Canon is one of the most recognizable names in the photography industry, and if you’re on the lookout for your next DSLR camera, you’ll probably hear people talk about the Canon 70D or the Rebel T5i, also known as the Canon 700D.
If you’re still gathering information, it might be tricky to determine which Canon is the better choice—but luckily, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you. When it comes to 70D or T5i, here’s how the two measure up:
Rebel T5i vs. Canon 70D: Differences Between Two Great Cameras
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s talk about some of the big differences between these cameras (and how they can affect your work as a photographer):
Autofocus performance is a crucial feature for a lot of photographers, regardless of the subject. What you’ll find is that the Canon EOS 70D has a similar performance to the Canon EOS 7D camera, another one of the top models in Canon’s selection.
With 19 cross-type AF points as well as an LCD screen for display options, the EOS 70D measures up well in this category. It’s also one of the only Canon cameras to let you focus in live view mode (without it being too time-consuming), which might be a serious perk to some photographers.
In comparison, the Rebel T5i only has 9 cross-type AF points, and the viewfinder has a fixed display. For a sports photographer or anybody who regularly shoots moving objects, the 70D would probably be the better option. With a moving target, you have no time to waste, and you’ll need a camera that focuses as quickly as possible.
Even if your subject won’t be on the move, the 70D may also have a leg up on the competition with all of its AF points. There’s a higher chance your subject will be near an AF point, so you probably won’t need to constantly refocus or recompose with the 70D. The T5i keeps most of its AF points near the center of the display, so you might have trouble focusing on a subject that’s near the outside of your frame.
It’s also worth noting that the 70D uses Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, but this will really only benefit you if you plan to shoot video with your DSLR camera.
Pixels and Sensor
While it won’t matter to everyone, some photographers do care a lot about megapixels. While the Canon 70D has a 20.2-megapixel sensor, the Canon Rebel T5i only has an 18-megapixel sensor. Keep in mind that more megapixels don’t necessarily mean better photos. The number of megapixels only tells you how much detail your camera’s sensor can collect, but it’s only one of many factors that contribute to high-quality photos.
If you primarily shoot in JPG, you might not even notice the difference in a side-by-side comparison. Sensor size will probably only really affect you if you do a lot of large prints. Depending on the size, those few extra pixels may allow you to get a little bit more width out of the Canon 70D’s files.
So, while this might be a difference worth noting, you probably shouldn’t base your entire decision around the megapixel count.
Some photographers might also be wondering, is Canon 70D full frame? Depending on what you read, it might seem as if Canon 70D is full frame, but this isn’t true. It has an APS-C cropped sensor, not 70D Canon full frame or Canon 70D full frame.
If there’s one area that can play a major role in your buying decision, it’s probably cost. Even without tacking on the cost of a lens or other accessories, many high-end DSLR cameras can end up costing hundreds of dollars, if not more.
As it turns out, there is a pretty big price differential between the Rebel T5i and 70D Canon. Currently, Canon prices the body for the EOS 70D at just under $1,200, while the Canon T5i sits at around $750. Depending on where you buy, the price tag may vary, but you’ll likely find the T5i much cheaper than the 70D.
Some photographers may choose to buy these cameras in a lens kit, which means that you don’t need to buy your lens separately, but it will definitely rack up the cost.
Micro-adjustment of the Lens
Not all photographers need to calibrate their EOS lens for every session, but the EOS 70D does allow you to do so. The EOS Rebel T5i Canon doesn’t let you do calibrate your lens, and you’ll probably only find this feature on some of Canon’s higher-end EOS DSLRs.
When you’re dealing with a wide aperture and a prime lens on your Canon, the micro-adjustment lens feature on the Canon 70D is essential. Otherwise, it may not be a necessity for every photographer.
Quick Control Dial vs. Cross Keys
When you’re in the midst of a photography shoot, many professionals want to be able to adjust focus point selection or exposure compensation in the most convenient way possible. The easier it is to do, the faster you’ll be able to snap your photos.
A lot of DSLR cameras allow you to change these features on the back of the camera’s body, including the Canon 70D and Canon Rebel T5i. However, they do so in different ways. While the EOS 70D uses what’s called a quick control dial, the Rebel T5i sticks to cross keys, which you’ll find on a lot of mid-range EOS Canon cameras.
Most of the time, using the quick control dial is a little more convenient for exposure compensation, since you rarely need to take your eyes off the viewfinder. All you have to do is move your thumb in the direction that you want to turn the dial and adjust the settings as you see fit. Another perk of the quick control dial is that you can also use it to scroll through your camera’s image history, which might be useful if you need to find a specific picture.
With the T5i, there are four different keys for each setting. If you’re extremely familiar with the Canon, you might be able to click the correct key without looking, but it can take some getting used to. When you’re working with a new camera, you’ll probably need to take your eyes off the viewfinder to find the right button.
Using the cross keys of the Canon T5i probably won’t take more than a second longer, but when you’ve only got a few moments to snap the perfect shot, that second can make all the difference.
The weight and size of your Canon probably won’t affect the quality of your photos, but lugging around a bulky camera throughout the day can be tiresome for some photographers. If you need to fit your Canon into a tight space to capture a shot, a lighter device will work to your advantage.
