Updated 2018   Digital   Camera Reviews

A "Pro" Rebel From Canon?


The EOS Rebel T6S, introduced in 2015, was the highest-megapixel Rebel from Canon thus far.  At 24 MP it was Canon's highest-megapixel APS-C camera and in 2018 is still one of them, surpassing even the 7D Mark II.

The T6S comes complete with some pro features, yet it's packaged in the smaller form factor of the Rebel line.

So, is it any good?  Let's see.






A Quick Note

This article exists only with the help of readers like you, when you purchase your gear through the sponsored links.  

I don't get free cameras;  I have to work hard to be able to rent or buy the stuff I review.   If you like this article, please help me by purchasing your Canon T6S through this link.  Your help is much appreciated.






In This Article:

Some Specs

Power Up & Basic Use



Autofocus

Buttons & Controls

Continuous Shooting

Custom Modes

Flash

Image Quality

High ISO / Low Light

JPG Resolutions

Shutter

Touchscreen

Video

Viewfinder

Wireless Connectivity



Canon T6S vs T6i

Reasons To Get This Camera

Conclusion






Some Specs

Autofocus Points:  19 all-cross type
Batteries:  single Li-ion rechargeable pack (Canon LP-E17 @ 1,040 mAh)
Battery Grip Available?  Yes  (Canon BG-E18)
Battery Life:  up to 550 shots
Connectors:  A/V OUT (Digital);   HDMI Mini OUT;   1/8" Mic IN;   N3-type Remote Control
Continuous Shooting (Burst Rate):   5 frames per second
Crop Factor:  1.6
Electronic Level?  Yes
Exposure Compensation:  +/- 5 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 stop increments
Exposure Control:   Auto, Programmed Auto (P), Aperture Priority (Av), Shutter Priority (Tv), Manual (M)
Eye-Sensing Viewfinder:  Yes
Flash:  Pop-up flash and Hotshoe
Flash Sync Speed:  1/200 sec.
GPS:  No
HDR modes:  Yes
Image Formats:  JPG and 12-bit RAW
Image Processor:  DIGIC 6
Image Stabilization:  lens-based
ISO settings:  ISO 100 through 12800, with Auto ISO and Extended settings available
Lens Mount:  Canon EF-S
Made in:  Japan
Metering:  Evaluative, Partial, Center-Weighted, & Spot modes
Microphone Input:  Stereo
Optical Low-Pass Filter (OLPF):  Yes
Panoramic Modes:  No, but software is included for your computer
Pixel Pitch:  3.72 ┬Ám
Release Date:  May 2015
Resolution:  24 megapixels
Sensor:  APS-C
Size: 5.2 x 4 x 3.1 inches (about the same size as a Rebel T5)
Shutter:  Focal plane
Shutter speeds:  30" to 1/4000;  Bulb
Startup Delay: 
Touchscreen:  Yes
Video:  1080px HD (PAL & NTSC) @ about 30 fps;  720 px @ about 60 fps.
Video Snapshot:  Yes
Viewfinder:   Optical
Viewfinder Coverage:  95%
Weight (no batteries):  520 grams (18.35 oz.)  - Compare with 70D @ 675 g
Weight (with battery):  565 grams (19.93 oz.) - Compare with 70D @ 755 g
Weather Sealing:  No
Wi-Fi:  Yes
Wireless Flash Control?  Yes

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Power Up & Basic Use

The power switch is located under the Mode dial, just as you'll find on a 6D or 5DIII.  The big difference is that the T6S has a three-position switch:  Off, On, and Video.

If you're primarily a still-photographer, you might not like this feature because you can "overshoot" the still mode and go straight into video.  But I found it wasn't a deal-breaker.

If you shoot a lot of video, you will probably love it.

Like any of the swivel-screen cameras, this one comes out of the box with the LCD screen turned inward.  This is also a good way to store it so your LCD doesn't get scratched.  For daily use, get some screen protectors.

The single memory-card slot is located in the right side of the camera, like the 6D.  This is much more convenient when you've got the camera on a tripod or perhaps a film-scanning rig.  On low-end Rebels you have to open the battery door underneath the camera to get at the memory card.   The side-accessible memory card is itself a rather significant feature for a Rebel, but there's more!





