Canon T5i Image Quality Comparison

The crops below compare the Canon T5i to the Canon T4i, Canon SL1, Nikon D3200, Pentax K-50 and Sony A58.

Note that these images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction. Each camera was shot with one of our very sharp reference prime lenses.

Canon T5i versus Canon T4i at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100
Canon T4i at ISO 100

Not much changed from the T4i to the T5i in terms of image quality, as the crops here attest. Other than very minor differences due to simply being shot on different days, output from the two cameras looks virtually identical at base ISO.


Canon T5i versus Canon SL1 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100

Canon SL1 at ISO 100

As with the above comparison with its predecessor, these two first cousins with similar (though not identical) sensors produce virtually identical image quality.


Canon T5i versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100
Nikon D3200 at ISO 100

The D3200 does an incredible job with our tricky red fabric swatch here, but the T5i produces a crisper overall image in most other areas, including fine detail in the mosaic and the pink fabric swatch.


Canon T5i versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100
Pentax K-50 at ISO 100

The K-50 produces a nice, crisp mosaic image, but as we have mentioned in other reviews, Pentax cameras have an unfortunate tendency to artificially pump the yellow of the tile border and to render the pink fabric swatch magenta.


Canon T5i versus Sony A58 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100
Sony A58 at ISO 100

The A58 has roughly two more megapixels of resolution than the T5i, and the crisp detail can easily be seen here in the mosaic crop, the pink fabric swatch, etc. The A58 simply yields superior image quality than the T5i does at base ISO, across the board.

 

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

Canon T5i versus Canon T4i at ISO 1,600

Canon T5i at ISO 1,600
Canon T4i at ISO 1,600

As we would expect, the above crops are virtually identical in terms of image quality. There's no noticeable difference between the T5i and its predecessor, the T4i.


Canon T5i versus Canon SL1 at ISO 1,600

Canon T5i at ISO 1,600

Canon SL1 at ISO 1,600

As with the above comparison, once again very similar results, much as we'd expect.


Canon T5i versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 1,600

Canon T5i at ISO 1,600
Nikon D3200 at ISO 1,600

The T5i is noticeably superior to the D3200 here at ISO 1600, yielding crisper detail in all but the red fabric swatch.


Canon T5i versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 1,600

Canon T5i at ISO 1,600
Pentax K-50 at ISO 1,600

Again, the K50 looks quite sharp in the mosaic image for this ISO, but shows more noise in the bottle crops, has artificially pumped colors in some areas, and loses all detail in the red fabric swatch. The T5i remains nice and consistent throughout.


Canon T5i versus Sony A58 at ISO 1,600

Canon T5i at ISO 1,600
Sony A58 at ISO 1,600

The A58 really shows off its amazing image quality for the price here, producing superior image quality across almost all areas of the crops.



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

Canon T5i versus Canon T4i at ISO 3,200

Canon T5i at ISO 3,200
Canon T4i at ISO 3,200

As with ISO 100 and 1600, there is virtually no difference between these two almost identical cameras.


Canon T5i versus Canon SL1 at ISO 3,200

Canon T5i at ISO 3,200

Canon SL1 at ISO 3,200

And once again, no noticeable difference between these two cousins either.


Canon T5i versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 3,200

Canon T5i at ISO 3,200
Nikon D3200 at ISO 3,200

Luminance noise becomes noticeable in the first D3200 crop above, and softness in the mosaic crop. There is more definition still remaining in the red fabric swatch, but the overall image quality nod here goes to the T5i.


Canon T5i versus Pentax K-50 at ISO 3,200

Canon T5i at ISO 3,200
Pentax K-50 at ISO 3,200

Wow, does that artificial magenta ever start to show itself here in the 3rd K-50 crop. Also notice the total loss of contrast in the red fabric swatch. And the K-50 shows more noticeable noise in the bottle crop, as compared to the T5i.


Canon T5i versus Sony A58 at ISO 3,200

Canon T5i at ISO 3,200
Sony A58 at ISO 3,200

Not quite as staggering a difference here as before, but the A58 clearly still outshines the T5i in image quality terms, producing more crisp detail even at this ISO.

 

Detail: Canon T5i vs. Canon T4i, Canon SL1, Nikon D3200, Pentax K-50 and Sony A58.

Canon T5i
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Canon T4i
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Canon SL1
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Nikon D3200
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Pentax K-50
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Sony A58
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Detail comparison. All three Canon cameras, the Pentax, and the Sony produce good images at base ISO above, while the D3200 comes in a bit soft even though it has higher resolution than all the others. The A58 is the clear winner in fine detail as sensitivity rises, doing a very good job at ISO 6400 -- even though it is the least expensive camera in the group. The three Canon models turn in similar performances, while the D3200 doesn't really stand up well in these comparisons.

 

Canon T5i Print Quality Analysis

Good 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; makes a good 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 800 and a usable 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100 and 200 produce great 24 x 36-inch prints if you look at them from a typical viewing distance, while a 20 x 30-inch print looks wonderful. At 30 x 40 inches, prints start to show a hint of pixelation, but the viewer would have to be extremely close, thus making this size suitable for wall display. At 36 x 48 inches, pixelation is more apparent up close, as this size is pushing the resolution of the 18MP APS-C sensor, but you could probably get away with wall-mounted prints. However, we're more comfortable calling it acceptable at 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 400 allows for great prints up to 20 x 30 inches, while 24 x 36-inch prints are suitable for wall display.

ISO 800 images look good at 16 x 20 inches. There is some noise, but you only really see it in the shadow areas. 20 x 30-inch prints would be suitable for wall display.

ISO 1600 makes a good 13 x 19-inch print with a nice level of fine detail. Colors also look accurate and pleasing. At 16 x 20 inches, the image is a bit too soft in finely detailed areas for us to make the call at that size. Noise starts to appear in the shadows if you look closely, but noise in the highlights and midrange areas are very low.

ISO 3200 prints start to show a bit more noise in the shadows, and the T5i starts to have noticeable issues with red colors, particularly in our red fabric area of our test scene. Still, it produces a nice 8 x 10-inch print, and 5 x 7-inch prints look even better. As before, shadow noise is apparent, but otherwise the image looks great and fine details are still noticeable.

ISO 6400 makes a decent 5 x 7-inch print, but colors start to look less vibrant and fine detail is reduced due to higher noise, preventing us from calling anything larger acceptable.

ISO 12,800 images are fairly heavy on noise and lack fine detail at larger sizes, but still produce a decent 4 x 6-inch print. Colors still look okay, if a little on the dull side. Fine detail, such as in the red fabric or mosaic area, is drastically reduced.

ISO 25,600 images were too mushy on fine detail and high ISO noise was very apparent, and therefore we would recommend avoiding this sensitivity if you want to make prints.

The Canon Rebel T5i produces excellent results for large prints at low sensitivity levels, all the way up to wall-mountable 30 x 40-inch prints at ISO 100 and 200. Additionally, the T5i does surprisingly well at controlling noise at higher ISO levels. It wasn't until we got to ISO 6400 and looked very closely at the shadow areas that we began to see noise, as well as noticeable degradation in fine detail. At extreme levels like ISO 12,800 and 25,600, colors and fine detail took a big hit, but the camera still managed to produce an acceptable 4 x 6-inch print at ISO 12,800. Overall, this consumer-level DSLR does very nicely with printed images, much like its predecessor, the Canon Rebel T4i. It produces great low-ISO prints at large sizes, while still doing a nice job with prints at high ISO levels.

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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