As far as these two options go, there’s not a lot of difference in the size. The Canon T5i is slightly heavier at 1.6 pounds while the EOS 70D weighs in at 1.3 pounds.
When it comes to a digital camera or Canon, some professionals prefer built-in WiFi, especially when it comes to linking your Canon up with a smartphone or sending your shots straight to the printer. WiFi can be a make-or-break feature for some people, while other photographers couldn’t care less. With these two, the EOS 70D Canon comes with a WiFi feature built into it, but the Canon Rebel T5i doesn’t.
When you’ve got built-in WiFi on your Canon, you can usually pull up your photos on a TV or media player screen, directly use a WiFi printer, or transfer photos between other select Canon cameras.
One perk that photographers working in a studio may find helpful is the ability to transfer photos to your computer wirelessly. As long as your Canon and your computer are on the same WiFi network, uploading photos shouldn’t require the use of a USB cord.
Speed (FPS) and Electronic Level Display
If you do a lot of continuous shooting, knowing the exact frame rate can be crucial. In this category, the EOS Rebel lags a little behind with only 5 FPS (frames per second) while the 70D offers 7 FPS.
If you work with still subjects, shooting speed probably won’t influence your decision drastically, but if you deal with moving targets (like in wildlife or sports photography), you’ll probably prefer the faster Canon.
Speaking of working outside, leveling your camera can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with a photo that has a very clear horizon line in it. This includes beach and desert photos, or anything that features a flat, wide open landscape. Even when you work with a tripod that holds it in place, you might not realize you’re a little bit off until you take a look at the photo in post.
Another beneficial feature that landscape photographers might find on the 70D is an electronic level display. The LCD screen should mark up the screen so that you can see how well the shot lines up with the horizon or another line in the distance.
The T5i doesn’t include an electronic level, but if you really want a similar feature, you can always purchase a spirit level for the camera’s hot shoe.
70D vs Canon Rebel T5i: The Small Differences
Now that we’ve covered a lot of the bigger differences that might sway your decision, we’ll mention some of the smaller differences between these Canon EOS Rebel models. These probably won’t be make-or-break decisions, but it’s still important to know all the specifications, including speed and battery life.
Some photographers like to create interesting visual effects by experimenting with their shutter speed. If that’s you, you might be interested to know that the 70D has a slightly faster range at 1/8000th while the Rebel T5i comes in close at 1/4000th for speed.
Speaking of speed and performance, the T5i has a full buffer after capturing 6 RAW images, but the 70D is capable of snapping up to 16 of them before it gets full. Not all photographers do a lot of RAW shooting, but if you do, the 70D is a little more set up for it.
If your photography sessions take more than a few hours, you’ll probably want a Canon that has an extensive battery life. Between these two, Canon estimates that the T5i can last for about 470 shots (without the flash) or an hour and a half of continuous live shooting. Barring extreme temperatures and flash use, the 70D offers 1,300 shots and lasts for about an hour and fifty minutes with live view.
Keep in mind that these numbers may vary depending on where you’re shooting, as you may lose around 100 shots with the 70D in cold temperatures. If you plan to use your flash with any of these images, you can also count on losing a few shots for both models. Taking advantage of Live View can also dramatically change how long your camera lasts before you have to recharge it.
70D or T5i: Which Model Should You Purchase?
Now that we’ve covered all the differences, big and small, it’s time to address which Canon EOS might be right for you. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, just as there are no one-size-fits-all photographers:
Go for the Rebel T5i When…
- You’re mostly interested in using your camera for photography, not video
- You don’t mind a camera that’s slightly bulkier to carry around with you
- You’re looking for a camera that’s easy to get the hang of, even if you’re not an experienced photographer
- You don’t mind a slightly shorter battery life
- You plan to shoot a lot of portraits and landscapes
- You won’t need micro-adjustment on your lens
- You don’t mind a camera that’s slightly lower on FPS
- Built-in WiFi doesn’t matter to you
- You’re not interested in shooting tons of RAW images (at least not one right after the other)
- 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- 5 FPS continuous shooting
- 9 point AF system, all cross type
Go for the Canon EOS 70D When…
- You already have some experience with DSLR cameras, or you don’t mind taking some time to learn your way around a camera
- You’re interested in video as well as photography
- You’re into sports or wildlife photography
- You prefer a camera that’s a little more lightweight
- You want features such as an electronic level, micro-adjustment on the lens, and a quick control dial
- You plan to shoot for hours at a time, and need the extra battery
- Having built-in WiFi is extremely important to you
- You prefer a higher FPS rate
- You don’t mind paying a little bit extra for more advanced features
- You like to shoot RAW images back to back
- 20.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+
- 19 point cross-type AF System
- Up to 7 fps shooting
While the 70D excels in action photography like sports or wildlife, this Canon also comes with a significantly higher price tag and might be tricky to pick up if you’re still a beginner.
The T5i lacks some of its more advanced features, but it could be the better option if you’re still getting the hang of Canon DSLR cameras. If you plan to do a lot of work with video, the 70D will probably be an attractive option, but the T5i will come up short.
Keep in mind that this review of Canon 70D and T5i doesn’t account for any lenses or other accessories you might use. For many photographers, picking out the right lens is almost as important as the Canon itself, since it can dramatically impact your overall performance. Once you’ve decided which Canon model might be right for you, the next step is figuring out which lens will go with it.