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Comparing the Canon T5i vs T4i: Worth an Upgrade?

Differences Between the Canon EOS Rebel 650D and 700D

Later this month, Canon is going to be releasing the Canon t5i / 700D. The April release date is hot on the heals of the Canon t4i / 650D.

Let’s start by answering the question in the title. Is it worth an upgrade? Absolutely not. The camera itself is hardly different from the previous model, the Canon t4i.

But if you’re upgrading from an older camera (like a Canon t1i) or you’re in the market for your first dSLR camera, you do face a choice. Should you purchase the newest camera, or get the older model?

Canon t5i vs t4i: Some Things Stay the Same

First, I want to emphasize the fact that a lot of things stayed the same between the Canon 650D and the Canon 700D.

Both cameras have the same 18.0 megapixel CMOS sensor. They both use the new DIGIC 5 processor. They both have the hybrid sensor that allows them to make use of the auto-focus system in the new STM lenses. They both have the same 9 cross-type autofocus points.

The pop-up flash works as a commander flash, as it has since the Canon t2i. The LCD screen is an articulating screen, as it has been since the Canon t3i, and that screen is still a touch screen. They have the same video modes, have the same external mic input, and have the same options for ISO (up to 12,800 ISO).

So, umm, yeah. Canon t4i vs t5i, just about the same damn camera.

Canon t5i vs t4i: New Kits Lens in the Line-up

There is one significant change – the new kit lens. The Canon t5i can come bundled with the brand new Canon 18-55mm STM lens, also being released at the end of this month.

The Canon t4i was the first camera to be compatible with the new STM lenses, and it was bundled with the Canon 18-135mm STM lens. However, if you wanted the 18-55mm lens, you had to get the older version which did not have the stepper motor.

So what’s so cool about these lenses? The STM denotes that they include a stepper motor. This is a new kind of auto-focus motor which is quieter, quicker, and more accurate than the old Canon lenses. This is especially important if you’re trying to use the movie servo AF mode and auto-focus while recording a movie.

What remains to be seen is if the Canon t4i kit will be changed to include the newer 18-55mm lens.

Canon t5i vs t4i: Minor Differences

So is anything different?

Well, there are a few minor UI differences. For example, the dial on the top has changed. It now rotates 360 degrees, so you don’t have to go all the way around if you’re at the “end” of the dial. The icons are also slightly larger, so they’re easier to see. And it’s cut down from 10 icons to 8.

It has been reported that the Canon t5i brings back the digital zoom (3x to 10x) that was featured on the Canon t3i / 600D. The feature disappeared with the Canon t4i. Unfortunately, it’s not back with the Canon t5i / 700D. For photos, I don’t really care about this; videographers, on the other hand, should be quite perturbed at Canon for continuing to withhold a decent feature. The only justification I can think of is that the new hybrid sensor (which enables the phase detection autofocus) doesn’t work with the digital zoom developed for the (slightly) older sensor in the Canon t3i.

In terms of software, there’s also a “Scene” setting on the dial, which brings up a shortcut to allow you to more quickly get into different modes, like HDR mode and night mode. This is potentially cool, because it takes the modes out of the hands of the dial (which can’t be changed), and it puts them in the hand of software (which can be changed by firmware upgrades). But it waits to be seen whether Canon releases any firmware to take advantage of this, or maybe Magic Lantern will do something with it.

All in all, there’s not a whole lot that’s changed. Everybody seems to be scratching their heads looking for some kind of feature upgrade to be happy about and, well, there aren’t any.

Note: I had originally mentioned here that the Canon t5i included a digital zoom feature. I wrote this article based on previews I read, and several of them (including CNET) specifically mentioned the zoom. Umm, oops! It was pointed out on the DPReview forums that the digital zoom is not included on the Canon t5i, so I want to make a point of emphasizing that here to help dispel any confusion. I went to my local Best Buy today to play around with a Canon t5i, and I can confirm that there is no digital zoom that I could find…

Canon t4i vs t5i: Which Should You Buy?

