Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D Review

Back in 2003, Canon introduced the first EOS Digital Rebel (300D), the first DSLR to retail for under $1,000. The great value drove this model to the #1 sales position in less than 30 days and an EOS Digital Rebel model has been the #1 best selling interchangeable lens digital camera ever since – for 13 years straight. [per Canon] The T6's predecessor, the T5, has held that position since its introduction and safe to say is that the T6 (named 1300D in some countries) will quickly take over this position.

While those considering a step up from a mobile phone camera or a point and shoot will quickly see the value of the Canon EOS Rebel T6, many who follow this site regularly (serious amateur and professional photographers) may be far less than excited by the announcement of an entry level DSLR model. Although this may not be the ideal primary camera for the latter group, some professionals may want at least one of these cameras in their kits (more about this later) and all of us need to recognize the importance of this camera. That importance is summed up by image quality per dollar. For a bargain price, the Rebel T6 delivers professional grade image quality.

The Rebel T6 serves as an economically feasible gateway to professional photography. Practically everyone owns a smartphone, making it very difficult to stand out in that crowd. Owning even a base DSLR model puts one on the path of truly knowing the ins and outs of photography, not simply composition. With the use of interchangeable lenses, a DSLR photographer can express themselves in so many different ways – through wide angle, telephoto, fisheye, and tilt-shift lenses, from f/1.2 to f/22. The inexpensive T6 represents the key that unlocks the door to all the benefits of DSLR photography. Thus, the T6 is much more than its price tag – it represents a world of imaging that is so far inaccessible to smart phone photographers.

Summary of Canon EOS Rebel T6 Features

  • 18.0 Megapixel Canon CMOS (APS-C) image sensor
  • DIGIC 4+ Image Processor
  • ISO 100–6400 (expandable to H:12800)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • 9-point AF system (including one center cross-type AF point)
  • High-performance optical viewfinder
  • Large, 3.0" (75mm) TFT LCD monitor with 920,000 dots
  • 1920 x 1080p Full HD video
  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode
  • Creative filters (Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Toy camera, Miniature effect, Fish-eye)
  • Increased max JPG images captured in a burst (1,110 vs. the T5's 69)
  • Max frame rate: 3 fps
  • Carbon fiber/glass fiber-reinforced polycarbonate resin body
  • Rubberized grip surface
The notable upgrades, included on the list above, are the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, the increased LCD resolution and the increased JPEG buffer.

Sensor and Image Quality

Since the foremost reason to choose a DSLR camera is for the image quality it delivers, I usually start DSLR reviews with a look at the camera's imaging sensor and the results it produces. I usually begin this section with a chart showing a comparison between many of the related specs of recent model DSLRs, and ... don't see a reason to change that habit at this moment:

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .87x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T6i,T6s / 750,760D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .85x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D1.6x22.2 x 14.7mm5.2µm4272 x 284812.0 .80x95%f/8.3
Canon EOS 80D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .95x100%f/5.9
Canon EOS 7D Mark II1.6x22.4 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 1.0x100%f/6.6
View the full Canon EOS Rebel T6 specifications to compare additional cameras.

While the number of megapixels are quickly touted by marketing departments, not all megapixels are created equally. There is no question that camera phones are wildly popular today, but this popularity is primarily due to their convenience, not the image quality being delivered by their tiny imaging sensors.

I recently upgraded my 4-year-old Apple iPhone 5 to the review-time-latest and greatest iPhone 6s. While I use my phone's camera occasionally, it is usually for something of low importance such as capturing the car's odometer setting for an expense report – and I seldom look at the results at 100% resolution. With the iPhone 6s being promoted by Apple for its "New 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µm pixel size resolution", I thought that I might start using the phone camera more frequently. When I first looked at the results at 100%, I thought there must be a reason why they were not clear, but didn't have time to figure out the reason why at the time.

Later, when shooting the Rebel T6 ISO comparison test, I decided to mount the iPhone and shoot the same test target with it. Here are some ISO samples using a piece of fabric:

Canon EOS Rebel T6 vs. Apple iPhone 6s

Notice the details missing in the iPhone image. To be kind, I would call this a painterly effect. If captured in the first place, the details appear to have been processed away, perhaps by noise reduction algorithms being applied. The iPhone 6s image was taken at ISO 25 which should produce the best image quality that the smartphone’s camera is capable of. However, the image quality produced by the iPhone 6s at its lowest ISO setting significantly trails the T6’s image quality at its lowest ISO (and beyond). I assure you that the smartphone’s image quality does not improve once higher ISOs are used in low light conditions. ISO 25 is 2 stops darker than ISO 100.

