Canon T3i vs 5D
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i (called Canon 600D in some regions) and the Canon EOS 5D are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2011 and August 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (T3i) and a full frame (5D) sensor. The T3i has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the 5D provides 12.7 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor||12.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)||ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3.7 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|440 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g||152 x 113 x 75 mm, 895 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Canon EOS 5D? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon T3i and the Canon 5D is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D is notably larger (29 percent) than the Canon T3i. Moreover, the 5D is substantially heavier (57 percent) than the T3i. It is noteworthy in this context that the 5D is splash and dust-proof, while the T3i does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 5D) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (T3i). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon T3i»||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599||Canon T3i|
|Canon 5D«||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon SL2« »||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549||Canon SL2|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon T6s« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649||Canon T6s|
|Canon T5« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449||Canon T5|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Canon 6D|
|Canon M« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599||Canon M|
|Canon T4i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449||Canon T3|
|Canon T2i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.3 oz||400||n||Mar 2009||799||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The T3i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the 5D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon T3i features an APS-C sensor and the Canon 5D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5D is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the T3i uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 5D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon T3i offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 12.7 MP of the Canon 5D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). However, it should be noted that the T3i is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the 5D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T3i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T3i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inch or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inch or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 5D are 21.8 x 14.6 inch or 55.5 x 37 cm for good quality, 17.5 x 11.6 inch or 44.4 x 29.6 cm for very good quality, and 14.6 x 9.7 inch or 37 x 24.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 5D has a markedly higher DXO score than the T3i (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon T3i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65||Canon T3i|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon SL2||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.4||1041||79||Canon SL2|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon T6s||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70||Canon T6s|
|Canon T5||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon T5|
|Canon SL1||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon M||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.2||827||65||Canon M|
|Canon T4i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62||Canon T3|
|Canon T2i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The T3i indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the T3i can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T3i and the 5D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 5D offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the T3i (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 5D has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon T3i and Canon 5D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon T3i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T3i|
|Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL2|
|Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T6s|
|Canon T5||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T5|
|Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Canon M||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3||n||n||Canon M|
|Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T3|
|Canon T2i||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7||Y||n||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The T3i has one, while the 5D does not. While the built-in flash of the T3i is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The T3i has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the 5D does not have a selfie-screen.
The T3i writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the 5D uses Compact Flash cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and Canon EOS 5D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon T3i||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3i|
|Canon 5D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon SL2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon SL2|
|Canon 5DS||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon T6s||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T6s|
|Canon T5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5|
|Canon SL1||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon M||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon M|
|Canon T4i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T4i|
|Canon T3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T3|
|Canon T2i||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T2i|
|Canon T1i||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T1i|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D (unlike the T3i) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the T3i and the 5D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark II, while the T3i was followed by the Canon T4i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon T3i and the Canon 5D? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.7MP) with a 19% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 2).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x100mm vs 152x113mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 325g or 36 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 5D launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2005).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T3i is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon T3i and the Canon 5D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T3i or the 5D perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1300D vs Canon 5D
- Canon 1D X vs Canon 5D Mark IV
- Canon 20D vs Canon 5D Mark IV
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Fujifilm X30
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Nikon D5100
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Sony RX100 VII
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon 1 V2
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D50
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Panasonic TZ100
- Canon 5D vs Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon 5D vs Nikon D750
- Canon 5D vs Sony A7R IV
Specifications: Canon T3i vs Canon 5D
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2011||August 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 3299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||12.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||4368 x 2912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||8.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||1.47 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-6400 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||50-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 2|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||793||1368|
|Screen Specs||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon T3i||Canon 5D|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
152 x 113 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||570 g (20.1 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.