Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot
  • 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor
  • Canon EF/EF-S lens mount system
  • DIGIC 6 image processor
  • Hybrid CMOS AF III autofocus system, with 19 cross-type points
  • 3.0-inch Vari-angle LCD screen with 1.04 million dots
  • ISO range from 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600
  • 7,560 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor
  • Full 1080p HD video recording (MP4 format)
  • Advanced (PSAM) exposure options
  • Easy to use (Auto, Scene modes, etc.) exposure options for beginners
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology
  • Known as 750D in some parts of the world
  • Pros
    • Very good image quality
    • 24.2-megapixels of resolution greatly exceeds this camera's predecessor
    • Offers both RAW and JPEG image formats
    • Minimal noise in low and mid-ISO settings
    • Fast performance in Viewfinder mode
    • Includes DIGIC 6 image processor, which is improvement over predecessor
    • 19 autofocus points in T6i
    • Articulated LCD with touch screen capabilities is great for using the T6i on a tripod
    • Good mix of full manual control and auto shooting options
    • Q button works well for making quick changes to camera's settings
    • Large number of special effect options
    • Good popup flash performance
    • Very good movie quality
    • Quiet lens in movie mode when used with an STM Canon lens
    • Camera's weight is good and right handgrip is of a good size
    • Sturdy build quality
    • Some features are only available in Viewfinder mode, others only available in Live View, which will confuse some photographers
    • Special effect modes are included in three different areas, which is confusing
    • Some buttons that work in Viewfinder mode result in error messages in Live View mode, which is frustrating
    • On-screen menu structure could have been reworked to take advantage of touch screen
    • Autofocus in movie mode is a little slow
    • Live View performance is well behind Viewfinder performance, outside of continuous shot mode
    • ISO only can be adjusted by full stops, not one-third stops like many advanced cameras
    • If you use Live View often, you'll drain the battery very quickly
    • Overall battery life is not as good as it should be for a DSLR
    • T6i offers Wi-Fi connectivity, but it's difficult to set up and drains the battery quickly
    Timing Test Results
    • Power up to first image captured in Viewfinder mode = 1.5 seconds
    • Power up to first image captured in Live View mode = 3.5 seconds
    • Shutter lag when prefocused in Viewfinder mode = less than 1/10 of a second
    • Shutter lag when prefocused in Live View mode = less than 1/10 of a second
    • Shutter lag with autofocus in Viewfinder mode = 0.2 seconds
    • Shutter lag with autofocus in Live View mode = 0.5 seconds
    • Shot to shot delay in Viewfinder mode without flash = 0.7 seconds between frames
    • Shot to shot delay in Viewfinder mode with flash = 0.9 seconds between frames
    • Shot to shot delay in Live View mode without flash = 4.5 seconds with minimum review time On; 3.0 seconds with minimum review time Off
    • Shot to shot delay in Live View mode with flash = 4.9 seconds with minimum review time On; 3.1 seconds with minimum review time Off
    • Continuous Shot Mode in Viewfinder mode = 10 frames in 2.6 seconds @ 24M
    • Continuous Shot Mode in Live View mode = 10 frames in 2.1 seconds @ 24M
    • Silent Continuous Shot Mode in Viewfinder mode = 10 frames in 3.4 seconds @ 24M (not available in Live View mode)
    • All tests were taken using a PNY Class 10, 4 GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, Flash off, Review on, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
    Bottom Line
    The image sensor in the Canon EOS Rebel line of DSLR cameras was due for an upgrade, and Canon has done so with the release of the EOS Rebel T6i. While the T6i doesn't have a larger image sensor than its predecessor in physical size, it does offer 24.2-megapixels of resolution, which is a 33% increase in pixels, and its image quality does surpass the T5i. Canon also gave the Rebel T6i an updated autofocus system, an updated image processor, and an updated metering sensor, all of which contribute to a really nice interchangeable lens camera. It's one that's definitely worthy of considering for almost any photographer looking for a strong entry-level DSLR, even for those that own the T5i.
    Pick This Up If...
    You want to migrate to an entry-level DSLR camera that includes plenty of upgraded technology on the interior, and you are willing to spend some time learning how to work through the T6i's operational quirks.
    When Canon released the EOS Rebel T5i a couple of years ago, it was a really nice camera, but it didn't offer enough upgrades over the T4i to make it a must-have model.

