Features & Controls

Canon gave the Rebel T6i an APS-C sized CMOS image sensor with 24.2-megapixels of resolution, which is a significant step up from the Rebel T5i's 18-megapixels, even though both DSLRs have the same sized 3:2 aspect ratio image sensor, measuring 22.3 by 14.9 mm.

The T6i (called the 750D in some parts of the world) has a Canon EF lens mount. The lens release button is the D-shaped button to the right of the lens mount.

lens and camera.jpg
The Canon T6i model I tested included an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, as shown here.

The kit lens' manual focus ring is at the top end of the lens (above the Canon label). The focal ring is the large ring in the middle of the lens, though which you can adjust the focal length of the zoom lens between 18mm and 55mm.

You can see the red dot on the lens housing on the camera. There's also a white square just to the right of the red dot (partly obscured by the reflection in this photo). These marks allow the photographer to line up the adjoining mark on the lens before attaching the lens to the mount. The red dot is for EF lenses, while the white square is for EF-S lenses.

Lens switches.jpg
The lens release button is visible again in this photo at the lower right. In the upper right is the button used to open the popup flash unit.

On the kit lens itself you'll see the AF/MF and Image Stabilizer toggle switches. The Image Stabilizer switch determines whether the optical IS built into the lens is On or Off. The focus mode switch toggles between AF (autofocus) and MF (manual focus). Both switches were also found with the Rebel T5i kit lens.

When operating in manual focus, you'll dial in the focus using the manual focus ring discussed earlier. If you're shooting in Live View mode, you can magnify the image on the screen by 5x or 10x to help you dial in the sharpest focus. The manual focus ring is well placed, and this magnification system worked extremely well.

Within autofocus mode you'll make use of a through the lens focus system with 19 AF points. This is a significant improvement for the Rebel T6i over its predecessor, the T5i, which had 9 AF points. All 19 AF points with the Canon T6i are cross-type points, which are extremely accurate.

The T6i's autofocus options in Viewfinder mode are One-Shot AF, AI Focus AF, and Predictive AI Servo AF. When you switch to Live View mode, the autofocus options include Face Detection with Tracking, Flexizone-Multi AF, and Flexizone-Single AF. Continuous AF is available with all three Live View autofocus options, although you can disable Continuous AF through the on-screen menus.

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When recording with a flash you'll have the option of using the built-in popup flash unit or attaching an external flash to the hot shoe.

The popup flash unit for the EOS Rebel T6i surrounds the hot shoe on the top of the camera and opens with the flash button on the left side of the camera, which is visible in the bottom right corner of this image. The flash button only works when the camera is powered on.

Flash exposure compensation of between -2 and +2 is available, and the flash metering options with the T6i are E-TTL II Autoflash and FE Lock.

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If you plan on using Live View mode quite a bit, you'll greatly appreciate the high-quality 3.0-inch LCD screen that Canon included with the Rebel T6i, which is the same screen found on the T5i. It includes 1.04 million pixels of resolution, making it a very sharp and bright screen. Seven levels of brightness control are available. The screen's 3:2 aspect ratio matches the aspect ratio of the image sensor.

As a great feature for a segment of the Rebel's target audience -- those new to DSLR photography -- the LCD screen is touch-enabled. Touch screen cameras typically are easier to use than those models without touch screens, especially for inexperienced photographers.

While it would've been nice if Canon had designed its EOS Rebel T6i menus with more of a graphical interface, making the touch screen capabilities more useful, there are enough on-screen icons and buttons through the Q (Quick Control) interface to make the touch screen a nice option for photographers making the jump from point-n-shoot cameras to the T6i.

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It's an articulated LCD screen as well, allowing it to swivel away from the camera and twist. When you aren't using the camera, you can turn the screen portion toward the back panel of the camera, protecting the screen.

Top buttons.jpg
Canon's designers didn't change the basic design of the top panel of the Rebel T6i from its predecessor, although they did add a couple of dedicated control buttons.

The hot shoe is on the left of this image, and you can see the outline of the popup flash unit. Just to the bottom right of the hot shoe, you can see the edge of the dioptric adjustment dial, allowing you to adjust the sharpness of the viewfinder.

The T6i and T5i have the same mode dial with the same options, which are:

  • Program AE (P)
  • Shutter Priority AE (Tv)
  • Aperture Priority AE (Av)
  • Manual (M)
  • Scene Modes (SCN)
  • Sports mode (running man icon)
  • Macro mode (flower icon)
  • Landscape mode (mountain icon)
  • Portrait mode (face icon)
  • Creative Auto (CA)
  • Flash Off (crossed out flash icon)
  • Scene Intelligent Auto (A+ in green)
The four more advanced shooting modes are contained in a bracket, and the group is called Creative Zone. The other eight shooting modes are automatic modes, and the group is called Basic Zone.

The power switch is to the right of the mode dial. The switch is of a large size, making it easy to find when you're in a hurry. Beyond the On and Off positions for the switch, you'll need to slide the switch all the way upward to use movie recording mode. You cannot record movies when the power switch is in the On position, but you can record still images when the switch is in the Movie position.

At the far end of the right-hand grip is the shutter button. It's well-placed and of a good size, and it can be used comfortably. Just below the shutter button in this photo is the command dial, which allows you to make quick changes to some of the on-screen settings or to scroll through stored images on the memory card more quickly.

