The Canon EOS Rebel series of entry-level DSLRs has always performed well in our Ratings. I've recently spent some time with the new 18-megapixel Canon EOS Rebel T5i with the 18-55mm kit lens, which we'll be testing soon in our lab. Here are my impressions:
Lots of features and smart design. When you pick this Rebel up, you'll be a little surprised by how light and comfortable it is to hold (especially if you're used to old, heavier digital SLRs or even film SLRs). It weighs just a little over 20 ounces without the lens, and around 28 ounces with the lens. It also has a nice rubberized grip that can help you steady the camera when shooting.
This Rebel offers many of the specs and features found on its predecessor, the T4i. And both the T4i and T5i have lots of nice extras. For instance, each has a live view display (which means you can compose your shots on your LCD screen, just like a basic camera), but it's also got a swiveling touch screen that lets you focus and shoot by tapping the display. When I tried focusing and shooting on the touch screen, both worked quite well.
Because the T5i is an SLR, you have more options and settings to tweak than you would with a more basic camera. On some SLRS, that means you could spend a lot of time burrowing through the menus. Instead, the T5i lets you quickly select various functions by hitting the Q button on the back of the camera, double-tapping a function on the LCD, and changing it. The T5i still includes old-style SLR features, such as a through-the-lens viewfinder, which can be helpful when composing a shot in bright light settings.
One possible drawback is that the Rebel T5i lacks built-in Wi-Fi, which some other advanced cameras now offer.
Making complex tasks easier. Many advanced cameras, including the Rebel T5i, now offer more ways to either automate complicated features or make complex tasks easier.
Take the following scenario: It's sunny, and you're photographing friends by a window. Because of the difference in light indoors and out, your camera may not properly expose both your friends' faces and the yard outside. To fix that, you need a high-dynamic range (HDR) mode, like the one on the Rebel T5i: It lets the camera take three shots at different exposures (underexposed, correctly exposed, and overexposed) and combine the best parts of each.
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In addition to HDR mode are scores of other features, including full HD video recording, that make this Rebel a valuable advanced camera. And in this era of electronic PDF manuals, I was very happy that Canon still offers a nearly 400-page manual, which is chock-full of information.
Bottom line. Although this Rebel has a lot to offer, you may decide to buy the nearly identical Rebel EOS T4i, if it's still available in your area or online; it might be cheaper.