Note that this is not a completely "Apple-to-Apples" comparison (sorry, couldn't resist that pun). By framing the 3:2 aspect ratio target properly in the vertical dimension, I gave the 4:3 aspect ratio iPhone the appearance of having a higher resolution in this comparison – but the sides of the target are cropped off. The iPhone was in fully automatic mode, selecting 1/40, f/2.2 and, as labeled, ISO 25. The Rebel T6 was in manual mode with 1/10, f/6.3 and ISO 100 selected. Both cameras were tripod-mounted. Both images utilized auto white balance, with the Canon producing a much better color balance from the daylight-balanced tungsten lights being used. With 14-bit RAW format available (and used), Rebel T6 images offer a much wider latitude in adjustments which can be utilized without destruction to the original images (vs. 8-bit JPG).

Here is a 100% crop from an iPhone 6s ISO 25 image:

iPhone 6s Sample Picture

While this image looks nice on my phone and would look nice on Instagram or SnapChat, viewing larger reveals a lot. It is hard to argue with the convenience of a phone camera, but ... the image quality difference between it and a DSLR is dramatic.

While the Rebel T6 has a higher megapixel count than the iPhone T6, sensor size plays an even more important role in image quality and Canon DSLR cameras minimally (including the Rebel T6) have an APS-C format imaging sensor. Here is a graphic that helps visualize sensor size across some of the available sensor formats.

Sensor Size Comparison

All other attributes being the same, bigger is better when it comes to sensor size and how that size relates to image quality. Larger sensors can capture more light. The Rebel T6's 4.3µm pixels are better able to determine the proper color and brightness than the iPhone 6s' 1.22µm pixels, and it features substantially more of them.

While the Rebel T6 did not get a resolution upgrade from its predecessor, 18 megapixels (delivered sharply) is a substantial amount of resolution, especially considering that this is the entry-level DSLR model. Use the site's image quality comparison tool with the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Lens or the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Lens selected (use f/4) to compare a wide range of Canon EOS models. I preloaded that URL with a comparison between the Rebel T6 and the next model up, the Rebel T6i.

Resolution is important, but as already discussed, resolution is not everything. When light gets low, higher ISO settings are required for adequate image brightness. Higher ISO settings amplify the readings from the imaging sensor and, when gain is increased, so is noise. We looked at some ISO noise samples from the Rebel T6, but the site's camera noise comparison tool provides a better view into this performance attribute.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 ISO Noise T6i/100.jpg

The color blocks in this tool, being evenly-colored, provide a worst case scenario for noise levels. The samples provided for the Rebel T6 have no noise reduction applied, a key piece of information. Noise reduction can be applied in-camera (it is applied by default) or via software during post processing. The downside is that some detail is generally sacrificed with noise reduction application. The site's standard color block samples show what the camera is capable of without noise reduction.

As with the T5, the T6 image details in the color block comparisons are very slightly smaller than those from some of the other 18 megapixel DSLR samples. This is because the T6's Live View display does not provide quite a 100% view, causing the test target to be framed slightly wider than other models.

In the EOS lineup, entry level does not translate to a sacrifice in terms of noise performance. The noise profile of the Rebel T6 appears very similar to the other APS-C sensor format EOS DSLRs. The T6 gives up ISO 25600 capabilities found in the higher end models, but ... it is arguable that ISO 25600 in those cameras serves no purpose other than bragging rights (there is more noise than detail at that setting). From a feasibility standpoint, it seems that ISO 25600 is a functionality that is simply disabled on the T6.

Current APS-C ISO 12800 appears very rough, is unused by me and is not any better in the T6. While ISO 6400 is usable, noise are very apparent in these results. I avoid APS-C ISO 6400 when possible, but I more frequently use the still-noisy ISO 3200 setting.

By ISO 1600, the T6's images are looking nice. Some noise is apparent, but with some careful noise reduction applied, images are looking very good. ISO 800 delivers cleaner results still and noise in a detailed scene is unnoticeable at ISO 400. The smooth color blocks in the test target make obvious any noise present, and the drop in noise levels continues to be seen even down to ISO 100 with this subject. ISO 100 is the ideal ISO setting to use – as long as this setting allows the shutter speed and aperture settings required for a particular image. The other ISO settings exist because ISO 100 often does not allow adequate (or available) shutter speeds and aperture settings. A sharp-but-noisy image is usually preferred over a motion-blurred-but-noise-free one.

As mentioned, in-camera noise reduction is always available in EOS DSLRs, and noise reduction is also available during post processing. Noise reduction is very effective at reducing visible noise, but it is also destructive to the details in your image and to image sharpness. Even at ISO 100, the standard out-of-the-box noise reduction will have an effect on your image quality. I usually apply light NR only to my very high ISO images.

Note that, while I only show full stop ISO settings in the comparisons, the non-Rebel camera models have 1/3-stop ISO settings available. That the T6 and its siblings can only make ISO adjustments in 1-stop increments can complicate exposure setting choices slightly at times.

Also note that sensor dust can negatively impact image quality and that the T6, while it has an anti-stick Fluorine coating on the top surface of the imaging sensor filter, does not have a self-cleaning sensor system. I did not find sensor dust to be an issue during my time with this camera. Also note that this camera does not have the mirror lockup feature, requiring Live View to be used for this functionality.

