newer entrants into Canon’s line-up of mid-range, or enthusiast, DLSR camera bodies, the Canon 70D has exceeded many expectations from the start. Unlike many of its proceeding models, the Canon 70D made smart changes to the specification and feature set, throwing out the least effective elements and retaining the most celebrated. The Canon 70D also became known for the sheer range of features it offered, some of them borrowed from cameras much higher up in Canon’s line.
In terms of specifications, we can see that the Canon 70D offers a 20-megapixel ‘Dual Pixel’ sensor, an ISO range of 100 – 12800 standard and up to 25600 expanded, a DIGIC 5+ processor, 19-point AF system, with all points being cross-type, 1080p30 video recording with a built-in stereo microphone and external microphone port, an articulated 1.04m-dot LCD touchscreen and built in wi-fi capabilities.
From the basic specifications list alone we can start to get an idea of just how similar these camera bodies are, and make more sense of how challenging the choice between them is for many photographers. To help in working through this, we want to look in detail at some of the most notable successes, and failures of each camera, and ascertain where the advantage lies.
Usually when it comes to newer models, upgraded sensors can have some serious impact on the performance of the camera. The Canon T5i and the Canon 70D are a prime example of this. While the Canon T5i is fitted with the speedy DIGIC 5 processor, the Canon 70D has the slightly upgraded DIGIC 5+ processor. Now, this newer processor has been tested some 3 times faster than the DIGIC 5, which gives the Canon 70D the ability to perform faster pixel-to-pixel calculations in the processing of the image, allowing for more opportunity to evaluate and optimize each image.
That being said, the Canon 70D more feature rich capability mean that the speed increases that might have been seen on the two cameras appear to be more or less rendered moot from the extra activity the Canon 70D is already performing.
Megapixels & Sensor:
It is certainly true that the Canon 70D uses a newer and higher resolution sensor in comparison to the Canon T5i, but that in no way ensures its advantage. In fact, although the Canon 70D performed better in general performance by comparison to the Canon T5i, these results would not be obvious unless both cameras were compared side-by-side.
But, we hear you say, the Canon 70D betters the Canon T5i in megapixels. Yes, this is true, but unless you happen to be a photographer who crops extensively, or prints expansively, the difference is almost entirely negligible.
Where that upgraded sensor does begin to serve the Canon 70D is in the autofocus system present on the body. The Canon 70D’s ‘Dual Pixel’ sensor allows it to focus both quickly and with incredible accuracy whether you’re shooting in Live View, or in video. This system, which improves both autofocus points and cross-type spread on the Canon T5i, makes for a solid challenger to even a video-camera. Paired with the easy to use touchscreen focus options, the Canon 70D is a an ideal camera for capturing moving subjects, as well as using prime lenses with great focus accuracy.
Now, we can see that the Canon 70D far outdoes the Canon T5i, which makes use of ‘Hybrid Autofocus’ technology. Still, the Canon T5i remains a marked improvement on some older DSLR models, but compared to the Canon 70D it is too slow to keep up. Of course, it is these kinds of features which can really boost the price on bodies like the Canon 70D.
The Canon T5i and the Canon 70D have one difference that is often overlooked: their viewfinders. The Canon 70D features the heavier and more expensive pentaprism viewfinder, while the Canon T5i features the lighter and cheaper pentamirror viewfinder. Now, debate still exists over which is necessarily better, so we won’t settle it for you here. What we will say is that pentaprism viewfinders are known to be much brighter, which can help in capturing an image in low-light situations. Ultimately, the different viewfinders have no impact on the image captured, but they can help in its construction and are worth considering.
When it comes to speed, the Canon 70D again outperforms the Canon T5i in a number of areas. It has a faster maximum shutter speed, 1/8000s v 1/4000s, and can both shoot at a faster speed, 7fps v 5fps, and maintain those speeds for a longer time. By this we mean that the Canon 70D’s buffer lasts for up to 16 RAW and 65 JPG files, while the Canon T5i’s buffer is full after 6 RAW and 30 JPG files. This means that the Canon T5i is not the better camera for fast moving action or wildlife photography.