Well, right now, I’d suggest that you stick with the Canon t4i. Or better yet, compare the Canon t4i vs t3i, see if you even need to buy the Canon t4i. The t4i actually offers some upgrades over it’s predecessor, but these aren’t worth the upgraded cost for everyone.

Six months from now, you’ll want to evaluate this again based on price.

Let’s look at the cost today. The brand new Canon t5i is going to retail for $749.99 for the body, $899.99 with the 18-55mm lens, and $1,099 with the 18-135mm lens. Since the camera is brand new, you’re unlikely to find a hefty discount for a few months.

The Canon t4i, on the other hand, is cheaper. The body and the 18-55mm kit are both about $650 on Amazon currently. The Canon t4i with the 18-135mm is only $799.99 on Amazon. [Note: The price seems to have increased to $899.99, and the other options have increased slightly as well. Hopefully this is temporarily, but that's still a $200 upgrade to go from the Canon t4i to Canon t5i, which is totally unjustified.]

So you’re telling me it’s an extra $100 to get the body, an extra $250 for the small kit lens, and an extra $300 to get the big lens? Umm, yeah, I’ll pass.

The UI changes might be cool to have. But I can’t see this being worth more than maybe $50. There is no way in hell I’d pay an extra $2-300 to get the Canon t5i with the 18-135mm lens. I would be perfectly happy with the Canon t4i.

Now, Amazon usually discounts these new cameras after a while. Six months from now, it could be that the Canon t5i with the newer 18-55mm lens will drop to $700 or $800. At that point, it might be worth getting that kit, but only because the lens is better than the older 18-55mm.

Brian Rock

Brian is a photographer and a teacher. He runs a photography and design studio with his daughter, Olinda. At his high school, he teaches social studies and advises the yearbook club.

Comments

Rico Ransom
Reply

Awesome review! Thanks for the help with my choice.

Brian Rock
Reply

No problem, Rico. Glad to be helpful…!

Daniel Clews
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Thanks for this info, helped me realise there’s no point in me upgrading from 650d to 700d. I can digital zoom my pictures after they’re taken if I want anyway :P. this is a silly upgrade really, they should’ve just kept the 650d and updated the included lenses or something.

Lori
Reply

My Canon T3i was destroyed in my storage. I am going to purchase another Canon. Now I have been hearing a lot about this STM lens, but if the STM lens work on the T4i it makes since for me to purchase the T4i and save the extra few hundred bucks and buy the STM lens. The T4i I am watching is less than $850 with two lens (no STM lens) and a boat load of other items. Please help, I do not want to waste anymore money.

Thank you in advance.

Brian Rock
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Hey Lori. I’d definitely get the t4i and steer clear of the full price t5i. What two lenses come with that t4i, and is it used or a new bundle…? If you wanted the new lens, you can get the t4i with the 18-135mm STM lens for $800 on Amazon currently. Unless you need a telephoto lens for sports, that’s a great all around length, and it’s a good choice if you only have one lens.

Lori
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It has the 18-55mm and the 55-250mm lens, bag, battery, charger, everything needed to get started. It is a new bundle. The actual price is $899. I have a $93.00 credit so I am going to use it towards this purchase. I also must state that I am a real beginner!! I have not taken any classes since high school, which was long ago, but I do plan on taking classes. I love photography. I am going to do more research on the STM lens to see if it is even worth it for me to purchase right now. I just want to make sure that the camera I do purchase will be able to use the new STM lens.

Thank you so much for your help!!!

Mike Biel
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Just picked up a t4i 18-55mm lens kit yesterday to replace an old digital rebel Eos I bought 5ish years ago. Got a call from the store and said they weren’t supposed to sell me the t4i because it was on recall. They had me come back to the store and gave me a t5i as a replacement. Cost me a little in gas but it sounds like that’s all it might’ve been worth.

Brian Rock
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Well that’s bizarre. There was a recall on some Canon t4i’s last summer, wonder why the store still had it sitting around… but a free upgrade is nice, no matter how minor it is!