As with its predecessors, the image quality the Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D delivers is impressive for any APS-C DSLR camera and very impressive for a DSLR camera with this low price tag.

File Size and Media

Digital files of course require memory for storage. The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800409600
Canon EOS Rebel SL1(18.0)23.724.224.825.827.128.730.833.437.2    
Canon EOS Rebel T6i / T6s(24.0)30.331.031.933.235.037.139.842.846.0    
Canon EOS Rebel T6(18.0)24.725.125.826.727.929.331.433.9     
Canon EOS Rebel T5(18.0)25.425.926.627.528.830.232.535.1     
Canon EOS Rebel T3(12.2)17.818.018.318.919.720.622.0      
Canon EOS 80D(24.2)31.231.932.734.035.937.940.643.747.5    
Canon EOS 7D Mark II(20.2)25.525.926.727.728.930.632.735.137.941.0   
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more.

The Rebel T6 writes image files to an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card.

Canon EOS cameras always offer a variety of size and quality .JPG file format options with these having a far smaller footprint than RAW files, but ... I strongly recommend using the RAW format. It is not hard to learn to post process RAW images to perfection – a RAW processing workflow is easy to create. Canon's Digital Photo Professional software is free and generates high quality results.

For an ISO 100 image, you can roughly figure 1.4MB in RAW file size per megapixel of resolution. That memory card prices continue to dive makes this issue minor in terms of financial pain. Buy plenty of high-capacity memory cards. Rotate cards to maintain a backup set until you are able to get the images safely into your formal backup strategy (one includes off-sight storage). It is simple to add portable computer hard drive storage capacity via external hard drives.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter Sound

For a DSLR to be "entry level", there must be concessions made. Performance, specifically frame rate and buffer depth, are two of those concessions made with the Rebel T6. Here is a comparison chart showing performance metrics.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.028/11407/875ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T6i,T6s / 750D,760D5.0180/Full7/8  
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D5.022/306/675ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D3.011106120ms170ms
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D3.0696120ms170ms
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D3 / 28305110ms150ms
Canon EOS 80D7.077/11020/2560msn/a
Canon EOS 7D Mark II10.01303155ms100ms
View the full Canon EOS Rebel T6 specifications to compare additional cameras.

Copy and paste the Rebel T5 row to get most of the Rebel T6 specs. The increased JPG buffer depth was the only change here. What I can tell you is that the 1,110 image buffer depth spec is a lot and that the 6 image RAW buffer depth is tiny (a potential reason to shoot in JPG format with this camera).

To test the 3 fps drive mode and 6 RAW file buffer specs, I configured the camera to use ISO 100, a 1/4000 shutter speed (no waiting for the shutter operation), a wide open aperture (no time lost due to aperture blades closing) and manual focus (no focus lock delay). The lens cap remained on (insuring a black file and the smallest file size) and a freshly-formatted fast memory card was loaded.

Using a Lexar 128GB Professional 1000x UHS-II SDXC U3 Memory Card, a card considered fast at review time, the EOS T6 repeatedly captured 8 frames in 2.41 seconds for a 2.9 fps rate, exceeding the buffer depth rating by two and falling irrelevantly shy of the 3 fps rating. Using this card, an additional frame was captured each second after the buffer filled.

Note that the buffer filled at 5 frames after 1.38 seconds when ISO H: 12800 was selected. It is normal for reduced buffer performance at very high ISO settings.

Here are the MP3 audio clips of the Rebel T6 capturing images.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D Burst Sound
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D Single Shot Mode Sound
Canon EOS Rebel T6, Rebel T6i and 80D

Camera sounds are recorded using a Tascam DR-07mkII Portable Digital Audio Recorder with record levels set to 50% at -12db gain and positioned 1" behind the rear LCD.

This is a rather quiet camera. Those needing even quieter operation can use Live view (shooting using the rear LCD) to further minimalize the Rebel T6's audibility.

Having a slow frame rate (and shallow RAW buffer) makes the Rebel T6 less well suited for capturing fast action and less well suited for capturing many shots of a time-critical event. A lot can happen in 1/3 of a second. For an example, I'll take you to the 100m dash finals at an invitational track meet. Time the first frame capture with a runner's lower leg hidden behind them and ... every frame in the burst will have a hidden lower leg.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 3 fps Burst Example

I usually delete such images immediately, but in this case ... I would have no images remaining.

While on the subject of timing, the Rebel T6's 120ms shutter lag is not going to be so helpful when recording images of time-critical events. This lag is very short compared to many point and shoot models, but it is much longer than, for example, the EOS 80D's 60ms shutter lag.

That the Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D's performance specs are among the weakest in the Canon lineup does not make it a bad camera choice. It is simply not designed for high performance action and sports photography – with other factors (primarily low price) being its advantages.

