A tradition of inexpensive excellence continues with this fast-focusing, low-noise, 5-fps starter DSLR
In general, we enjoyed shooting video with the T5i. The footage generated showed plenty of detail, pleasing colors, and few artifacts. While we always recommend off-camera audio, the T5i’s built-in stereo mic did an admirable job and has a fairly effective wind filter. There’s no headphone jack to monitor sound, but that’s not something we expect yet at this price level.
Burst shooters should be happy with the T5i’s top continuous shooting speed of 5 fps, which we suggest as the minimum for serious sports photography. The continuous AF was able to keep up well with moving subjects outdoors on sunny days, although it faltered slightly in lower light, as when we shot a burst of a subway train pulling into a station (to be fair, it only missed two of frames out of 10).
It seems strange that Canon didn’t decide to include Wi-Fi in the T5i. This worked so well in the EOS 6D that we found ourselves staring longingly at the T5i’s menu, as if Wi-Fi might suddenly appear. It never did.
The Bottom Line
Canon’s latest flagship Rebel remains as a great choice for an entry-level DSLR. Compare it with Nikon’s D3200, and you’ll face a choice between the Nikon’s greater resolution (2710 at ISO 100) and higher noise (Unacceptable noise levels by ISO 3200) and the Canon’s lower resolution, lower noise, and 1-fps faster bursts. The Rebel T5i also focused faster than the Nikon at every light level in our test.
Add to that the Canon’s fully articulated touchscreen and the comparison becomes one of brute resolving power versus overall versatility. Since few people looking for a DSLR in this price range are likely to make use of the Nikon’s extra pixels, and that we are increasingly viewing images on screens and at smaller sizes, it’s hard to make a case for the Nikon over this Canon.
So, if you don’t already have lenses for a particular system, the Canon EOS Rebel T5i seems like the best bet in entry-level DSLRs.
Imaging: 18MP effective, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor captures images at 5184x3456 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW mode.
Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC. Stores JPEG, CR2 RAW, or RAW + JPEG files.
Video: Records up to 1920x1080p 30fps in MPEG-4 H.264 format; built-in stereo microphone; stereo microphone input; approx. 29 min. 59 sec. maximum clip size at highest quality.
Burst Rate: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine), up to 30 shots at 5 fps; RAW (14-bit), up to 6 shots at 5 fps using a UHS-I compatible SD card.
AF System: TTL phase-detection with 9 illuminated focus points (all cross-type points); single-shot, continuous, predictive focus tracking; tested sensitivity down to EV –2 (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
Live View: Hybrid contrast/phase-detection, or single-shot phase-detection AF with mirror interrupting view momentarily.
Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments); shutter life not rated; flash sync to 1/200 sec.
Metering: 63-zone TTL metering; evaluative, center-weighted average, partial (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center), and spot (approx. 4% of finder at center); range, 1 to 20 EV (at ISO 100).
ISO Range: ISO 100–12,800 (in 1/2- or 1/3-EV steps), expandable to ISO 100–25,600.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: Articulated 3.0-in. TFT touchscreen with 1.04 million-dot resolution, 7-step brightness adjustment.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI video.
Battery: Rechargeable LP-E8 Li-ion; CIPA rating, 440 shots.
Size/Weight: 5.2x3.9x3.1 inches, 1.3 lbs with a card and battery.
Street Price: $750, body only; $900 with EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM lens.