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The Canon T3i vs T5i – What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

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The entry-level DSLR market is very competitive with every major camera manufacturer vying for these entry-level photographers, with to the goal of converting these consumers into life-long photographers.  In most cases, as long as the photographer has a good experience with their first camera, they tend to remain loyal to the brand as long as they are active in photography at any level.

Canon is a major player in this market, with their “Rebel” lineup of cameras that range in price from $499.99 to $1,199.00.  The T3i and the T5i are in the middle of the line up and are both very popular cameras with excellent capabilities.  Consumers purchasing either of these cameras will more than likely be a lifelong Canon user!

Top Line Up Front? If you are in a hurry, here are the high level advantages:

Canon T3i Advantages Canon T5i Advantages
Frequently found used for less 2X Higher expandable ISO
Touch screen ability
Faster DIGIC 5 (vs 4) processor
Almost identical price for more value (see this listing)

Canon T3i | Amazon
$229.99

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D delivers 18 megapixels of professional grade image quality in a compact, lightweight, feature-filled, easy-to-use body that carries a very affordable price tag. 

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 12:05 am GMT

Continue reading for the full take…

Similarities Between the T3i and T5i

Sensors: As one would expect, the T3i and the T5i are both very similar to each other, as each camera in the “Rebel” lineup builds of the previous version of the camera.   The T3i and T5i are both utilize APS-C format, CMOS sensors capable of capturing images in 18 megapixels.  At 22.3mm x 14.9mm, these sensors are smaller than the sensors found on more expensive full frame cameras.

While smaller and less expensive, the sensors are capable of producing excellent images and are used on professional grade cameras as well.  The advantage of an APS-C sensor is that a normal lens is “longer “, due to the 1.6X crop factor used in on this sensor.  A 50mm lens on an APS-C camera would be the same as using a 80mm lens on a full frame camera.  Having a camera that makes lenses “longer” is particularly useful in sports and wildlife photography.

  • Viewfinder: Subject composition on both cameras is easy, as the 95% viewfinder is not cluttered with an excessive number of focus points.  In the case of the T3i and the T5i, both cameras have 9 autofocus points, which are evenly distributed in the viewfinder.  This allows reasonable flexibility in selecting viewpoints, when composing shots.
  • Interface: The two cameras share an extensive menu system that includes various pre-set scene and filter modes, as well as the ability to shoot fully automatic, fully manual, aperture priority and shutter priority modes.  This allows the photographer to have more control over the camera as their abilities as a photographer grow.
  • Memory: Other similarities include a single memory card slot capable of holding SD, SDHC or SDXC cards.
  • File Format: The T3i and the T5i capture still images in JPEG and RAW format and video in .MOV formats.  Both cameras are capable of capturing video in a number of formats including HD 1,920 x 1,080 at 30/25/24 frames per second.
  • Shutter Speed: In addition, the T3i and T5i both have a shutter speed ranging from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, live view, built in flash, built in sensor cleaner and a 3.0” articulating LCD screen.
  • Size and Weight: The T51which weighs18.5 ounces, is 3 ounces heavier than the T3i, but both cameras are the same size at 5.2” x 3.9” x 3.1”. Neither camera has WIFI, GPS or wireless capabilities.

Key Differences to Consider

The differences between the T3i and the T5i are mainly the result in slight incremental changes in the cameras, due to advancements in technology, as well as increased affordability of existing technology.

  • Processor: While the T3i has the DIGIC4 processor, which is a capable processor, the camera is limited to 3.7 frames per second, with a maximum burst rate of 34 JPEG images.  The T5i has the newer DIGIC 5 processor and can shoot at 5 frames per second with a maximum burst of up to 30 JPEG images, depending on the type of memory card used.
  • ISO Range: The T3i has a normal ISO range of 100 – 6,400 and is expandable up to 12,800.  The newer T5i has a normal ISO range of 100 – 12,800 and is expandable to 25,600.  While the high ISO ranges are impressive in both cameras, the penalty for shooting at extremely high ISO settings is that the image quality decreases.  In most cases the images appear to be soft, as the noise reduction software used at high ISO settings tends to reduce image detail as it works to reduce noise from the image.
  • Screen/Display: One of the most significant differences between the two cameras is the introduction of a touch screen LCD screen on the T5i.  This screen, which allows you to control many of the camera’s functions, is fun and intuitive to use.  The display is clear and bright and is a real time saver in the field, as menus can be quickly navigated.

Pros and Cons of Both

The T3i and the T5i both share a common “pro”, which is the inclusion of the excellent Canon 18-55mm IS STM kit lens.  This lens is the only lens most people would ever need, as it is relatively fast, has image stabilization and most importantly has decent optics for a kit lens.

T3i Pro: The biggest “pro” of the T3i is the cost of the camera is its simplicity.  In most cases, the photographer could put in the battery and memory card and start shooting immediately without even looking at the manual.  In practice, simplicity is always best on cameras, as you can spend more time composing images than messing with dials and buttons!