Autofocus

Another compromise made for a lower T6 price tag is the autofocus system. The Canon EOS Rebel Series DSLRs get Canon's entry-level AF systems. While not the highest performing, Canon's entry-level phase detection AF is still very fast compared to contrast-detection AF found in many point and shoot models and smartphone cameras.

The Rebel T6's AF system has been inherited from the Rebel T5 (and T3). This is a 9-point AF system featuring a high-precision, f/5.6 cross-type center point (sensitive to lines of contrast in two directions vs. one) surrounded by 8 AF points arranged in a diamond shape. All EOS Rebel DSLRs require a lens with a maximum aperture of at least f/5.6 or wider (as reported by the lens) for AF to function. This encompasses all autofocus lenses currently available, though some lens plus extender combinations will not be supported by autofocus.

In general use, the T6 very reliably delivers accurate focusing in One Shot AF mode. AI Servo AF mode, instructing the camera to predict the point of focus at the time of shutter release while tracking a moving subject, is far more challenging to a camera. I photographed a track meet with moderate success using the T6. This is not the AF system that I would choose for challenging AI Servo fast-action capture, but the better systems of course cost more.

While the T6 has contrast AF available in Live View mode, this focus method is painfully slow compared the fast DSLR phase detection AF speeds.

Video

Rebel T6 upgrades on the video side of things are relatively small in number. With that in mind, let's start off with the specifications which have remained unchanged.

Movie exposures are either Program Auto Exposure or manual exposure. Because the Rebel T6's Movie function is found on the Mode Dial, a menu setting is used to specify Auto or Manual exposure for movie recording. ISO speeds up to ISO 6400 can be used in manual exposure mode. The Rebel T6 creates H.264-encoded .MOV files and sound is recorded through a monaural microphone (Linear PCM, manual or auto levels, no wind filter). An SD Class 6 (which is rather slow) or higher memory card is required for video recording.

Available resolutions and frame rates are:
1080p: 1920x1080px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps, 24fps (23.976fps) 340 MB/min
720p: 1280x720px at 60fps (59.94fps), 50fps 340 MB/min
SD: 640x480px at 30fps (29.97fps), 25fps 90MB/min

Video files can be up to 29 minutes, 59 seconds in length or up to 4 GB in size. When either limit is reached, recording will stop and can only be restarted with user intervention.

A 3.5mm jack for an external stereo microphone is not provided. The quality from the built-in mic is not bad, but without an external mic port, an external recorder is needed for best results. An integrated mini-HDMI port makes it easy to view the results on any HDTV. All compatible lenses can be used for video recording including Canon EF, EF-S, TS-E and MP-E lenses.

Autofocus options in video mode are the same as Live View shooting: FlexiZone - Single, Face-Tracking Live Mode and Quick Mode. AF in Video/Live View mode using FlexiZone - Single or Face Tracking is ... a bit slow. If you choose to use Quick Mode for focusing, the video will pause while the phase detect AF sensor is employed for focusing. Unfortunately, continuous AF in video (or Live View) mode is not supported.

Video Snapshots is a new feature for the Rebel T*/****D series of cameras. Originally appearing in the EOS 70D, video snapshots are short 2, 4 or 8 second videos that can be organized into an album and played back with optional music. While I do not personally use this feature extensively, I anticipate many consumers will find this capability useful for enhancing their social media presence.

DSLRs, with their huge-to-video-camera-standards sensors, deliver impressive video image quality – especially in low light. A huge number of people/companies/businesses are now using DSLRs for their video needs. The large sensor combined with the huge range of lenses available gives even those on a tight budget the ability to create incredible video projects utilizing shallow DOF and low/available light.

That said, if shooting videos is high on your priority list, you may want to step up to the EOS 80D or 7D Mark II to enjoy more extensive video options and AF capabilities. Otherwise, from a value perspective, the video capabilities alone found in the Rebel T6 are worth far more than the cost of the camera and lens kit.

Exposure/Metering System

Like the Rebel T5, the Rebel T6 features Canon's 63 zone dual-layer light sensor, housed within the viewfinder. By accounting for color and luminosity in addition to the amount of light coming into the camera, the camera is able to calculate exposures more accurately.

The T6's metering system works quite well. Evaluative metering (linkable to all AF points), Partial metering (approx. 10% of viewfinder at center) and Center-weighted average metering are available with spot metering being notably absent. This camera's auto white balance is also performing very well.

Viewfinder

DSLR viewfinders are very nice relative to point & shoot camera viewfinders (if they even have one), but the T6 viewfinder is small relative to DSLR cameras overall. Viewfinder size is all about what you are used to, but the T6 has a small body size with a small viewfinder to match it. Just having a usable viewfinder is a huge asset compared to point and shoot models completely lacking such. Viewfinders are useful for stabilizing the camera against your eyebrow and they have an especially big advantage when shooting in bright sunlight, enabling the scene to be clearly seen and the composition framing clearly delineated. Putting a DSLR viewfinder to your eye blocks out all except what you will see in your image – and sometimes even a little more.

