Canon EOS Rebel T5i review: Same as it ever was

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.8
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Image quality: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Canon EOS Rebel T5i retains the great articulated touch-screen implementation that's optimized for video, and delivers the same excellent photo quality and solid video as its predecessor. Plus the performance is slightly improved.

The Bad The phase-detection autofocus system is feeling its age and competitors have caught up with the Live View performance. The tiny autofocus points in the viewfinder also remain annoying to use, and the feature set remains lackluster.

The Bottom Line While the Canon EOS Rebel T5i is -- almost literally -- the same solid camera as its predecessor, it's starting to lag frustratingly behind the competition in some ways.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you: the only significant differences between the now-discontinued Canon EOS Rebel T4i and its replacement, the T5i, are the price and the kit lens options. There are some small enhancements, including a new finish and grip; 360-degree rotation mode dial; and real-time shooting with creative filters with Live View preview. Interestingly, I also found some performance differences between the T5i and its predecessor, most notably in significantly better continuous shooting. But overall it's really the same camera and in this case, that's a mixed blessing.

Image quality
I think Canon tweaked its default settings so that still-photo colors aren't quite so out of whack, though there are still some hue shifts. JPEGs look clean up through ISO 800, which is typical for this class, and usable at full scale to about ISO 1600 and ISO 6400 at smaller magnifications. While a 13x19 print of an ISO 6400 photo wasn't quite as clean or sharp as I would have liked, it doesn't look that bad.

Video also looks about the same as the T4i's; good, but not significantly better than you get from similarly priced competitors. While I didn't see any rolling shutter, there's quite a bit of aliasing and moire. I do like the tonality of low-light video, despite the appearance of some color noise on blacks. (I'll be uploading video samples soon. Please check back.)

Click to download ISO 100

ISO 800
ISO 3200

Performance
With respect to speed, the T5i is roughly comparable to the T4i, though with oddly better burst shooting. It powers on, focuses, and shoots in 0.7 second; time to focus through the viewfinder, expose, and shoot in good light is a zippy 0.2 second, rising to about 0.8 second in dim. In Live View with the 18-55mm STM lens, it takes 1.2 seconds and 1.4 seconds under similar conditions. That's a lot slower than the T4i was with the 18-135mm lens, but pretty close to my results with the T4i using the standard 18-55mm lens. Hm. Shooting two sequential JPEGs or raw files runs about 0.3 second, rising to 0.7 second with flash enabled. Without flash those times jump to 2 seconds in Live View.

The camera's ability to sustain a burst is great: with a 95MBps SD card, it blew through 30 JPEG frames at 7.6fps without slowing. This seems to be the result of better buffer handling rather than mechanical differences. Once you factor in autofocus that slows down, though I didn't time it, and remember that the T5i has the creaky old nine-point phase-detection AF system. It can only sustain a raw burst for six frames (at 5.8fps) before slowing.

I also used the Live View with non-STM lenses and while it's still kind of slow for capturing fast-moving subjects (which you should use the viewfinder for, anyway), it's not bad.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Canon EOS Rebel T5i (Body Only)

Part Number: CNETRebelT5iBO
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 18.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 14.9 x 22.3mm