Canon T5i and T4i in background

Canon T4i vs T5i: What’s the difference?

T5i vs T4i: Which Should You Buy?

T2i? T3i? T4i? T5i? Canon has released so many variants of the Rebel series SLRs that it can be hard to keep track of them. The latest incarnation, the T5i, was released only 10 months after the T4i, so we expected the differences to be minor. I didn’t expect them to be this minor. Below, I’ll describe the differences. Very briefly.

The Gist of It

Let me just skip ahead to the important bit: the T4i and the T5i are virtually identical. There are no improvements in image quality, autofocus capabilities, or speed in the newer model. The T5i was probably given a new name simply because Canon wanted to release a new camera with their freshly developed 18-55mm STM kit lens. There are a couple of minor points to consider, though…

Canon T4i and T5i, back view

The Differences

This is a complete list of the differences between the Canon T4i and T5i. If you’re curious how the cameras compare to more expensive models, such as the Canon 70D, my comparison of those cameras provides a much more complete listing of their stats.

 Canon T4iCanon T5i
Canon T4iCanon T5i
Price
(body only)
$629$599
Typical Kit LensEF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ISEF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Mode DialLimited Rotation360 Degree Rotation
"Creative" FiltersProcessing Required for PreviewReal Time Preview
NOTHINGNOTHINGNOTHING

The change to the ironically named “Creative Filter” 1 preview is just a minor software update. It does appear that the change to the mode-dial is a legitimate hardware difference, though it is utterly inconsequential to the user. And that brings us to…

The Lens

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens was new with the release of the T4i, and is a truly excellent kit lens, and as I’ve said before, I’d recommend for most entry-level photographers. The Canon T5i is also available with a new lens: the EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, very similar to Canon’s earlier kit lens but with the addition of a faster, quieter stepping-motor for autofocus. This is unquestionably better than the earlier lens in terms of sharpness (though the previous one was just fine) and speed, but I’d still recommend the 18-135 STM as a kit lens, if you can afford it; it’s a much more useful range, allowing you to cover most shooting situations while only carrying a single lens.

Who Should Buy the T4i?

In general, prices for the T5i are lower than those for the T4i, which were quickly discontinued, so there is no reason to prefer the T4i. If you happen to run across some T4i old-stock in a store and it’s a great deal, then go ahead and buy it, especially if it’s bundled with the 18-135mm STM lens. If it’s bundled with the old 18-55mm, you might want to think about whether you’d rather spend a little more money and get the better kit-lens.

However, the Canon T3i is still around and is a great camera for significantly less money. For a full comparison, see my article comparing it to the T4i, but I’ve summed up why you might want to consider it below:

Buy the T5i or T4i  (instead of the T3i) if you:

  • want to shoot cinema quality HD video with something close to the convenience of a video-camera (the Canon 70D really takes this to the next level)
  • shoot sports or action and want the higher frame rate (5 frames per second) and superior auto-focus system of the T5i
  • would appreciate the convenience of a touch screen LCD
  • shoot low-light landscapes or other low-motion shots that can utilize the new multi-shot noise reduction in JPG mode

Buy the T3i or T2i if you:

  • would like to save $100 or more on the camera price
  • are not interested in shooting video. The still capabilities are identical, for all practical purposes
  • are interested in shooting video, but prefer to shoot with manual focus or follow-focus rails (as most professionals do)
  • shoot primarily landscape or portrait photography, so the AF differences are less important (the 5D Mark II shares the same AF system with the T3i)
  • do not require the extra appox. 1 frame per second provided by the T4i

As usual, I’ve tried to keep this comparison brief and focused on the most important features, and I’ve excluded discussion of in-camera-processing, since these features can change with firmware updates and are probably better done in post-processing software on your computer anyway. However, please feel free to ask me any questions that you may still have in the comments section below!

  1. These are factory pre-sets; no creation or innovation is required.
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chris
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chris

wwow, a 3 year old report has solved my problem for replacing my dropped t3i. Thank you so much

ChristopherR
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ChristopherR

Great articles. I have a Canon Rebel XS and I would like to upgrade the camera. I only have the cheap kit lens EF-S 18-55mm f 3.5-5.6 IS and later bought (I think another cheap lens) EFS 55-250mm f 4-5.6 IS. Never had a prime lens till recently (an EF 40mm f2.8 stm). Wanting to be a hard core enthusiast (time/work and funds permitting) I guess I would be considered a beginner. I’ve taken some really good close up shots of nature with the kit lens, have yet to use my 40mm, but I know I have a long way to go or grow.
I think I want to stick with the crop sensor camera and was eyeing the 70d or 7d mkii body. I don’t want to move to full frame sensor but the 6d looked very tempting.
I want to use the camera for indoor basketball, my daughter is really loving the sport and I’d like to be able to get a camera that would be suitable for taking some great shots. I know the 6d would be great but I might be buying too much camera for my skill. Maybe I could make my Canon Rebel XS work with a great lens, but I know it wouldn’t be the greatest in low light sports (then again, I confess I haven’t explored much outside my kit lenses either).
I was looking at the T5i (cheap) and weighing my options on the 70d and 7d mkii. I don’t really care for movie options in the camera, I would like low noise at high ISO, great color depth, good dynamic range, good image quality and resolution. I like my Canons or maybe I need to consider the Nikon D5500 instead of the Canon 7dmkii (price range). What are my best options?

Mia
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Mia

So if I wanted to be taking videos more, which should I buy?

heya
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heya

I’m stuck on which camera to purchase….My boys play youth football and I missed out on their very first sport ever. I’d like to take video. Does the T5i have night shot capabilities, I read somewhere it doesn’t.

Breanna
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Breanna

I have been doing some research on a camera that would be a good fit for myself with a budget in mind. I have been considering the t5i as well as the t3i but I’m not sure what is most cost efficient for what I’m getting. I’m mainly going to be using this camera for landscapes and portraits and I don’t need much video capability but want something that is superior in image quality and definition.

Nikki Glant
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Nikki Glant

Thanks! That’s what I ended up doing! Good to know I made the right call! I appreciate all the information!

Camera girl
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Camera girl

I don’t know wich one to get of the t4i or t5i I have all the money so idk…..

Erynne
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Erynne

Hi Matthew. Thanks for this article! I have a question about one of the reasons you list for getting the T3i over the newer models:
“are interested in shooting video, but prefer to shoot with manual focus or follow-focus rails (as most professionals do).”

This makes it sound like the newer T4i and T5i are incapable of doing manual focus or follow-focus rails. Is that true? I don’t know what “follow-focus rails” is/are, but I love using manual focus on my pictures, and imagine I will when I get more into videography. Any info on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

Nikki
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Nikki

I plan on shooting a lot of children’s potraits. Because they move around a lot, I am not sure if the T5i would be better than the T3i for me. With the 9 points of focus of the 5, and as I am a beginner, would it be reasonable to spend more money on it. Or will it make that much of a difference, if I just get the correct lens? Thanks!

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