The T6 viewfinder provides 95% coverage, so you are going to have a little more subject in your image than you see in the viewfinder. I seldom hear people complaining about this issue and you do get used to it. But, you may need to crop out some things that unintentionally become present in the borders of your image during post processing. Being used to using 100% viewfinders, I often find the 95% viewfinders slightly annoying when reviewing my images.

The T6 continues the Rebel tradition of using a pentamirror vs. pentaprism for the viewfinder. A pentamirror viewfinder is lighter and less expensive, but with more air-to-glass surface transitions, a pentamirror is not as bright.

Tour of the Canon EOS Rebel T6

In keeping with its entry-level positioning, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 features a minimal set of controls and basic quality functionality. Here is a short tour of this body, starting with the back.

Back of the Camera

Camera Back View Comparison

T6 | T5 | T3 | T6i | T6s | SL1 | 80D | 7D II

To compare the Rebel T6 with many more Canon EOS camera models, use the site's camera body comparison tools.

The major T6 back of the camera change from the T5 is the addition of the Wi-Fi indicator light. Other changes are subtle and not worth talking about.

The back of this camera, like most other DSLR cameras, is dominated by the LCD. As was the case with its predecessors, the Rebel T6 designers realized cost savings in their choice of LCD models. The T6 gets a fixed (vs. Vari-Angle) 3.0" (7.5cm) TFT with approximately 920k dots and a 170° viewing angle. While this LCD works fine, the difference between it and Canon's better Clear View II LCDs is obvious in side-by-side comparison. The better LCDs show far less reflection, providing richer, more vibrant colors with better contrast, especially under bright sunlight. Still, the approx. 920k dot resolution is an upgrade from the approx. 460k dot LCD on the T5, which was itself an upgrade from the 2.7" (6.8cm) TFT, approx. 230k dot LCD found on the T3 (the T5's predecessor – there was no T4).

The T6's LCD, lacking anti-smudge coating, is also harder to clean than the better models available.

Perhaps next-dominant on the back (omitting the viewfinder) are the plentiful buttons with the group of 4 cross-keys encircling a set button being most prominent. Each of the cross keys has a direct-access function and also functions as a directional arrow for navigation such as in the menu or within a zoomed image being displayed. They are easy to use, conveniently located and comfortably contoured.

As the menu system (accessible via the button below-left of the cross keys) makes use of both the cross keys and the LCD, this seems like a good time to mention the logical layout and ease of use that the Canon DSLR menu systems are strongly reputed for. From the entry level menus right up to the complicated 1-Series body menus, Canon DSLRs are easy to navigate and configure as desired.

Though Canon seems to lack a button function location standard in the Rebel series (unlike on the higher end models), the T6 button locations work fine after the acclimation process. That there are many of them makes accessing the most-used settings and functions convenient.

Top of the Camera

Can you spot the sole Rebel T6 change from the T5?

Camera Top View Comparison

T6 | T5 | T3 | T6i | T6s | SL1 | 80D | 7D II

Food mode has been added to the Mode dial. No longer do you need to waste effort thinking about the settings needed to make your dinner look great. Just turn the dial and shoot your dinner. Via Wi-Fi, you can have your dinner picture on your favorite social site before your tasty meal begins to cool.

The Rebel T6 provides modes designed for complete beginners through seasoned experts. Canon's fully-automatic, point and shoot Scene Intelligent Auto mode enables especially the former group to capture excellent images without a deep understanding of the camera controls. SIA mode utilizes the EOS Scene Detection system to determine the type of scene being photographed and adjusts the camera settings to best capture your image.

According to Canon: "[Scene Intelligent Auto] uses the EOS Scene Analysis System, which joins Picture Style Auto, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Auto White Balance, Autofocus and Automatic Exposure. This automatic feature helps analyze the image, accounting for faces, colors, brightness, moving objects, contrast and whether the camera is handheld or on a tripod. Scene Intelligent Auto mode then chooses the exposure and enhancements that can bring out the beauty in virtually any scene or situation. Simplifying DSLR image capture, Scene Intelligent Auto mode lets you concentrate on composing images without puzzling over settings."

Those wanting to provide more scene/subject information to the camera can select modes including portrait, sports and landscape modes. The camera will automatically choose the settings it thinks will best capture the selected subject type.

The "CA" (Creative Auto) mode is included and allows the photographer to adjust the shot settings using easily understood words instead of using f/*.* aperture settings and 1/*** time value shutter speeds. These settings are displayed on the rear LCD while adjustments are being made.

Expert photographers can have as much control over the camera settings as they want, from the popular Av mode through fully manual settings.

The higher end EOS camera models provide additional top of the camera controls ranging in count from few to many, with a dedicated ISO button being frequently included. The T6's flash up button can be reprogrammed (using the menu) to perform as the ISO button with the flash up function then being handled in the Quick menu. The Rebel T6s along with 80D-and-higher models add a top LCD with, again, more buttons for faster and easier control over the camera.