The changes from the T5i to the T6i occur in the three buttons above the mode dial. The two buttons on either end of the row are new, while the ISO button in the middle is the same as was found with the previous model. Use the ISO button to make quick changes to the DSLR's ISO setting. The ISO button can be used in either Viewfinder mode or Live View mode.

The button on the left is the autofocus point selection button, through which you can switch between autofocus modes in Viewfinder mode. As the autofocus mode you want to use is displayed on the LCD screen, you can touch the spot on the screen where you want to set the autofocus point.

The button on the right is the Display button, which allows you to turn off the LCD screen when working in Viewfinder mode. Normally, the screen will display shooting information while you're using the viewfinder. But, you can use the Display button to turn off the screen, which you may want to do to conserve battery power or if the glow from the screen is causing a distraction. Press the Display button again to turn on the screen.

Neither of these two new buttons can be used in Live View mode.

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The upper part of the back panel of the Canon EOS Rebel T6i contains a few different buttons, each of which are identical to the T5i.

On the far left is the Menu button, which opens the on-screen menus. The Info button changes the data being displayed on the screen. It's also used to provide access to additional options with some of the menu settings. Both buttons can be used in either Live View or Viewfinder modes.

In the middle is the high-quality pentamirror optical viewfinder. Having a really good viewfinder is important in a DSLR camera, as the T6i works much quicker in Viewfinder mode than Live View mode, so the good viewfinder will encourage photographers to use the camera in the fastest working mode. The viewfinder has approximately 95% coverage in a typical scene.

As you're working in Viewfinder mode, the LCD will display the shooting settings data. You also can see shooting data like the autofocus points, aperture, shutter speed, EV, and ISO settings superimposed through the viewfinder, because of the inclusion of Canon Intelligent Viewfinder technology, which is a difference from past Rebels. If you don't see any data in the viewfinder, press the shutter button halfway, and the data will appear for a few seconds.

Another change Canon made to the viewfinder area on the Rebel T6i from its predecessor is the removal of a sensor above the eyecup. This sensor turned off the LCD screen whenever the camera was raised to the photographer's eye, but the T6i no longer has a sensor.

The dioptric adjustment dial is partly visible to the upper right of the viewfinder.

Directly right of the viewfinder is the Live View button, which allows you to toggle between Live View mode and Viewfinder mode. When the power switch is set to Movie mode, this button becomes the movie recording start and stop button, as indicated by the red dot above the button.

Back right buttons.jpg
On the far right of the back panel of the Rebel T6i are the majority of the camera's control buttons, featuring the same layout as the T5i.

In the upper right corner are two buttons you'll probably end up using quite a bit. On the left is the AE/FE lock button during photo recording (marked above it with a white asterisk). During Playback mode, this button is the magnification reduction and thumbnail grid button (as marked in blue).

On the right is the AF point selection button during photo recording. It becomes the magnification button during Playback mode.

The Av button allows you to control the aperture with the command dial when you hold it down in Manual mode. It serves as the Exposure Compensation button when you hold it down in the other advanced shooting modes (Program, Shutter Priority, and Aperture Priority). If you try to use this button in the Basic Zone modes, you'll see an error message on the screen.

The Q button opens the Quick Control menu, which is the best way to make quick changes to the camera's settings in either Viewfinder or Live View modes.

The four-way buttons are below the Q button. You can use the four-way button in lieu of the touch screen to move the cursor through the menus. Use the Set button in the middle to make a menu selection. Each four-way button has a popup menu associated with it too:

  • White Balance (top)
  • Autofocus Operation (right)
  • Picture Style (bottom)
  • Drive Mode/Self-Timer (left)
Along the bottom of the set of buttons are two Playback mode buttons (marked in blue). The button on the left opens Playback mode. With a photo or movie displayed on the screen in Playback mode, you can delete it by pressing the Delete button on the right.

AV ports.jpg

The Rebel T6i's ports are on the left-hand side of the camera (as you're holding it), Two compartments contain the ports, and both compartments are protected by a soft covering and hinge that snaps into place.

The compartment toward the front of the Canon T6i contains the remote control terminal at the top and the external microphone port at the bottom.

USB port.jpg

The compartment toward the back of the camera contains the USB port toward the top (also serves as audio/video and digital terminals) and the HDMI port toward the bottom.

Both compartments are identical to what photographers had available on the T5i.

memory card slot.jpg
Canon included the memory card compartment on the right side of the EOS Rebel T6i's camera body. This hard plastic compartment cover snaps tightly in place to protect the SD-sized memory card.

The battery compartment for the Canon Rebel T6i is on the bottom of the camera, and the battery fits inside the right-hand grip. The battery compartment has a hard plastic door with a spring hinge and a toggle latch to keep it securely locked during usage of the camera.

The stand-alone battery charger plugs directly into an outlet. And Canon included a USB cable with the T6i, which is nice to have, as this is unfortunately becoming rarer among camera makers.

The Rebel T6i's battery performance offers mixed results. In Viewfinder mode alone, the battery is rated at about 500 photos, while it's rated at less than 200 shots in Live View mode. This is essentially the same battery performance offered by the T6i's predecessor.

Real-world digital photography often involves using the LCD quite a bit, so I was slightly disappointed in the camera's battery performance during my tests. A DSLR camera should be able to record more than a few hundred photos per battery charge. And if you choose to use the camera's wireless connectivity function, the battery will drain quite a bit more quickly.

You can order a a battery grip for the T6i that will double its stand-alone battery performance, or you may just want to order a second battery to give you longer photography sessions.

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