For still shots, it's incredibly easy to start taking pictures;  "Auto" mode does everything for you, and the autofocus is phenomenal.   That last part is really the key for a beginner who wants to take great photos. 

Auto works well enough, but I usually use Aperture Priority mode (Av), Program Auto (P), or Manual (M) modes. 


Canon Rebel T6S with EF 24-105mm IS STM @ 24mm
Aperture Priority mode
ISO 200
f/18 @ 1/40th sec.
Picture Styles = Landscape
No adjustments.


It also has the usual Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Close-Up, Creative Auto, and SCN (Special Scene) modes.   Once in SCN you can pick any of several sub-modes, including Candlelight and Handheld Night Scene.  All very handy, if you don't yet know how to set everything yourself... or you just don't feel like taking the time to do so.

For more about the specific controls, see also Buttons & Controls.


(Purchase camera)

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Autofocus

With 19 all-cross AF points, this is one of the better cameras in the entire Canon lineup.  Only the 7D Mark II (expensive) and the 5D III / 5DS (more expensive) are significantly better. 

For still photography, the T6S can autofocus just as well as the 70D.  Both have the 19-point AF.   


Canon Rebel T6S with EF 24-105mm IS STM @ 70mm
Aperture Priority mode
ISO 200
f/5.6 @ 1/800th sec.

No adjustments.

More photos here.


For landscapes or people, 19-point AF is more tech than I'll probably ever need.

Only seldom the AF couldn't pick the right object on which to focus.   But that's no problem:  simply choose a different AF Area Selection Mode.  Or, choose Single-Point AF or Zone AF.  

If you want that ultimate accuracy that can be had only with manual override, choose Single-Point AF.  This will necessitate the old "focus-recompose" trick, but I'm glad that's here.

Overall, the AF is a joy to use.  It is crisp, fast, and for the most part, accurate.   I like the AF so much on this camera that it makes me wish I had the battery grip and a second LP-E17 battery pack.  I just want to go around and take tons and tons of photos so I can enjoy the autofocus.   (The battery grip would also be useful for video shoots.)

Make sure you use an STM lens with this camera.  The kit lens is STM, and so is the 40mm pancake (which is awesome).  There's also the 24-105mm non-L (review of that lens here.)  

The fine Canon EF-S 24mm pancake is an STM lens, as well.

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Buttons & Controls

The "Q button" opens a whole bunch of quick settings:  aperture, ISO, self-timer, and some other functions that are typically used. 

Use the Quick Control Dial to switch between them.

Recording video is easy.  There are no other buttons crowding the customary location (end of your right thumb, to the left a bit).  The "Record" button is the only one located there.  Thus, if you want to record quickly, you won't accidentally press the wrong one.   That requires even less effort to do than it does to describe.  Super easy!

For when you're viewing your still photos, the playback magnification buttons are in the usual place.   Likewise, the "Trash" button and the "Menu" / "Info" buttons.  With a little practice, you can locate them in the dark when you're photographing fireworks or lightning.  (Both of these will generate a lot of blank images you'll want to delete.)

The mode dial is similar to that of the 6D, 7D II, etc;  it has a lock button in the center, so you can't accidentally move the dial.  Little features like these make a big difference if you use your camera every day.  If there's such thing as a "pro" Rebel, this is it.



The Quick Control Dial (shown below) is a pro-feature of the T6S but not the T6i.    It allows you to adjust exposure compensation quickly, which helps a lot with digital. (Highlight range of digital is a lot more prone to clipping than with film;  crank the EV down to about -2/3 of a stop and you'll keep from toasting a lot of your highlights.) 



Unlike the other cameras, the T6S has four functions placed directly on the Quick Control pad: Picture Styles, Drive / Timer, White Balance, and AF.  Being able to jump to these directly is very useful.  Of course, you can access any of the other ones (ISO, etc) in the usual way:  press the corresponding button elsewhere on the camera, then rotate the Quick Control Dial to adjust it. 

Thanks to this dial, the transition will be much more intuitive if you have to jump back and forth between this camera and a 70D, 6D, 7D Mark II, etc.   You won't miss as many shots having to re-acclimate yourself to a radically-different control set, as you would on the cheaper Rebels.