Side of the Camera

The side of the Rebel T6 remains unchanged from the Rebel T5 and T3.

Camera Side View Comparison

T6 | T5 | T3 | SL1 | T6i | 7D II
A rubber port cover hides an E3-type remote release port (not an N3-type), USB port (mini-B) and HDMI mini output port (HDMI-CEC compatible).

Size of the Camera

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon PowerShot G1 X4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6"(116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)18.8 oz (534g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D4.6 x 3.6 x 2.7"(116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm)14.4 oz (407g)
Canon EOS Rebel T6i,T6s / 750D,760D5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1"(131.9 x 100.9 x 77.8mm)19.8 oz (560g)
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1"(129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm)17.1 oz (485g)
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.6 x 99.7 x 77.9 mm)16.9 oz (480g)
Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(129.9 x 99.7 x 77.9mm)17.5 oz (495g)
Canon EOS 80D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm)25.8 oz (730g)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)32.1 oz (910g)
View the full Canon EOS Rebel T6 specifications to compare additional cameras.

Small size and light weight are primary characteristics of the entire EOS Rebel line. The T6 is not much larger than many point and shoot cameras. While the larger bodies are easier to control and especially so when a large lens is mounted, small size is great for convenience and portability – and for small hands.

And speaking of small hands, purchasing a Rebel T6 is a great way to introduce your kids to photography. I’ve spent many quality hours photographing with my three daughters. With a T6 in-hand, they have all of the features needed to learning the basics of photography. Photographing together is not only great fun and a great excuse to spend time together, but it also a great way to inspire creativity.

Also small is the T6's neck strap, being narrower than Canon's standard DSLR neck straps. The 1.2" (30mm) wide neck strap has a rubberized non-slip back and is very adequate for the camera's size and weight. A benefit of the smaller strap is that it takes up less space in a case. I've been carrying this camera while trail running, foregoing the strap entirely, simply holding it by the kit lens. It is not even heavy enough to be considered an exercise aid.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Sample Picture

The woods on this spring day were beautiful, with the fresh leaves being very saturated in color. During my run, upon finding numerous large poplar tree trunks adding some order to the chaos of leaves, I sat down on the trail and formed a tripod with my legs (knees leaning into each other). With the camera held tight onto my knees, I turned on Live View, framed, focused and, with the aid of image stabilization, captured this sharp image with a long .4 second exposure.

Durability

While the Rebel T6 is entry level, it does not feel cheap in the hand. The Rebel series is not built as well as the *0D series cameras, but these cameras still have a solid, quality feel to them including a rubberized grip surface for fingertips.

You will not hear marketing bragging about a magnesium alloy chassis or extreme weather sealing when describing this camera's features, but constructed of carbon fiber/glass fiber and polycarbonate resin, the T6 should hold up very well to normal use.

Shutter life rating is a spec that marketing also omits and an entry level camera undoubtedly gets a basic shutter system. It is unusual that I hear of an EOS shutter failing under normal use and I doubt that many will experience this problem with the T6.

Additional Features

Arguably the biggest change from the Rebel T5 is the Rebel T6's built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capability, providing easy transfer of images and movies to compatible mobile devices using Canon's free Camera Connect app. With lots of potential awaiting development, this app provides some remote control of the camera's settings and shutter release when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via Wi-Fi.

The camera’s built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) allows quick and simple pairing to a compatible Android device, or devices that support NFC like the Canon Connect Station CS100 photo and video storage and sharing device.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Flash Up

Flash

Obvious from the picture above, the T6 has a built-in flash – like all of the Rebel models before it. Not so obvious is that the T6 flash is rated to only 9.2 GN (vs. the T6i's 12 GN rating). While this flash can add some fill light and can serve as a main light in close settings, it is not going to strongly light a big scene in complete darkness.

It is also important to note that, unlike the T6i, the T6 does not have an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter. You cannot control remote Canon flashes without an external flash controller (such as the Canon 600EX-RT Flash and Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter). Like the Rebel T6i, the T6's flash max X-Sync shutter speed is 1/200 sec.

Battery

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D uses the same battery as the Rebel T5 and T3 – the small and light Canon LP-E10 Li-ION battery pack. The included LC-E10 charger is conveniently small and plugs directly into the wall (no wires).

Also the same as the T5 is the T6's battery life rating. There are a lot of parameters that affect battery life (especially flash use), but the T6 is rated for approximately 500 shots.

Sorry that I didn't track battery usage for this camera, but Canon's standard ratings are not usually hard to surpass. A second/spare battery takes up little space and adds little weight in the bag, but 2x as many shots are then possible.

The T6 tracks 4 levels of battery charge on the rear LCD.

Dedicated Accessories

The entry-level Rebel line is light on dedicated accessories. Canon does not even offer a battery grip for the T6. Note that third party battery grip options are available.

