Canon EOS 700D/Rebel T5i In-Depth Review
June 2013: The Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i replaces the very short-lived Canon EOS 650D / T4i but is almost indistinguishable from it in terms of design, operation and specification. Our tests have found the image quality and performance of both cameras to be identical and they use the same batteries and accessories as well. Accordingly, this review is a very slightly modified version of the EOS 650 review we posted in the summer of 2012. We've retained product images of the EOS 650D where there's no meaningful change in design, and except where indicated, any comments in the body of this review which reference the Canon EOS 650D / T4i are equally relevant to the Canon EOS 700D / T5i and vis-versa.
The Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i is the company's latest addition to its novice-oriented 'Rebel' series. With more than two decades of continuous success in its film and digital incarnations, these little SLRs have been improved and refined to the point that Canon's biggest challenge seems to be finding new ways to distinguish its updated models. Place the new EOS 700D / Rebel T5i alongside its predecessor the EOS 650D and the differences are so minimal to be of little real importance.
Differences compared to EOS 650D
- Real-time preview of Creative Filters in Live View mode
- Redesigned new mode dial that turns 360 degrees
- New 'upmarket' textured body finish.
As such, we're not going to waste much time in this review discussing the 700D alongside the 650D. As noted above, much of the substance of this review is adapted from our earlier coverage of its predecessor anyway. The EOS 700D replaces the short-lived EOS 650D but the EOS 600D lives on in the overall lineup, to effectively drop down a notch to the position currently occupied by the EOS 550D / Rebel T2i, which will be discontinued. So long, EOS 650D. We hardly knew you. We've known fruit flies live longer.
Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i key features
- 18MP APS-C 'Hybrid CMOS' sensor
- Phase detection AF from imaging sensor for Live View and Video
- Continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking
- 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor
- ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded
- 5 fps continuous shooting
- 9 point AF system, all sensors cross type, central sensor F2.8 (from 60D)
- 63 zone iFCL metering
- 1080p30 video recording with built-in stereo mics
- 1.04m dot 3:2 touch-sensitive vari-angle ClearView II LCD (capacitive type, multi-touch support)
The 700D's headline specifications - 18MP CMOS sensor, 9-point AF sensor, 3:2 flip-out 1.04m dot screen are all familiar from the EOS 600D / Rebel T3i. Look a bit closer, however, and improvements have been made in each of these areas, with an eye both to more seasoned users who demand SLR performance and compact camera upgraders who want a familiar feeling interface.
It is largely because of the rise of large sensor mirrorless models that in today's market an entry-level DSLR must offer more than just high image quality to entice compact camera upgraders. In the age of YouTube, quick and easy access to video recording capability is a must. And for users that are far more familiar with composing via an LCD screen than a viewfinder, live view performance is of no small concern. Of course the camera must still offer users a path to a more traditional DSLR-like experience, without which, they would be hard pressed to resist the temptation of a physically smaller 'mirrorless' camera.
The EOS 650D was Canon's attempt to meet these challenges head on, with features aimed at improving its live view and video performance, which have been carried into the EOS 700D. One of the most noteworthy of these is the ability to offer continuous AF tracking while recording movies.
This is made possible by Canon's 'Hybrid CMOS' sensor that includes pixels dedicated to phase detection autofocus. The Hybrid AF system uses these to quickly set the lens to roughly the correct distance, then uses contrast detection AF to fine-tune focus. In theory, this should provide faster and more certain focusing for live view and video shooting compared to Canon models which rely on CDAF alone. You can read a more detailed explanation of this technology and see it in action on the AF performance page of the EOS 650D review.
The EOS 700D also features a touchscreen. This is of the capacitive (contact sensitive) rather than resistive (pressure sensitive) type, behaving like that of a typical smartphone. In Live View and Movie modes the screen can be used to specify the point of focus and (optionally) release the shutter. It also supports iPhone-like multi-touch and gestures. The rear screen has been redesigned with no air gap between the display and cover glass in an attempt to reduce reflections and improve visibility in bright light. There's also an anti-smudge coating which aims to reduce the impact of its newfound touch-sensitivity.
Other features of note
The EOS 700D uses Canon's DIGIC 5 processor (as seen in the S100 and G1 X compacts), which allows it to shoot at a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12,800 (25,600 extended), and allows lens-specific corrections for chromatic aberration and vignetting in the camera's JPEG processing. The 'conventional' autofocus system for eye-level shooting is borrowed from the EOS 60D, and uses nine focus points which are now all cross-type, with the center point offering additional accuracy with fast lenses.
The camera also has a built-in stereo microphone to provide sound for video, while retaining an external microphone input. The 'HDR Backlight' and 'Handheld Night Scene', modes combine multiple exposures to give a final processed image. A four-exposure 'Multi Shot Noise Reduction' setting is also available in the PASM modes.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens
Announced alongside the EOS 700D is the EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. With the camera itself offering little to distinguish itself from the EOS 650D, the option to buy the 700D with the new, stepper-motor-driven 18-55mm STM lens stands out as its main attraction. The lens offers better movie focusing and up to four stops of image stabilization, along with a close focusing distance of 0.25m and a circular seven-bladed aperture. An internal focus design means the lens does not extend when focusing. Optical performance remains essentially on par with its non-STM EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II cousin, however, as you can see in our lens comparison tool.
The STM designation is of particular interest to video shooters as it has the potential for quiet autofocus and improved AF speed. Those familiar with using just about any camcorder are accustomed to smooth and reasonably accurate autofocus, while the average SLR focuses slowly (indeed previous Rebels only focused when prompted by the user). Because an SLR can't use its phase-detect sensor while in Live View and video modes, the camera is usually left to struggle with contrast-detect autofocus. And, because non-STM lenses aren't designed with this focus method or for this purpose, the results were often jerky shifts in focus with focus motor noise audible on the video's sound track. Older Rebels were even known to gain up exposure during video if you asked them to focus.
The 700D is also available bundled with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which offers an extended zoom range at a higher price. Canon's only other SLR lens with an STM motor is the EF 40mm F2.8 pancake. All are designed to take full advantage of the Hybrid AF system found in the EOS 650D, 700D and 100D, with quiet autofocus, helpful when shooting video, and full time manual focus.
|The EOS 700D's Hybrid AF system is designed to work optimally with Canon's three-lens STM lineup which consists of an 18-55mm, 18-135mm and fixed 40mm pancake lens.|
|Compared to the previous EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens, the STM version is slightly longer to accommodate the internal focus system, and has a 'proper' manual focus ring at the front of the barrel that drive the focus group electronically. As with the older design it's physically shortest in the middle of its zoom range, and extends on zooming either to 18mm or 55mm (click here for a comparison at 55mm).|
The STM focus motor is extremely quiet, indeed inaudible in video recording and, when using the optical viewfinder, impressively fast, offering a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. But switch the camera to live view and, just like the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, it slows down significantly. This is a unfortunate - Canon's live view AF system still distinctly lags behind the competition.