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Canon EOS T5i review: This entry-level DSLR is particularly great for video

Melissa J. Perenson | Oct. 15, 2014
Adjustable swing-out display has touchscreen for easily navigating shooting options, even in sunlight. But the Live View focus, flash cycling, and general navigation feel sluggish by comparison.

The articulating display is one of my favorite features on the T5i. I've long been a fan of Canon's flip-out display--it can flip up and down to allow unique camera angles and maximum shooting creativity. Even better: The display can flip 180-degrees in the same direction as you're shooting, making the T5i a terrific tool for selfies. The included 18mm-55mm EFS STM kit lens provides a wide enough angle to capture everything from those selfies to landscapes. And the camera remains light enough to easily hold in one hand.

Like the T5, the T5i has a 9-point auto-focus. The auto-focus uses contrast-detection cross-type, which helps the camera better distinguish what you're capturing. Still, with just those nine points of auto-focus, I felt a bit limited in range when attempting to creatively frame images. Adjusting focus is easy: Tap the focus button at the far right top corner, then use the scroll wheel at top, or the four-way buttons at bottom, to cycle among the focus points.

I found Live View focus frustrating--the camera often needed more time to lock in than a modern-day smartphone. You can, at least, tap anywhere on the screen to select a focus point, as we're used to doing now with our phones. Tapping the Q button at the upper-right brings up shooting mode adjustments, distributed in a U-shape around the display.

When I kicked the camera into a high-speed shooting mode, I liked its five frames per second capture speed. While that's no competition with the speed of higher-end Canon models aimed at enthusiasts and pros, it's still suitable for capturing fast-moving action, such as speedy toddler or an athletic teen. If you know how to time your capture, you should be able to get a leap on the balance beam or a slide into home.

I did notice a difference in image quality between the T5i and the T5, particularly as I pushed the ISO level higher. Still, neither camera is a good choice for truly low-light shooting, with ISO 800 being relatively noise-free and sharp, and ISO 1600 about as high as you'd want to push it. The T5i has higher ISO options, to 12800 (twice that of the T5), but be prepared for noise to increase the higher you go, and a loss of detail and sharpness.

Overall, images look good. I found accurate color and sharp detail at all focal lengths. Occasionally, I noticed that the Program mode tended toward brighter exposures than I'd expected.

Bottom line
With its ease of use and powerful features, the Canon EOS Rebel T5i is a good choice for those looking to graduate to their first compact digital SLR--particularly if they want to shoot to video.


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