    Now that the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is on the market, photographers again are wondering whether the new model is different enough from the predecessor to warrant an upgrade. At first glance, it appears Canon's designers gave the T6i some desirable improvements over the T5i. The upgrades include:

    • 24.2-megapixels in T6i versus 18-megapixels on predecessor
    • 19 autofocus points in new model versus nine in T5i
    • DIGIC 6 image processor in T6i versus DIGIC 5 in T5i
    • New model includes Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
    • Inclusion of a 7,560 pixel RGB and infrared metering sensor versus 63-zone metering in T5i
    Those upgrades look impressive on paper (or the computer screen), and the 24.2MP of resolution helps the Rebel T6i (also known as the 750D) achieve very good image quality in an APS-C image sensor. In fact the T6i matches the largest pixel count of any Canon APS-C image sensor at the time of the T6i's release. This is the first significant upgrade to the image sensor in the Rebel family of DSLRs since the Rebel T2i.

    Images for the EOS Rebel T6i are of a very good quality for a camera in this price range, and they're good throughout a variety of lighting conditions.

    You have the option of making use of a variety of image quality settings with this model, including a RAW plus JPEG setting. Full resolution RAW files occupy about 30MB of storage space, while full resolution JPEG files at fine settings will require about 10MB of storage space. You can shoot in JPEG at image sizes ranging from 24.2-megapixels to a 3.5-megapixel image size, which results in image files that occupy only 0.5MB of storage space.

    Noise performance in low light photos is excellent, causing only a minor problem until you approach the upper end of the standard ISO range. But photographers can only change ISO settings by a full stop. (Many advanced cameras allow ISO changes to be made by one-third of a stop.) Canon gave the T6i three levels of noise reduction settings, which is a nice feature.

    During my tests, the camera's autofocus system was fast and accurate. The T6i's manual focus option works very well too. And the new metering sensor gives this model very accurate metering capabilities.

    However, the upgraded image processor didn't give the Canon T6i/750D significantly faster performance than its predecessor, nor does the T6i have a greater standard ISO range (up to 12,800) or a greater top burst rate (5 fps) than the T5i. Keep in mind, though, that the DIGIC 6 is handling 33% more pixels than the DIGIC 5 handled in the T5i.

    While there's new Wi-Fi connectivity in the Rebel T6i, it's more of a disappointment than a desirable feature. Unless you're using the Canon app and just sending images to a smartphone, it's difficult to use -- consider that Canon created a separate Wi-Fi user guide that's more than 160 pages long -- and it drains the battery quickly. Because the T6i has below average battery performance to begin with, its Wi-Fi option isn't really practical to use without a second battery on hand. There's a wireless NFC connection option too.

    The battery also drains quickly if you use Live View mode often or shoot a lot of movies. (Live View mode displays the scene on the LCD screen.) Inexperienced photographers may be tempted to use Live View mode quite often, as the point-n-shoot cameras those photographers may have migrated from to the T6i rarely have viewfinders. And Canon made it easy to use Live View mode, thanks to a bright and sharp LCD that's also articulated and has touch screen capabilities. The articulated screen is great for using this Canon DSLR model on a tripod, or you can twist the LCD 180 degrees to allow for selfies.

    Canon did give the T6i improved Live View performance versus its predecessor, especially reducing delays between shots and speeding responsiveness during flash photography. And this model runs faster in continuous shot mode in Live View than it does in Viewfinder mode, even though it performs much faster in Viewfinder mode in all other areas of operation.