It isn’t easy to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of a camera’s build without butting up against personal preference. For example, the Canon 70D’s larger and heavier body might be considered a benefit for some, while others want something lighter and easier to carry like the Canon T5i, which is more than 20% lighter.
The downside of this lighter and smaller body is that the Canon T5i might not be the perfect camera for photographers with larger hands, and it also doesn’t perform as well in terms of battery, producing around 440 shots to the Canon 70D’s 920. Another bonus of the Canon 70D is that it is also weather and dust sealed, an important consideration for some photographers.
Ease of Use/User Interface:
It’s likely that photographers will become immediately aware of the difference in the user interface of the Canon 70D and the Canon T5i. The Canon T5i, being cheaper and less feature-rich, has been aimed at the more beginner level of photographer, or perhaps someone looking for simplicity. Its user interface reflects this, with less buttons on the outside, and more complicated items buried in menus.
The Canon 70D on the other hand has a user interface more similar to some of Canon’s pro bodies, with the upper LCD and dual dials for easier manual control. The right camera for you will, as usual, depend on your personal style, and how much manual shooting you really do. In a perfect world, we’d suggest trying each of them out, or at the very least checking out detailed product videos of the Canon 70D and the Canon T5i to get a detailed picture of what is on offer.
The Canon 70D also does the Canon T5i one better when it comes to additional technology, offering users built-in wifi. The Canon T5i neither offers the wifi, nor allows for any wifi units to be added to the camera. Wifi on the Canon 70D means that photographers can transfer images to other cameras, view saved images from the EOS free app, print images via wifi printer, operate the camera wirelessly with free software, upload images and even view images on a television screen.
If wifi is an important feature, than the Canon 70D is obviously the option for you, but investigate fully before committing on this feature alone.
Both the Canon 70D and the Canon T5i are bundled in kits with the same lenses. This isn’t that surprising considering they’re both in a similar price range in the Canon line, and they are targeted at two ends of the same enthusiast camera market. Remember that these cameras are both cropped frame sensors, so the focal lengths do no read true on the sensor.
The first of these lenses is the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. This lens, which is a more recent upgrade to Canon’s kit lens offering, is a versatile general-purpose piece of kit.
For photographers just starting out, the 18-55mm will likely be the ideal lens to start with as they begin to learn more about DSLR photography. It covers all of the basics, although admittedly doesn’t do much more than that. Interesting additions on this lens include Canon’s Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, as well as an STM stepping motor.
This motor is a more recent addition, and allows for much more silent focusing abilities, which is sure to impress Canon’s videographers.
However, considering that both the Canon 70D and the Canon T5i are higher-level enthusiast cameras, it isn’t surprising that many choose to go with the other kit lens option. The Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens offers all of the technological additions that the 18-55mm lens allows, but with the added versatility and flexibility of increased focal length.
For photographers looking for an all-round lens for everyday use, something to travel with, or even something to break down the annoyance of having to swap lenses on the go, this one is for you.
Offering a good balance between wide-angle and zoom perspectives, the 18-135mm is really a perfect lens for the photographer on the move.
Make no mistake, when you look at features alone, the Canon 70D is the better camera out of these two by far. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s the better camera for you. In reality, both of these cameras are very intelligent bodies with a range of features that will ignite the potential of their users. The level of that potential is entirely up to you.
So, if you’re looking for a camera that does what it is supposed to do, that is produce high-quality images, and does it in a way that is fast and simple to learn, the Canon T5i is going to be perfect. It’s the best camera for people looking to shoot portraits, family, travel and simple landscape pictures, along with slow moving action. The Canon T5i is also a better camera for beginners to carry around as its much lighter and easier to maneuver.
Of course, if you’re a photographer with some experience looking to take a step up into something more advanced, the Canon 70D might be the right choice for you. It is particularly good if you are still in the beginner’s mindset, but want a camera you can really grow into. The Canon 70D is also a great camera for sports and action photography thanks to that impressive autofocus system, faster processor and overall shutter speed potentials.