(Purchase camera)

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Continuous Shooting

Let's see how the T6S compares to some other Canon DSLR's:

Canon EOS Rebel T3
3 fps
Canon EOS Rebel T3i
3.7 fps
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
3.9 fps
Canon EOS 6D
4.5 fps
Canon EOS Rebel T6S
5 fps
Canon EOS 60D
5.3 fps
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
6 fps
Canon EOS 70D
7 fps
Canon EOS 7D
8 fps

The 70D has the edge here for continuous shooting.  Of course the 7D Mark II (not shown) wins over everything. 

Even so, 5 fps is not bad.  This is plenty for weddings and gatherings, and it's probably OK if you're shooting sports for fun.    


(Purchase camera)

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Custom Modes

The T6S does not have a custom mode slot on the dial. 

If you need that, go for this camera instead.

Like other Rebels, the T6S simply remembers your last settings each time you power the camera back on. 

Along with the small viewfinder, the lack of Custom modes is one of the only "cons". 

Not a huge drawback, though.  Custom modes would be good, but I know where all the settings are and can get to them easily. 


(Purchase camera)

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Flash

Being a Rebel, it has a built-in pop-up flash.  There is also a flash hotshoe. 

For older flash units, get one of these right away to protect the flash control circuitry.  Or, just get one of these flash units, made for Canon DSLR's and pretty much any other Canon that has a flash hotshoe.

The T6S has built-in wireless flash control.  That means it can wirelessly command Canon speedlites such as this one.   This feature carries through the TXi line of Canon Rebels.  

The one major annoyance is the pre-flash in Auto mode.   This is the "AF Assist Beam".  The flash fires several times per second before you take the actual picture.  As you would expect, it's bright, too.

You can set the camera to use IR AF-assist instead of flash AF-assist.  Then it won't do the annoying flash-pulse thing in "P" mode.  Auto will still do it, though;  but once you acquire even a little bit of skill, you probably won't want to use Auto anyway.  The other modes have so much more flexibility.



(Purchase camera)

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High ISO  /  Low-Light

With more megapixels, that means each pixel is smaller.  This is generally not good for low-light performance.  However, improved processing can offset this, at least to a point.  And, it seems to have worked here.  24 megapix on a crop sensor is not at all out of line;  Nikon has been doing this for a while now.  It was about time that Canon ventured into 24 MP.

Let's compare a couple of photos.  For now, I won't run through every ISO setting;  when you see the comparison you'll understand why.



Tomatoes at ISO 400

Canon Rebel T6S
ISO 400
f/11
Resized & tagged only;
no other post-processing.


That first photo was ISO 400, just to provide a reference.

OK, now look at this.  Same scene at ISO 12800:


Tomatoes at ISO 12800


Canon Rebel T6S
ISO 12800
f/11
Resized & tagged only;
no other post-processing.


If you can't see any difference here, you're not the only one.  This is why I didn't bother to show every ISO setting in between these.

I could enlarge these, or show 100% crops, which would reveal some luma noise at ISO 12800.  But you won't notice much difference for Web or prints up to 8x10. 

Only in really crummy light will you see much noise.  This picture was taken at dusk; it looks a lot brighter than it was.  Notice the slow shutter speed that I had to use:


Canon Rebel T6S with EF 24-105mm IS STM @ 61mm
Aperture Priority mode
ISO 6400
f/5.0 @ 1/5th sec.
No adjustments.


I use ISO 6400 continually with this camera.


Canon Rebel T6S with EF 24-105mm IS STM @ 59mm
Aperture Priority mode
ISO 6400
f/6.3 @ 1/80th sec.
No adjustments.


To have pictures looking this good at ISO 6400 and 12800, in a non-pro camera, was almost unheard of just a few years ago.   There have definitely been improvements in sensor and processing technology since the early digital Rebels.


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Image Quality

You've already seen the low-light comparison, above.

As usual, the image quality is great;  it's a Canon.  The basic "Canon colors" are what you'd expect, although it appears that the photos are a bit warmer compared to earlier Rebels.   That's okay by me.




Canon EOS Rebel T6S
EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens
ISO 200
f/4.6 @ 1/50th sec.



Canon Rebel T6S with EF 24-105mm IS STM @ 57mm
Aperture Priority mode
ISO 200
f/9.1 @ 1/320th
No adjustments.
See also:  More Photos From the T6S.

