Comparing the Canon T5i vs T4i: Worth an Upgrade?
Differences Between the Canon EOS Rebel 650D and 700D
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 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.