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Earlier in the year I compared the EOS 5D Mark III and 6D, Canon’s least expensive full-frame cameras. Today I’m going to look at two other models that cause confusion: the Canon EOS 70D vs Canon 700D (Rebel T5i).
Note: North America readers will know the EOS 700D as the Digital Rebel T5i. EOS 700D is the European name for the same camera. It is called the Kiss X7i in Japan.
The confusion arises because many photographers, when buying a new camera, start by searching online for information. While there are lots of websites that list the differences between the two cameras, it isn’t always easy to understand which of these matter to you.
I’m going to start by looking at the major points of differentiation between the two models. It’s impossible to list them all, but these are the ones most likely to influence a buying decision:
Budget is an important part of the buying decision, and there is a sizeable difference in price between the two models. At the moment you can buy the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) body only for around $700 and the EOS 70D for about $1100 (body only prices, excluding tax). The difference isn’t really surprising considering the difference in specifications between the two models.
Bottom line: If you’re on a tight budget then the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) is the model for you, but not before considering the benefits of the 70D.
Bottom line: The difference between the two models is negligible, and shouldn’t greatly influence your decision.
This is a big difference. Minor differences aside (and excluding AF in Live View or movie mode), the autofocus of the 70D is the same as that found in the more advanced Canon EOS 7D camera. It has 19 cross-type AF points (the more reactive ones) plus a transmissive LCD screen in the viewfinder that lets you configure different display options.
By contrast the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) has 9 cross-type AF points and a fixed viewfinder display. This diagram shows the difference between the two:
The higher AF point count of the EOS 70D makes it better for shooting moving subjects, as there are more AF points to measure the focusing distance to the subject. It is also more likely that you can find a well placed AF point to use when photographing still subjects, without having to focus and recompose. This is useful when using prime lenses at wide apertures, where the margin of error for focusing is small.
The autofocus of the EOS 70D also excels when using the camera in Live View or movie mode. It uses new technology called Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, the only EOS digital SLR to do so. This is mainly of interest to people who want to use the camera to shoot movies.
You can read about the autofocus performance of the EOS 70D in more detail in my article Understanding EOS Autofocus: The EOS 70D.
Bottom line: The autofocus performance of the EOS 70D is much better than that of the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i). If you want to buy an EOS digital SLR to shoot movies, the 70D currently has the best AF performance in movie mode.
The EOS 70D allows you to calibrate your lenses so they focus as accurately as possible. This is a feature found only on higher end Canon cameras and will appeal in particular to photographers who use prime lenses at wide aperture settings, where AF performance is critical. The EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) doesn’t have this feature.
Bottom line: Autofocus micro-adjustment complements the more advanced autofocus of the EOS 70D. It is Canon’s least expensive camera with this feature.
The Quick Control dial is one of the features that differentiates mid-range EOS cameras such as the EOS 70D from enthusiast level models like the 700D (Rebel T5i). It is located on the back of the camera where it is easily moved by your thumb when holding the camera. The benefit of the Quick Control dial is that it lets you adjust exposure compensation and focus point selection easily while looking through the viewfinder. This speeds up the photo taking process and may make the difference between getting a shot and missing it. The cross keys on the EOS 700D (Rebel T5i) can be used while looking through the viewfinder, but are much harder to do so.
This diagram shows the difference between the two:
These photos show you how the Quick Control Dial (700D/T5i – left image) and (70D – right image above) cross keys influence the design of the back of the camera:
Another advantage of the Quick Control dial is that it lets you scroll very quickly through your images when playing them back on the camera’s LCD screen.
For me, the Quick Control dial is so useful that I never want to use another camera without it.
Bottom line: The Quick Control dial on the EOS 70D makes it easier and quicker to use in many situations. This is something you can only appreciate by trying the camera out, so make sure you do so before making a buying decision.
The EOS 70D isn’t a great deal bigger than the 700D/T5i, but it is heavier (755 grams/1.6 lbs. compared to 580 grams/1.3 lbs.). If you are intending to carry the camera around all day, then the lighter 700D/T5i may have more appeal. But it really is subjective, and this is where the hands-on comparison comes in again. I cannot stress the importance of trying out both models to see which one you prefer to handle.
Bottom line: Try before you buy, as preferences when it comes to size and weight are personal.
The EOS 70D has built-in Wi-fi, the EOS 700D/T5i doesn’t. The Wi-fi feature lets you:
You can’t do any of those things with an EOS 700D/T5i, nor can you buy a Wi-fi unit for the camera.
Bottom line: If Wi-fi is important to you, then buy the EOS 70D. If you shoot tethered in a studio, remember you can transfer images to a computer using an extra long USB cable if your camera doesn’t have Wi-fi.
The EOS 70D has an electronic level display that you can view on the LCD screen. It is useful for taking photos with a level horizon when you have the camera mounted on a tripod. There is also an electronic level display in the viewfinder to help you keep the camera level when shooting hand-held. The EOS 700D/T5i doesn’t have this feature.
Bottom line: The electronic level is a useful feature, especially for landscape photographers. However, if your budget doesn’t stretch to the EOS 70D, remember you can buy an inexpensive spirit level that fits in the EOS 700D/T5i’s hotshoe for landscape photography.
The EOS 70D can shoot at 7 frames per second (fps), the 700D/T5i is a little slower at 5 fps. How important this is depends on the subjects you shoot – it is more likely to be of interest to those of you into sports and wildlife photography.
Bottom line: The more advanced autofocus and higher shooting speed of the EOS 70D makes it the better model for sports and wildlife photography.
There are lots of minor differences between the two cameras, so I’ve provided some links to in-depth reviews so that you can get more information before making a purchasing decision. You’ll also see some photos taken with both models. In the meantime, if you own or have used either of these cameras, why not tell us what you think in the comments. Why did you choose one or the other, and do you think you made the best choice?
Finally, if you want to ask owners of these cameras what they think, a good place to do so is the EOS magazine forum. It’s a high quality forum with lots of helpful members. You should also take a look at EOS magazine – the most in-depth magazine for Canon EOS users you can buy.
For more reviews and discussion on cameras and equipment see our Cameras section!
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