Canon T5 Image Quality Comparison

The crops below compare the Canon T5 to the Canon T3, Canon T5i , Nikon D3300, Pentax K-500 and Sony A5100.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Click any image to bring up the full test shot.

Canon T5 vs Canon T3 at Base ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 100
Canon T3 at Base ISO

It's clear that the higher-resolution 18MP sensor captures more fine detail than the older 12MP sensor found in the predecessor. The T5 also handles the often-difficult red and pink fabric swatches slightly better.

Canon T5 vs Canon T5i at Base ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 100
Canon T5i at ISO 100

Given that both cameras here share the same 18MP sensor, it's no surprise that the images look quite similar -- both capture excellent fine detail. The T5i, however, has a newer DIGIC 5 image processor, which could account for slight differences, such as the T5i's better handling of the red and pink fabric.

Canon T5 vs Nikon D3300 at Base ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 100
Nikon D3300 at ISO 100

Not only does the D3300 have a higher-resolution 24.2MP sensor, it also omits the optical low-pass filter, which helps it capture finer, sharper detail than the T5.

Canon T5 vs Pentax K-500 at Base ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 100
Pentax K-500 at ISO 100

The Canon and Pentax share a more similar sensor resolution (18 vs. 16.3, respectively). The Pentax produces some very sharp images (at default settings for in-camera JPEGs) compared to the Canon. Both here display very good fine detail, however, the Pentax does really well with fine detail in the red fabric, while it struggles with the pink fabric.

Canon T5 vs Sony A5100 at Base ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 100
Sony A5100 at ISO 100

Again, we're dealing with a higher-resolution sensor over the Canon, as the Sony's 24.3MP sensor does well capturing very fine detail. The Canon still does well, but small items like the handling of the pink fabric tip in Sony's favor.


Moving onto ISO 1600 now, where noise processing starts to show its character.

Canon T5 vs Canon T3 at 1600 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 1600
Canon T3 at ISO 1600

Bumping up the ISO to 1600, we start to see high ISO noise and in-camera noise reduction (at default levels) taking its toll on fine detail in both the T5 and T3 cameras -- which share the same DIGIC 4 image processor. The shadow noise and the fine detail in the mosaic still looks quite good from the T5, but both cameras struggle with detail in the fabric swatches.

Canon T5 vs Canon T5i at 1600 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 1600
Canon T5i at ISO 1600

Despite the newer image processor of the T5i, images here look very similar once again. Noise is well-controlled and fine detail looks good, while both models have a tough time resolving the leaf details in the red fabric.

Canon T5 vs Nikon D3300 at 1600 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the Nikon tones down the noise reduction more compared to the Canon, which in turn helps it capture more fine detail, especially in the mosaic, but at the expensive of more visible noise and grain. The Nikon also does ever-so-slightly better wiith the red fabric compared to the Canon.

Canon T5 vs Pentax K-500 at 1600 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 1600
Pentax K-500 at ISO 1600

The Canon does really well here compared to the Pentax, which displays rather strong, harsh noise reduction processing. NR artifacts are visible in the Pentax crops, and it really takes its toll on the red fabric, which is almost entirely smoothed out.

Canon T5 vs Sony A5100 at 1600 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 1600
Sony A5100 at ISO 1600

While some fine detail areas, such as the bottle crop, are softer from the Sony, the T5 does well at controlling visible noise here at ISO 1600. The red fabric is also slightly more detailed in the Sony image, though the detail in the leaf pattern is rather distorted.


And below at ISO 3200, the stakes really start to show in today's cameras.

Canon T5 vs Canon T3 at 3200 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 3200
Canon T3 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, noise and the subsequent noise reduction processing is becoming very apparent. Both cameras, however, are still able to capture and resolve some fine detail, such as the mosaic tile pattern. Fabric details have become quite soft and mushy though.

Canon T5 vs Canon T5i at 3200 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 3200
Canon T5i at ISO 3200

Like the previous comparisons with these two models, image quality performance at ISO 3200 is strikingly similar. Both are able to resolve detail in the mosaic, but display visible noise in the shadows and struggle with detail in the fabric swatches.

Canon T5 vs Nikon D3300 at 3200 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200

Again, we see the Nikon's trade off for sheer detail resolution over noise reduction. The Nikon displays more visible grain than the Canon here at ISO 3200, but the detail is crisper, in all three crops -- especially in the mosaic and the bottle label.

Canon T5 vs Pentax K-500 at 3200 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 3200
Pentax K-500 at ISO 3200

The Canon takes the edge over the Pentax here, with a good balance of noise reduction and fine detail. The Pentax displays very strong noise reduction, which unfortunately hurts overall fine detail in the image.

Canon T5 vs Sony A5100 at 3200 ISO

Canon T5 at ISO 3200
Sony A5100 at ISO 3200

The Sony's default NR processing does very well at smoothing out and removing noise, but at the expense of some fine detail here at ISO 3200. The Canon is able to resolve a bit more fine detail in the bottle and mosaic crops, though it still struggles more with the red fabric.


Canon T5 vs. Canon T3, Canon T5i, Nikon D3300, Pentax K500 and Sony A5100.

Canon T5
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon T3
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon T5i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon D3300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax K-500
SO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony A5100
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. The Canon T5 does well with very fine, high contrast detail at base ISO and shows a marked improvement over its predecessor, the T3. However, the higher resolution sensors of the Nikon and Sony unsurprisingly do better at base ISO, as does the Pentax. However, as the ISO rises, the Nikon D3300 takes the crown here by keeping fine detail crisp and clean with little degradation from noise and noise reduction processing compared to the other cameras.


Canon T5 Print Quality

Good 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100 and 200; a nice 11 x 14 at ISO 1,600; a reasonable 5 x 7 at ISO 6,400.

ISO 100 and 200 yield good prints up to 24 x 36 inches. 20 x 30's are very nice, rendering sharper fine detail, and 30 x 40's are fine for wall display prints at arm's length.

ISO 400 prints are quite good at 20 x 30 inches, and 24 x 36's here are suitable for wall display and less critical applications.

ISO 800 images at 20 x 30 inches have a bit too much noise in flatter areas of our target to merit our "good" grade, but the prints are not bad by any means and the noise is reminiscent of film grain. We can safely call the 16 x 20's good at this setting, as noise is well-controlled here and fine detail is quite good.

ISO 1,600 produces a 13 x 19 inch print that almost passes our good standard, and is certainly usable for less critical applications. 11 x 14's are good here for most all applications, with nice detail and full color reproduction.

ISO 3,200 prints tend to start taking their toll for noise levels on most APS-C cameras, and the T5 is no exception. We can call 8 x 10's good here, but there is still a bit of noticeable noise in a few areas of our test target, and the typical softening of certain areas in the red channel.

ISO 6,400 yields a 5 x 7 inch print that just passes our good seal of approval, though overall colors are beginning to look just a bit muted.

ISO 12,800 does not yield a good print and is best avoided except for less critical applications.

The Canon T5 stands up in the print quality department in most regards to its pricier sibling the T5i, falling behind it at only a couple of higher ISOs by one print size. It prints at lower ISOs up to 24 x 36 inches, quite a common size for APS-C cameras at these settings, and still delivers a good 5 x 7 at ISO 6,400. And all this while priced at just MSRP US$550, including a good kit lens. Due to the amazing price/performance ratio, we certainly give the Canon T5 an overall "good" rating in our print quality assessment.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)


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