T3i Con: The biggest “con” of the T3i is the age of the camera.  While still very capable, the newer cameras have improved technical specifications and features simply because they are newer.  The T3i was introduced into the “Rebel” lineup in 2011 and four years is a long time in regards to camera technology.

T5i Pro: The biggest “pro” of the T5i is the articulating touch screen, which allows the photographer to access the camera’s menu system quickly.  It also allows the photographer to select the focus point with the touch of a finger when using live view.  It is a very useful feature, with real life applications and is not a marketing gimmick by Canon to sell cameras!

T5i Con: Like the T3I, the biggest “con” of the T5i is also the age of the camera.   Introduced in 2013, Canon has since introduced two additional cameras in the “Rebel” lineup that are more technically advanced than the T5i.  That being said, the T5i is still a very capable camera.

Canon T5i | Amazon
$344.99

With a brilliant Vari-angle touch Screen 3.0" ClearView LCD monitor II and a phenomenal state-of-the-art AF system, it's the perfect camera to unleash your creativity every time you pick it up.

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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 02:15 am GMT

Full Feature Comparison

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Canon T3i and the T5i both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Item Canon T3i Canon T5i
Year Introduced 2011 2013
Format APS-C APS-C
Megapixels 18.0 18.0
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 5
Image Format RAW and JPEG RAW and JPEG
Sensor Size 22.3mm x 14.9mm 22.3mm x 14.9mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto-focus Points 9 9
Modes Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure, Program AE, Scene Modes Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure, Program AE, Scene Modes
Metering 63 Zone Dual – Layer Metering 63 Zone Dual – Layer Metering
View Finder Coverage 95% 95%
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second 3.7 5
ISO 100-6,400 100-12,800
Highest Expandable ISO 12,800 25,600
Shutter Speed Range 1/4000 to 30 Seconds 1/4,000 to 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes Yes
Card Slots 1 1
Card Type SD, SDHC, SDX SD, SDHC, SDX
LCD Size 3.0” 3.0”
LCD Fixed or Swivel Swivel / Articulating Swivel / Articulating
Video Full HD Full HD
Video Type 1920 x 1080 at 30/25/24 FPS; 1280 x720 and 640 x 480 Also Available 1920 x 1080 at 30/25/24 FPS; 1280 x720 and 640 x 480 Also Available
Internal Autofocus Motor No No
GPS No No
Wireless No No
WIFI No No
Battery LP-E8 LP-E8
Unique Features Direct Printing Direct Printing, Touch Screen
Size Without Lens 5.2” x 3.9” x 3.1” 5.2” x 3.9” x 3.1”
Weight Without Lens 18.2 Ounces 18.5 Ounces

 

Manufactured In Japan Japan
Body Only or with Kit Lens Sold as Kit Only Sold as Kit Only
Included Accessories 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens, Ef Eyecup, LP-E8 Battery Pack, LC-E8E Battery Charger, EW-100DB III Wide Neck Strap, IFC-130U USB Interface Cable, EOS Digital Solution Disk & Instruction Manuals, “Great Photography is Easy” Booklet and “Do More with Macro” Booklet 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens, Ef Eyecup, LP-E8 Battery Pack, LC-E8E Battery Charger, EW-100DB IV Wide Neck Strap, IFC-130U USB Interface Cable, EOS Digital Solution Disk & Software Instruction Manual CD, Camera Instruction Manual
Cost, Body Only NOT Available NOT Available
Cost With Kit Lens (Lens Varies) Starting at $599.95 with 18-55mm f/33.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (see here for lowest price) Starting at $799.99 With 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (see here for lowest price)

*Information from the Canon USA websites, including pricing.

Overall Recommendation: Canon T5i vs T3i

The Canon T3i and T5i are both excellent cameras capable of capturing incredible images in the hands of both novice and more experienced photographers alike.  While the T5i technically a slightly better camera due the T3i’s age, I prefer the T3i to the T5i for a variety of reasons including performance and value.  The T3i is a perfect blend of technical abilities and value for the dollar!

In day-to-day shooting in the field in a variety of settings, I found the T3i to be very capable camera and the never noticed the technical differences between the two cameras.  The T3i did everything that I wanted the camera to do and at no time did I feel that I was shooting with an obsolete or a technically inferior camera.  Although I did like the touch screen rear LCD, I did not find the “superior” technical specifications of the T5i leading to superior images or a vastly improved photography experience.

At an affordable retail price (see here), the T3i represents and excellent value for such an advanced camera.

Canon T3i | Amazon
$229.99

The Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D delivers 18 megapixels of professional grade image quality in a compact, lightweight, feature-filled, easy-to-use body that carries a very affordable price tag. 

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/25/2022 12:05 am GMT

The Camera Guide Team
 

The Camera Guide Team is a group of writers, shutterbugs, and professional photographers. We know the challenge of looking through different cameras or accessories. We want you to learn everything about cameras. We provide honest reviews, detailed guides, and helpful comparisons. We have everything you need. We are here to help you find the perfect click.

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