Dennis McKee
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Hi just wondering as to the recall on the t4i’s. what was the recall for? As I got mine for Xmas. Had to take mine and send it back for the flash not popping up.

Brian Rock
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Hey Dennis. The recall didn’t involve flashes. It was a really strange problem. The rubber grip had a chemical on it that could irritate your skin. From what I remember, there were only one or two reports of people having a mild reaction to it, but that prompted a recall of a bunch of cameras.

Eleanor
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Hi I’m looking to buy a new camera in a few months, maybe July and I’m debating between the t4i and the t5i. Which do you suggest I get?

Brian Rock
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Hey Eleanor. Is this your first dSLR, or are you upgrading from an earlier camera? And what kind of photos / video are you going to use it for? Unless the price drops significantly (which it probably won’t until the fall or winter), I wouldn’t bother with the Canon t5i. The biggest question is which lens is better with the Canon t4i – the 18-55mm or the 18-135mm – and that depends on what you’ll be using it for.

Eleanor
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It’s going to be my first personal dslr, but I’ve been using the t1i for quite a bit. so major upgrade here haha. I take pictures for school events and videos for my friend’s band, so those would be my only non personal uses. All other uses would just be for leisure.

Brian Rock
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In that case, I’d go with the Canon t4i and the 18-135mm lens. The t4i is a huge improvement over the t1i (I used one for a long time myself), and the longer lens would be good for events. The 18-135mm is also an STM lens, better for video and autofocusing during video. The fact that the Canon t4i with the long lens is cheaper than the Canon t5i with the short lens (the 18-55mm) just kills me…

Alanna
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Hi there! I’m looking to purchase my first DSLR and am deciding between the t4i and t5i. I would be getting the 18-135mm lens for either one. As a film student, I will primarily be using the camera for videography. The only real upgrades I’ve heard of on the t5i are the increased battery life and the digital zoom you’ve mentioned. Just wondering if you think it’s worth it to get the t5i. Thanks in advance!

Brian Rock
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Hey Alanna. I’d definitely go for the Canon t4i. That Canon t4i with the 18-135mm is only $800 on Amazon… which means you’d be spending an extra $300 to get the Canon t5i. Just doesn’t seem worth it at all for me. The t4i is certainly an upgrade over the t3i (for your purposes), but it’s hard to justify spending that much more for the t5i.

JD CHUNG
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Hello, Brian. I thank you for your in-depth review.
Now I feel much better buying t4i last night.

For some reason I didn’t even know about t5i was out already!
I’ve been juggling between t3i and t4i for a few days & finally pulled the trigger last night.
t4i was about a hundred bucks more than t3i and had a touchscreen that my wife likes in her point-n-shoot Canon, so I said what the heck! I made a purchase of t4i body only for only $488!! (fingers crossed…)

I am an architect, took several courses in my college year and been around good ‘ol 35mm scene forever for my design work. But this would be my first non point-n-shooter camera. It’s been long time coming… ^^

The reson why I bought body only is that I’ve already have Canon 28-105 lense USMII (bread-and-butter of the 2000s!) and am gonna just reuse that wonderful lense until I get more “serious” with the new purchase.

I went to Iceland a couple of years ago. With my point-n-shoot Canon, I couldn’t catch anything at nightsky (mighty Aurora!) which was the biggest disappintment, otherwise it was the trip of the lifetime. This fall, I am trying to go back there & gear up for that trip.

If you never been in Iceland (you’ve probably been in many beautiful places so I doubt though) that’s country every photograper should go! It must be the one of the most photogenic places in the world.

If you have any recommendation for my next lense, either a telephoto (for birds for example) or something with a faster speed so that I can take northern light this time, I’d really appreciate your help. I am not that interested in video much so I don’t think STM thing has any advantage on me. Also, I see Tamron (& other 3rd party) lense still being very competitive in price, do you think it’s an acceptable choice?

Again, that you so much for your article & keep up the good work!

Brian Rock
Reply

Hey JD. The Canon t4i is a good choice, hope it works well for you. I’ve been around to quite a few places (China last year, that was exciting), but never Iceland. I’ll have to add that to my to do list.