    Fortunately the Canon Rebel T6i has an extremely good pentamirror optical viewfinder, meaning even inexperienced photographers will eventually make the migration to Viewfinder mode most of the time. The T6i's viewfinder offers Canon Intelligent Viewfinder as a transparent overlay for the first time in a Rebel DSLR, providing shooting data "over" the viewfinder window.

    Regardless of whether you're using Live View or Viewfinder mode, you can make use of the Q button on the back of the camera to make quick changes to the DSLR's settings. This is a great feature on the Canon T6i/750D for any level of photographer. This model's touch screen capability is best used with the Q screen, thanks to the use of icons and on-screen buttons with the Q screen. It would have been nice if Canon had re-engineered its main menus to incorporate more graphical elements too to make the touch screen more useful.

    Once you learn to use the Q button with the touch screen LCD and the command dial near the shutter button, you'll be able to work through the various menus and on-screen buttons pretty efficiently ... if you can remember exactly which features are available in Live View and which are available in Viewfinder modes. In the T6i Canon's designers treat these two modes almost like two different cameras, meaning a feature that you use in one mode may yield an error message in another mode, potentially resulting in confusion and frustration. While these two modes certainly require differences in the way the camera physically operates, it would've been helpful for inexperienced photographers if Canon's designers had found a way to make the operation of the two modes a little more seamless.

    For example, three different groups of special effect shooting options are available, but not all of them work in Live View or Viewfinder mode. And because you activate each of the three groups in completely different ways, be prepared to spend some time figuring out how to use each of them. The T5i/750D has a few other operational quirks similar to this.

    Battery power problems will cause further frustrations for EOS Rebel T6i photographers. This model's battery performance simply isn't up to par versus other DSLRs (although it is similar to what occurred with the Rebel T5i). And if you use the Live View mode often or shoot a lot of HD movies, you can expect poor battery life. If you're someone who likes to shoot a few hundred images per photography session, you might as well purchase a second battery immediately.

    HD movie quality is good with this model, both in terms of video and audio, although Canon did not give the Rebel T6i 4K video recording capability. With my test model and kit lens, the autofocus had a little bit of lag after moving the zoom lens while shooting video, but that is a common problem for this type of camera.

    I thought the Rebel T6i felt sturdy and well built while using it. It fit well in my hands, and the buttons and dials are well placed. I'm pleased Canon's designers found a way to reduce the weight of the new camera by almost 1 ounce (as measured with the CIPA standard). That doesn't sound like much, but it's almost 4.5% less than the camera body weight of the T5i. Considering the T5i and T6i look almost the same and are almost exactly the same size, it represents a considerable reduction in weight.

    Bottom Line - The Canon EOS Rebel T6i (called the 750D in some parts of the world) is a really nice entry-level DSLR camera. The T6i works fast in Viewfinder mode, which those photographers migrating from a point-n-shoot camera to this model as a first DSLR will greatly appreciate. The Canon T6i has a sharp LCD screen that's articulated and has touch capabilities, which is helpful for inexperienced photographers. And Canon's designers gave the Rebel T6i a great mix of advanced and automatic shooting functions, which will help inexperienced photographers learn to fully make use of this DSLR camera's features at a comfortable pace. Beyond the inclusion of numerous automatic shooting options, experienced photographers certainly are not going to mistake the T6i for an advanced model, as it doesn't have enough dedicated control buttons or a secondary LCD panel -- let alone a full-frame image sensor. But the T6i's APS-C sized image sensor is perfect for a consumer-level DSLR. Its 24.2-megapixels of resolution is a more than 33% improvement over its predecessor, the Rebel T5i. And those extra pixels do make a difference, as I liked the T6i's image quality better than the T5i. The Rebel T6i's battery performance is below average, and it can be frustrating and confusing to use some operational aspects of this camera, because one feature that works in Viewfinder mode may not work in Live View mode. Ultimately, it's a little tough to recommend the Rebel T6i with a kit lens at its $899 MSRP, but if you can find it at any discount to that price tag, it's worth a strong look as an entry-level DSLR, even if you already own the Rebel T5i.

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