Unless you zoom far in on the pictures, you won't notice a huge difference between 18 MP and 24 MP.  There is a difference though, even if it's subtle.  And maybe there are even a few people who can notice it right away (doubtful though). 

I like the 24MP for film scanning;  this enables you to get virtually all the resolution out of a 35mm negative or transparency.   That doesn't matter as much at Web resolution, but if you're trying to get the biggest enlargements out of 35mm it becomes much more important.  It's also nice to have those higher resolutions for archiving your film scans.  Film itself is the ultimate archive, but at 24MP you can know your scans are pretty darned good, too.

The EF-S 18-135mm kit lens for this camera is very good (get the bundle here).  I like the EF 24-105 better because it can be used on a full-frame Canon as well.  The 40mm pancake, the 50mm f/1.4 USM, these are all good lenses.  With only a couple exceptions, most of the Canon EF and EF-S lenses made today are sharp as you'll probably ever need them to be.

Given how nice the pictures look from the T6S, I don't think you'll be in any hurry to move to another camera.  Together with the highly-usable control set, we have an EOS Rebel that actually feels like a destination, rather than a stop-over.  It's a very pleasant camera.


(Purchase camera)

(Canon T6S Photo Gallery)

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JPG Resolutions


With the new 24-MP sensor, here are the various JPEG resolutions offered by the T6S and its little brother the T6i:

Large Fine JPG
L
(smooth icon)                
24 MP
6000x4000 pixels
Landscape city!
Large Normal JPG
L
(jaggy icon)
24 MP
6000x4000 pixels

Medium Fine JPG
M
(smooth icon)       
10.6 MP
3984x2656 pixels
Pics still look great at this res
Medium Normal JPG
M
(jaggy icon)
10.6 MP
3984x2656 pixels
Small 1 Fine JPG
S1
(smooth icon)
5.9 MP
2976x1984 pixels
Useful;  the pics look surprisingly good
Small 1 Normal JPG
S1
(jaggy icon)
5.9 MP
2976x1984 pixels
Small 2 JPG
S2
2.5 MP
1920x1280
For the nostalgic
Small 3 JPG
S3
0.3 MP
720x480 pixels
For ultimate memory-card cheapskates. 
Expect the usual grainy, noisy, year-2000-looking pics.

It's surprising how good the S1 Fine mode looks on this camera.  That's because this camera has a great sensor and excellent JPG processing.

Haven't yet tried S1 Normal, but the Normal JPG modes basically have half the file size of the Fine.

For anything serious, it's worth the memory card space to shoot Large Fine JPG, or even RAW for some stuff.   (Article:  SD Cards)


(Purchase camera)


(Canon T6S Photo Gallery)



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Shutter


While the cheapest Rebels (T3, T5) have a squeaky and toy-like shutter sound, the T6S sounds like a real pro camera.  Quieter, more refined, precise.

Shutter lag is only 0.075 seconds.

Silent shutter mode is even quieter.  (Shutter lag 1.00 second).

A pleasant-sounding shutter makes the whole photography experience more enjoyable, even if it's hard to quantify.  It feels more like using a piece of high-technology gear, which it really is.


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Touchscreen

Though I normally don't like these, there are two reasons it works well here.

First, you can use it to toggle Servo AF in video mode.  "Off" will help save batteries when you're not actually recording.

Second, and more important... you can change focal points during recording with just a tap.  This was unhead-of with previous Canon Rebels.



Notice the "D+" for Highlight Tone Priority, which I activated through the Custom Functions area of the menu. ( You can't turn it off or on through the touchscreen.)   There's also an estimate of how much recording time you'll be able to do. 

Video scenes are dynamic, so having the controls superimposed over the Live View picture is really a great idea.

You can access nearly all the camera's settings through the touchscreen, if you really want.  I use the buttons instead.  Being able to set the AF zone while recording, though... wow, now that I've tried this feature I don't know how I ever did without that.



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Video

Remember the shuddering, lurching video AF on early Rebels?  You won't find that on the T6S, thankfully.  Use an STM lens (that includes the 18-135 kit lens) and it's smooth sailing.  Other lenses will not perform as well.

Hybrid CMOS AF III allows for real-time autofocus tracking in Live View.