I’ve never used a Tamron lens, however I do use Sigma lenses and I love them. They tend to be cheaper than the Canon equivalents, and they work great for me.

For birds, you’re going to need a long lens. I use a 70-200mm telephoto for some sports, and that’s not long enough. Either a 100-300mm or a 100-400mm would be better. The 100-300mm is fairly cheap (~$250), but the 100-400mm will run you closer to $1,000 (Canon or Sigma).

As for the faster lens, you probably want something wide angle for the northern lights and landscape shots. You could try a prime lens (the 50mm / nifty fifty or a 35mm). Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

JD CHUNG
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Nifty Fifty looks like a must-have with good price! Thanks for the tip.
I would look for Sigma now, that was another company that I had in my mind.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed China, & don’t forget Iceland, too.
Literally, there’re fire & ice and everything in-between in that country. Take care!

Anurag
Reply

You are awesome. I am just ordering T4i with 18-135 STM from newegg as they don’t ask for tax so it is only 799. Based on your suggestion, I am hoping that it would be good deal for me. I had Nikon d60 which I bought in 2008 and it was good. But I gave it to my brother and since then I was looking for new one for me.

scott
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I have a canon T3 which I do enjoy.I would like to upgrade.I enjoy outdoor/some night time photographyI also love taking pics of cars and animals.Of all the dslr’s canon has what would you recemmend?I”ve considered the 60D,7D as well as the T5i.Iwouldn’t mind getting a macro lens in the future as well.So..what do you think?

Brian Rock
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Hey Scott. Unless you’re buying a kit with the 18-55mm STM lens, I’d steer clear of the t5i and get the t4i. They’re virtually identical, and the Canon t4i is much cheaper.

As for an overall upgrade, I love the Canon 7D. If you want a top quality, professional camera, get it. You won’t be disappointed. Better resolution, focusing, ISO / noise reduction, top LCD screen, settings dial, quicker continuous shooting. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth it.

If you’re looking at the cheaper end, then the choice is between the Canon 60D and the Canon t4i. The Canon 60D has professional controls (top LCD screen, settings dial) while the Canon t4i has better ISO sensitivity and a new image processor. I think you could say that the Canon t4i is objectively the better camera (slightly), but not by much. The best thing would be to go to a store and hold each camera, if you could, and see how you like the different menus / user interfaces.

Matt
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Please help me find the t4i with 18-135 for $799. Its not available at Amazon or Newegg as stated throughout this post.

Brian Rock
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Hey Matt. I just checked Amazon, and it looks like the cheapest option is now $899, which is a little disappointing. Prices on these things do fluctuate a bit, and hopefully it’s just a short term increase. All of the options (body only, and body w/ 18-55mm) seem to have increased, so hopefully it’s just a temporary thing.

I’d check back in a couple days and see if the price goes back down, because it’s been at the lower prices for the past month or so. I guess if it doesn’t, I’ll edit the post to reflect the new prices, but let’s cross our fingers that it isn’t permanent.

Reshi
Reply

T4i has a Movie Mode selection on the Off/On switch as well. T4i looks even more appealing now that the next model up is basically the same in terms of feel and performance.

descansomental
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Hi Brian, my old camera broke and I need a new one asap. Unfortunatelly t4i increased price, now is 899 with 135mm. That make me think about t5i with 55mm lens. They are the same price, and I take mor day/day photo than filming.. What do you recommend?

Brian Rock
Reply

If you do absolutely no video, then the difference between the new 18-55mm lens and the old one aren’t that. The STM autofocus is nicer, but the difference is most noticeable with video.

But more importantly, all else being equal, I’d still jump on the opportunity to get the 18-135mm lens. The longer focal length comes in handy, and it makes a much better all around lens than the 18-55mm. I use an 18-50mm sometimes, and I quite often find myself wishing I could zoom in just a bit farther.

Not to mention that the 18-135mm lens is far more valuable than the 18-55mm – about $550 compared to about $250. So, in short, I’m disappointed that the price of the Canon t4i went up, but I think it’s still a much better deal.

