Saturday, 5 July 2014

New Canon Rebel digital camera not rebellious enough

The new Canon EOS Rebel T5 (MSRP $549.99 with kit lens) represents the bare necessities of a DSLR in today’s world. The T5 is a much-needed successor to the ancient (in DSLR years) EOS Rebel T3. We weren’t expecting to be blown away by the T5, but we would’ve liked to have seen something more than an incremental upgrade, since entry-level DSLRs have gotten much better since Canon released the T3 in 2011.

So what do you get for your money? Mostly, you get an easy to use entry-level camera that can do all the basics that an amateur photographer will need. Canon knows the formula for what a bare-minimum, entry-level camera needs to sell and has updated the new T5 to fill in the blanks. It will let you swap lenses and take much better photos than your average smartphone, but it doesn’t offer the breadth of features that other entry-level DSLRs are capable of these days.

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Design-wise, not many things have changed from the T3 to the T5. While some controls have shifted places, the biggest change may be a slightly more matte exterior compared to its glossier predecessor. Handling is still very fluid, with a simple menu system and controls that are snappy and responsive. Though beginners may be intimidated at first, it’s a control scheme that is easy to learn quickly. That said, if you’re completely new to advanced photography — or buying the T5 for someone who is — we recommend picking up a guide to help learn the basics.

The Rebel T5 isn’t a bad camera by any means, but it has one big flaw: the kit lens. The T5′s 18-55mm lens is as bare-bones as it gets and doesn’t do the camera justice. If you do plan on getting this camera, we recommend getting it body-only and picking up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. The 50mm f/1.8 doesn’t zoom in and out, but it only costs about $100, sees basically what your eyes see, and is worlds better than any other kit lens on the market. Simply put, if you only use the kit lens with the T5 you’re paying for performance that you aren’t actually getting.

The one area where Canon did step up its game was in video. Compared to the 720p HD video on the T3, the Canon T5′s 1080p video looks much better. However, subject motion, sharpness, and low-light sensitivity are all down when compared to the Canon T5i. These are all likely due to the subpar sharpness from the kit lens, so getting another lens is likely to help a bit.

We also don’t recommend shooting sports or action with the T5, as it simply isn’t the camera’s strong suit. It focuses accurately on moving subjects like rambunctious kids, but it only shoots about three frames per second — slower than almost all of its competition.
If we’re beginning to sound like a broken record, there’s a reason: The T5 is simply the bare minimum of what we expect from an entry-level camera these days. There’s no touch-screen, no Wi-Fi, no built-in interval shooting, and no time-lapse mode. For video shooters there’s now 1080p video, but there’s no flip-out screen for framing, no mike jack and no headphone jack.

Other than a larger LCD and a new sensor, there’s simply not much here that jumps out at you. It’s affordable, but plenty of other, better entry-level cameras are the same price. The new 18-megapixel sensor is a massive upgrade from the 12-megapixel sensor of the T3, but our hunch is that it’s the same sensor found in the Canon Rebel T4i and T3i. It’s a fine sensor, but other companies have been improving by leaps and bounds while Canon is standing still.

Canon has done little to update its Rebel cameras over the past few years. The Rebel T5i is essentially a re-badged T4i, which was already a tepid upgrade over the T3i, itself barely different from the T2i. While we were hoping that the T5 signaled Canon finally living up to its “Rebel” name and innovating once more, the T5 comes across as yet another half-hearted upgrade. There are some notable differences compared to the T3, but we’ve already seen a Canon DSLR with a 3-inch LCD, Digic 4 processor, and an 18-megapixel sensor — it was called the T2i, and it came out in 2010.

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Ultimately, the T5 is a camera that someone who has never used a DSLR before can use to get into the action quickly, due to its ease of use. But even in that case we’re hard-pressed to recommend it. There are far better cameras in this price range, such as the Pentax K-50, Nikon D3300, and Sony A5000. And if you love Canon’s ease of use, just pick up a cheap T2i. We don’t think you’ll notice a difference.

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New Canon Rebel digital camera not rebellious enough

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