Canon has spruced up its entry-level EOS Rebel DSLR line with the launch of the T5 (or 1200D in Europe). The new release will replace the two year old T3, which is currently in the second spot of Amazon's top-selling DSLRs, and promises improved functionality and ease of use for compact snappers who want to take their photography to the next level without breaking the bank. With the a more capable sensor being the only significant improvement though, you might want to think twice before rushing to upgrade.

The Canon EOS Rebel T5 packs an 18 megapixel APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) CMOS sensor, an improvement on the T3's 12.2 MP sensor, but comes with the same DIGIC 4 image processor. The 5.1 x 3.93 x 3.07 in (129.6 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm) camera can start from cold in about 0.1 seconds, and is reported capable of up to 3 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting for a 6 RAW or 69 JPEG burst (quite a bit lower than the 830 shot maximum JPEG burst of the T3).

It has a standard sensitivity range of ISO100 to 6400, which can be expanded to ISO12800, features a 9-point autofocus system, and a 1/4000 sec shutter speed. The camera can automatically select the best settings for a scene thanks to Intelligent Auto or guide first-time users through settings, features and functions for those who want to get their photographic hands dirty.

Framing up can be undertaken via the optical viewfinder, or with the fixed 3-inch, 460k-dot resolution Live View LCD display panel, with a wide 170 degree viewing angle and seven-level brightness adjustment. Where the T3's video recording prowess topped out at 720p, the T5 goes up to 1080p at a choice of 24, 25 or 30 fps.

The new Rebel sports a carbon fiber, glass-fiber-reinforced polycarbonate resin body, and has a body weight of 16.93 oz (480 g), including a memory card and battery. It's compatible with the company's full range of EF/EF-S lenses, has a built-in flash, and comes supplied with a Li-ion battery that should be good for up to 600 flash-free shots between charges, a tad less impressive than its predecessor's 800 stills-per-charge performance.

The EOS Rebel T5 will be available from next month for an estimated retail price of US$549.99, and will ship with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens.

For about the same price, beginners can trounce almost every spec offered by the new Rebel and jump over to Nikon's camp for the excellent D3200 camera. Or, for about a hundred bucks more than the T5, you could spoil yourself and plump for the new D3300.

Product page: Canon EOS Rebel T5

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