The Canon EOS Rebel T5 ($549.99 with 18-55mm lens) is the latest entry-level D-SLR from Canon, and given the brand name, it’s likely the one that first-time SLR buyers will gravitate toward. It’s priced attractively, a full $100 less than the Nikon D3300, but it lags behind the D3300 in image quality, video options, and burst shooting. If you’re set on getting a Canon, the SL1 and the T5i are better-performingÂ cameras. Our favorite D-SLR that’s priced at less than $1,000,Â theÂ Nikon D5300, is another option.
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Design and Features
The Rebel T5 isn’t as small or light as the Nikon D3300. It measures 3.9 by 5.1 by 3.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.1 pound; the D3300 is a little lighter at 15.2 ounces, but its 3.9-by-4.9-by-3-inch frame is just a bit smaller all around. The included lens adds 7.1 ounces, just a bit more than the 18-55mm lens that ships with the Nikon. If you want a really small SLR, you’ll want to look at Canon’s EOS Rebel SL1; it measures 3.6 by 4.6 by 2.7 inches and weighs 14.4 ounces. If you’re buying on size alone, don’t count out a mirrorless modelÂ like the excellent Sony Alpha 6000 (2.6 by 4.7 by 1.8 inches, 12.1 ounces), which squeezes an image sensor of comparable size into a smaller, lighter body.
But going mirrorless will deprive you of the one big advantage that SLRs still offerâan optical viewfinder. Like most entry-level models, the T5 uses a pentamirror viewfinder to direct light from the lens to your eye. This series of mirrors is lighter and less expensive to produce than traditional glass pentaprism designs, but sacrifices some size and only brings 95 percent of the frame to your eye. But if a top-quality viewfinder is what you’re after and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, consider the Pentax K-500 or K-50; they each sport a glass pentaprism with 100 percent coverage, and the K-50 adds full weather-sealing, another rare feature in this class. If you’re moving up from a compact camera, you’ll likely not find a lot wanting from the T5′s viewfinder, but if you were weaned on older 35mm SLRs you’ll notice that it’s a bit small in comparison.
Aside from the lens release, there are no controls located on the front of the cameraâsome other models include a depth-of-field preview (which narrows the lens to its shooting aperture to give you an idea of what will be in focus when you fire a shot), but the T5 doesn’t have one. Its controls are all on the right side; on the top plate there’s a mode dial, the power switch, the flash release, the control dial, and the shutter release. In addition to the standard M, Av, Tv, and P modes, the dial has a number of scene modes availableâa description of each shows on the rear display when it’s selected so you know how best to utilize them.
The remainder of the controls are on the rear. The Live View button is right next to the viewfinder, and exposure lock and focus point select controls are in the right corner, next to the thumb rest. You’ll also find buttons to adjust Exposure Value (EV) compensation, which brightens or darkens the image that the T5 captures, and buttons to adjust ISO, the autofocus mode, the self-timer and drive mode, and the white balance. There’s also a button labeled Q, which adjusts the various settings displayed on the rear LCD (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, EV compensation, color output, flash power, white balance, focus mode, drive mode, metering pattern, and file format). Each setting is accompanied by a description of what it does, which is helpful for beginners. The Q menu is featured on a number of Canon cameras, but it’s not quite as intuitive here as it is with a touch-screen model like the T5i.
The fixed rear LCD is 3 inches in size and features a 460k-dot resolution. That’s what you’d expect from a midrange compact; the majority of SLRs feature sharper displays that pack 921k dots into the same space. It’s fine for use with Live View and for reviewing photos that you’ve captured in the field, but it’s not as crisp as a sharper display when zooming in on an image that you’ve captured to confirm that you’ve nailed focus. Of current models in this class, the only other SLR with a low-resolution display is the Sony Alpha 58; the Canon T5i and SL1, Nikon D3300 and D5300, and the Pentax K-500 and K-50 all feature displays with at least 921k dots.
The T5 is a no-frills camera, so don’t look for integrated Wi-Fi or GPS. Those features haven’t made a lot of headway into SLRs, but the Nikon D5300 does have both. Canon’s least expensive model with Wi-Fi is the midrange EOS 70D. If you opt for the T5 and are in want of Wi-Fi, you can add it via an Eyefi Mobi memory card; the cardÂ automatically transfers images from the camera to a smartphone or tablet.
Canon EOS Rebel T5