Friday, May 17, 2013

DSLR or Mirrorless: Canon T5i/700D Review–Part II

Canon Rebel T5i/700D f/11 @ 52 mm, 1/80, ISO 6400, No Flash

In part I of my Canon T5i/700D review I was impressed with several features of this camera, but overall I had this nagging feeling that I was using a gloried point and shoot. At the same time I tested this camera I also tested the Fujifilm X-S1 which IS literally a point and shoot camera with a single big optical zoom lens. This got me to thinking, would I really recommend this camera over a mirror less to a friend?

For now the answer is yes primarily because when you buy an interchangeable lens camera you are buying system that includes lenses and accessories. Canon has a lot to offer the user of this camera over its mirror less counterparts, and you have the opportunity to grow into better gear within the system. This is what I did when I moved to digital SLR cameras with my old Rebel XTi, and I never regretted that decision.

Bookshelf Images

These are taken from in-camera JPEG’s with zero modifications taken during everyday life events. Nearly all were taken in Aperture Priority (Av) mode using a timer and a tripod with stabilization turned off. The goal of these samples is to have a common measuring stick in a controlled environment by which you can measure the lens and sensor performance. What’s more you can also compare these to bookshelf shots of other cameras that I’ve reviewed to get an idea of how a camera really compares. See my other camera reviews for links to additional bookshelf images.

Visit for a full gallery and click the images to see the full-size originals. All images are copyright Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may view them, but you may not store, edit, print, distribute or otherwise reuse any images without written consent.

T5i, f/5.6 @48 mm, 4s, ISO 200 18-55mm kit lens
The kit lens quality shocked me as to how sharp it was

While the kit lens feels like a piece of plastic worthy of a child's toy box, the quality itself is surprisingly good. In fact, I found some areas of the image on par with the ultra expensive 70-200mm professional zoom lens.

Below I found the high ISO performance to be a big improvement – to my eyes – over the T4i. Personally I’d probably lower the in-camera noise reduction to the minimum values as I felt it destroyed more detail than I’d like.

f/4 @ 70 mm,1/25, ISO 12800 (using 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens)
ISO 12,800 is totally usable - a HUGE improvement over the T4i

In-Camera HDR

In-Camera HDR
Nice results, but not a huge amount of range and a huge crop

The in-camera HDR works okay but it seems to take an aggressive built-in crop – especially considering this shot was taken on a tripod. I was also frustrated by the fact that this camera doesn’t save the RAW or JPEG images it takes when you use its in-camera HDR – you only get the end result of the merge. It also doesn’t have as much dynamic range and depth as I would expect in a feature like this.

Personally I’d strongly recommend that HDR fans continue to do traditional bracketing in the camera and let HDR Efex Pro be your tool for getting a better HDR image.


I definitely preferred the T5i/700D over the Canon EOS M, but when you start comparing it to the higher end Fujifilm, Sony and Olympus cameras the decision isn’t as easy to make. The compact size and high quality of the mirror less cameras make them very compelling choices. However, those cameras aren’t as user friendly for the average soccer mom or technophobe dad. I also think that this camera’s auto focus system significantly outperforms other cameras I’ve tested at this same price point. As a result, I’d definitely take this camera over the mirror less options as of May 2013, but the tide is turning for sure. The good thing though is that you are in good shape to grow into different products when you choose the Canon platform whereas the current mirror less platforms are still rather volatile and evolving.

Practically speaking, I think the Canon EOS Rebel T5i (aka 700D) with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens kit makes more sense over the 18-55mm that I tested here because of the extra reach of the lens. I tested the 18-135mm lens with the T4i and felt like it was a decent kit lens.As a result, I think the added reach you get for the extra $200 makes a lot of sense.

Those with an extra $500 in their budget (and no existing Canon lenses) would be wise to consider the Nikon D7100. In my Nikon D7100 review I compared its quality to that of the D800E, and really it is a pretty impressive camera. It’s images will seem dull and flat compared to Canon’s hyper saturated in-camera images, but that’s just in-camera post-processing trickery.

See my Which camera should I buy? article for my general shopping advice, and Part I of this review for more details and real world sample images.

Where to order

Click here to order the Canon Rebel T5i/700D at B&H. My friends at Adorama have it available here.

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