One semi-dedicated accessory that is compatible is the GPS Receiver GP-E2.

Accessories

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is compatible with a huge list of Canon (and third party) lenses, flashes and other accessories. The camera body (or multiple bodies as is more frequently the case today) is the base your system is built on and a lens is the next essential piece of kit. As of review time, nearly everyone is buying the T6 with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens. That is not surprising because the T6 is currently available only in a kit with that lens. This is the same lens included in the 2-models back Rebel T3. This is a decent value lens for those on a very low budget and while it is far from the best quality lens available, the light weight and small size of this lens matches nicely with the T6. I understand why Canon opted to not package the better Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens with this camera (to keep the price down), but that is the low end kit lens I would have preferred to have in my box.

DSLR camera image quality is only as good as the weakest link in the imaging system and the weakest link in this case is the lens. Review the Canon general purpose lens recommendations page to find the most up-to-date list of the best lens options. Then add, minimally, a telephoto zoom lens (the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens is great match) and a wide angle zoom lens (the EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Lens is a great match) to your kit.

Unlike the T6i, the T6 is not compatible with the small Canon wireless remotes such as the RC-6. The wired RS-60E3 Remote Switch is the Canon remote switch option.

Browse the reviews section of the site to find many more compatible accessories including flash systems, tripods & heads, cases and much more.

Price

The Rebel T6 price subject is an easy one to address. Once the previous model Rebel T5 inventory is fully depleted, the T6 will be the lowest-priced, current model Canon DSLR available. This camera has the ability to create great image quality with an adequate range of features, but the low price is what will seal the deal for this inevitably very popular model.

Wrap Up

Keeping a current model DSLR camera review concise but complete is a difficult balance to find and this review is not a complete description of every Rebel T6 feature available. Canon's owner's manual (a link to the manual is provided with this review) highlights all of the features found on this camera and explains their use. The manual will tell you all about a huge array of features including Auto Lighting Optimizer, Peripheral Illumination Correction (the only in-camera aberration correction), flash setup and control, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction and many other topics. Read the manual, go use your camera, repeat.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support and the support I have been provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (let's just say I challenge them sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable.

The Rebel T6 used for this review was an online/retail model.

Alternatives

Is the EOS Rebel T6 the right camera for you? The answer to this question is going to be yes for a considerable volume of people with features-for-price being the primary reason. For someone considering the EOS Rebel T6 purchase, another current EOS model that should be considered is the EOS Rebel T6i. Though it is more expensive, the Rebel T6i offers a higher end feature set. Check out the Canon EOS Rebel T6 vs. Rebel T6i specification comparison to fully compare these cameras, but here are some of the Rebel T6 vs. T6i differentiators:

  • 18.0 megapixels vs 24.2
  • DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 6
  • Continuous shooting of 3fps vs 5fps
  • 1110 JPEG / 6 image RAW buffer vs 940 JPEG / 8 RAW
  • 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at center) vs 19 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)
  • ISO 100-6400, (H)12800 vs 100-12800, (H)25600
  • 63 zone metering vs. 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering divided into 63 segments
  • Ambience priority, White priority AWB vs Ambience priority only
  • 3.0" (7.5cm) TFT, approx. 920k dot LCD vs. touch screen Vari-Angle 3.0" (7.7cm) 3:2 Clear View II TFT, approx. 1040K dot LCD with anti-smudge
  • Live View Quick mode / Live mode AF vs Hybrid CMOS AF III w/ Face detection and Tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single
  • Movie encoding in *.MOV vs *.MP4
  • Built in flash GN rating of 9.2 vs. 12
  • No dedicated DOF preview button vs. yes
  • No integrated speedlite transmitter vs. yes
  • No self-cleaning sensor vs. yes
  • 11 Custom Functions vs 13
  • No dedicated battery grip vs. BG-18
  • 500 shot battery life vs 440

If the T6i upgrade is not cost prohibitive for you, I recommend choosing the T6i.

At review time, the smaller and lighter EOS Rebel SL1 has the same price tag as the Rebel T6 and comes with the better "STM" version of the kit lens. Check out the Canon EOS Rebel T6 vs. Rebel SL1 specification comparison to fully compare these cameras, but here are some of the Rebel T6 vs. SL1 differentiators:

  • DIGIC 4+ vs DIGIC 5
  • Continuous shooting of 3fps vs 4fps
  • 1110 JPEG / 6 image RAW buffer vs 28 JPEG / 7 RAW
  • 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at center) vs 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at center, extra sensitivity at f/2.8)
  • AF working range EV 0-18 vs EV -0.5-18
  • ISO 100-6400, (H)12800 vs 100-12800, (H)25600
  • 3.0" (7.5cm) TFT, approx. 920k dot LCD vs. touch screen 3.0" (7.7cm) 3:2 Clear View II TFT, approx. 1,040K dot LCD with anti-smudge
  • Ambience priority, White priority AWB vs Ambience priority only
  • Live View Quick mode / Live mode AF vs Hybrid CMOS AF II (Face detection and Tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single) & Quick mode
  • 11 Custom Functions vs 8
  • 500 shot battery life vs 380
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC vs none

These two cameras are close enough in comparison to make a decision between the two unclear. My favor lies slightly toward the SL1 in this case, but the Wi-Fi feature alone could sway one in the other direction.