Vimal
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Brian – Hi I do a lot of occasional videoing – what would you recommend on a camera? thanks Vimal

Mike
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Brian, great review. I currently have the T2i with the 18-55mm, 55-250mm and a f/1.8 50mm lense. I take mostly pictures and some occasional video. Based on the review it seems that between the T4i and the T5i that the T4i is the way to go. Would you say it would be worth the investment to upgrade my T2i to the T4i?

Brian Rock
Reply

Hey Mike. Well that’s a tough question. The Canon t2i is still a great camera – it’s what my students use at school. And while the t2i is better, the question is where the best investment is… a new camera body or a better lens. It’s about $700 to get a Canon t4i body (which you could offset by selling your t2i body on eBay for about $350, if it’s in good condition). If you still had a t1i, I’d say it’s a no brainer, but the t2i is a closer call in my opinion. You get some upgrades (wireless flash support, higher ISO, articulating touch screen, Movie AF Servo) but the Canon t2i is still a sound camera with great HD video support.

Personally, I’d rather invest some extra money in a better lens. Depending on whether you use the standard zoom or the telephoto zoom more, I’d replace it with an f/2.8 version from Sigma. The extra room in the aperture would make up for the extra ISO you’d get with the Canon t4i (plus avoid the noise), plus it would let you play around with bokeh and depth of field more.

Balaji
Reply

Thanks for the detail review. I am planning to get my first DSLR and taste the photography. My primary purpose includes, Kid’s pictures / videos, Insects / flowers / Microscopic, household functions and low light pictures.

After reading these reviews I am feeling T4i might be a good fit for my needs. Please advise. Also share your thoughts on the lens I can go for now.

Thanks Balaji

Brian Rock
Reply

Hey Balaji. Yup, sounds like the Canon t4i is perfect for your needs. The 18-135mm STM lens is a great all around lens for most things. I would suggest a macro lens for close-ups of things like flowers and insects, but it looks like the 18-135mm STM lens has a pretty good close focusing distance (1.3 ft), which is only a shade over what you’d find on a dedicated macro lens (1ft on Canon’s 100mm Macro lens). If you do a lot of stuff in low light, you may want to consider a faster lens – like the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 for wider shots or the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 for telephoto shots.

Cindy
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Hi Brian, thanks for the article. Best Buy has these on sale right now, and deciding between the T4i and the T5i bundles. I am an artist, and would be using to shoot artwork (so color and clarity important) along with family shots (2 young kids, so that would be the other main subject :) ). Wondering if one would be better than the other? What lenses should I be getting?Might use for video a fair bit as well. Currently I have a EOS Rebel XS, but my sister in law just showed off her T4i and we were impressed enough to decide to buy a new camera. Many thanks!!

Luis Ernesto
Reply

I’m from Venezuela. I want to buy a Canon t4i, and have seen many of their caraterística, which is not like working with video as it will not only be used for photographs but also for video

Dantes zatada
Reply

The t5i just alone with the STM lens is well worth it, why would Anybody want to Go backwards ? and Hype themselves up to try to justify the older t4i the t4i has issues trying to focus with the old non STM lens ;for a couple of dollars more Why get the Discontinued T4i ? Sooner or later that mirror bouncing up and down Switching the mode dial in the t4i Will Eventually Need Maintenance that’s Not good for your pocketbook. Buy the T5i and Stop trying to convince yourselves that Going Backwards is wise by Ignoring the Fact that the STM is Super Smooth lens,the Bounce less Mirror mode dial , New textured body ,the live Preview upgraded functions Don’t Exist.. after all these Facts there is No Need 2 Go Backward and Spend More Money trying to upgrade the T4i in the Short and Long run, (Rational Thinking) Good Luck & Good Shooting I hope this helps those on the Fence

ABC
Reply

Thats a good comment for everything and is true.

Chantha
Reply

I currently have a EOS Rebel XSi. I still works great, not sure if i want to upgrade or just a better lens? What should I do? I have the 18-55mm lens.

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