It doesn't have Dual Pixel AF, which is a little better but not essential.  If you want that, get a 70D, 80D, 7D Mark II, or 6D Mark II

The T6S also has an External Mic jack so you can properly mic your video productions.  However, it lacks a headphone jack for monitoring the audio;  if you need that, the 80D is about the only Canon DSLR that has it.

There is one annoyance with the T6S when doing video.  Live View shuts off too soon if you don't start recording.  Other DSLR's do this, too;  a lot of it has to do with conserving battery power. 

The control layout is geared toward video shooters.  After a couple years of using this daily, I am still as impressed with the video as when it was new.  If you want great video but don't need to monitor the audio as you record, just get one.  I really like this camera with the EF 24-105 STM lens. 



Encoding & Bit Rate

If you're wondering about the lower bitrate on the T6S compared to other Canon DSLR's, be sure to read this article.    

Video from this camera looks great

The use of MP4 instead of MOV is an upgrade as far as I'm concerned, not a downgrade;  MP4 is a universal standard.   If we're going to start comparing bitrates without taking anything else into account, consider this.  At about 29 Mbit/sec, that's at the upper end of high-definition TV bitrates.

Canon has implemented a change in the file container, not the actual codec.    It's still MPEG-4 AVC / H.264.

MP4 files are a natural for YouTube, though on Youtube you really don't need more than 720p video right now.  This camera can do 1080.

Both the T6S and the 70D can do Full HD (1080p) at up to about 30 fps.  At the time, there was nothing better in the Canon line, unless you stepped up to the 1DC, which cost somewhere about ten thousand USD. 

Now there's the 80D which offers 1080p at 60 fps, if you need that.  If I had it to do over, I would still get a T6S because it does everything I need it to do.  A T6S body is about $400 less than an 80D (US version).  I usually shoot video in Standard HD (720p) anyway;  the T6S can shoot 720p at 60fps if you want.


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Viewfinder

Optical pentamirror.  0.82x magnification. 

95% coverage. (Live View coverage = 100%.)

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Wireless Connectivity

Supports Wi-Fi / NFC and smartphone remote-control.  I never use any of this and haven't tested it, but it's there if you need it.  Canon 70D doesn't have this feature.

Does not support Bluetooth.


(Purchase camera)

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Canon T6S vs. T6i

Here's a quick rundown of features:


Canon T6S
Canon T6i
Autofocus points
19
19
Cross-type AF points
19
19
Continuous shooting speed (fps)
5
5
Custom mode slots (C1, C2, etc.)
None
None
Electronic Level
Yes
No
Eye-Sensing Viewfinder?
Yes
No
Hybrid CMOS AF III?
Yes
Yes
ISO (maximum)
12800
12800
Megapixels
24.2
24.2
Quick Control Dial on back of camera?
Yes
No
Top-panel LCD?
Yes
No
Touchscreen?
Yes
Yes

Features such as the control placement, the top-panel LCD, and the electronic level are more significant than they might appear at first.  If you do much landscape or nature photography, they become even more important.


Goin' Out to Photograph Some Lightnin'


The top LCD on the T6S puts it in good company with the 5D3, 6D, 70D, etc.
Amber backlit, too.  You will be glad you have this when it's forty minutes after sunset.  Some places you set up the tripod, you might not have room to get a full view of the rear-panel LCD. 



(Purchase camera)

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Main Reasons To Get This Camera

- Control layout more like a pro camerathan a Rebel

- Costs less than a pro camera

- Video Servo AF with Hybrid CMOS III... almost as good as Dual Pixel AF for video

- Touchscreen AF lets you change the focus subject during recording

- Excellent sensor, IQ, & low-light quality

- Still feels like a pro-level camera after a couple years of constant use


(Purchase camera)

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The Canon Rebel T6S with 40mm Pancake




Conclusion

While the Canon Rebel T6S doesn't have the spacious viewfinder of the 70D, it does have a number of other "pro" features.  And it's all packed into this light, compact little DSLR that you'll just want to take everywhere.

Is this camera worth getting?  I would say yes, absolutely.   Rather than being just another small increment in the TXi series, the T6S represents a leap.   Because of its features, image quality, and overall handling, the Rebel T6S actually feels like a satisfactory destination, rather than just a stop along the way. 

If you found this review helpful, please help me keep this website on-line by purchasing your gear through the links on here.  Your help is much appreciated.

As always, thanks for visiting my website. 





              


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