John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Canon T6i DSLR camera review

I’ve owned a Canon Rebel XS for a very long time now, (10 years) but it is really starting to show it’s age. Honestly though, it really has performed and continues to perform exceptionally well. Recently I figured out how to get my DSLR into my kayak to allow me to take some amazing pictures of nature. Surrounded by such incredible beauty, so close to home, I have been inspired to get even better shots. So I started going on a quest. The main things I want to improve are native WIFI (more on this later), higher resolution, hopefully faster auto focus, and ability to use it every now and then for movies. Movies for me is more of an after thought, but nice to have.

In the digital camera world your either a Canon person, or a Nikon person. The Nikon menus are just not intuitive for me coming from a Canon. And I suspect vice versa would be also true. So narrowing to Canon I zoomed in (pun intended) on the T6/T6i. The T6i won the battle. The T6 does not have a mic port (for movies), is 18mp Vs 24, 100-6400 ISO Vs 100-12800, and 9 point of focus Vs 19. So given all this, the T6i it is. The T7i was ruled out simply because of price. We all have budgets to live within, and honestly I’m breaking the budget buying any of these, as this is TRULY a discretionary expense. I don’t need it … I WANT it 🙂

If you do decide to buy the T6i, be sure to focus on (yes again, pun intended) the lens they include. In the Canon world, the lens does the Image stabilization (look for IS in the name) and be sure and get the newer STM lens. The S in STM stands for silent and is important when shooting movies so the sound of the lens focusing doesn’t ruin your video. The one I bought came with the EF-S 18-55 IS STM and it is the lens you should get. Personally I found the body only models, more expensive? Shrug.

So let’s look at the overall comparison of specs to see what 10 years of patience have bought me 🙂
T6i on the left, Rebel XS on the right:
Sensor Type/Size: 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS Vs 22.2×14.8 for all purposes a wash
24mp Vs 10 2.4x better resolution, comes in handy when you need to crop due to insufficient zoom
ISO: 100-12800 Vs 100-1600 way better
Continuous Shooting: Up to 5 fps Vs 3 not a big deal for me
Start-Up Time: 0.18 sec. Vs 0.3 slightly faster but I don’t really turn it off once started
Autofocus Points: 19 Vs 6
440 shots battery life Vs 500 (pretty much the only place the t6i is worse)

Additional features on the T6i not on the XS:
Connectivity: USB, HDMI Video Out, 3.5mm Stereo Mini-Jack WiFi
Video File Size: 1920 x 1080 30 fps; 1280 x 720; 640 x 480 More on movies later.
Faster autofocus Phase detection vs Contrast detection (not sure what this exactly means, and we will see if it’s noticeable.
The T6i has a touchscreen that can be used to control the camera, as well as used as a viewfinder for the camera. I really like the way the screen can be folded in for protection when not in use, and it can be swiveled down for taking overhead shots in crowds.

I got under 400 pics and the battery was stone cold dead. One of the things I learned was the ONLY place the battery status is displayed is on the screen (not the view finder), no warning lights nada. So if you have the screen closed for protection, as I did you will be oblivious until the very moment you discover a dead battery in the middle of your day. This is noticeably worse battery life than the Rebel XS.

The screen on the camera is articulating (as I mentioned above) allowing you to put it at whatever angle you want. I found this more helpful than I had thought. I used it for selfie shots to get it framed just so. The screen however, looks like a scratch magnet, so I bought a tempered glass screen protector just like I have for my phone as paranoia. The screen is reasonably viewable in direct sunlight.

One of the reasons why WIFI became important, EYE-FI unceremoniously bricked their card which I’ve been using in the Rebel XS for years. And spending 50 or $60 on a replacement card seemed silly when I was looking for rationalization for buying a new camera anyway 🙂

The t6i definitely focuses quicker, and the body is noticeably quieter than the Rebel xs. I went back to the Rebel XS and quickly noticed the difference. The images on the T6i are also noticeably crisper.

The Canon connect app includes the ability to sync the date and time on the camera with your phone. A nice touch. The ability to add location to images for some reason does not appear to be supported on the t6i, which is quite a disappointment given this camera does not have a GPS. So images can’t be location tagged. To date I haven’t found a way to even manually add the location to the images. Connecting to the camera over wifi is quite a clumsy affair, and always has been with Canon. You go the menu on the camera and turn on WIFI, then wait for the phone to connect to it, then start the Connect app and then your on your way. With the Eye-FI card anytime the camera was on the WIFI was on which much more convenient. I wish Canon would allow this as an option. And there’s no dedicated WIFI button on the camera … Adding a password to the WIFI at least let the iPhone auto connect to it, unless of course the iPhone was already connected to a different WIFI. All of which leads to the wifi being clumsy … But, at least this restores a functionality I love on the go.

I decided to keep my existing zoom lens from the Rebel XS, a Canon 55-250 IS. It isn’t a silent lens, but I don’t think I will be doing movies with the zoom lens, so it should be fine.

When deciding what to buy I looked into the mirrorless cameras, as well as the mega zoom camera’s like the Canon SX60HS or the Nikon P1000. The biggest limitation to the mega zoom cameras is the trade off for the mega zoom, which is a super small sensor. 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor, compared to a DLR, so 22.3 x 14.9mm vs 6.17 x 4.55mm. I found this generally article informative article on the trade offs … And the higher zoom is going to be very hard to manage while bobbing in a boat and not getting motion blur. The mirrorless cameras have their benefits, smaller size, lighter weight, better battery life, but I moved past them just because I don’t have enough experience with them, or have friends with them that would have swayed me that way.

I will leave the nauseating detailed analysis of the camera and it’s images to site that are far better equipped to do that … Just not my specialty.

So all in all I like the T6i. And in rationalizing it, I gave my old Rebel XS to my daughter to pass along the love of photography. It just creates memories that last a lifetime!

And for a bit of fun … the term rationalize means “attempt to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate” 🙂

August 14, 2018 - Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews

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