If you carefully comb through the detailed Canon EOS Rebel T6 vs. T5 specification comparison, you will not find many differences. You should find one significant Rebel T6 advantage and two lesser ones in that Comparison. There are two additional minor advantages not showing. Here is the summary.

  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 3.0" (75mm) TFT LCD monitor with 920k dots vs. 460k dots
  • 1,110 JPEG image buffer vs. 69 (frame rate and RAW buffer size remain the same)
  • Compatible with Digital Photo Professional 4.4.0 (vs. 3.x)
  • AWB White Priority
  • Food mode

I expect that the first item on this list is going to be the sole driver to upgrades from the T5 and prior entry level models, though the second and third differences listed will also have some value to some. If you have a T5 and do not care about wireless communications, your current LCD is good enough and you are not filling your JPEG buffer with any frequency, spend your money on a new lens or accessory. On the other hand, if you would like to wirelessly control the camera and transfer images, that feature is a big differentiator.

Reasons for a Pro to use a Canon EOS Rebel T6

Enthusiasts may quickly roll their eyes at a newly introduced base camera model, but ... can the T6 be used professionally? While the Rebel T6 is an entry level camera, the image quality it delivers is pro-grade. Images captured by this camera are easily good enough for many professional applications. This camera is not nearly as featured-filled (lesser build quality, fewer controls, fewer options, lesser AF system, low frame rate and small buffer depth) or high-performing as those more-typically chosen for professional use, but there is a reason to implement the T6 for professional purposes: the low price.

The Rebel T6 is really inexpensive, making it a good choice for sacrificial use or use in circumstances with a high risk of camera damage. Sometimes getting the shot is worth the price of a camera, but the budget can be stretched if that camera is not costly to begin with. Yes, a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is more likely to withstand abuse, but the 1D X II costs 10x more than the T6 and it is still not indestructible – and not hard to steel if unattended such as when capturing a long timelapse image. The low price of the Rebel T6 means that the budget for an extreme shoot does not have to be ... extreme. Setup a T6 for a photo booth for great wedding and party fun. Mount the T6 to a car, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, etc. without worry. To a substantial commercial budget, the T6 is disposable and multiple backup cameras can be kept in inventory. Think about what shots or videos you could capture with camera destruction likely and the value of those images, expecially on social media.

The Rebel T6 is also a very affordable backup camera to entry level pros. All professional photographers should have a backup camera when photographing an event or other situation that cannot easily be reconstructed. I don't recommend the Rebel T6 as a primary camera for pro use, but starting pros may not have the budget for a higher end backup camera and the T6 can fill this need until such funding becomes available.

Another reason for a pro to have one or more Rebel T6 bodies is because they are so light. Fatigue can kill mental and physical sharpness along with creativity. When a camera or multiple cameras (including a backup) must be carried for very long periods of time (such as on an extended backpacking trip) or during physically exertion (such as running, biking, snow skiing), pro-grade cameras may be deemed too heavy. In these situations, the light weight of the T6 may be preferred over the high performance and feature-rich pro cameras. Especially the primary camera decision must be made carefully in this case, but it is not hard to justify the T6 for professional backup purposes.

That said, the Canon EOS Rebel T6s or Rebel T6i would be a better lightweight choice for professional use. And, the EOS Rebel SL1 is even smaller and lighter.

When 18 megapixel images are adequate and the subject is not challenging, the T6 may be all that is needed to get the shot. Still life and product images are examples of photographic situations that are often uncomplicated and simply require a basic camera to take the picture. In these situations, a manual exposure setting and manual focusing may be preferred, leaving little complication remaining for the camera to handle. At the T6 price, one or multiple cameras can be dedicated to specific tasks.

What are your pro uses for the Rebel T6?

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Front

Summary

The age-old adage of "You get what you pay for" holds a lot of truth for photography gear, but ... the Canon EOS Rebel T6 defies this logic to some extent. While the T6 feature set is best considered basic and this is not the ideal camera for many uses (including sports and action), there have been many iterations of Canon entry level EOS Rebel cameras and those now being introduced show the maturity of this product line. They are easy to use and they work well. They can take pictures that you will be proud to share with family and friends, will be happy to hang on your walls and will be treasured in the archives for decades to come. It is hard to complain about any of this camera's shortcomings when the price is factored in. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D is as a lightweight entry-level DSLR with a solid feature set and great image quality, but its best feature is its very attractive price.

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My Recommended Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D Retailers

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Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
the Canon Store (new or refurbished)
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